Tag Archives: Social and cultural history

History of the game: “Tennis balls, my liege”

History of the game: “Tennis balls, my liege”


The insulting ‘treasure’ that France’s Dauphin sent to Henry V in Shakespeare’s play had long since played its part in French sport. Louis X (1314 – 16) was an enthusiastic player of jeu de paume or ‘game of the palm’ from which modern tennis is derived, and his innovation of an indoor court supplemented the game’s outdoor version.

Victorian Scotland

Victorian Scotland

By the time Victoria became queen of Great Britain in 1837 the powers of the monarch were much more restricted than those of her 18th century predecessors, and far less than the autocratic power, always greater in Scotland than in England, that kings had had before 1688. Parliament was sovereign, although the unelected House of Lords retained powers of veto over the Commons. The House of Commons itself was elected only by a minority of the adult population.

Tricks and treats: The story of Halloween

Tricks and treats: The story of Halloween

Every 31 October in the USA, in Britain and increasingly in places as diverse as Japan, Slovenia and India, costumed children cry “trick or treat” at the doors of neighbours, hoping for sweets or money. To the British ear, this may seem to be yet another American import but the progress of such customs through time is more complex than that.

A short history of Father’s Day

A short history of Father’s Day

Father’s Day is coming up, so we look into the history of Father’s Day. Sadly, retailers and marketers, in an effort to make a quick buck, have bastardized the original meaning of Father’s Day. A holiday that was supposed to honor dad and enumerate his special qualities, now is used to sell chili pepper ties and shop vacs. Hopefully by understanding why the concept of Father’s Day was created, we can better celebrate and honor the fathers who raised us into men.