Duelling as an Olympic sport

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Duelling at the 1908 Games

The 1908 Olympic Games were held in London, beginning on the 27th of April. While medals were awarded for many sports, some were labelled “associate sports” and were for display only.

Duelling was one of these. Historically, duels were fought between two people (usually men) to defend their honour, and frequently resulted in grave injury or death.

At the Olympics the bullets were made of wax, and the contestants wore protective outfits.

The Games were supposed to have been held in Rome, but were moved after a devastating Mount Vesuvius eruption.

Unlike today, the event ran for months, from April to their conclusion on the 31st of October.

On this day: a new Parliament House

Construction of New Parliament House, Canberra, 26 April 1988. Australia. Federal Government.

In this photograph dated the 26th of April, 1988, the massive flagpole is constructed on top of Australia’s new Parliament House in the capital city, Canberra.

The new building was constructed at the time of Australia’s bicentenary, replacing what would become known as Old Parliament House, the white building at the front of the picture.

New Parliament House was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on the 9th of May.

 Opening_parliament_house_1988Crowds attend the official opening of the new Parliament House Building in 1988. Canberra.

The official opening in 1988.

The Battle of the Saintes

The caption for this painting reads:
Lord Rodney’s flagship ‘Formidable’ breaking through the French line at the battle of the Saintes, 12th April 1782, painted between 1784 and 1787 by Lieutenant William Elliott of the Royal Navy.
Taking place in the West Indies, the Battle of the Saintes was part of the American Revolutionary War, and took place between the 9th and 12th of April, resulting in a decisive victory for Britain.
Lord Rodney_s flagship ‘Formidable_ breaking through the French line at the battle of the Saintes, 12th April 1782, painted between 1784 and 1787 by Lieutenant William Elliott of t

The odd world of Victorian Easter cards

For Easter last year the BBC ran a story about the rising trend for Easter greeting cards in the Victorian era:

The odd world of Victorian Easter cards

The popularity of greeting cards rose over the nineteenth century as changes were made to Britain’s postal service.

While Easter cards aren’t as commonly posted in Britain anymore, they are still a big part of the holiday in some other parts of Europe.

Some of the funnier cards are below. The Jewish one in particular is very confusing (why does one of the chickens have a bandaged foot and a walking stick?), while some of the others are simply creepy to modern eyes!

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The odd world of Victorian Easter cards._88779231_bunny_amp_chick3

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On this day: a war death at Easter

Rifleman Harry Edward Burnham, who worked on Fleet Street in London before the outbreak of the First World War. He was killed in action on the 8th of April, 1917, which was Easter Sunday. Married with two children, he was thirty-five at the time of his death.

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Rifleman_Harry_Edward_Burnham_Rifleman Harry Edward Burnham. Killed in action on Easter Sunday, 1917.

On this day: the birth of a British Olympian

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Walter Tysall X

British Olympic gymnast Walter Tysall was born in Birmingham on the 3rd of April, 1880.

At the age of twenty-eight Tysall competed in the individual all around competition at the 1908 London Olympic Games. He won the silver medal, with Italian Alberto Braglia winning gold and French gymnast Louis Ségura taking bronze.

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Italian gold medallist Alberto Braglia

Though the British women’s gymnasts would go on to reach the Olympic podium a few years later, Tysall’s silver was the only medal won by a British male gymnast until 2008.

Tysall died in Ashton-on-Ribble in 1955.