Facts About Boudicca, Queen of the British Iceni Tribe

Here are some facts and interesting pieces of information about Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni tribe, who led a revolt against the Romans in Britain.

  • Boudicca was the wife of Prasutagus, the ruler of the Iceni tribe. They were based in the region of Britain now called East Anglia.

  • When the Romans settled in the south of England in 43 AD, they made an agreement with Prasutagus that he would be allowed to continue as ruler of the Iceni.
  • However, when Prasutagus died, the Roman attitude to the Iceni people changed. The Romans took property belonging to the most importnat Iceni tribesmen and they had Boudicca whipped.
  • In about 60 AD, Gaius Suetonius Paullinus, the Roman governor, was called upon to lead an a Roman army in North Wales. While he was away, the Iceni tribe, led by Boudicca, rebelled against their Roman rulers. Several other tribes – such as the Trinovantes – joined the fight.
  • The Iceni warriors managed to destroy Camulodunum (Colchester) they also defeated the Roman IX Legion.
  • Hearing the news, Paullinus rushed back from Wales and set about evacuating Londinium (London). He guessed (correctly) that it would be the Britons next target.
  • Boudicca and her army destroyed Londinium and then attacked Verulamium (St Albans), destroying that city too.
  • Some people believe that more than 70,000 people were killed in the attacks on Camulodunum, Londinium and Verulamium.
  • The Roman army in Britain regrouped in the Midlands and finally defeated the Britons in the Battle of Watling Street.
  • It is not clear what exactly happened to Boudicca. Some people say she killed herself with poison when she realised she had lost the battle. Others say that she fell ill and died.
  • People have referred to Boudicca in lots of different ways over the years. She has been known as: Bunduca, Boadicea, Bodicca, Boudica, Boudiga and Boudica, to name but a few.
  • Tacitus, the Roman historian, said that Boudicca had reddish-brown hair that hung below her waist, and she wore a large golden necklace.
  • It is said that Boudicca worshipped Andraste, an old Bristish goddess of victory.
  • The exact location of Boudicca’s defeat is not known. Historians have suggested that it is in the Midlands, somewhere along the Roman road, Watling Street.
  • The story of Boudicca was almost completely forgotten during the Middle Ages. However, she became famous again in Victorian times, as Queen Victoria was keen to be associated with such a stubborn and brave warrior.
  • Alfred Lord Tennyson, the Victorian poet, wrote a poem called Boadicea, and Prince Albert commissioned Thomas Thornycroft to create a statue of Boudicca and her daughters riding a war chariot. The sculpture was finished in 1905 and it is situated close to the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Bridge.
  •  It has been suggested that Queen Boudicca’s body is buried underneath the area between platform 9 and 10 in King’s Cross Station. This is not supported by any historical evidence, so it’s probably just a myth.

Dr Barnardo: Facts and Information

Here are some interesting facts about the work of Dr Barnardo, founder of the charity Barnardo’s, who provided homes and education for poor children in Victorian Britain.

  • Thomas John Barnardo was born on 4th July 1845 and he died on 19th September 1905.

  • He was born in Dublin, Ireland.
  • When he was sixteen years old, he decided he wanted to become a Protestant medical missionary in China.
  • He moved to London in order to train to be a doctor. He studied at the London Hospital, but never actually completed the course to earn a doctorate. Although he is known as ‘Doctor’ Barnardo, he never actually qualified as a doctor.
  • During his time in London, Thomas Barnardo became interested in the lives of the Victorian poor. He was apalled by the number of people living on the streets of London and he witnessed the horrific effects of cholera, unemployment and overcrowding.
  • Barnardo decided to put aside his plans to visit China. He opened his first ‘ragged school’ in 1867, in the East End of London, to educate and care for poor orphans.
  • One of his pupils, a boy called Jim Jarvis, took Barnardo on a walk of the the East End, showing him the sheer number of poor children sleeping rough. Barnardo was so moved by the sight that he decided to do something about it.
  • In 1870, Thomas Barnardo opened a home for boys in Stepney Causeway, providing shelter for orphans and destitute children. A sign hang on the building which said: ‘No Destitute Child Ever Refused Admission’.
  • Barnardo founded the Girls’ Village Home. Located in Barkingside, the ‘village’ consisted of a collection of cottages and was home to 1500 poor girls.
  • During his life Barnardo continued to open institutions that helped to care for poor children. By his death in 1905 it is estimated that his homes and schools cared for over 8000 children in more than 90 different locations.
  • The Barnardo’s is still in existence today. Have a look at their website.

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Charles Darwin Facts

Charles Darwin was an English scientist. He is most well known for his theory of evolution.

Here are some facts about Charles Darwin:

  • Charles Darwin’s father was a doctor and he really wanted Charles to study medicine at university. Charles started to train to be a doctor, but he was afraid of the sight of blood, and switched to studying the classics. However, Charles soon realised that his real passion was for geology (the study of the Earth and rocks) and botany (plant biology).

  • In 1831 Darwin set sail on the HMS Beagle, a naval survey ship. Darwin was there to collect plant and animal specimens from the countries and islands the ship visited.
  • The voyage took five years. For Charles Darwin, the most important part of the journey was the time spent in the Galapagos Islands. These islands are the home to plants and animals that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Darwin noticed that each of the different islands was home to a different type of tortoise.
  • When the Beagle returned to England, and Darwin began to study the specimens he had collected in more detail, he realised that the differences in finches of the Galapagos Islands followed a similar pattern to those he had observed in the tortoises. The finches from all of the islands were similar, but birds from different islands had different beaks.
  • Darwin started to study other animals and plants, and he began to piece together his theory of natural selection which explains how populations evolve.
  • Darwin didn’t publish his findings straight away because he knew that they would be extremely controversial and upset many people.
  • On the Origin of Species finally came out in 1859. It was a massive talking point because it challenged the truth of the creation story found in the Bible.
  • Today, Darwin’s theory of natural selection has been accepted (by most people) as scientific fact, and new fossil discoveries are constantly adding to our knowledge of the different stages of evolution.
  • Darwin’s appears on UK £10 notes, and a statue of him has been placed in the main hall of London’s Natural History Museum.
  • More than 120 species have been named after Darwin.

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Joseph Lister Facts

Joseph Lister was a British surgeon who made surgery safer for patients by introducing sterilization techniques.

Here are some facts about Jospeh Lister:

  • Joseph Lister studied at the University of London and he entered the Royal College of Surgeons when he was 26.

  • Lister worked as a professor of surgery at universities in both Glasgow and Edinburgh.
  • His greatest contribution to medicine was to promote the use of carbolic acid as an antiseptic. Lister was heavily influenced by Louis Pasteur‘s work on bacteria. After studying Pasteur’s findings, Lister soon realised that severe changes needed to happen to prevent so many people dying after surgery, due to infection. Traditionally, surgeons wore dirty aprons, surgical instruments were unclean and surgeons didn’t even wash their hands before carrying out operations. Lister tested what would happen if the surgical instruments and bandages were treated with carbolic acid, and he was pleased to see that infection was significantly reduced.
  • By 1879 Lister’s ideas had been accepted by most hospitals in Britain. Carbolic acid was used on bandages and was even sprayed into the air during operations to kill bacteria and reduce the risk of the wound becoming infected.
  • Lister also made other contributions to medicine. He was the second man in England to operate on a brain tumor, and he worked out a method of repairing kneecaps with metal wire.
  • In 1897, he was made Baron Lister of Lyme Regis.
  • In 1901, although he had retired as a surgeon, he was asked to give advice about antiseptics and sterilization when Edward VII had his appendix removed.
  • Lister died in 1912, aged 84.

Joseph Lister

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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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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.


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.

Interesting Facts and Information about Mary Seacole

Like Florence Nightingale, Mary Seacole made a name for herself by helping wounded and sick soldiers during the Crimean War. Although Mary Seacole was well-known in Victorian Britain, she was almost completely forgotten following her death in 1881. Recently, however,  historians have been paying more attention to the role she played in treating the sick during her lifetime.

Here are some interesting facts about Mary Seacole.

Mary Secole Facts – Before the Crimean War

  • Mary was born in 1805 in Kingston, Jamaica.
  • Her father was a Scottish soldier and her mother was Jamaican.
  • Mary Seacole was mixed-race and described herself as ‘Creole’.
  • Mary’s mother ran a boarding house in Kingston. Many of the guests were disabled and injured European soldiers.
  • Her mother taught Mary to care for the sick and injured soldiers by using herbal rememdies and traditional Jamaican and African folk treatments.
  • Mary was able to read and write, but it is not clear whether or not she attended school.
  • Unlike most women of the time, Mary Seacole travelled a lot. Before setting off for the Crimea, Mary had spent time in Panama, Haiti and Cuba. During her travels, she spent time helping sick and injured people. She gained lots of experience treating people suffering with cholera, yellow fever and other tropical diseases.

Mary Seacole and the Crimean War

  • As soon as she heard about the suffering of the soldiers in the Crimean War, she wanted to travel to Turkey to help them. Mary asked the British War Office to send her to the conflict to help treat the wounded, but her request was refused. Mary also wasn’t chosen to be one of the nurses to accompany Florence Nightingale to the Crimea.
  • Mary Seacole decided to make her own way to the Crimea. She borrowed the money for the 4000 mile journey and came up with a business plan that would allow her to tend to the injured and wounded soldiers.
  • Mary set up the British Hotel, located only two miles away from the conflict itself. She rented rooms to injured soldiers and sold food and equipment to the troops. Mary spent the money on caring for the wounded soldiers from both sides.
  • Mary ran a daily clinic to nurse the sick soldiers and she was often spotted treating wounds on the battlefield – something Florence Nightingale never did.
  • Mary was known as Mother Seacole by the soldiers she cared for.

Mary Seacole’s Life After the Crimean War

  • Mary was very poor after the end of the Crimean War in 1856. She returned both broke and in ill-health.
  • A charity gala was held London in her honour. Over 80,ooo people attended.
  • Mary Seacole wrote a book about her experiences. It’s called Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands and it was very popular when it was published in 1857.
  • She died in 1881 and was buried in Kensal Green, London.

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