Robert Peel: Facts and Information

Robert Peel was the British Prime Minister from 1834 to 1835, and from 1841 to 1846. He most well-known for starting the first police force in Britain.

Here are some facts about him:

  • Robert Peel was born in Bury, Lancashire in 1788.
  • He was an excellent student, and he attended Oxford University, studying classics and mathematics.

  • His father, Sir Robert Peel, was a very wealthy textile manufacturer, and he was also a Member of Parliament.
  • As a result of his father’s influence and political connections, Robert Peel became a Member of Parliament when he was only 21.
  • Robert Peel held a number of government posts (in both England and Ireland) before becoming Home Secretary in 1822.
  • In 1829, Robert Peel set up the Metropolitan Police Force based at Scotland Yard. He employed 1000 police constables and they became known as ‘Bobbies’ or ‘Peelers’.
  • The ‘Bobbies’ were quite unpopular at first, but they did succeed in reducing crime in London.
  • Robert Peel was twice the Prime Minister of Britain. His first term (from 1834 to 1835) was as leader of a minority government, but his second term (from 1841 to 1835) saw him as leader of a Tory (Conservative) majority.
  • During his time as Prime Minister, Peel reintroduced income tax in order to reduce taxes on goods.
  • In 1844 Peel introduced the Factory Act, limiting the number of hours that women and children were permitted to work in factories.
  • Robert Peel served as MP for Tamworth from 1830 to his death in 1850. He is credited with breeding the first Tamworth pig, by crossing pigs local to Tamworth with pigs from Ireland.
  • Robert Peel had five sons and two daughters.
  • He died in 1850 following a riding accident.
  • Robert Peel is often referred to as the founder of modern conservatism, and as the father of modern policing.

Robert Peel

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Lewis Carroll Facts

Here are some interesting facts about Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland.

  • Lewis Carroll’s real name is Charles Dodgson. He used the name Lewis Carroll when he was writing his children’s books and composing his poems.

  • He was born in 1832 and died in 1898.
  • Lewis Carroll was a teacher of maths at Oxford University.
  • Lewis Carroll was one of eleven children. When he was growing up, he often spent time playing literary games with his brothers and sisters.
  • He was also very keen on drawing as a child.
  • Lewis Carroll often used to take the three daughters of his friend, Dean Liddell, for days out and boat trips on the river. It was on one of these trips that he first told the story that became Alice in Wonderland. The story was first published in 1865.
  • Carroll wrote another Alice book. This one was called Alice Through the Looking Glass and it was published in 1865.
  • As well as writing children’s books, Lewis Carroll also enjoyed writing poetry, and he was a keen letter writer.
  • Lewis Carroll produced several works about mathematics when he was working at Oxford University, and he invented the Carroll Diagram (sometimes known as the Lewis Carroll Square), a method of grouping data which is still taught in maths lessons to today.
  • Lewis Carroll loved puzzles and games. He was a very keen chess player, and there are lots of references to chess (and other games) in his books for children.

Lewis Carroll

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William Morris Facts

William Morris was an English artist, poet and politician. He was incredibly creative and he produced decorative art in a range of different forms, including: textiles, furniture, wallpaper, stained glass windows, book design and tapestry. Below are some facts about William Morris. Some the information you will probably already know, but hopefully some will be new to you.

  • William Morris lived and worked during the Victorian era. He was born in 1834 and he died in 1896.
  • He earned a degree from Exeter College, Oxford. After his graduation he started to work as an architect.
  • William Morris was friends with the painters Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and he soon stopped being an architect in order to become a painter.
  • In 1859 William Morris married Jane Burden. Soon after they had a house built for them on Bexley Heath. The house was called Red House and was designed by Philip Webb. William and Jane designed all of the interiors and decoration themselves. They spent about two years getting the house just right, doing much of the work themselves. They were so happy with the results that they decided to start their own fine art craft work company.
  • In 1861 their company, called Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Co., started to make furniture, tableware, soft furnishings and wallpaper. All of the items produced were handcrafted.
  • By the mid-1860s, William Morris concentrated on designing wallpaper. His patterns were inspired by the natural world, and these are some his best-known works of art.
  • In 1875 William Morris started a new company, Morris and Co.
  • William Morris wrote many poems during his lifetime. Most of his best work is heavily influenced by the Icelandic sagas.
  • He set up the Kelmscott Press in the early 1890s. This company published books which contained beautiful illustrations.
  • In 1883 Morris joined a political party called  the Social Democratic Federation. He also helped to start a new party called the Socialist League.
  • When William Morris died in 1896, his doctor said that Morris had carried out the work of ten men during his lifetime.

A famous William Morris quote is:

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

William Morris

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Lion Facts and Information

Lion Fact File

Latin Name: Panthera leo

Colour: Sandy brown. Lion cubs sometimes show darker spots.

Length: 2.7m (about 9 feet)

Weight: Up to 240kg (530 lb)

Habitat: Semidesert and hot grassland

Range: Tropical Africa, and one sanctuary in the Gir Forest, India

Lions

Facts About Lions

  •  Fossil remains of lions have been found in Europe in rocks about half a million years old. These lions were much larger than the lions of today.

  • The last lions in Europe died out about 2000 years ago. Lions were common in Asia until the 1800s, but now only a few hundred Asiatic lions survive in the Gir Forest, India.
  • Lions live in family groups called prides.
  • Adult male lions are often larger and heavier than female lions (lionesses), and they have thick manes which get darker as the animal gets older. Each pride is dominated by an adult male lion.
  • Prides of lions move around their territories feeding on antelope, zebra and buffalo. The lionesses do most of the hunting, often working together to overcome their prey.
  • Lions don’t usually move about too much during the heat of the day. They can rest for 20 hours a day or more, and typically spend 2 hours per day walking (following herds of grazing animals) and under an hour feeding.
  • Lion cubs, born in a litter of three or four, have spotted coats to make them harder for predators to find. After six or seven weeks, lion cubs are big enough to run with the pride.
  • Although lions might look soft and cuddly, they are ferocious and very dangerous. Hundreds of people are killed by lions each year.
  • A white lion is a lion with a paler creamy colouration. They are not albinos (as they have the same eye colour as other lions). Their pale coat is caused by a recessive gene.
  • Lions are able to breed with some of the other types of big cat. The offspring of a lion and tigress is called a liger. The cub of a tiger and lioness is called a tigon. If a lion breeds with leopard, a leopon is produced.

Queen Cleopatra: Facts and Information About The Last Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt

Here are some interesting facts about Cleopatra. Hope they’re what you’re looking for!

  • Cleopatra’s full name was, Cleopatra VII Philopator. She was born in 69 BC.
  • She was the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt and died in 30 BC.

  • Cleopatra was of Macedonian Greek origin and her family came to Egypt when Alexander the Great invaded. However, unlike her ancestors, Cleopatra learned to speak Ancient Egyptian alongside her first language, Greek, and ruled as the reincarnation of the goddess, Isis.
  • She had a relationship with the Roman ruler, Julius Caesar, and they had a son called, Caesarion. The link between Rome and Egypt made Cleopatra’s reign much stronger.
  • From 44 BC to 30 BC, Cleopatra and Caesarion ruled Ancient Egypt together.
  • Julius Caesar was killed by his enemies in 44 BC. Cleopatra sided with Mark Antony against Caesar’s son and legal heir, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus.
  • Cleopatra and Mark Antony had a relationship and they had three children.
  • Mark Antony’s troops were defeated by Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus at the Battle of Actium.
  • Following the defeat both Mark Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide. She was just 39. Many people think that Cleopatra killed herself by allowing a type of poisonous snake called an asp to bite her.
  • Cleopatra’s son, Caesarion, briefly ruled Ancient Egypt on his own, before he too was defeated by the forces of Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus. Following Caesarion’s death Egypt became a province of Rome. It was known as Aegyptus.
  • Cleopatra is often shown to be beautiful in movies, books and plays. However, historians have unearthed statues and coins that show her with a long, hooked nose and a masculine face. Perhaps Cleopatra wasn’t actually as beautiful as the legends suggest?
  • It is often said that Cleopatra bathed in milk in order to preserve her skin and keep her looking youthful. Again, it is uncertain whether or not this actually happened.

Cleopatra

Different Types of Roman Gladiators

When most people think about Roman gladiators, they picture two men in combat, one armed with a trident and net, and the other wearing a helmet and wielding a sword. This is an accurate picture (see below), but it doesn’t tell the whole story. To keep the gladiator contests interesting, several different types of Roman gladiators developed over time. The various types of gladiators had different types of armour and weaponry and, as a result, had to use different fighting styles and techniques to beat their opponents.

Different Types of Roman Gladiators

GladiatorRetiarius

A retiarus, as mentioned above, is one of the most well-know of the gladiators. They fought with a trident and net. They aimed to knock their opponents off-balance and then trap them with their nets. The retiarius were lightly armoured – they didn’t have a helmet or a shield.

Secutor

A secutor usually faced a retiarius in the arena. They were armed with a sword and they carried a shield. A secutor wore a smooth helmet. The helmet was smooth to make it harder for the net of a retiarius to catch it.

Murmillo

A murmillo, often called a fish man, wore a heavy helmet (usually with a fish motif). They fought with a sword (and didn’t have a back-up weapon) and carried a shield.

Hoplomachus

A hoplomachus fought with a lance and a dagger. They began their attack with the lance and if they lost this, they switched to their dagger. A hoplomachus also carried a small circular shield.

Thraex

A thraex was dressed like a warrior from Thrace in northern Greece. They were armed with a curved sword and carried a small shield.

Samnite

A samnite was heavily armed with short sword and heavy shield. They wore a helmet with a crest and a visor.

Provocator

A provocator was usually made to fight another provocator. They were the only type of gladiator to wear a full breastplate and they also wore a helmet with a visor. A provocator was armed with a sword and shield.

Eques

An eques entered the arena mounted on a horse. They started their fights on horseback with lances, but finished on foot with a sword.

Essedarius

An essedarius often fought against another essedarius. They rode into the arena on chariots pulled by horses and were armed with both a lance and a sword.

Dimachaerius

Fighting with two daggers and little armour to weigh him down, a dimachaerius relied on speed and agility to overcome an opponent.

Laquerarius

A laquerarius was just like a retiarius (see above), but instead of a net, they used a lasso to trap their opponent.

Sagittarius

A sagittarius was armed with a bow and wore a lightweight pointed helmet.

Andabatus

An andabatus fought on horseback against another andabatus. They carried lances and wore helmets without eye holes, so they couldn’t see! They charged blindly at their opponents, relying on their other senses to position their attacks.

Click through to our Romans resources page to discover more facts and information about the Romans.

Facts about Viking Games and Sports

Here are some of the key facts about the sports and games played by the Vikings.

What games did Viking children play?

  • Viking boys spent much of their free time playing at war. They fought using wooden swords so they couldn’t hurt each other too badly.

  • Children played a bat and ball game called ‘Kingy Bats’, and they also played with dolls.

Did the Vikings play board games?

  • Yes they did! One of their favourite games was called hnefatafl. This was a game for two players. One player took charge of the red army, and the other player moved the white army. Hnefatafl was a bit like a cross between chess and draughts. A wide range of different types of boards and pieces have been found by archaeologists. Some were of exceptionally hight quality, with elaborate carving and decorations, whereas others were little more than grids scratched on a stones.
  • The Vikings took their board games very seriously and they often resulted in violence!

What sports did the Vikings play?

  • Viking men often proved their strength and toughness by taking part in wrestling matches.
  • They also enjoyed competing in rowing and swimming races.
  • In the winter, the Vikings went skiing, sledging and skating.

Other Viking Games and Sports

  • The Vikings set up fights between their best stallions. People would bet on the outcome of these horse-fights.

Robert Louis Stevenson: Facts and Information

Robert Louis Stevenson was a famous Victorian author. He mainly wrote mystery and adventure stories, and his books are still read and enjoyed today.

Here are some facts about Robert Louis Stevenson:

  • Robert Louis Stevenson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1850. His family were wealthy and, as a child, he was looked after by his nanny, Alison Cunningham.

  • When he was twelve, Robert Louis Stevenson, his parents and his nanny went on a five month holiday. They visited France, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany and Italy.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson was a sickly child. He was exceedingly thin and frail, and he suffered with coughs and fevers.
  • When he was just sixteen he wrote The Pentland Rising, a story based on an historical event. His father paid for 100 copies to be printed in pamphlet form.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson went to Edinburgh University. He started to study engineering, but soon switched to studying the law. He passed his legal exams, but in his heart he knew he wanted to be a writer.
  • In 1876 he went on a canoeing trip to Belgium and France with a friend. He kept a journal of his travels and used it to form the basis of his first book, An Inland Voyage.
  • In France, Stevenson met an American woman called Fanny Osbourne. He fell in love with her.
  • In 1879, Robert Louis Stevenson travelled all the way from Britain to America to see Fanny Osbourne, and they got married in 1880. They decided to live in Britain and set up home with Fanny’s twelve year old son (from her previous marriage), Lloyd.
  • In 1881 the Stevenson family went on holiday in Scotland. It rained for days on end, and to pass the time Lloyd made up an drew a map of an imaginary island. The map made Robert Louis Stevenson think of pirates and treasure, and inspired him to write Treasure Island.
  • Treasure island was first published as a book in 1883. It was very successful and turned Robert Louis Stevenson into a well-known writer.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson continued to experience health problems as an adult. He suffered with chest infections and was often so ill he couldn’t leave his bed.
  • In 1886 he wrote both The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Kidnapped. Much of the writing was done from his sickbed.
  • From 1888 to 1890, the Stevenson family spent two years sailing around the Pacific Ocean islands. Robert Louis Stevenson decided to build a house on the island of Upolu, in Western Samoa. He carried on writing, but found it increasingly difficult as his illness become worse.
  • In December 1894, Robert Louis Stevenson died. He was only 44 years old. His body was buried on Mount Vaea, Upolu.

Ancient Egyptian Toys, Games and Sport: Facts and Information

Just like children of today, youngsters in Ancient Egypt played with a wide range of toys and games. Some of the games were played by the adults, too.

Below you’ll find a summary of the main games played by Ancient Egyptian children. Some of the games you’ll recognise (because versions of them are still played today), and some will be new to you.

Ancient Egyptian Toys for Young Children

Archaeologists have unearthed many examples of wooden toys designed for young children. These include: toy mice (with tails that move up and down as they’re pulled along), horses on wheels, toy lions, spinning tops,  dolls and toy hippos. Some of the workmanship is of a very high-standard, and the toys often look quite similar to the handcrafted wooden toys sold in shops today.

Outdoor Ancient Egyptian Games

Ancient Egyptian children played versions of leapfrog and hopscotch, and they also enjoyed taking part in tug-of-war contests.

Egyptian girls played lots of catch games, possibly with clay balls that rattled as they were thrown. Wall paintings show children leaping in the air or riding on piggy-back as they are catching the balls.

The young men from Ancient Egypt often took part in wrestling bouts, and the boys played with toy hunting weapons.

Ancient Egyptian Board Games

Board games were popular in Ancient Egypt. Senet, played on a board with thirty squares, represented the struggle to reach the kingdom of Osiris. It involved counters of two colours and moves were made in relation to how throwsticks landed. Another board game was Snake (so called because the board looked like a coiled snake). The counters for this game were often engraved with the hieroglyphs of pharaohs’ names.

Hunting in Ancient Egypt

Although animals were hunted by the Ancient Egyptians as a source of food, it would appear that some animals were also hunted for sport. Hippos, often associated with the evil god Seth, were hunted with spears and harpoons from boats. This was a very dangerous sport which sometimes resulted in hunters being killed or seriously wounded.

In the New Kingdom, lions were hunted with bows and arrows from chariots.

Many Ancient Egyptian families kept hunting dogs. These animals had slim, powerful bodies, and were probably the ancestor of the modern day greyhound.

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Ancient Egyptian Food Facts: What Did the Ancient Egyptians Eat?

If you’ve ever wanted to know what the Ancient Egyptians ate and drank, the facts below should give you all the information you need.

Facts About Ancient Egyptian Food and Drink

  • Ancient Egypt was mostly desert, but the yearly Nile floods made farming possible. The Nile deposited fertile black mud onto the land surrounding the river, allowing the Ancient Egyptians to grow barley and emmer wheat. These were made into a range of different breads and beer.

  • The bread made by the Ancient Egyptians was tough and coarse. The flour often contained grit from the grinding process.
  • The beer drunk by the Ancient Egyptians was much thicker than the beers drunk today. In fact, it was so dense and lumpy that it had to be strained before drinking.
  • In addition to cereal crops (barley), the farmers of Ancient Egypt also grew lots of different types of fruit and vegetables, such as: onions, leeks, beans, lentils, garlic, lettuce, turnips, dates, figs, cucumber, melons, grapes and pomegranates.
  • Some of their fruit was eaten fresh at harvest time, some of it was dried to preserve it, and some was added to their cakes to give them added sweetness.
  • Grapes, both red and white, mainly grown in the north of Ancient Egypt, were turned into wine or dried as raisins.
  • The Ancient Egyptians ate a lot of fish from the River Nile, and they also hunted ducks, geese, desert hares, oryx (a type of large antelope) and gazelle.
  • They kept pigs, sheep, goats and oxen for their meat.
  • Bees were kept by the Ancient Egyptians in pottery hives. The honey they collected was often used by Ancient Egyptian bakers in cakes and pastries.
  • Although the Ancient Egyptians ate a balanced diet, they did not eat any citrus fruits.
  • Ostrich eggs were considered a delicacy.
  • Cutlery wasn’t used in Ancient Egypt.