Design & Tech, Longform

London’s Lost Pneumatic Railway

In Get Them on the Blower we looked at the fascinating history of London’s forgotten Pneumatic tubes, which carried messages throughout the capital. Now, over on our London-transport-focused sister site London Reconnections you can read what is effectively a companion piece – a complete history of the London Pneumatic Despatch Railway. Built in the 1860s, […]

Design & Tech, Longform

Get Them On The Blower

Pneumatic messaging blows cylindrical carriers in tubes, carrying messages and small items in closed systems, which were pioneered and developed in London in the 1850’s, ironically to support a new electric communications technology, the telegraph. Britain’s first telegraph line went from Paddington to Slough and made headlines in 1844 when it transmitted the news of […]

Politics & War

Fire and Theory: Defending The Welfare State

I freely admit that I don’t write here very much. Being Editor of London Reconnections and writing about TV history for Cult TV Times (I got to write the history of Bilko in the latest issue! Yay!) keeps me pretty busy. I’ve been working on-and-off on a piece on the Beverage report (and its impact) […]

Longform, Politics & War

The Long Way Round: Part 3

Trincomalee, Ceylon (Sri Linka). 13518 miles to go The British, Ford decided, were a very strange race. On the one hand they had welcomed both him and his crew to this little, battered, corner of their Empire with open arms (the Dutch, unlike the Aussies, had managed to phone ahead). On the other, they simply […]

Longform, Politics & War

The Long Way Round: Part 2

Auckland, 14th December 1941 Since arriving at Auckland a week earlier, Bob Ford had settled into a regular morning routine. Every day he would wake early and eat breakfast. He would then stroll over to the American Consulate message centre to see if orders for both the California Clipper and her crew had finally arrived. […]

Longform, Sport

Walter Tull Gets A Commemorative Coin

Over the next couple of years the Royal Mint are releasing a number of commemorative coins to mark the anniversary of WW1. Hearteningly it seems that within the first batch is a coin marking the life of Walter Tull, the pioneering footballer and solder of West Indian extraction. Walter is often mis-attributed with being the […]

Longform, Politics & War

The Longest Forecast

In 1944 Group Captain James Stagg was given an almost impossible task by General Dwight D Eisenhower. He was asked to determine the right conditions for D-Day and to predict a day on which they’d exist.