Notes on…

It’s not just hooligans – hipsters also love a football shirt

19 October 2019 9:00 am

When I was young, from about the age of nine to 13, I went through what my parents recall with…

The lessons I learned at my Oxford gaudy

12 October 2019 9:00 am

I went to a gaudy last weekend. Several British universities now host these splendid events; mine was at Worcester College,…

Small but perfectly formed: The Romney and Hythe Railway

5 October 2019 9:00 am

‘The smallest public railway in the world.’ So proclaims a faded poster at New Romney Station, the midpoint of the…

We have the French Revolution to thank for Ordnance Survey maps

28 September 2019 9:00 am

You could say it started because of the French. The turmoil caused by their revolution got the British military worried…

My puppy-training advice for Boris Johnson

21 September 2019 9:00 am

President Harry Truman once observed: ‘If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.’ Boris Johnson, as Prime Minister…

Inside the unassuming house where the Brontës’ creativity thrived

14 September 2019 9:00 am

‘Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain and little, I am soulless and heartless?’ Jane Eyre asks Mr…

The unparalleled entertainment – and heartbreaking reality – of watching a court hearing

7 September 2019 9:00 am

‘Barristers’ speeches vanish quicker than Chinese dinners, and even the greatest victory in court rarely survives longer than the next…

A bridge to the past: Tintagel’s complex history

31 August 2019 9:00 am

Halfway across the brand new bridge that links the two halves of Tintagel Castle, there’s a gap where you can…

It’s easy to see why Trump wants to buy Greenland

24 August 2019 9:00 am

When the news broke of Donald Trump’s interest in acquiring Greenland from the Danes for strategic, mining and perhaps golf…

Britain’s jazz scene is in full swing

17 August 2019 9:00 am

Jazz died in 1959. At least, that’s what New Orleans trumpeter Nicholas Payton wrote in 2011 as part of a…

The spooky side of Savannah

10 August 2019 9:00 am

Savannah GA is supposed to have lots of ghosts, but I’d forgotten that. It was an April morning and sunlight…

Grimly magnificent: the east end of the priory

The grim magnificence of Gisborough Priory

3 August 2019 9:00 am

Gisborough Priory was founded in 1119, although the gothic chunks which remain of it today — including the grimly magnificent…

Top flight: A plane lands at London City Airport

The joy of flying from London City Airport

27 July 2019 9:00 am

The late Frank Johnson — former editor of The Spectator — had a thing about London City Airport. ‘I never…

No pigs in sight: Anne Hathaway’s Cottage

The charm – and artifice – of the English cottage garden

20 July 2019 9:00 am

The confusion is understandable. You arrive at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage in Stratford-upon-Avon, keen to experience the quintessential cottage garden —…

The motorway that contains 2.5 million Mills & Boon novels

13 July 2019 9:00 am

The first one was too straight. In the absence of a speed limit, early motorists on the M1 used the…

The forgotten joy of soap

6 July 2019 9:00 am

Is there any invention as ancient and as fundamental as soap? Traced to Babylonian civilisation around 2,800 bc (handy for…

Why croquet beats cricket

29 June 2019 9:00 am

People say cricket is the quintessential English game. Those people are wrong. Cricket may have a longer pedigree, but it’s…

What I learned from piercing ears at Claire’s Accessories

22 June 2019 9:00 am

I was 17, studying for my A-levels in Great Yarmouth. Looking to defy my parents’ instruction to get a part-time…

The touching traces of the past in church visitors’ books

15 June 2019 9:00 am

I am memorialised twice in my village church. Not in some premature lapidary way, but in the visitors’ book. The…

Hang on to your hat – they’re making a comeback

8 June 2019 9:00 am

‘Thank goodness for racing,’ says Rachel Trevor-Morgan. She is a milliner — a hat maker — so it’s no surprise…

From Amazon to Waitrose: how do companies get their names?

1 June 2019 9:00 am

Poor Mr Bergstresser. He put up the money to start the financial reporting company but his name wasn’t as snappy…

The magic of the Chelsea Flower Show

25 May 2019 9:00 am

Chelsea, the most famous flower show in the world, pulled in its devotees once more this week, with its accustomed…

How do Britain’s pubs get their names?

18 May 2019 9:00 am

An easy one: what links Jack Straw’s Castle, The Labouring Boys and The Jolly Taxpayer? No, not the parliamentary expenses…

Windermere, a voyage into Swallows and Amazons

11 May 2019 9:00 am

‘A love of boats and sailing is the surest of all passports to a happy life,’ wrote Arthur Ransome. Standing…

Scilly season: Shipwrecks, seclusion and Harold Wilson’s house

4 May 2019 9:00 am

‘You can get away from everything,’ said Harold Wilson of the Isles of Scilly, ‘not only in distance but also…