Month: January 2021

Author Guest Post: Zöe Wheddon

5 Things you need to know about Martha Lloyd

In my forthcoming debut biography Jane Austen’s Best Friend, The Life and Influence of Martha Lloyd I undertake an examination of an often overlooked, yet very special friendship. In shining a light on Jane Austen in the role of best friend we get to picture her as she has never really been viewed before. What we glean about her as a person is both riveting and heart-warming. However, as Martha Lloyd steps out of the shadows, she too reveals herself to be excellent best friend material and a very interesting woman of her time. Indeed, in researching her history I ended up really liking her very much indeed and if at the start of my journey I felt a little envious of Martha for her friendship with our beloved authoress, by the end, I felt more than a little jealous of Jane having Martha as her bestie. So, what can I tell you about Martha Lloyd to convince you to spend a little more time with her. Here are 5 things you need to know about Jane Austen’s Best Friend.

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The terror raids of 1942: the Baedeker Blitz, by Jan Gore

‘We shall go out and bomb every building in Britain marked with three stars in the Baedeker Guide’ the German Foreign Office announced in April 1942, as the Luftwaffe attacked Exeter, Bath, Norwich, York and Canterbury. This might have been a challenge, as there were no three star buildings in the guide. Nevertheless, it was this comment that gave the Baedeker Blitz its name.

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Author Guest Post: Suzie Grogan

A life as relevant today – John Keats: Poetry, Life and Landscapes

I first became interested in John Keats when I was about 12, when a children’s TV show produced a ‘special’ on writer’s houses and chose Wentworth Place in Hampstead, now known as Keats House. All through my teens and on through adulthood his life story, poetry and letters have resonated with me and a lifetime of study has culminated in the publication of John Keats: Poetry Life & Landscapes in January 2021. It is coming out to coincide with the bicentenary of Keats’s death. 200 years ago, on the 23rd February 1821, when he died in Rome of tuberculosis, aged just 25.

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Jan Slimming- World Read Aloud Day Presentation Taster

Codebreaker Girls: A Secret Life at Bletchley Park

“World Read Aloud Day Presentation Taster – February 3rd 2021”

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DEADLY HORIZON: A short story by Murray Rowlands

An Introduction:

It is more than 80 years since the battle of Britain was fought over the skies of Morley and the whole of the South of England.

Morley has a link to these events. A former Vice Principal Denis Richards wrote an authoritative book about “The Few” and the life and death battle taking place in British skies in July, August and September 1940. There is another link between New Zealand and Morley. The daughter of The Agent General for New Zealand William Pember Reeves, Maude Blanco White, was Principal of Morley in the 1930s. Her other claim to fame was having been one of H.G.Well’s mistresses.

I have just written a new biography of Air Marshal Keith Park a legend who is widely regarded as the principal architect of Fighter Command’s victory in 1940. My association with Morley was as a Director of Humanities.

Murray Rowlands

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Author Guest Post: Louise Wilkinson

What makes a volunteer?

The reserve forces of the Royal Air Force have been the focus of my research for a good many years now. I found it fascinating to learn that young men, often from wealthy backgrounds were prepared to volunteer to join either the Auxiliary Air Force, or from 1936 onwards, the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. The Auxiliary Air Force (AAF) was formed around 1925, and volunteers, had to be asked to join, by individual commanding officers, one of twenty-one squadrons. I started my research when I was a secondary school teacher, teaching history to 11-16 years in Stockton on Tees. I found that 608 (North Riding) Squadron had been based at Thornaby Aerodrome, which was around five miles from where I lived. I began my research in 2002, and have subsequently been on a journey of research resulting in two books, an MPhil, a PhD and being the project historian on the Spitfire Project in Thornaby. As I began my research, I realised that there was very little written about the reserve forces of the RAF. And what there actually was, was based on the experiences of 600 (City of London) and 601 (County of London) squadrons. In fact it was the quote below which captured my imagination and led me to where I am today.

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Author Guest Post: David Ian Hall

Politics and the Hofbräuhaus: the founding of the NSDAP, 24 November 1920

The Hofbräuhaus am Platzl is the most famous beer hall in the world, and today it is Munich’s greatest tourist attraction. Before Covid-19 more than 10,000 litres of beer were consumed every day by Münchners, visitors from other parts of Bavaria and Germany, and tourists from the rest of the world, all irresistibly drawn to this beer-drinking place of pilgrimage. All social classes and professions sit together at the long tables. The chances of sitting alone are somewhere between slim and non-existent. Beer is served in a Maβ, a one litre heavy glass mug, and the congenial and egalitarian atmosphere encourages conversation, often heard in multiple languages, and laughter, before everyone joins together in song singing In München steht ein Hofbräuhaus or Ein Prosit der Gemütlichkeit just before the band takes a well-earned break.

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Author Guest Post: Vyvyen Brendon

Jane Austen and Brothers at Sea

Jane Austen’s life and work often sprang into my mind while I was writing Children at Sea. I imagined the black violinist Joseph Emidy playing at occasions like the Mansfield Park or Netherfield balls; I pictured Midshipman Othnel Mawdesley setting off from a parsonage similar to Steventon, leaving behind two unmarried sisters resembling Jane and Cassandra; and I compared William and Charles Barlow’s naval feats with those of her fictional seamen and her own brothers. I even came to suspect that William Barlow crept into the last novel in the shape of a dissolute minor character.

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Author Guest Post: David Ian Hall

Origins of the Book

Writing about Munich in Mein Kampf, Hitler declared: ‘Not only has one not seen Germany if one does not know Munich – no, above all, one does not know German art if one has not seen Munich’.1 Hitler had a heartfelt love for Munich, a city he claimed was the most German city he knew. Hitler was twenty-four years old when he moved to Munich from his native Austria in May 1913. The remaining years of his life were closely intertwined with the history of the Bavarian capital.

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