J is for Joseph Jagger

I have written previously about ‘The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo’ but in fact, there was more than one man to claim this feat and one of the earliest was the Yorkshireman Joseph Jagger and he achieved this quite legally.

Jagger was born near Halifax in 1830 and worked as an engineer at a mill in the village of Shelf and it was his knowledge of engineering that was to make his fortune. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Ships of the desert: The Star newspaper got in a tizzy over the fleet of large ships found in a Kazakhstan desert, miles from the sea, that is ‘baffling scientists’. In fact, the mystery is no mystery at all and hasn’t been since 2015 as the Business Insider explains.

Jurassic larks: A hotel in Japan has solved its staffing problems by employing robots including animatronic dinosaurs at the check-in desk. Read more ›››

I is for Charles Isham

Sir Charles Isham

Sir Charles Isham was a member of the landed aristocracy who lived a fairly blameless life tending his gardens, other than that he is also credited with introducing the ornamental gnome to the gardens of Britain.

Isham was born in 1819 at the family estate of Lamport Hall in Northamptonshire, the manor house built by his wealthy wool merchant forebear, John Isham, in 1568 Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Cunning: We’ve all witnessed the lengths that some people will go to to keep the seat next to them free on crowded trains but now an American company has come up with their ‘Seat Saver’ range of fake food and drink spills to discourage interlopers.

The Gran Tour: Three grannies from Eccles, near Manchester, were sent on a five-day driving tour of Catalonia in an imitation of The Grand Tour. Read more ›››

H is for Silvester Horne

Those of us who grew up in the UK in the 1950s and 60s will recall the fruity voice of Kenneth Horne, star of the radio comedies Beyond Our Ken and Round the Horne.

But interesting though his life was, for this round of ABC Wednesday, I wanted to briefly look at the life of his father, the Congregational minister, MP, author and champion of the poor, Charles Silvester Horne. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Apologies to anyone coming here expecting to read my Sunday Round-up. We have been away this week, partly as a break but mostly to transfer our daughter to her first proper teaching job in London. Loaded cars and loaded questions about her choice of career and venue but what else can you do. Normal service hopefully revived next week. Read more ›››

G is for Hetty Green

As the saying goes: ‘nobody ever got rich by spending money’ which is advice that Hetty Green took very much to heart giving her a reputation for both wealth and miserliness.

She was born Henrietta Howland Robinson in New Bedford, Massachusetts in 1834. The family were Quakers and the richest in the city making their money through their large fleet of whalers. Read more ›››