The Suburban Sublime – Southgate Tube Station

Nige admires the work of Charles Holden, the architect behind Southgate Tube Station, one of London's finest Art Deco Underground stations... That is not a newly landed art deco UFO above - it is Southgate Underground station, towards the end of the Cockfosters branch of the Piccadilly Line. I discovered this part of ... Read More...

Turnspit Dogs

Could this be the reason why the Queen keeps Corgis? A strange forgotten dog breed in today's weird Wikipedia article from the Dabbler's Wikiworm... The Turnspit Dog was a short-legged, long-bodied dog bred to run on a wheel, called a turnspit or dog wheel, in order to turn meat for cooking. The breed is now extinct. It is mentioned ... Read More...

Blind Men and Ostriches

The cruelties of Ancient Rome's circuses give Frank an idea for an exciting new movie starring Russell Crowe... One of the combat sports which thrilled the crowds in the circuses of Ancient Rome was the pitting of blind men against ostriches. A savage and ugly spectacle, no doubt, and one quite ... Read More...

The History of Smoking

  'If I’m a failed smoker it’s not because I haven’t tried...' - Douglas is talking tobacco... My wife had a teenage crush on James Dean. She confided it to her father who latched onto the idea and bought her anything he could find bearing the beloved likeness. Grateful for his generosity, ... Read More...

Churchill’s Great Contemporaries: Welsh Wizardry

On the anniversary of Churchill's death we pick out some highlights from his portraits of the era's great men. Here's how David Lloyd George's mysterious Welsh wiles confounded a very grand statesman... I’ve just finished reading Churchill’s Great Contemporaries, a collection of biographical essays. You rapidly realise how he managed to earn huge sums from ... Read More...

The Christmas Ghost Story

Professor Nick Groom explains the English tradition of the Christmas Eve ghost story... The nights are long and dark, the wind is bitter chill, the leafless trees are rimed with ice: winter has arrived with a sudden ferocity. What better than to lock the doors, curl up beside a log fire, ... Read More...