Category Archives: History

Cardinal della Costa: an Italian hero in 1943

The Archbishop of Florence, Cardinal della Costa, has taken a courageous stand. When some of his nuns were arrested, in consequence of having given shelter to some Jewish women in their convent, the Cardinal, putting on his full panoply, went … Continue reading

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Traditional forms of punishment: Britain* 1700-1900

Traditionally, British judges sentencing criminals had five principal options: capital punishment, corporal punishment, exile, imprisonment and torture. Judges sentencing criminals to ‘savage’ sentences were using proportionate and appropriate punishments according to the expectations of the time. The sentences were anticipated … Continue reading

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French military atrocities 1933, 1944 and 1957: the normalisation of military terror tactics

Twentieth century French history is filled with horrific examples of brutal violence. Extra-judicial murder, torture, terror attacks on civilians and swaggering intimidation were routinely used*. Beliefs in racial superiority and entitlement legitimised atrocities. The French army provide a chilling context … Continue reading

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From opulence to squalor: Gibson Square, Islington

This desirable row of Regency houses was built in the mid-1800s, in the reign of George IV. It was a highly desirable property with servants sleeping quarters in the two attic rooms. One room for the maids the other for … Continue reading

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Book Review: George MacDonald Fraser ~ Flashman at the Charge

The Flashman series is twelve books long. They were very popular in the 1970s but have faded with time. This review is therefore a review of a re-read. How does it stand up to the expectations of a former devotee? … Continue reading

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The Evian Conference and Kristallnacht, 1938

The world was faced by the involuntary migration of hundreds of thousands of destitute German Jews from the Reich in 1938. Roosevelt called an international conference to try to resolve the situation. Roosevelt hoped international outrage at Nazi anti-Semitism would … Continue reading

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It costs an arm and leg

Men of the 18th century are often painted with one hand inside their vests to save money. This is because the artist would set the price based on how many hands, arms, or legs were in the painting. From this … Continue reading

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