F is for Charles Fey

Where would Las Vegas be without the fruit machine, the invention of car mechanic Charles Fey?

Charles was born Augustus Fey in Vöhringen, Bavaria, in 1862, the youngest of sixteen children. He moved to the US when he was 23, first to New Jersey and then to San Fransisco where he worked for the Electric Works Company. Read more ›››

E is for Anthony Ettricke

This post is as much about a place as a person and the letter E takes me to Wimborne Minster in Dorset and the rather eccentric Anthony Ettricke.

Ettricke was a 17th-century barrister who was called to the bar in 1652 and from 1662 to 1682 served as the Recorder and Magistrate of Poole and Wimborne. Read more ›››

D is for Dicky Doyle

Dicky Doyle was a doctor who successfully treated a man who had been partially decapitated at the notorious Changi jail in Singapore during World Wat Two.

Born in Liverpool in 1906, Richard Webster ‘Dicky’ Doyle studied medicine at the city’s university and qualified as a surgeon in 1929. During the war, he volunteered for the Royal Medical Corps and served in the Far East. Read more ›››

C is for George Cayley

Sir George Cayley

The first person to fly in a heavier-than-air machine wasn’t the Wright brothers, but an unknown coachman who did so in 1853.

He worked for the Yorkshireman, Sir George Cayley, sometimes called the Father of Aviation, who carried out the first truly scientific study of the way that birds fly. Read more ›››

B is for Thomas Byrnes

Thomas F Byrnes

Thomas F Byrnes was the celebrated 19th-century detective who gave us the expressions  ‘Rogues’ Gallery’ and the ‘Third Degree’ whose reputation was almost undone by his own Jack the Ripper.

Byrnes was born in Dublin in 1842 and emigrated to the US as a child. He grew up in New York and became a skilled gas-fitter until the start of the Civil War when he enlisted with the 11th New York Volunteer Infantry. Read more ›››

A is for Angelsey

Henry Cyril Paget, 5th Earl of Angelsey

I am starting this round with the flamboyant 5th Earl of Anglesey,  who “seems only to have existed for the purpose of giving a melancholy and unneeded illustration of the truth that a man with the finest prospects, may, by the wildest folly and extravagance, play away an uniterable life, and have lived in vain.”

Henry Cyril Paget was born in 1875 to an illustrious military family. The 1st Marquis of Anglesey had been granted the title for his bravery at Waterloo and Henry’s grandfather was Sir Henry William Paget MP who had commanded the cavalry with great distinction in Spain. Read more ›››

Z is for Abraham Zapruder

Abraham Zapruder

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 ›››