O is for Harry Oakes

Whenever I write about the misdeeds of others, I generally focus on the villain of the piece but this week is different as I take a look at the victim – the foully murdered Sir Harry Oakes.

Oakes was born in Maine in America in 1874, one of five children of a successful lawyer. He studied medicine at Syracuse University but left before graduating to join the many thousands of hopeful prospectors in the Klondike Gold Rush to Alaska. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Spider-sense: Lifeboat men from Sunderland and Seaham Coastguard and a rescue helicopter were sent to rescue a parachutist who had landed in the sea only to find that it was actually a Spider-Man balloon.

Who’s been sleeping in my bed? Three bears broke into a pizza restaurant in Colorado but failed to find either porridge or Goldilocks. Read more ›››

N is for Félix Nadar

Félix Nadar was one of the most fascinating characters of the 19th century – bohemian, showman, caricaturist and proponent of powered flight though he was, he is best known as the world’s first great portrait photographer.

Nadar was born Gaspard-Félix Tournachon in Paris in 1820, the son of a printer and bookseller. The young Nadar was studying medicine when his father died and he was forced to give up his studies and seek work as a caricaturist and journalist for several newspapers. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

May be a sleeper? Amid all the media frenzy about Theresa May’s coughing fit, P45 prankster and malfunctioning set, the key issue was that she was wearing a bracelet of portraits by communist artist Frida Kahlo, one-time lover of Trotsky.

An easy mistake to make: The neighbours of a man in Zurich mistook the Jack Daniels whiskey flag flying outside his house for the ISIS black flag of death. Read more ›››

This week’s ABC Wednesday subject is Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Magie, the woman responsible for countless family squabbles by creating the game that became known as Monopoly.

Magie was born in Macomb, Illinois, in 1866, the daughter of newspaper publisher and abolitionist James Magie who accompanied Lincoln when he travelled around the state in the late 1850s. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

One for YP: Following last week’s feature on the Great Northern Sandwich comes news that The Yorkshire Roast Co has produced a full Sunday roast wrapped in a Yorkshire pudding.

Red faces in Red Square: The statue of Mikhail Kalashnikov that I also reported last week had to be altered within days of being unveiled because the sculptor had included the wrong gun. (Hat tip to Yorkshire Pudding) Read more ›››

L is for John Law

A figure from way back for this week’s ABC Wednesday offering – financier, adventurer, duellist and gambler John Law who single-handedly bankrupted France in the 18th century.

Law was born in Edinburgh in 1671, the son of a Scottish moneylender. He joined the family business at the age of fourteen and studied banking until his father died in 1688 when he took himself off to London to live the life of ‘Dandy’. Read more ›››

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