On 21st May this year, Ringling Bros and Barnum Bailey said a final sad farewell after almost a century of The Greatest Show on Earth, bringing to an end many of the acts unique to the circus world.
And of those acts, perhaps the bravest is the human cannonball, but who was the first person to be shot into the air? Step forward Rosa Matilda Richter, better known as Zazel. Read more ›››
Count Louis Zborowski was a wealthy, pioneering racing driver, engineer and the inspiration behind one of the most enduring children's stories – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
He was born in 1895, the son of William Eliot Morris Zborowski and American heiress Margaret Laura Astor Carey of the prominent Astor family. The Zborowski family background is interesting, but I may come back to his father at a later date. Read more ›››
Wartime can throw up some strange heroes, but the strangest was Eddie Chapman, audacious safe-cracker, womaniser and conman who became the most extraordinary spy of Word War Two, better known as Agent Zigzag.
Born in County Durham in 1914, Chapman was a bright, but unruly child who often skipped school and by the time he was seventeen, he had become bored by life in the north east and took himself off to London. Read more ›››
Mildred 'Babe' Zaharias was one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century, accomplished in many sports, and yet she is less known than she should be outside her native America.
Born Mildred Ella Didrikson in 1911 in Port Arthur, Texas, Zaharias was the sixth of the seven children of Norwegian immigrants, Ole and Hannah Didrikson... Read more ›››
Jan Žižka 'the One-Eyed' is one of that elite band of great military commanders who never lost a battle and the man who invented the tank 500 years before World War One, and yet in death he chose to be eternally beaten. But more of that little riddle later.
Žižka was born in 1360 in the Bohemian village of Trocnov, in what is now the western half of modern day Czechoslovakia, and spent his early years attached to the court of Queen Sophia. Read more ›››
Apart from The World's Strongest Man, the idea of watching feats of strength for entertainment seems faintly ridiculous, but strongmen were once great box office and one of the greatest was Alexander Zass.
Zass was born in Vilna, Poland, in 1888, but lived in Russia for most of his early life. He served in the Russian army in WWI and in was wounded and taken prisoner by the Austrians in 1914. Read more ›››
One of the most iconic and infamous images of the communication age is the amateur film that records the assassination of John Kennedy taken by Abraham Zapruder.
Now known as the Zapruder Film, he almost didn't take his camera that fateful day. Although he had planned to watch the motorcade pass on Dealey Plaza, it was his assistant's idea that he should collect his camera from home. Read more ›››
Can I complete the whole of Round 9 of ABC Wednesday based on our four week stay in South Africa in February? Click on the photos to enlarge. Phew! I managed to make it through the alphabet from South Africa and with quite a few examples for the letter Z. First up is this Zephyr in bronze and chrome that you can find on the waterfront at Knysna. It is…
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