Posts tagged United Kingdom
Mary Anning

Do you believe anyone is capable of an amazing discovery, regardless of class or gender?

Mary Anning did.

Mary Anning was born in 1799, in a coastal village in Dorset, England. Hers was a working-class family and existence was tough. Short of food and creature comforts, the family also suffered through frequent seaside storms. These were sometimes so severe, Mary and her family had to climb out the second-floor windows of their home to escape the flooding. 

But it is said that every storm brings a silver lining. And, indeed, the wind and rain brought good fortune to the Annings in addition to hardship. This luck sent young Mary on a path to both career and accidental fame...

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Ada Lovelace

At the age of 14, Ada Lovelace (née Byron) wrote a book on flying machines, called Flyology, and constructed a pair of mechanical wings to help her take off. This may not sound spectacular today but it happened nearly a century before the Wright Brothers managed to get Kitty Hawk into the air. And that wasn’t even her most important intellectual legacy!

The privileged daughter of a famous British poet and a countess, she also invented the algorithm. If Alan Turing was the father of computing, Ada Lovelace was most certainly its grandmother…

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Sylvia Pankhurst

What would you do if you were treated unfairly and denied your basic social rights? Sylvia Pankhurst stood up and was heard -- not only for her rights, but for those of others.

Born in 1882, Sylvia Pankhurst grew up in the shadow of history’s “radical suffragettes,” the women who, after fighting for their right to vote since the 1870s, lost hope in diplomacy and turned to more extreme means to ensure their voices be heard. Sylvia's mother, Emmeline Pankhurst, was one of them. Founder of the British Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), Emmeline was committed to winning woman's suffrage at any cost.

Sylvia, a talented and precocious writer, joined the women’s suffrage movement in 1906, at the age of 24. That’s when she launched the Woman’s Dreadnought journal in which she would write and publish on issues of women’s’ rights for most of her life.

In 1908, when Britain's Prime Minister refused women the right to vote… again….

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Jane Goodall

Today is #NationalWildlifeDay. And we've got the perfect  #HistoryHero to celebrate and commemorate this special event.

Even as a child, Jane Goodall loved animals. She liked to watch birds and to sketch them, as well as read zoology texts. As a five-year-old, she hid out in the family henhouse in order to discover where eggs came from. Her mother was frantic with worry. But when Jane emerged, wide-eyed with wonder, holding a newly hatched and still warm egg in her tiny hands, mum didn't have the heart to scold her little girl. Instead, she told Jane that if she worked hard, and took advantage of opportunities, she could be anything she wanted to be. But this was more easily said than done.

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Diana, Princess of Wales

Today we join the world in remembering the “People’s Princess,” Lady Diana Spencer, the dedicated humanitarian who changed how the world views the British Monarchy as well as HIV/AIDS, depression, and the political use of landmines. She died 20 years ago today.

Not a day goes by without her surviving sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, wondering “what kind of public role she would have and what a difference she would be making," had she lived.

She was 36 years young when greed and a tragic accident took her from us. She is missed.

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Sir Ernest Shackleton

How far would you go to explore the unknown?

Ernest Shackleton sailed to the ends of the Earth and gave us one of the greatest survival stories ever told.

Though born in County Kildare, Ireland, in 1874, Ernest Shackleton grew up, along with his nine siblings, in London. His father thought he'd make a great doctor and urged the boy to go to medical school. But Ernest had his eye set on the horizon. 

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Beatrix Potter

Do you demand – and passionately pursue – everything life has to offer?

Beatrix Potter did.

Most of you will know Beatrix Potter's name from the beautifully illustrated children's books, such as the tale of the infamous Peter Rabbit. And it's true, Potter was a prolific children's author/illustrator, crafting delicate nursery rhymes accompanied by realistic, yet whimsical, animal sketches.

What you probably don't know was that Potter was a true jack-of-all-trades. In addition to self-publishing her own children's books – at least initially – she also excelled in business, conservationism, farming, and sheep breeding.

But it all started with mycology: the scientific study of fungi.

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