Filed under piracy

Sealand – Outpost of Liberty

The story of Sealand, an anti-aircraft platform off the coast of East Anglia, is one of the more bonkers tales of English sovereignty and quirky individualism. This is from an article by Cahal Milmo from Saturday’s i paper: On Christmas Eve, 1966, .. Roy [Bates], an enterprising former infantry officer, took over the abandoned HM … Continue reading


The Most Important Battle of World War I?

In a few weeks, on 9 November, it will be 100 years since the battle happened which could have changed the world, and yet efforts to have it commemorated have failed to raise much interest. This is the date that the Australian navy’s first light cruiser, the HMAS Sydney, began a running sea battle with … Continue reading

Iggy Speaks Out

It is hard to imagine modern music in Britain without the iconic DJ John Peel, who is now commemorated with an annual lecture in his name. This year, the 10th anniversary of his death, Iggy Pop, now a DJ on BBC 6Music, gave a brilliant talk on free music, ranging over his long life in … Continue reading

Good Citizenship or Self Interest?

This is a great piece from J W Dickson’s book, Matthew Boulton, This is a letter Boulton wrote Jan 31, 1799 “To the Right Honorable Lords of the Committee of Council appointed to take into Consideration the state of the Coins of the Realm My Lords, Having observ’d many Counterfeit pence getting into circulation in … Continue reading

Smuggling X-Rays

There were lots of strange stories in the Cold War, but this one, about how banned pop music was smuggled through the Iron Curtin on old X-Rays is one of the oddest. They were chosen in part because they could be rolled up or hidden in other things, and were incredibly light. Shows how hungry … Continue reading

The End of a Pirate

I found this small article on one of my flashdrives.I have no idea where it’s from – possibly one of the London  papers probably a few weeks after the event. It is odd as it makes no mention of anyone else involved on board the ship, but he cannot have acted alone. This must have … Continue reading

A Cross Country Trek

This is William Dampier’s account of his journey from the Pacific Coast to The Caribbean after being forced to scuttle their ship to escape the Spaniards after they had done a few raids.  This journey may well be one of the most important overland trips ever undertaken – Dampier was in the company of Scottish surgeon … Continue reading


I am currently working my way though a great book by Bella Bathurst, ‘The Wreckers’ about the practice or myths of people around the coast of Britain luring ships to their deaths, in order to plunder them. It is an intriguing notion because this practice, like piracy and highway robbery, was a capital crime, but … Continue reading

East Coker’s Greatest Son

A brass memorial on the wall of the south aisle of St Michael’s church in East Coker, Somerset, England commemorates William Dampier, one of the most intriguing person and utterly pivotal to Britain’s maritime success from the late 17th century. He was at various times, and often at the same time. His official portrait claims … Continue reading

The Origins of Fairs

I have been working through a book by Nigel Heard, ‘International fairs’. By focusing on trade, it shows how European history has been affected by commerce. Greek civilisation drove trade, similarly to that of Western Europe in the 19th century. When Rome expanded to the Levant, it gave them access to gold, and silver, so … Continue reading