"The North Pole is reached!"
was the news that flashed all over the world...it was September 1909 when the news reached Amundsen. The original
plan of the FRAM'S third voyage--the exploration of the North Polar basin--was
quickly called off. In order to save the expedition, Amundsen immediately turned his attention to the South simultaneously
emphasizing to his financial contributors that the FRAM'S Arctic voyage would
be, in every way, a scientific expedition and would have nothing to do with record-breaking. Therefore, as far as
the supporters were aware, Amundsen's Arctic voyage would not be influenced one way or another by Peary's
accomplishment. Since he was so heavily in debt, Amundsen felt his change in plans to head south and capture the
South Pole should be kept a secret. In his own words, Amundsen wrote, "I know that I have been reproached
for not having at once made the extended plan public, so that not only my supporters, but the explorers who were
preparing to visit the same regions might have knowledge of it. I was well aware that these reproaches would
come, and had therefore carefully weighed this side of the matter". As hinted at, he also felt it important
to keep his intentions secret from his peers. "Nor did I feel any great scruples with regard to the
other Antarctic expeditions that were being planned at the time. I knew I should be able to inform Captain Scott
of the extension of my plans before he left civilization, and therefore a few months sooner or later could
be of no great importance. Scott's plan and equipment were so widely different from my own that I regarded the
telegram that I sent him later, with the information that we were bound for the Antarctic regions, rather
as a mark of courtesy than as a communication which might cause him to alter his programme in the slightest degree.
The British expedition was designed entirely for scientific research. The Pole was only a side-issue, whereas
in my extended plan it was the main object". Amundsen must have been in a dream world as this simply was not
true. Scott's intention to try for the Pole had been widely publicized and was certainly not a side
issue...one only need turn to Scott's Antarctic Expedition announcement in the September 13, 1909, issue
of The Times of London.
In December 1916 and January 1917, the British county
of West Cumberland erupted in violence. Prices for basic foodstuffs, potatoes, milk, wheat, and thus bread, butter, all sold
in the local markets, had skyrocketed over the preceding months, the result of at least the threat of scarcity, if not the
actual fact. The British agricultural sector was simply not able to meet the demands being placed on it, because of both a
bad harvest year and a long-term decline which had made Britain a net importer of food, a precarious position at a time of
war with Germany. At the time, profiteering by both farmers and shopkeepers was widely blamed for the rise. Many also felt
that local traders were removing foodstuffs from the district on a grand scale for sale in other regions, where they could
get better prices for their goods. (Indeed, there was some evidence that this was the case.) Then, on 20 December 1916, the
government decreed that it was going to fix prices for various goods. By January 1917, the women of the county were determined
to enforce the set prices. The riots began in the pitch market in Maryport, when women arrived determined not to buy above
the decreed price. When one farmer said he did not care what the government said, there was bedlam. The women rushed the farmers'
carts, and the "street was filled with hooting, yelling women and young people, while potatoes, cabbages and turnips
were flying through the air" The example of Maryport soon spread to other parts of the county. These riots were led by
housewives, who had filled the front lines and did much of the fighting, although the miners of Cumberland were also active
in supporting their wives' efforts, both as added bodies strengthening the crowds, but also through the Miners' Association
and other working-class organizations
airship seen from Trent." Walter Wellman's hydrogen dirigible America just before being abandoned by its crew near
Bermuda, 1,370 miles into an attempt to cross the Atlantic from New Jersey. Its engines having failed, the America drifted
out of sight, never to be seen again.
my airship history serves me correctly, what you see hanging below the airship in the water is a device Wellman called an
"equilibrator" ... This was a set of metal cylinders tied together and hung beneath the crew cabin, designed to
keep the airship at a constant altitude (around 200 ft) and act as ballast. Unfortunately, neither the equilibrator nor the
ship itself worked very well, resulting in the crew having to abandon the airship as seen here. Fascinating photo!
Charles "Charlie" Spencer
Chaplin, the comic genius of silent films, has died aged 88. The "King of film"', knighted in 1975, died at
0400 today at his Swiss manor at Corsier-sur-Vevey. His wife Oona, daughter of the late playwright Eugene O'Neill, and
seven of their eight children were present. The couple's eldest daughter, actress Geraldine, was abroad filming in Spain
but his son Sidney, the eldest son by the second of his four marriages was at his bedside. It is understood Sir Charles slipped
into a coma last night. A family spokesman said the actor would be buried in a private family ceremony in two days. As actor,
writer, director, producer, composer and choreographer he left his indelible legacy on 80 films including favourites The Gold
Rush, City Lights, and Limelight. From his screen debut in 1914, to his last completed film in 1967, Sir Charles is considered
to have helped found the modern film.
He rose from humble beginnings to become one of the highest paid films stars.
Born into poverty in London
in 1889 his parents Charles Chaplin, senior, and Hannah Hill were music hall entertainers who separated shortly after his
birth. Sir Chaplin and his half-brother, Sydney, who later became his business manger, ended up in an institute for destitute
children. Performing from the age of five he moved to America in 1910. There he introduced the world to one of his most revered
characters - Little Tramp - in the 1914 film Kid's Auto Races. The shuffling, cane-twirling figure in over-sized trousers
and a black moustache, was born. By 1920, at the height of his fame worldwide regular cinema attendance, dances, dolls, comic
books and toys were created in his image. A colourful personal life combined with Left wing leanings during the Cold War led
to him being virtually expelled from America in 1952. He was awarded a special Oscar 20 years later but lived out the rest
of his life in Switzerland where he died.
Marcus Garvey (1887
Garvey was a Jamaican-born black nationalist who created a 'Back to Africa' movement in
the United States. He became an inspirational figure for later civil rights activists.
Garvey was born in St Ann's Bay, Jamaica on 17 August 1887, the youngest of 11 children. He inherited a keen interest
in books from his father, a mason and made full use of the extensive family library. At the age of 14 he left school and became
a printer's apprentice where he led a strike for higher wages. From 1910 to 1912, Garvey travelled in South and Central
America and also visited London.
He returned to Jamaica in 1914 and founded
the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). In 1916, Garvey moved to Harlem in New York where UNIA thrived. By now
a formidable public speaker, Garvey spoke across America. He urged African-Americans to be proud of their race and return
to Africa, their ancestral homeland and attracted thousands of supporters.
To facilitate the return
to Africa that he advocated, in 1919 Garvey founded the Black Star Line, to provide transportation to Africa, and the Negro
Factories Corporation to encourage black economic independence. Garvey also unsuccessfully tried to persuade the government
of Liberia in west Africa to grant land on which black people from America could settle.
1922 Garvey was arrested for mail fraud in connection with the sale of stock in the Black Star Line, which had now failed.
Although there were irregularities connected to the business, the prosecution was probably politically motivated, as Garvey's
activities had attracted considerable government attention. Garvey was sent to prison and later deported to Jamaica. In 1935,
he moved permanently to London where he died on 10 June 1940. In 1964, his body was returned to Jamaica where he was declared
the country's first national hero.
Born into a wealthy family, Florence got her first taste
of nursing at a charitable hospital in Germany before becoming superintendent of a sanatorium for sickly gentlewomen in London.
With the outbreak of the Crimean War in 1854, she became convinced that her nursing skills would be of use to wounded servicemen
and persuaded the Secretary of War to send her and a small group of nurses to the front. On her arrival at Scutari, the hospital
doctors were at first hostile towards her but they were soon stretching the new nursing staff to the limit.
Recently, Florence Nightingale's role in improving the
lot of the soldiers has been questioned, but she undoubtedly raised the profile of nursing. On her return to England, she
established the Nightingale School of Nursing, the first training school for nurses in Britain. She also instigated a Royal
Commission into medical care in the army. In 1907, she became the first woman to be honoured with the Order of Merit.
Wilson was the 28th president of the United States. More than
any other president before him, he was responsible for increasing American involvement in world affairs and his vision led
to the creation of the League of Nations.
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was born
in Staunton, Virginia, on 28 December 1856. His father was a Presbyterian minister. Wilson was raised in Georgia and South
Carolina against the backdrop of the American Civil War. He studied at Princeton University, briefly became a lawyer and then
went to Johns Hopkins University where he received a doctorate in history and political science.
After a successful academic career,
Wilson became president of Princeton University, serving between 1902 and 1910. His reforming efforts brought him attention
and the New Jersey Democrats asked him to run for governor in 1910. His victory launched his political career. In 1912 he
ran as the Democratic candidate for president and won.
Wilson's domestic policies included the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, which provides the framework
that still regulates American banks and money supply. Wilson sought to maintain American neutrality after the outbreak of
World War One and was re-elected president in 1916 on the slogan 'He Kept Us Out of War.' However, the German policy
of unrestricted submarine warfare led Wilson to bring the US into the conflict in April 1917.
In January 1918, in a major speech to Congress,
Wilson laid out his Fourteen Points, which he believed should form the basis of the peace settlements in Europe. He attended
the Versailles peace negotiations to advocate this programme, but the resulting treaties left him bitterly disappointed.
Wilson returned to the US and waged a futile struggle to win American ratification of the Treaty of Versailles and American
support for the new League of Nations. He was awarded the 1919 Nobel Prize for Peace for his efforts to create the League.
Immigrant is an American word used
to describe the huge influx of people to the States between 1800 and 1910. This included five million Germans, four million
Irish, and five million Central Europeans and Italians - enough foreign language speakers to destabilise, if not overwhelm
these new immigrants wanted to become part of American society so wholeheartedly embraced English bringing with them words
like schlep, kosher, capo, pizza, delicatessen, spiel and many others. At home, they may have generally used their respective
mother tongues but, in society, English was used. Even now, many Americans are bilingual.
The United States has a long history
of welcoming immigrants from all over the world. We value the contributions of immigrants, who continue to enrich this country
and preserve its legacy as a land of freedom and opportunity. Though we are a nation of diverse cultures and backgrounds,
we are bound by our shared history, the common civic values set forth in our founding documents, and the English language.
With the outbreak of the First World War, differences
were forgotten as the suffrage leaders urged support. Women were called on to take up male jobs as their men folk were
sent to the front. They proved their worth as bus conductors, ambulance drivers, and office staff. Nearly a million women
were employed to work in the munitions industry, making vital, and dangerous weapons. The armed forces themselves made a big drive to recruit women and the war years saw the founding of the Women's
Army Auxiliary Corps, the Women's Royal Naval Service, and the Women's Royal Air Force. But most women were employed
well away from the fighting - as cooks, clerks, storewomen, messengers and signallers. Support for the war was not universal.
On 18 April 1915, 1500 women from Northern Europe and the USA met in The Hague to discuss peace at the International Congress
of Women. Sylvia Pankhurst was one of those who continued to protest against the conflict. In 1918 women had the vote, but not all were enfranchised. The Representation of
the People Act gave votes only to those women aged over 30 who held property. The following year, Nancy Astor became the first
woman to take her seat as an MP. Astor was soon championing women's causes such as equal rights in the civil service,
votes at twenty-one and keeping the women police. She was to become famous for her brilliant repartee in the House and her
ability to take on the most misogynist of male MPs.
Annie Besant is fascinating
if only for the amazing amount she managed to cram into her life. After leaving her strict clergyman husband (who denied her
access to her child), Annie Besant joined the Free Thought society. She then published an early book on birth control, which
was branded obscene, before taking on the cause of the Bryant and May Match Girls and organising their strike in 1888. In
1889 she became one of the first women to sit on a school board.
After converting to Theosophy she moved to India, where she
championed Indian home rule while still making time to return to London to address a suffragette rally. She was elected president
of the Indian National Congress in 1917 and died in Madras in 1933, where many streets still bear her name.
Sylvia Pankhurst was an accomplished artist who used her skills to compliment the suffragette cause. A co-founder
of the WSPU with her mother and sisters, she designed banners, badges and posters for the Cause. Sylvia was a committed
socialist who increasingly identifying herself with working class women. She came into conflict with Christabel about the
aims and methods of WSPU and in 1912, her East London Federation of Suffragettes became a breakaway group. Like her mother
and sister, she was imprisoned many times but her strong pacifist views meant that whereas Emmeline and Christabel threw
themselves into the war effort in 1914, Sylvia campaigned passionately against the war. In the 1920s, she was a committed
communist and continued to be active in international politics, especially in Ethiopia , until her death in 1960.
Within days of Britain declaring
war on Germany, the two main women's suffrage organizations, the NUWSS and the WSPU agreed to end their protest and work
for the war effort. As men were called to the front, women were brought into the workplace to replace them, with the number
of women in employment rising from just over 3 million in 1914 to nearly 5 million in 1918. Women in their thousands went
to work in private offices and government departments. They became bus conductors, ambulance drivers and bank tellers. They
trained as carpenters, stokers and tool setters. Nearly a million women were employed to work in the munitions industry, making
vital, and dangerous weapons. As part of the Women's Land Army, thousands were sent to work on the land.
The armed forces also had a big drive to recruit
women and the war years saw the founding of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) in 1916 and the Women's Royal
Naval Service (WRNS) and the Women's Royal Air Force (WRAF) in 1917. Most women were employed well away from the fighting
for example as cooks, clerks, storewomen, messengers and signalers. Women also played an indispensable role as nurses. In
1907, the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) had been established to tend to soldiers at field hospitals in times of war. The
Voluntary Aid Detachment had been set up in 1908, the medical wing of the Territorial Army, involving both women and men.
Both these organisations were to become invaluable as the number of casualties grew. In 1914, the Scottish doctor, Elsie Inglis,
founded her Scottish Women's Hospitals movement, sending units of trained doctors and nurses to the Front. Not all women
supported the war. On 18 April 1915, 1500 women from Northern Europe and the USA met in The Hague to discuss peace at the
International Congress of Women. Sylvia Pankhurst was one of those who continued to protest against the war.
It was during family holidays in the
Lake District that the young Beatrix Potter had become entranced by nature, carefully drawing pictures of the wildlife around
her. She was soon illustrating greetings cards and was encouraged to write by a family friend. Her first book, Peter Rabbit
, was published in 1902 by her publisher friend, Frederick Warn who would publish all twenty-four of her books during the
next thirty years.
In 1905, she bought her first farm in the Lake District and began to indulge her other passion, hill farming.
During the 1920s, she became an expert in breeding Herdwick sheep, becoming the first woman president of the Herdwick Sheepbreeders
Association. By the time of her she death she had acquired 14 farms and 4000 acres of land.
The Morse code was invented in America in 1835 by American
painter Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail.
became the first form of radio communication and a global language which could be transmitted by flashes of light as well
as sound. It was used to send and receive military messages during several wars and was used by sailors up until 1997. The
first and most famous use in the UK of the classic "dot-dot-dot dash-dash-dash dot-dot-dot" SOS emergency signal
was from the Titanic on its doomed maiden voyage in 1912. It also famously led to the arrest of British murderer Dr Crippen
in 1910. He fled the UK by boat to Canada but thanks to a Morse Code radio message sent across the Atlantic he was arrested
After Crippen's first visit to
England he wandered about the USA, practising in a number of larger cities. In Utah, during 1890 or 1891, his wife died,
and he sent is 3 year old son to live with her late wife's Mother in California. During one of his stays in New York
he married again. His second wife was a girl of 17 years old whom Crippen knew as Cora Turner. Her real name was Kunigunde
Mackamotski, her Father being a Russian Pole and her Mother German. There were more wanderings: St. Louis, New York and
Philadelphia, with a short visit across the border to Toronto. The Munyon Company, a patent medicine company, now employed
Crippen. Mrs. Crippen, who was deluded by her modest singing talent, travelled to New York for opera training.
Crippen arrives in
1900 Crippen was in England again, and except for one short interval, remained in England. He became the manager at Munyon's
offices in London's Shaftesbury Avenue, and later in the year his wife joined him in rooms in South Crescent, off Tottenham
Court Road, At one period, it is said, that he practising as a dentist and a women's consultant. In 1902 Munyon's
recalled him for six months in Philadelphia. Mrs. Crippen had been seeking music-hall work, with slight success. During one
of her music engagements, she met an American music-hall performer called Bruce Miller (who later testified at the trial).
On 18 October
1910, Crippen's trial opened before Lord Chief Justice Lord Alverstone, in the No. 1 Court of London's Central Criminal
Court (Old Bailey). The trial lasted five days. The prosecution's evidence was the purchase of the poison by Crippen,
and that no one had seen Mrs. Crippen since the Martinetti's left the whist game early on the morning of 1 February
was defended by A.A. Tobin, KC (later a judge). Tobin was assisted by Mr Huntly Jenkins and Mr. Roome.
on the 1st day included Mrs. Martinetti, other acquaintances of the Crippens, some of Mr. Crippen's business associates.
Bruce Miller and Mrs. Crippen's sister travelled from the USA to provide evidence.
At the start of the 2nd day, Chief Inspector
Dew gave evidence, including the reading of a long statement provided by Crippen. In the afternoon, Dr. Pepper took the
stand. He stated that the mark on the piece of skin (produced in the court) was caused by an abdominal operation. Someone
skilled in dissection, he stated, carried out the dismemberment of the body. The remains were those of an adult, young or
middle-aged, but there was no certain anatomical indication of body's sex. When the remains had been examined, they
had been buried for around 4 to 8 months. The burial had taken place soon after death had occurred. When asked by the prosecution
whether the burial could have occurred before 21 September 1905 (when Crippen took up residence), Dr. Pepper relied "Oh,
no, absolutely impossible." During cross-examination, Dr. Pepper was asked whether he had cut a piece of the skin sample
across the area of the scar and handed it to Dr. Spilsbury. He confirmed that this was the case.
The jury took 27 minutes to find Crippen
guilty and sentenced to death by hanging. Ethel le Neve was tried 4 days later and found not guilty as an accessory after
23 November 1910, Crippen was hanged at Pentonville Prison in London. Before his execution, Crippen requested that a photograph
of Ethel le Neve be buried with him.
Ethel le Neve sailed for New York, under the name of Miss Allen, on the morning of Crippen's
execution. After reaching her final destination of Toronto, she started calling herself Ethel Harvey. Sometime during the
period 1914-18, she returned to London and married a clerk called Stanley Smith. The couple settled down in Croydon and
had several children, eventually becoming grandparents. Ethel died in hospital in 1967, aged 84.
The once "most famous house in London"
(as some newspapers called 39 Hilldrop Crescent at the time) was destroyed, together with the surrounding houses, by German
air raids in World War Two.
World War I claimed an estimated 16 million lives. The
influenza epidemic that swept the world in 1918 killed an estimated 50 million people. One fifth of the world's population
was attacked by this deadly virus. Within months, it had killed more people than any other illness in recorded history.
The plague emerged in two phases. In late spring of 1918, the first phase, known as the "three-day fever,"
appeared without warning. Few deaths were reported. Victims recovered after a few days. When the disease surfaced again that
fall, it was far more severe. Scientists, doctors, and health officials could not identify this disease which was striking
so fast and so viciously, eluding treatment and defying control. Some victims died within hours of their first symptoms. Others
succumbed after a few days; their lungs filled with fluid and they suffocated to death.
The plague did not discriminate.
It was rampant in urban and rural areas, from the densely populated East coast to the remotest parts of Alaska. Young adults,
usually unaffected by these types of infectious diseases, were among the hardest hit groups along with the elderly and young
children. The flu afflicted over 25 percent of the U.S. population. In one year, the average life expectancy in the United
States dropped by 12 years.