More than 1,000,000 words on world history in linked narratives

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Note on Brady's Men

When the Civil War begins, in 1861, Mathew Brady is the most successful portrait photographer in the USA.

Deciding to undertake a photographic record of the conflict, as a commercial venture funded by himself (eventually at a cost of some $100,000), he equips a number of photographic teams with darkroom wagons . ...

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Brady accompanying the Union Army, with one of his darkroom wagons, 1862 (Library of Congress - Enlarge on linked site)
Encyclopedia of Britain Jack the Ripper

Jack the Ripper was the popular name, coined in 1888, for the unknown murderer who in that year and the next cut the throats of seven women, all prostitutes, in the Whitechapel district of London. He mutilated most of them in a way which implied to the authorities that he had some specialist knowledge of human anatomy.

A series of taunting notes were sent to the police from someone claiming to be the murderer ...

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Postcard signed by Jack the Ripper in 1888 (National Archives, Kew)
History of Metallurgy

In 1709 Abraham Darby, an ironmaster with a furnace at Coalbrookdale on the river Severn, discovers that coke can be used instead of charcoal for the smelting of pig iron (used for cast-iron products). This Severn region becomes Britain's centre of iron production in the early stages of the Industrial Revolution.

Its pre-eminence is seen in the Darby family's own construction of the world's first iron bridge ...

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The Iron Bridge at Coalbrookdale, erected in a few months in 1779 (Ironbridge Gorge Museums)
History of the First World War

There is one briefly effective campaign in late November 1917. A suitable terrain is chosen near Cambrai for the first serious outing of a British innovation, the tank.

These strange vehicles achieve a rapid advance. But there are not enough infantry in support to consolidate the gain ...

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The Mark V Tank in World War One, 1917 (Tank Museum, Bovington)
History of British Art

The noblemen at the court of Charles I are keen to use the services of Van Dyck. They glow in his canvases, handsome and arrogant Cavaliers in fine fabrics (John and Bernard Stuart in London's National Gallery are a perfect example).

Nemesis awaits them when civil war breaks out in 1642. But the painter who gives them immortality has died in the previous year ...

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Anthony van Dyck, Lord John Stuart and his brother, Lord Bernard Stuart, c. 1638 (National Gallery, London)

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