Category Steam power

A famous ship wreck and a Dutch surrender; the boredem of a typist and the challenges of a seaman; a politician, a rugby success and a drunken cabbie. A stolen cup and a misnamed obelisk; a poor child and a great ocean liner.

Friday 7th September 1838 was the morning when William Darling and his daughter Grace risked their lives to save others stranded on a rock in rough seas with a gale force wind. The story of their bravery is well known, but the following three pieces certainly added to my knowledge and understanding of the disaster. […]

THE SPIRITUAL RAILWAY – the work of William Harrison?

THE SPIRITUAL RAILWAY If you visit Ely Cathedral and stroll round the beautiful building you will come across this tombstone attached to a wall. It is in memory of 30 year old William Pickering and 24 year old Richard Edgar who both died on Christmas Eve, December 24th 1845 The inscription reads: The Line to […]

Lines addressed to the Commissioners of Burnt Fen

In 1861, at the age of 66, William had completed thirty years’ service with Burnt Fen Commissioners and such an auspicious occasion called – of course – for some poetry. To celebrate the ‘poem’ a small booklet was published and was then ‘reprinted by desire of the commissioners’. There are two images here of cover […]

Talking History that happened 20th to 26th July in years gone by

20 July 1956 saw an age old question at number one in the UK popular music charts. Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers were asking the question ‘Why do fools fall in love?’ Frankie – then aged 12 – had written the song with a friend 12 months earlier. They were two of a group who […]

William Harrison – Steam versus Wind

In 1831 William Harrison had been appointed Superintendent of Burnt Fen. At the time the Commissioners were in the process of introducing the first steam engines for fen drainage. There were objection to this change from various quarters but progress could not be ignored. The winter of 1841-2 was wet – very wet – and […]