Filed: ABC Wednesday

Sunday Round-up

Blistering barnacles: The remain faction has recruited Tintin to their cause by using an illustration from The Crab with the Golden Claws to illustrate the self-destructive nature of Brexit and it now hangs on the wall of the EU negotiating team.

And speaking of Brexit, Alistair Campbell has returned to journalism as editor-at-large for the New European, the newspaper for the 48%. Read more ›››

The British army has long relied on soldiers and units from its former empire and never more so than in the First World War when Khudadad Khan became the first Asian and Muslim to be awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award for bravery.

Khan was born in Chakwal in the Punjab province of India in 1888, now the Potohar region of Pakistan, and joined the 129th Duke of Connaught's Own Baluchis as a sepoy. Read more ›››

I usually know at least the basic details of the lives of my ABC Wednesday subjects – when and where they were born, their family life etc – but in the case of James Julian I know nothing at all except that he was the inventor of a most bizarre means of execution, the Julian Gallows.

In the late 19th century, America was obsessed with finding a ‘humane’ means of execution and so it was that in 1892 Julian invented his gallows. Read more ›››

Ivan Kaye as Ivar the Boneless

Ivar Ragnussson was one of the Vikings leaders who with his brothers led the Great Heathen Army that invaded the East Anglia region of England in 865AD, but it is how he got the nickname Ivar the Boneless that is the mystery.

But first the history lesson. Ivar was the son of Ragnar Lodbrok who ruled large parts of what is today Denmark and Sweden. The young Ivar is portrayed as a warrior and had a reputation as a berserker. Read more ›››

Jane Haining was a Christian missionary who worked with Jewish communities in Eastern Europe in the 1930s and 40s who in 2010 was posthumously named a British Hero of the Holocaust by the British Government.

She was born in Dunscore, Scotland, in 1897 the daughter of Thomas and Jane Haining. Her mother died when Jane was just five-years-old and as she grew she took on the role of caring for the family. Read more ›››

G is for Harry Gem

A sporting theme for ABC Wednesday this week as I focus on Harry Gem, the man who invented the game of lawn tennis.

Gem was born in the industrial heart of England in Birmingham in 1819. He was educated at King's College London and from 1841 he practised as a solicitor in his home city, becoming a magistrate's clerk in 1856. Read more ›››

F is for Bertram Forer

Bertram Forer was an American psychologist who is remembered for describing the technique for self-deception familiar to psychics, astrologers and even popular business personality tests.

Forer was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1914 and graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1936. He then received his MA and PhD in clinical psychology from the University of California. Read more ›››

E is for John Elwes

I have been struggling to find a suitable candidate for my letter E so I return John Elwes, an English eccentric who was noted for his extravagant generosity on the one hand and his extreme miserliness on the other that made him the model for one of the best-known characters of fiction.

He was born John Meggott in 1714, the son of a successful and wealthy brewer Robert Meggott and Amy Elwes whose surname he would eventually adopt. Read more ›››

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