Back Home in Dickensland

As children we were fearless. Mean, and muddy, and at times dispiriting it may have been, but the Medway Estuary was our paradise. My own daydreams draw me there still…

Mary Seacole, Creole Doctress, Nurse and Healer

In Crimea during 1854–5 Mary Seacole demonstrated that her home-grown Jamaican practice of hygiene, healthy food, natural remedies and kindness – had a lot more to offer than traditional medicine, making her nursing practice a far more modern, holistic one that people might have imagined.

Amazon’s Romanoffs vs the Real House of Romanov

It may be fiction but there is no doubt that it exploits the same tired old myth-making about the Romanovs that many Romanov historians and aficionados such as I are sick to death of seeing and reading about. It is time all these false claims and their attendant mythology were finally closed down…

Women in Trousers — From Bloomers to Rational Dress

The 1848 Women’s Rights Convention was the first of its kind to openly advocate women’s dress reform. All of the assembled women agreed that the time had come for the simplification of the cumbrous fashions they were obliged to wear.

Lenin in London

Most people know the now legendary tale of how Lenin returned to Russia after many years in exile on a sealed train across wartime Germany, arriving at Petrograd’s Finland Station on 16 April 1917. But few are aware of the life he led in Europe between 1900 and his dramatic return. During those years he came to London on five separate occasions…