Thomas Blake Glover was one of the first western businessmen to establish links with Japan and is remembered as the ‘Scottish Samurai’ responsible for bringing what was an isolated nation into the modern industrial and commercial world.
Glover was born in Fraserburgh, Scotland, in 1838, the son of a coastguard officer and, on leaving school, he joined the trading company, Jardine Matheson and first visited Japan in 1857. Read more ›››
There are many who have risked their lives in war for the sake of freedom, but few have done what Ken Gatward did in 1942 – to put his neck on the line for the sake of a propaganda stunt.
Gatward was born in 1914 in Hornsey, London, the son of the local Chief Inspector of police. He joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve in 1937 and when war broke out in 1939 he joined No 53 Squadron specialising in low-level raids. Read more ›››
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 ›››
Even the most difficult situations can throw up the unlikely hero and one such was Leo Gradwell who emerged with great credit from one of the most disastrous episodes of World War Two – the decimation of Arctic Convoy PQ17.
Gradwell was born in Chester in 1899 and after studying classics at Oxford, he joined the Royal Navy and served during the First World War. When the war ended, he became a barrister. Read more ›››
Nazi Germany produced many monsters, such as Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, but there were also unlikely heroes, among them Göring’s brother Albert, also known as Der Gute Göring (the Good Göring).
Albert Günther Göring was born in 1895, two years after his brother, Hermann, the son of the solidly middle-class Heinrich and Fanny Göring. Read more ›››
For twenty-five years, Stanley Green led a one man campaign warning Londoners against the perils of protein and passion.
Born in 1915, Green came to the conclusion that it was a high protein diet that made people lustful and aggressive and that a low protein diet would make for ‘better, kinder, happier people’. Read more ›››
Francis Galton was a flawed Victorian genius responsible for the introduction of forensic fingerprinting, the weather map, the originator of the nurture versus nature debate and of both sane and silly inventions.
He was born in 1822 and was a cousin of Charles Darwin. The two families were very close with the Darwins being the scientists while the Galtons were Quaker bankers. Both had produced members of the Royal Society and helped found the influential Lunar Society. Read more ›››
Many dismiss James Graham as just another 18th century quack, while others believe he was the world’s first sex therapist. But whatever your view, there can be no denying that he had a genuine genius for the grand gesture.
Born in Edinburgh in 1745, the son of a saddler, Graham trained in medicine, but left medical school without taking his degree and set up as an apothecary in Doncaster in Yorkshire. Read more ›››