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Friday, 28 November 2008

Counter-Terrorism Laws

Yesterday, Damian Green, the Tory immigration spokesman, was arrested and questioned by counter-terrorism officers for nine hours and his home and office searched as part of an inquiry into Home Office leaks. The Metropolitan Police confirmed that Green was arrested by members of its counter-terrorism command. It said the investigation was not terrorism related but did fall within the counter-terror unit's remit.

It follows a series of leaks to Green by someone in the Home Office, including:

The November 2007 revelation that the home secretary knew the Security Industry Authority had granted licences to 5,000 illegal workers, but decided not to publicise it.

The February 2008 news that an illegal immigrant had been employed as a cleaner in the House of Commons.

A whips' list of potential Labour rebels in the vote on plans to increase the pre-charge terror detention limit to 42 days.

A letter from the home secretary warning that a recession could lead to a rise in crime.

It is an important aspect of a parliamentary democracy that civil servants leak documents to MPs when government officials are acting in a corrupt way. It limits the amount of lies a government tells the public. For example, Winston Churchill, used leaks from government to highlight the problems with appeasement in the 1930s. If it happened today, Churchill would be imprisoned by this government. Gordon Brown used leaks from the Treasury during the 1980s and 1990s to expose the Tory government. Now, he is willing to use the police and anti-terrorist laws to try and keep MPs from revealling corruption in government. It will of course not work as this government is not only corrupt, it is incompetent.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Nicholas Winton

You can find an excellent video made by the British School in Bratislava on Nicholas Winton here:

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Period House Style Archive Group

Have a look at the following:

This digital photographic collection allows you to research hundreds of images on period design details. You can also contribute by added comments or starting relevant topic discussions. Opening up your own Flickr account will enable you to add your own images and contribute to the Period House Style Archive Group.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Spartacus Educational

Established in September 1997, the Spartacus Educational website provides a series of history encyclopaedias. Topics covered include British History: 1750-1960, United States: 1840-1980, First World War, Second World War, Association Football, Making of the United Kingdom, Tudors & Stuarts, Assassination of John F. Kennedy, Watergate, Spanish Civil War, Russia: 1860-1945, Germany: 1900-1945, France: 1900-1945, etc. Entries usually include a narrative, illustrations and primary sources. The text within each entry is linked to other relevant pages in the encyclopaedia. In this way it is possible to research individual people and events in great detail. The sources are also hyper-linked so the student is able to find out about the writer, artist, newspaper and organization that produced the material.

Encyclopaedia of British History: 1700-1960 (2,457 entries)

A comprehensive encyclopaedia being produced for the National Grid of Learning and a completely free resource for all students of British history. The encyclopaedia currently contains 2,445 entries and is an attempt to show the history of Britain through the eyes of people from all levels of society. This is a reference work that provides as much information about Marie Corbett as it does about Queen Victoria; where Henry Hetherington's life is examined in the same sort of detail as that of the Duke of Wellington. The encyclopaedia is being created in sections (entries in parenthesis): Emancipation of Women (114), Textile Industry (148), Entrepreneurs (80), Religion (122), Trade Unions (70), Socialism (178), Members of Parliament: (216), Peterloo (78), Parliamentary Reform (114), Chartism (66), Scotland (60), Education (102), Slavery (158), Prime Ministers (33), Child Labour (94), Parliamentary Legislation (74), London in the 19th Century (38), Political Parties and Election Results (42), Engineers (34), Railways (116), Artists & Architects (82), Cartoonists (98), Poets & Novelists (72), Theatre (24), Poverty, Health and Housing (26), Towns & Cities (40), Journalists (100), Newspapers & Magazines (38) and Publishers (50).

Encyclopaedia of the First World War (923 entries)

The encyclopaedia is being created in sections (entries in parenthesis). So far the following sections are available: Chronology (1), Outbreak of War (22), Countries (22), Allied Armed Forces (32), Important Battles (34), Technology (10), Political Leaders (94), British Home Front (20), Military Leaders (58), Life in the Trenches(24), Trench System (22), Trench War (18), Soldiers (44), War Heroes (12), Medals (8), War at Sea (24), War in the Air (48), Pilots (28), Aircraft (30), War Artists (34), Cartoonists and Illustrators (90), War Poets (16), Journalists (28), Newspapers and Journals (16), Novelists (36), Women at War (56), Women's Organisations (14), Weapons & War Machines (42), Inventors and the War (12) Theatres of War (6) and War Statistics (18).

Encyclopaedia of the United States: 1840-1980 (1890 entries)

An organic encyclopaedia on the USA between 1840-1980. The encyclopaedia is being created in sections. So far the following sections are available: American Civil War (262), Political Figures (170), Political Events (62), Slavery (156), Women's Suffrage (116), Business Leaders (54), Scientists (20), Supreme Court Judges (18), Trade Unions (68), Journalists (84), Newspapers & Magazines (36), European Immigration (270), Artists and Illustrators (28), Cartoonists (56), Photographers (50), Novelists & Poets (58), the First World War (86), Crime & Criminals (26), McCarthyism (110), Roosevelt and the New Deal (56), and the Struggle for Civil Rights (246).

Encyclopaedia of the Second World War

A comprehensive encyclopaedia of the Second World War. So far there are sections on: Background to the War; Nazi Germany, Chronology of the War, Political Leaders, European Diplomacy, Major Offensives, British Military Leaders, USA Military Leaders, German Military Leaders, Japanese Military Leaders, The Armed Forces, The Air War, The Resistance, Scientists & Inventors, War at Sea, Resistance in Nazi Germany, The Holocaust, War Artists, Weapons and New Technology.

Assassination of President Kennedy Encyclopaedia

A detailed look at the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. There are biographies of 328 people involved in the case: Major Figures (84), Important Witnesses (66), Investigators, Researchers and Journalists (112) and Possible Conspirators (132). Other sections include: Reports (4), Organizations and Operations (26) and Key Issues (4). The website also looks at the possibility that different organizations such as the Mafia, CIA, FBI, Secret Service, KGB and the John Birch Society might have been involved in the planning of the assassination. Other possibilities such as anti-Castro activists, Texas oil millionaires and the Warren Commission's lone-gunman theory are also looked at. The website has an activity section and a forum where students and teachers can enter into debate with the author of the material, other investigators and witnesses to the events of 1963.

The American West (384 entries)

A comprehensive encyclopaedia of the American West. So far there are sections on Explorers (12), Frontiersmen, Mountain Men and Fur Trappers (20), Criminals and Outlaws (34), Soldiers (30), Migrants and Settlers (12), Cattlemen and Cowboys (12), Judges and Lawmen (30), Politicians (10), Women and the Wild West (16), Inventors and Businessmen (10) Artists and Writers (12), Native Americans Leaders (18), Events and Issues (64), Trails and Places (10), Native American Tribes (26), Forts, Towns and Cities (28), Guns, Clothes and Equipment (20), Animals and Wild Life (20). Most entries contain a narrative, illustrations and primary sources. The text within each entry is hypertexted to other relevant pages in the encyclopaedia. In this way it is possible to research individual people and events in great detail.

Cold War Encyclopaedia

As well as 160 biographies there are 74 articles on subjects such as the Atomic Bomb, Berlin Wall, Bay of Pigs, Comintern, Cuban Missile Crisis, Domino Theory, Federal Republic of Germany, German Democratic Republic, Hallstein Doctrine, Hungarian Uprising, Korean War, Marshall Aid, McCarthyism, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Nuclear Arms Race, Ostpolitik, Perestroika, Prague Spring, Solidarnosc, Schuman Plan, Truman Doctrine, U-2 Crisis, Vietnam War and the Warsaw Pact.

Tudor Encyclopaedia

Tudor Encyclopedia: A collection of articles on the Tudor period. As well as 42 biographies there are articles on the Battle of Bosworth, Act of Union, Agriculture and Enclosures, Anglicans and Puritans, The Babington Plot, Catholics and Protestants, Elizabethan Theatre, Elizabeth and Marriage, Henry VIII and the Pope, Kett Rebellion, Poverty in Tudor England, The Protestant Reformation, Pilgrimage of Grace, The Ridolfi Plot, The Spanish Armada, Sports and Pastimes, The Throckmorton Plot, Tobacco in Tudor England, Tudor Artists, Tudor Heretics, Tudor Monasteries, Tudor Parliaments, Tudor Wales and the Tyndale Bible.

The Stuarts: 1600-1750

British History from 1600 to 1750. As well as 112 biographies there are articles on important events (The Civil War, Cromwell’s Commonwealth, Glorious Revolution, Great Fire of London, Gunpowder Plot, Jacobite Rebellion, Pride’s Purge, Putney Debates, Restoration, Rye House Plot, Ship Money, Test Acts); religious and political groups (Anabaptists, Anglicans, Baptists, Congregationalists, Diggers, Fifth Monarchists, Independents, Levellers, Presbyterians, Puritans, Quakers, Tories and Whigs); and military groups and battles (Cavaliers, Culloden, Edgehill, Marston Moor, Naseby, Newbury, New Model Army, Roundheads, Roundway Down).

Vietnam War

This website provides a detailed account of the Vietnam War. There is also an interview area where 12 Vietnam veterans are willing to answer questions from students on their experiences of the war. As well as thirty biographies of individuals who played an important role in the conflict there are entries for Buddhism, Cambodia and Laos, Chemical Warfare, Dien Bien Phu, Domino Theory, Eisenhower Doctrine, Guerrilla Warfare, Gulf of Tonkin, Ho Chi Minh Trail, Mass Media and the War, My Lai, National Liberation Front, Negotiated Peace, Operation Rolling Thunder, Strategic Hamlet Programme, Tet Offensive, Vietnam Protest Movement, Vietnam Revolutionary League and Vietnamization.

The Emancipation of Women: 1750-1920

A comprehensive encyclopaedia of how British women got the vote. Each entry contains a narrative, illustrations and primary sources. The text within each entry is hypertexted to other relevant pages in the encyclopedia. In this way it is possible to research individual people and events in great detail. The sources are also hypertexted so the student is able to find out about the writer, artist, newspaper, organization, etc., that produced the material. So far there are sections on: omen in the 19th Century (Schooling, Marriage, Industrial Work, Careers & Professions, University Education, Birth Control), Pressure Groups, Strategy and Tactics and Parliamentary Reform Acts.

Black People in Britain

A collection of biographies of black people who lived in Britain. This includes John Alcindor, Ira Aldridge, John Archer, Francis Barber, Manchererjee Bhownaggree, George Bridgetower, Learie Constantine, William Cuffay, Offobah Cugoano, William Davidson, Celestine Edwards, Olaudah Equiano, Marcus Garvey, C. L. R. James, Claude McKay, Tom Molineaux, Harold Moody, Dadabhai Naoroji, George Padmore, James Peters, Bill Richmond, Paul Robeson, Shapurji Saklatvala, Innatius Sancho, Mary Seacole, Samuel Coleridge Taylor, Walter Tull, Robert Wedderburn, Arthur Wharton and Sylvester Williams.

Encyclopaedia of Russia: 1860-1990 (300 entries)

A comprehensive encyclopaedia on Russia. So far there are sections on: Events and Issues, 1860-1914 (22); Revolutionary Philosophers (8); Russian Revolutionaries, 1860-1910 (32); Russian Political and Military Figures: 1860-1920 (34); Events and Issues in Russia, 1914-20 (18); Russian Revolutionaries: 1914-20 (64); Political Groups and Organizations (12), Foreign Witnesses of the Revolution (18), Newspapers and Journals (6), Russian Literature (24), Soviet Union: 1920-1945 (20), Soviet Union: 1945-1990 (16) and Political Figures: 1945-1990 (14).

Germany: 1900-45 (452 entries)

A comprehensive encyclopaedia of Germany. So far there are sections on the First World War (82), German Art (18), German Scientists (26), Weimar Republic (16), Political Parties (8), Political Leaders : 1900-1930 (42), Foreign Policy: 1930-40 (12), Military Leaders (42), Nazi Germany (34), Nazi Political Leaders (74), German Resistance to Nazism (52), Holocaust (46).

Encyclopaedia of France: 1900-45

The encyclopaedia is being created in sections. So far the following sections are available: Military Leaders: 1900-1920, France and the First World War, French Armed Forces: 1914-18, French Politicians: 1920-1945, Military Leaders: 1920-1945, French Politicians: 1945-1970, France and the Second World War, French Armed Forces: 1939-45 and the French Resistance.

Spanish Civil War (246)

A comprehensive encyclopaedia of the Spanish Civil War. There are sections on: Main Events and Issues (10), Political Organizations (16), Military Organizations (24), Important Battles (12), Biographies: Spanish (56), Biographies: Foreign Participants and Observers (96), International Leaders and the Civil War (22) and Individual Countries and the Spanish Civil War (10).

Teaching History Online

A free weekly email journal for anyone interested in using the internet to teach or study history. The journal includes online news, reviews of websites and articles on ICT history. Members will also be able to submit information for inclusion in the newsletter. In this way we hope to bring people together who are involved in using the internet to teach history. Currently it has 41,600 subscribers. Past editions can be seen at: You can subscribe to Teaching History Online by sending an email to

Education on the Internet

Education on the Internet is a free weekly email journal for anyone interested in using the internet in schools, colleges or for private study. The journal includes online news, reviews of websites and articles on ICT. Subscribers can submit information for inclusion in the newsletter. In this way Spartacus Educational hopes to develop a community of people involved in using the internet for education. Currently Education on the Internet has 53,150 subscribers. Past editions can be seen at: You can subscribe to Education on the Internet by sending an email to or from any page on the Spartacus Educational website.

Educational Web Directory

Sections of the educational web directory includes Primary, English, Mathematics, Science, Modern Languages, History, Geography, Design & Technology, Business Studies, Media Studies, ICT, Sociology, Music, Politics, Physical Education and Religious Studies.

History of House Design





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Leaded Glass

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Tile Hung Walls




Inglenook Fireplaces

Leaded Glass


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Wooden Flooring

Interior Detail

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Freepedia Blog

Monday, 17 November 2008

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Motor Neurone Disease and Professional Football

In the 1970s it was finally accepted that playing football could result in brain damage. The Encyclopedia of British Football (2002) pointed out: "On wet days the ball grew increasingly heavy as the leather soaked up large amounts of liquid. This, together with the lacing that protected the valve of the bladder, made heading the ball not only unpleasant but also painful and dangerous." A large number of football players in the past have suffered long-term brain damage because of repeated heading of a heavy, wet ball. Several top footballers in the 1950s and 1960s have suffered developing dementia in later life.

Research carried out by D. R. Williams in 2002 concluded that repetitive mild head trauma over the course of an amateur and professional footballer's career may increase an individual's risk of developing dementia in later life. Former players who have suffered from this disease include Joe Mercer, Bob Paisley, Stan Cullis, Bill Shorthouse, Peter Broadbent and Malcolm Allison. In 2002 a coroner said it was likely that the death of former West Bromwich Albion centre-forward, Jeff Astle, had been caused by "repeated small traumas to the brain".

In the 1970s leather footballs were coated with a special polyurethane preparation, which eliminated water absorption during games. Footballs used today combine a latex bladder with an outer casing made from synthetic leather. It was believed that this would eliminate brain damage in football players. However, recent research shows this is not the case.

Recently there has been concerns about the possible connections between motor neurone disease (MND) and professional football. In 2007 Ammar Al-Chalabi, a neurologist at King's College Hospital called on the Football Association to investigate whether the sport contributed to MND. It was pointed out that Don Revie, Jimmy Johnstone and Rob Hindmarch had all died of the disease.

Several top Italian footballers have also suffered from MND. This includes Gianluca Signorini, Adriano Lombardi and Stefano Borgonovo. Adriano Chio, a neurologist and Italy's foremost expert on the condition, has shown that professional footballers in the country are seven times more likely to develop MND than others. He discovered that 41 players had suffered from MND since 1973.

According to one theory, the incurable disease might be linked to pesticides used on football pitches. Others suggest it could be a result of performance enhancing drugs, the treatment used to combat physical injuries or repeatedly heading the ball.

English Civil War

Biographies of Military Leaders (36), Political and Religious Figures (40), Writers and Artists(20), Events, Issues and Organizations (18), Battles (6) and Religious Groups (10).

The Normans

This website includes 30 biographies and 20 aspects of Norman life.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Encyclopaedia of the Industrial Revolution

Encyclopaedia of the Industrial Revolution (538 entries)

The encyclopaedia is being created in sections (entries in parenthesis): The Textile Industry (148), Entrepreneurs (80), Child Labour (94), Engineers (34), Railways (116), Poverty, Health and Housing (26) and Towns & Cities (40).

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

First World War Resource

I just wanted to let you know about the upcoming editorial series on the First World War, running for a week from this Saturday in the Guardian and Observer.

The Guardian has put together a highly collectable, seven-day series of 32-page, full-colour booklets to give readers a unique "eyewitness" history of the war, with an extraordinary array of extracts from writers and poets including Ernest Hemingway, DH Lawrence, HG Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Winston Churchill and many more.

There is also a wonderful selection of war photography and paintings each day, plus an introductory essay from a contemporary expert on the war.

Barack Obama

Some people believe that John F. Kennedy was killed by white racists who were opposed to civil rights legislation. When Lyndon B. Johnson signed the 1965 Civil Rights Act he made a prophecy that he was “signing away the south for 50 years”. This proved accurate. In fact, the Democrats have never recovered the vote of the white racists in the Deep South. This is the electorate that now gives its support to the Republican Party. A new alliance has therefore taken place between the white racists, right-wing conservatives and Christian fundamentalists.

Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King called for further civil rights legislation before their deaths in 1968. Both men were probably assassinated as part of a right-wing racist conspiracy.

LBJ was right in his prediction. However, so was RFK when he said in 1968 that the US would have a “Negro president” in 40 years.

With Barack Obama's victory it is ironic that the Republican Party is now only really strong in the Deep South. LBJ was right in the short-term about how the passing of Civil Rights legislation in the 1960s would hurt the Democratic Party. However, in the long-term, it hurt the Republican Party.

If Barack Obama now orders the release of CIA and FBI files on the three assassinations, we might well be in a good position to have a fuller understanding of US history since the election of JFK in 1960.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Edward Carpenter and Gay Rights

Edward Carpenter played an important role in the campaign for Gay Rights in the UK. By 1880 Carpenter had acknowledged his homosexuality and had moved in with Albert Fearnhough, a scythe riveter from Sheffield. When Charles Carpenter died in 1882 he left his son a considerable amount of money. This enabled Edward Carpenter to purchase a farm in Millthorpe, near Baslow in Derbyshire and to concentrate on his writing.

By the 1880s Carpenter had established himself as a poet of democracy and socialism with books like Towards Democracy (1883) and England's Ideal (1887). He also wrote socialist songs and hymns such as England Arise! that were used by the Labour Church movement in the 1890s.

Carpenter believed that homosexuality was innate and should not be classed as a sin. A strong advocate of sexual freedom, Carpenter wrote several pamphlets on the subject including Sex Love and Its Place in a Free Society (1894), Women and her Place in a Free Society (1894), Marriage in a Free Society (1894) and Homogenic Love and Its Place in a Free Society (1895).

George Merrill moved in with Carpenter at his home in Baslow. After the House of Commons passed the Criminal Law Amendment Act that made all homosexual acts illegal, Carpenter had to abandon his campaign for sexual tolerance. In 1908 Carpenter returned to this theme with his book Intermediate Sex. Although the book created a great deal of hostility it had a strong influence on literary figures such as Siegfried Sassoon, D. H. Lawrence and E. M. Forster.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Tony Blair and Rupert Murdoch

One of the main reasons why Tony Blair attempted to stop the publication of Lance Price’s book, Spin Doctor’s Diary (2006) was that he disclosed that all important policy decisions had to go before Rupert Murdoch before being announced to the general public.

Journalists have been attempting to use the Freedom of Information Act to publish documents concerning the meetings between Blair and Murdoch. The first of these was released this week. It concerns a meeting that took place in January 1998, about a European Commission investigation into Murdoch’s business activities. This involved blocking Murdoch’s plan (British Interactive Broadcasting) was that BSkyB should join up with other large companies to develop an interactive scheme in which people could shop and manage their finances through their televisions. The memo of the meeting has Blair telling Murdoch that he was “sympathetic to what he was aiming to achieve.” As a result of the meeting Blair immediately ordered his top officials (Jonathan Powell, James Purnell, Alastair Campbell) to help Murdoch to deal with the European Commission.

Karel Van Miert, the EC Competition Commissioner, gave permission for Murdoch’s British Interactive Broadcasting to go ahead in 1999. Initially it was successful but was closed down in 2001 because of the competition from the internet.