Ballooners

Why Hot Air Balloons Never Really (Ahem) Took Off

More than two centuries after the invention of ballooning, Steve Fossett became the first person to solo circumnavigate the world in a balloon.

An 18th-Century “Sapphist”’s Sexy Garden

The 18th-century "sapphist" gardens of Mary Granville Pendarves Delany were piquant places that expressed same-sex desires.
Trafalgar Square

London Has Always Been Multicultural

The conventional story is that "black Britain" came about after World War II, but London has been a multicultural capital for centuries.
1596 Mercator map of Scotland

Is Scotland a Nation?

What is Scotland, a country and/or nation, or just a region within Great Britain, a piece of the United Kingdom? Let's explore Scots nationalism.
Peterloo Massacre

Identity Politics and Popular Movements

Issues tied to gender have often been part of broad-based popular movements, like the Zetetic movement in early nineteenth-century England.
Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke and the Birth of Traditional Conservatism

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) is one of the philosophical fountainheads of modern conservatism. But he didn't start out that way.
Thames Frost Fair

Magic and Meaning on the Frozen Thames

London's winters used to colder—and a bit more magical, thanks to chilly conditions on the Thames River. "Frost fairs" were popular public celebrations.
Nineteenth century British periodicals

Nineteenth-Century Clickbait

Online publications that offer clickbait and easy entertainment mirror some of the most popular nineteenth century British magazines.
John Le Carre

The Spy Novelist Who Was Actually a Spy

The author John le Carré, who real name is David Cornwall, is the subject of both a recent biography and his own brand new memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel.
Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire

How A Gambling Duchess Changed British Politics

Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, won and lost fortunes, giving into a compulsion that pitted her against some of society’s most notorious ne’er-do-wells.