History of Comestible Commodities!


History of Coffee

The current proliferation of coffee shops is merely history repeating itself. Voltaire, Bach and Beethoven all relied on coffee as their muse, Honore Balzac takes the prize however, consuming up to 50 cups a day.

Cornerstone of Capitalism

vanilla pods

History of Vanilla

It's history is far from vanilla, encompassing as it does smuggling, piracy and exotic locales. Good Queen Bess's favourite tipple and the basis of the ice-cream industry, plus an unlikely man of genius who made the breakthrough.

Far from Boring

tobacco shoots

History of Tobacco

Once promoted as a wonder cure-all for the royals of Europe, King James I saw through the smoke of the 'noxious weed' and fought against big tobacco. And no, Sir Walter Raleigh did not introduce it to England. Bust the myths.

From Panacea to Anathema


Misconceptions in History!

fall bastille

Storming of Bastille

A glorious assault to free the multitude of political prisoners? The reality is very different, a rabble intent on looting and guns release a couple of lunatics. Vive la Revolution!

A Damp Squib

opium war

The Opium Wars

The British Empire - bringing law and order to the depraved natives. Actually it was a state sponsored drug cartel to addict and weaken a nation and drain their coffers. 'Quid pro quo'.

How to Bankrupt a nation

charles gordon

gordon of khartoum

The hero who stood firm against jihad. First of all he was totally disobeying orders. A monumental ego with some strange ideas and strange traits, a Victorian Donald Trump. Rule Brittania.

Kiplingesque on Steroids


Breaking the Glass Ceiling!

lady montagu

Lady Mary Montagu

A man that is ashamed of passions that are natural and reasonable is generally proud of those that are shameful and silly. And she brought the concept of inoculation to England leading to the eradication of smallpox.

Observer, Essayist and Innovator

elena piscopia

Elena Cornaro Piscopia

At a time when education was the male preserve she became the first European woman to enter University and gain a Doctorate and was a great mathematician. A true advocate of women's rights.

Success against the Odds

catherine I

catherine I of Russia

Born in absolute poverty as a serf she became the Empress and Autocrat of All the Russias. Married to Peter the Great she was compassionate, strong, forever attentive to the needs of her husband and later to her country. Without her, and her example, Russia would not be the power it is today.

Ultimate Rags To Riches