Lessons in the "UK" Category

Great British Inventions

Today, let’s talk about great British inventions. There are many. We will look at a few of them.

The jet engine was invented by a chap called Frank Whittle from Coventry. He was fighter pilot. Whittle realised that piston powered flight was old technology. He designed the gas turbine ‘turbo-jet’ in 1930. Thwarted by the military it wasn’t until 1941 that his jet idea took off in the form of a Gloster E28/39 for a 17 minute flight.

Tin cans used for baked beans and vegetables were invented by a man called Peter Durand. He copied the preserved food in a glass jar idea that Frenchman Nicholas Appert had created, doing it this time with a tin can. The first commercial canning factory was opened in England in 1813.

First New Grammar School to Open in England in 50 Years

Recently in the UK the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan announced the approval of the first new grammar school in England in 50 years. It is a breakthrough decision, as under socialism grammar schools were banned.

The new grammar school in Sevenoaks, Kent is officially an annex of the Weald of Kent Grammar School for girls that is based in Tonbridge, Kent 10 miles (16km) away. The new all girls grammar school will offer a mixed sixth form.

Queen Elizabeth II is now Britain’s longest serving monarch

Today, Queen Elizabeth II became Britain’s longest-reigning monarch when she passed the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. The Queen has reigned now for more than 63 years seven months.

The Queen, who is 89, spent today on official duties in Scotland. It is a normal working day for her with no special celebration. Originally though it was to have been a ‘no-fuss day’ spent at Balmoral, but after caving in to demands that she should be seen on such a momentous day, she agreed to undertake an engagement.

The UK Airport Shop VAT Rip-Off!

Today, let’s talk about how airport shops in the UK are ripping off many of their customers. They do it by asking to see their customers boarding passes. After processing it they get it back. What they don’t tell the customer is why they actually do this.

The answer was revealed by The Independent newspaper. It is simply an elaborate ruse by airport shops to save on their tax bills while keeping prices high.

Scotland’s Answer to Route 66

Today, we are going to talk about epic road trips. Probably the most famous one to travel along is Route 66 in America. Now there is a new route for you to consider – in Scotland.

North Coast 500 or NC500 is a brilliant new route to journey along. It takes you right around the northern coast of Scotland. It has already been named one of the top coastal routes in the world.

Scottish referendum – Yes or No?

Today, let’s talk about the forthcoming Scottish referendum. The vote on whether to stay in the United Kingdom or become an independent country will take place on Thursday 18th September 2014. The question voters in Scotland will vote on is: “Should Scotland be an independent country?” Voters can choose the following answers; either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’?

Coincidentally, 2014 is the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn when the English were defeated by the Scots. The Ryder Cup (Golf) is also being held in 2014 and recently Scotland held the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. For these reasons Scottish National Leader Alex Salmond chose to want the vote in 2014.

Category: Scotland / Scottish Referendum / Independence

Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games

Today let’s talk about this year’s Commonwealth Games that are taking place in Glasgow, Scotland. The 11 day event is on between the 23rd July and 3rd August.

Celtic Park will host the 20th Commonwealth Games Opening ceremony that will be attended by over 4,500 athletes and their coaches. Legendary singer Rod Stewart will perform to the 40,000 crowd together with Britain’s Got Talent finalist Susan Boyle. The stadium is home to the famous Celtic Football Club.

Category: Sport / Commonwealth Games 2014 / Glasgow

The Olympic Games Opening Ceremony

Did you see it? The Olympic Games opening ceremony – live from London. ‘The greatest show on earth’ proved to be exactly that. It was breathtaking! The event was unveiled to the world at 9pm BST on Friday 27th July. The London 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony was watched by an estimated billion TV viewers. Danny Boyle’s 3-½ hour epic showpiece made compulsive viewing.

Category: Sport / Olympic Games / London 2012

The link between Bletchley Park and Google

For nearly half a century Bletchley Park, a Victorian manor house near Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, lay neglected and unloved; its dilapidated buildings falling into disrepair. By the 90s, its boarded-up huts at its rear were due to be torn down. Yet for more than 50 years the house was shrouded under a veil of secrecy. Only during the last 20 years was its secret finally revealed. It was the place where the codes of the German Enigma machine were broken by a special-purpose codebreaking machine called Colossus.

The secret work at Bletchley Park had, it is believed, shortened the war by up to two years. However, the secrecy came at a cost. Britain lost out to the US in the development of computer technology. So what is the link between Bletchley Park and Google? Simple – there is a desire by some individuals at Google to nurture the past. In fact, Google is helping to spearhead a campaign to save Bletchley Park by restoring it to its former glory. Google has provided the money for the purchase of key papers and is backing the current appeal to restore the derelict block at Bletchley Park.

Category: History / Bletchley Park / Google

The mystery of Eleanor Rigby revealed

You have all heard the song Eleanor Rigby. But just who was she? Many people have asked that since the track was released by the Beatles on their 1966 Revolver album. It is one of the Beatles most recognisable and unique songs with striking lyrics about loneliness. According to the song Eleanor Rigby died with no one to mourn her.

Paul McCartney claimed previously that the heroine of the poignant song was fictional. However, in the 1980’s a grave of an E. Rigby was discovered in the churchyard of St Peter’s in Woolton, Liverpool.

McCartney met John Lennon nearby at a fete in 1957. The two used to spend time sunbathing at the graveyard. Her tombstone has since become a landmark for Beatles fans to visit to this day. Meanwhile in 1990 an unusual document was received by an Annie Mawson…

Category: Music / Beatles / Eleanor Rigby