The Age of Discovery gave us the names of many great European explorers who opened up Africa, the Americas and Asia, but their discoveries often owed more to luck than judgement. And the unlucky ones tend to be forgotten.
One such is Sir Humphrey Gilbert, half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh, who managed to lose most of the ships under his command and ‘discovered’, claimed and abandoned Newfoundland within the space of a few weeks in 1583. Read more ›››
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 ›››
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 ›››