DinoJaws

Forty years ago this week the blockbuster film Jaws was released.  None of us stepped into the sea in the same way ever again!  The Great White Shark and its relationship to ancient sharks from the time of the dinosaurs divides opinion between scientists.  Whether Jaws is most closely related to the Megalodon or a broad toothed Mako or some other species will continue to be debated for some time yet.  They all have one thing in common however….those teeth!

Three teeth, one belonging to a Megalodon and two from a great white shark.  There is a ruler showing the first tooth to be 13.5 cms and the other at 3cms

Megalodon tooth with two great white shark teeth.

Get up close and personal with sharks teeth and other exciting fossil remains with a Mrs History Dinosaurs session.

The Great Exhibition and your Local History

164 years ago the people of Victorian London would have become familiar with the sight of an incredible ‘Crystal Palace’ rising up through the trees of Knightsbridge.  By 15th April, there would have been just over two weeks to go and the interior of the giant building would have been bustling with people building the diverse displays of The Great Exhibition.  The wealth of Britain’s manufacturing, design and technology at that time was about to be seen by over 6 million people.

The huge greenhouse called Crystal Palace with people in the foreground

The Great Exhibition’s ‘Crystal Palace’

The West Midlands sat at the heart of this industrial showcase.  Birmingham manufacturers such as Hardman & Co (Stained Glass) had prominent displays in the exhibition halls and specific regional industries such as Coventry’s ribbon making, were also represented. Even the glittering ‘Crystal Palace’ had the West Midlands touch with all the glazing produced by Chance Brothers of Smethwick.

To find more your locality’s contribution to key events in British History contact Mrs History for a Local History session.

Eclipses and Fearful Kings

Throughout history eclipses (from the Ancient Greek ekleipsis, meaning abandoned) have been interpreted in many different ways.  However, many ancient cultures shared the belief that they were bad news for rulers.

In Ancient China they were thought to bring success and good health but only if predicted, otherwise the kings feared for their lives.  Two unfortunate Chinese astrologers, failing to predict an eclipse in 2134 BC lost their heads as a result!  This belief was also held by the Babylonians who put ‘stand in’ kings on the throne during an eclipse so no harm would come to the real one.

King Henry’s Eclipse in 1133AD in Britain reaffirmed the belief that such events were a bad omen for kings as Henry I died shortly afterwards.

Illuminated manuscript image of Henry I

Miniature from illuminated Chronicle of Matthew Paris (1236-1259), showing Henry I of England enthroned.

Ides of March

Unlike our calendar today, the Ancient Romans used three fixed points in a month and counted back from these as a way of marking the days.  The Nones occurred at the beginning of the month, The Ides around the middle and The Kalends towards the end.

On the Ides of March in 44 BC Julius Caesar made his way to the Senate, passing the very seer who had warned him he would be killed by the Ides of March,

“The ides of March have come,” said Caesar to the seer. “Aye, Caesar; but not gone.” was the reply.

Julius Caesar continued to the Senate where he was violently assassinated – stabbed 23 times by what is thought to be around 60 conspirators.

A coin showing two daggers and a cap and the words Eid Mar (Ides of March)

The coin issued by Caesar’s assassin Brutus in 42 BC, with the abbreviation EID MAR (Ides of March).

For a less gruesome Ancient Roman session contact us via the website.

The Battle for Neuve Chapelle, 10-13 March 1915

Map showing the village of Neuve Chapelle

The first major British attack against the German trenches began 100 years ago today.  Sir Douglas Haig commanding the British Expedition Force spoke of,

“embarking on a serious offensive movement with the object of breaking the German line.”

Aerial photography carried out by the Royal Flying Corps led to the distribution of detailed maps of the area between the soldiers on the front line.

The detailed planning ensured that the initial attack was successful with the village of Neuve Chapelle secured by the Allies.  However, disorganisation and communications break down among the Allied command enabled the Germans to counter-attack.  The British Expeditionary Force, including many soldiers from The Indian Corps were unable to capitalise on their victory and break through the German line – a problem faced time and again over the following four years of trench warfare.

Contact us today to book a World War One handling session.

Ancient International Women

As International Women’s Day finishes for another year we thought we would celebrate the powerful women of Ancient Egypt.  There is evidence to suggest that there were more than seven female Pharaohs.  Cleopatra and Nefertiti are two of the most famous – well known for their beauty and political skills.  Others, such as the first accepted female pharaoh Sobeknefru (ruling in 18th century BC) and the long reigning Hatshepsut (15th century BC) were women of influence and power.  The last female pharaoh for almost a thousand years was the 12th century BC female ruler Tawosret whose had many titles including Strong Bull.

Contact us to find out more about a Mrs History Ancient Egypt session.

Small Phinx Statue of Hatshepsut from the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Small Sphinx of Hatshepsut (Metropolitan Museum of Art photo by Keith Schengili-Roberts (Own Work (photo))

King Tut

 

 

On 16 February 1923, archaeologist Howard Carter opened the burial chamber of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen and first saw the sarcophagus that had been placed there over 3,000 years earlier.  This 18th dynasty pharaoh ruled for only ten years but is the most famous of all the Ancient Egyptians.  The impact on Howard Carter can be read in the inscription on his headstone,

Gold burial mask of Tuthankhamun

Burial mask of Tuthankhamun

 

May your spirit live,

May you spend millions of years,

You who love Thebes,

Sitting with your face to the north wind,

Your eyes beholding happiness

 

For a Mrs History Ancient Egyptians session contact us today.

 

Photo courtesy of Bjørn Christian Tørrissen

World War One Assembly


Delighted to have been invited to St Barnabas Church of England Primary School, Birmingham this morning to kick start their week of First World War studies with an assembly.  Fantastic interaction with some great answers from the children.  They know lots already and are clearly keen to learn much more during the week.

If you would like Mrs History to deliver an assembly on a wide range of history topics for your school then please contact us.

Sandbag, poppies, trench whistle and rattle

Some items used during a WW1 assembly

He, Claudius

On this day, one thousand, nine hundred and sixty years ago, Emperor Claudius died.  Although other emperors had invaded Britain, it was under Claudius that this country was conquered by the Romans.  The Welsh, however, held off full occupation with a rebellion led by Boudicca.  They finally succumbed around AD 76.  Enjoy a lively Mrs History Romans’ session with some wonderful resources.  Contact us now to book.

Marble statue of Emperor Claudius

Emperor Claudius               © Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons