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5 Films Based in Georgian England

Anyone for a game of Whist? Although Tudor England will always be my favorite time/place in history, I’ve had a dalliance with the Georgian period. For the aristocracy, Georgian England (1714-1830) was all about “taking the cure” at Bath, enjoying the poetry of Keats, Byron and Burns and reading about major societal changes in other parts of the world: England lost their grasp of America in 1776 …

The Cast of Hamilton: Now and Then

Hamilton combines two of my favorite things—musicals and history—into something exceptional. The hip hopera swept the Tonys this year and has made writer/performer Lin-Manuel Miranda a household name. One of the many things that makes Hamilton unique is the choice to cast almost every role with non-white actors, to better show what America looks like now, a diverse ethnic melting pot. I’m a big history portrait nerd …

Interview: Henrietta VIII

Henrietta VIII is a burlesque performer based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada who brings a unique twist to her performer identity: many of her acts are history-based. Henrietta was kind enough to answer some questions. What history are you most interested in? For sure the Tudor period. I’ve been obsessed with that period (even having 6 Tudor themed tattoos…) since I was in high school and …

Graverobbers, Resurrectionists and “Sack ’em Ups”

By the end of the 18th century, the study of medicine was becoming increasingly popular in Ireland. The demand for corpses came from the highest echelons of society, that of the medical profession. New medical halls as well as the college of surgeons needed a regular supply of cadavers for its doctors and students to dissect. The only corpses legally available to surgeons were those of …

Vincent van Gogh, Mental Illness and His Ear

During his lifetime, Vincent van Gogh sold few of his paintings, possibly only one. He was supported financially throughout his life by his brother Theo. In exchange for this support, Vincent would send Theo his paintings in the hopes that he could sell them and make some money back. With the exception of The Red Vineyard, he wasn’t successful. Now, van Gogh’s paintings are sold at auction …

March Birthdays

I’ll be adding to this list as I find more birthdays. Note: many birth dates, especially as you look further back in time, were not recorded. Comment below if you know of a birthday that should be added to this list! Happy birthday to… March 2 – Dr. Seuss (1904) March 3 – Alexander Graham Bell (1847) March 5 – Henry II of England (1133), David II of …

All Cats on Deck

While docked in Hong Kong harbour in 1948, ordinary Seaman George Hickinbottom heard the cries of a cat along the quayside. On investigation he discovered a dishevelled and undernourished young cat. The sailor smuggled the cat on board his ship, HMS Amethyst and named the feline Simon. The cat was nursed back to health and soon ingratiated himself amongst the crew as he was a …

A Pint, a Rebellion and an Armoured Car

The centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising is rapidly approaching, and as Ireland and those of Irish descent throughout the world brace themselves for the upcoming event, it is a little known fact of how one large brewer in Dublin aided the British military in retaking the city from the insurgents. On the afternoon of Easter Monday 24th April 1916 Second Lieutenant Godfrey Jackson Hunter …

February Birthdays

I’ll be adding to this list as I find more birthdays. Note: many birth dates, especially as you look further back in time, were not recorded. Comment below if you know of a birthday that should be added to this list! Happy birthday to… February 2 – Nell Gwyn (1650), Ayn Rand (1905) February 3 – Norman Rockwell (1894), Pretty Boy Floyd (1904) February 4 – Rosa Parks (1913), Betty Friedan …

A Symbol of Courage

“It’s a long way to Tipperary, it’s a long way to go.” Ontario, Canada is definitely a long way from Tipperary and even further from Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland and it’s absolutely miles from India. But these three places have a connection; that of one Private Denis Dempsey (1826-1896) of the 10th Regiment of Foot (later the Lincolnshire Regiment). Born in County Wicklow, Ireland, Dempsey …