Elisabeth Eidenbenz

EidenbenzElisabeth Eidenbenz  ( 1913 – 2011 ) –  Was a Swiss nurse who set up a maternity home for pregnant Spanish refugee mothers in SW France. She also flouted Swiss neutrality and risked her life to offer a haven to Jewish mothers escaping the Nazi Gestapo…

via Elisabeth Eidenbenz |

Kick Kennedy, the Marquess & the Earl – Turtle Bunbury

kickkennedy

Seventy years ago today, a plane crash in southern France ended the life of Kick Kennedy, oldest sister of Jack and Bobby, and her lover, Peter, Earl Fitzwilliam. This story recounts the series of events that lead up to the tragedy and the remarkable Irish connections to each of the protagonists…

via Kick Kennedy, the Marquess & the Earl – Turtle Bunbury

The Crusader Conquest of Constantinople | toritto

crusades

It is the Year of Our Lord 1075 and a great disaster has befallen Christendom.

The Islāmic armies of the Seljuk Turks have taken Jerusalem.

In Western Europe, the Roman Empire is gone some 600 years.  In the East the empire still lives at Constantinople, its Emperor ruling portions of the eastern shore of the Adriatic through the Balkans and Greece into Asia Minor and Syria.  It is in constant conflict with the…

via The Crusader Conquest of Constantinople | toritto

Anti-Brexit historians must dare to be political | THE Opinion

As a child of 1980s West Germany my prevailing personal memories of growing up are of positive change: the rejection of fascism and the advancement of democracy and equality.

Yet I see today that those advances are nowhere near as deeply rooted in Western societies as I had come to assume.

From Brexit to Trump to current developments in Poland, hard-won progress is…

via Anti-Brexit historians must dare to be political | THE Opinion

The Downfall of Rosewater, Once America’s Favorite Flavor – Atlas Obscura

Vanilla, once an expensive ingredient, usurped rosewater as a pantry staple.

Source: The Downfall of Rosewater, Once America’s Favorite Flavor – Atlas Obscura

Last Hope Island by Lynne Olson review – a challenge to second world war myths | Books | The Guardian

I apologise for the link in this morning’s post about the Japanese in Britain not working. It appears the original at the History Girls has been deleted. So here instead is what sounds like a fascinating book about the myths of the Second World War.

Winston Churchill, left, and Charles de Gaulle at the Armistice Day celebrations in Paris, 1944. Photograph: Popperfoto

As Britain starts to extricate itself from Europe’s embrace, it is timely to examine the intricacies of this love-hate relationship at another point of crisis. Last Hope Island describes the many continental Europeans who, escaping Nazi occupation, found refuge in Britain during the second world war. Their stories are exciting, moving and horrifying, with…

Source: Last Hope Island by Lynne Olson review – a challenge to second world war myths | Books | The Guardian

Quietly awaiting Armageddon: “quiver theory” and the summer of 1914. – SeanMunger.com

In the early summer of 1914, Europe had no idea what was coming its way. Are we in a similar daze today?

Source: Quietly awaiting Armageddon: “quiver theory” and the summer of 1914. – SeanMunger.com

D-Day | In Times Gone By…

This image – from the 6th of June, 1944 – shows British troops taking part in the iconic Normandy landings of the Second World War. Some 156 000 troops from more than a dozen nations to…

Source: D-Day | In Times Gone By…

The Brilliant MI6 Spy Who Perfected the Art of the ‘Honey Trap’ | Atlas Obscura

Betty Pack on her wedding day. (Photo: Churchill Archives Center, Papers of Harford Montgomery Hyde, HYDE 02 011/Courtesy Harper Collins)

These days the “honeypot” is a popular trope in espionage thrillers, with seemingly every high-level informant recruited via seduction by a ravishing female spy. But long before James Bond ever jumped across the roof of a moving train in books or film, the globe-trotting spy Betty Pack was wooing suitors for classified information on both sides of the Atlantic. Few people have elevated…

Source: The Brilliant MI6 Spy Who Perfected the Art of the ‘Honey Trap’ | Atlas Obscura

Food Riots and Recession in Napoleonic-era England | Pen and Pension

Declaration by Norfolk Labourers Photo Nigel Jones CC

In 1793, the tensions caused by the revolution in France finally exploded into a pan-european conflict. In some ways, it was nothing new. Wars were endemic to most parts of the European continent. …

Source: Food Riots and Recession in Napoleonic-era England | Pen and Pension

For Sale: Intriguing 19th Century Photos of Britain’s Colonial World – Atlas Obscura

The Taj Mahal. COURTESY OF ANDREW SMITH & SON AUCTIONS

In the 1860s, Jane Stewart was married to a Bengal Engineer, who served in the British Army in India. Stewart and her husband came from Scotland, towards the beginning of the British Raj, which began in 1858. The East India Company had governed large swaths of land for about a century before a…

Source: For Sale: Intriguing 19th Century Photos of Britain’s Colonial World – Atlas Obscura

V.E. Day — Benedicta Leigh | First Night History

Re-blog from 8 May 2015

Benedicta Leigh 1922—2000 [photo: David Sim]

My mother, Benedicta Leigh, was in her late teens when the Second World War broke out. She signed up to be a VAD [Voluntary Aid Detachment] nurse and was working at a hospital in London when German…

Source: V.E. Day — Benedicta Leigh | First Night History

N.B. I’m not currently responding to comments or visiting blogs because of ill-health but I much appreciate your support.

Magic and Robots: Medieval Automatons – just history posts

The design for the Peacock fountain from The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices.

When people think of the medieval or early modern period, often it conjures images of the witch trials across the western world. These people are considered a superstitious bunch, deeply religious,…

Source: Magic and Robots: Medieval Automatons – just history posts

Taking a Cruise in the Late 1950s

I can’t resist posting this little travel film from 1959 partly because it’s a world away from today and partly because my parents, Benedicta Leigh and Richard Vernon, are playing the mother and father. As someone notes disparagingly on YouTube, it features only first class travel! Typical of the time. The daughter is played by Suzan Farmer although I don’t know the name of the actor playing the son.  My brother and I were too young, alas, to play the children but I still have the mug our parents bought in Portugal!

Reel 1

Reel 2

Sarah Vernon © March 2017

When High-Class Ladies Wore Masks That Made It Impossible to Speak | Atlas Obscura

A 1581 depiction of a man and his wife, who is sporting a visard. HABITS DE FRANCE/PUBLIC DOMAIN

For refined, upper-class ladies in 16th-century Europe, getting a tan, especially on your face, was not a good look.

The implication of such coloring was that one must work outside, and thus, quite possibly be poor (cue gasps and swooning faints). So to make sure they didn’t get burned, some 16th-century ladies wore face masks called visards (or vizards) that covered their delicate visages. Unfortunately, the masks also…

Source: When High-Class Ladies Wore Masks That Made It Impossible to Speak | Atlas Obscura