Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

In all the commemoration of the First World War, and the inevitable political spats, there’s been a great deal of talk from various folks wanting to use it for their own present-day agendas. So far, so normal. That’s history for you. At one end of the spectrum are small and big-’c’ conservatives who claim the […]


Here’s another one of my favourite Bristol WW1 tales; a favourite because it contains a great big unanswered, and possibly unanswerable question. Bubonic plague. Scary stuff because that’s, like, what the Black Death was about. The thing that killed maybe as much as half the population of Europe in the 14th century. It’s always been […]


The B-word

07Jun14

Just got back from collecting copies of the latest book what I wrote. They look smashing. ‘Bravo, Bristol! The City at War 1914-18′ is co-authored by Clive Burlton and me. Even if I say so myself, it’s rather splendid. It’s actually much easier to brag about things you’ve co-written because of course you’re not claiming […]


BRISTOLIANS! Are you ever SHAMED by your IGNORANCE of BRUNEL? Do you ever find yourself EXCLUDED from the DINNER PARTY CONVERSATION because you know nothing of his GAZ ENGINE or cannot have an INFORMED DISCUSSION about the BROAD GAUGE? Do you find your FACE REDDENING when your WEEKEND GUESTS ask you to explain the PRINCIPLES […]


This is Henri Coandă. Handsome devil, ain’t he? He was damn clever, too. He was born in 1886 and invented a recoilless gun, prefabricated houses and a solar-powered system of desalination, among many other things. He is best-known, however, as one of the leading early pioneers of aviation. He designed several experimental aircraft including (though […]


From John Latimer: The Annals of Bristol in the 17th Century (William George’s Sons, Bristol, 1900) A highly interesting donation to the city was offered to the Council on December 7th. Mr. Robert Redwood, a wealthy Bristolian living in St. Leonard’s parish, proffered his “lodge near the Marsh” for conversion into a library for the […]


I mention this in honour of this weekend’s forthcoming Bristol Con, which I can’t make. I know how much they all like weird Bristol yarns. But it’s also in honour of the forthcoming half-millennium anniversary of the death of a very important Bristolian, or an utterly insignificant one (delete according to taste). This is Thomas […]



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