Archive for June 25th, 2012

     Updated 17/06/2014

     Here at The Arcade of Arts & Arcana we are not ashamed to trawl kids’ books for fascinating factoids.  Here are few of our findings…


*Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital opened in 1852.  If you scroll down the sidebar you will find a link to Children With Cancer UK, this site’s nominated charity 🙂 

*Edward Jenner helped to wipe out smallpox in just 40 years when free vaccinations became available in 1840.

*The bell residing in the Houses of Parliament clock tower was cast in 1858 and named for building supervisor Sir Benjamin Hall.  Big Ben of course.

*Building ships from steel instead of heavy iron was a very good idea.

*Charles Kingsley’s The Water Babies (1863) influenced Parliament to pass the Chimney Sweeps Act.  The use of children as sweeps was finally stamped out in 1875.

*Today southeast Asia produces 90% of the world’s rubber.  Rubber seeds were originally sourced in South America, shipped to the UK for cultivation at Kew Gardens and re-distributed to Malaysia and Indonesia.

*The first bicycle, the Penny Farthing, was made in 1883 with solid tyres and no brakes.

*The first electric underground railway opened in London in 1890.  The system soon became known as “The Tube”.

*Many UK newspapers were founded in the Victorian era.  The Times rose to prominence by reporting on the blunders of The Crimean War.

*Many Scots families emigrated to Canada (settling Nova Scotia or New Scotland) due to their own, less well-known potato famine.


     All these facts are borrowed from The Victorian Age 1837-1914 by James Harrison.

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