Grim’s Dyke and it’s Outlander connection

Samantha PillingEntertainment, History


Whether it’s for period dramas or modern soaps, films or popular TV series, Grim’s Dyke has long been used as the perfect backdrop and location. It’s also had an influence on popular TV drama series Outlander – but that connection is not one you may initially think it to be! Author Diana Gabaldon, the writer of the Outlander historical time … Read More

Doctor Who: The Evil of the Daleks

Samantha PillingEntertainment, History


Known for being one of the lost episodes of Doctor Who, The Evil of the Daleks was the season finale for series four of the popular TV series. Consisting of 7 episodes, each only 25 minutes long, filming took place during the month of April.The Evil of the Daleks was then broadcast on 20th May 1967 – with the remaining … Read More

The History of Mother’s Day and Mothering Sunday

Samantha PillingHistory

Blog Mother's Day

Every year children around the world show their appreciation for their mothers, by presenting them with cards, flowers and gifts. For the those in the UK, the date for this ‘Mothering Sunday’ changes every year – falling this year, on 31st March 2019. However, for many, this special celebration is frequently referred to as ‘Mother’s Day’ – but they’re actually … Read More

Grim’s Dyke and its fascinating connection to Bletchley Park

Samantha PillingHistory

BLetchley Park

Grim’s Dyke has an expansive history and is one of the most notably active sites in Harrow. Not only does it have a connection that goes back to the first years of the very first century, it’s also an important site of historical interest, due to the Anglo-Saxon earthworks known as Grim’s Ditch, its rich architectural connections to the architect … Read More

Top 10 Gilbert & Sullivan facts

Samantha PillingEntertainment, History

GILBERT & SULLIVAN. Sir Arthur Sullivan (left) and Sir William S

The theatrical partnership of Gilbert & Sullivan produced some of the most memorable comic operas. Although the partnership wasn’t always smooth sailing, it stayed as a form of friendship, right until the end. The partnership also had a massive impact on boosting the career of both men and helped shape the future of musical theatre.  Here are ten top facts … Read More

How the humble Typewriter changed the artistic world

Samantha PillingHistory

Humble Typewriter

In Mark Twain’s autobiography, he claimed to be the first author to submit a typewritten book manuscript for publication. He used a Remington typewriter to type out his manuscripts and, in his autobiography, he states ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ as being the first typewritten manuscript. The year – 1876. It has since been proven that the first typewritten manuscript … Read More

The portraits of W.S. Gilbert

Samantha PillingHistory

© National Portrait Gallery, London

The National Portrait Gallery currently has 13 portraits associated to Sir William Schwenck Gilbert.  What’s interesting about all of Gilbert’s portraits is how they all show him as a natural sitter. His relaxed stance is evident in all of those later years portraits and he seems to be equally at home in front of a painter or a camera. Harry … Read More

Victorian Christmas traditions

Samantha PillingHistory

Christmas evening winter landscape with lampposts. Vector.

The marriage of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert bought about huge changes for Christmas, as it once was. Up until this point it hadn’t really been recognised as a holiday by businesses and the act of giving presents was something that was reserved for New Year. With the newspapers sharing insights into the newly married royal couples life, the Christmas … Read More

A Gilbert & Sullivan Christmas

Samantha PillingHistory

GandS Christmas

During their careers, both Gilbert and Sullivan contributed to Christmas entertainment in a variety of ways. Gilbert not only contributed through his written works, but his family also enjoyed spreading the Christmas spirit through their parties and pantomimes. Sullivan did not have a family, but he kept himself busy with his compositions, including four Christmas carols and opera collaborations with … Read More

Christmas cards – a very Victorian tradition

Samantha PillingHistory

Victorian Christmas Cards

Christmas is a time for giving and, for many households, Christmas cards are an essential part of that giving tradition, a way to spread the joy and cheer of happy holiday greetings. However, Christmas cards weren’t always cheerful or traditional! The first commercial Christmas cards were created by Sir Henry Cole in 1843. A senior civil servant, Cole wanted to … Read More