Category Archives: History

Amongst so many Gold medals, let’s remember the first cross Channel swimmer.

Today we celebrate the remarkable feat of a great swimmer. Captain Matthew Webb became the first person to swim the English Channel through his epic swim on the 24th and 25th of August 1875. Webb first attained fame through diving into the Atlantic in an attempt to save a drowning passenger from his ship. He […]

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Bosworth – what did the Tudors do for us?

Some of my friends are both Catholics and Eurosceptics. They are sensible people, and rightly see nothing contradictory in that stance. The once Catholic kingdom of France is now a secular Republic, and once Catholic Spain is no longer an aggressive exporter of the faith by force of arms. Protestant Germany is an important motor […]

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100 years of Middle Eastern oil

I awoke this morning to be reminded by the Today programme that 100 years ago a British explorer first struck oil in Iran, and began the dash to the Gulf to set up an oil industry. My sources tell me that the first oil was found at Masjid-i-Suleiman on May 26th 1908 by George Reynolds, […]

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Today we mourn those who died on the Somme

Today we mourn the loss of 19,240 men who died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Following an eight day bombardment with 1.7 million shells, and seventeen mines exploded under the German front line, 750,000 troops set out across No Man’s Land at 7.30am on that fateful day. Their General, Sir […]

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A suitable commemoration for Waterloo

Today we commemorate the victory of Waterloo, when allied forces led by Wellington and Blucher defeated Napoleon. They put an end to his ambitions to unite Europe under French domination through his military prowess and the strength of his armies. It was not an easy victory. For much of that fateful Sunday the British led […]

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510 years ago the Portuguese reached India by sea

On May 20th 1498, Vasco da Gama sailed into Calicut, the centre of the Indian spice trade. His long and epic voyage had begun the previous year, taking him far out into the Atlantic Ocean, before he turned east and reached the South African coast at St Helena Bay. From there, he sailed around the […]

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In memoriam

On 11 May 1812 a man in a green coat with brass buttons called John Bellingham stood, full of anger at the government, in the lobby of the House of Commons. He had lost substantial sums on trade with Russia. He felt strongly that the government should have offered compensation. Approaching him was no less […]

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Why do we enjoy peace in Western Europe?

Today is the anniversary of the German invasion of Holland and Belgium, 68 years ago. On the first day of the fighting in Holland around half the small and old Dutch air force was destroyed, Waalhaven airport seized for troop landings, and the bridge taken at Dordrecht. The Dutch army and the small boats of […]

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63 years ago it was Victory in Europe day

Hitler committed suicide on April 30th 1945. On May 7th the new government of Germany bowed to the inevitable and authoritsed the signature of the unconditional surrender document at Reims on May 7th, and in Berlin on May 8th. All war like operations between Germany and the Allied powers ceased at 23.01 on May 8th. […]

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16 years ago the first woman Speaker was elected by the Commons

On Monday 27th April 1992 the House of Commons elected its first woman Speaker, Betty Boothroyd. I was a rare government Minister voting for a Labour Speaker. I did so because I thought it time a good woman candidate should have the job after 700 years of men, and thought it important that Labour held […]

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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