Caroline Crampton was born on the Thames Estuary to parents who had sailed there from South Africa in the early 1980s. Having grown up with seafaring legs & a desire to explore, Caroline is both a knowledgeable guide to the most hidden-away parts of this overlooked & unfashionable part of the country, & a persuasive advocate for its significance, both historically & culturally. As one of the key entrances & exits to England, the estuary has been pivotal to London’s economic fortunes and in defining its place in the world.

As Caroline navigates the waters of the estuary, she also seeks out its stories: empty warehouses and arsenals; the Thames … More

Tim Quelch takes a nostalgic look back on a 60s childhood and early adulthood immersed in Sussex sport. Hastings United, Brighton & Hove Albion and Sussex County Cricket Club were his three great loves, his passion for football ignited by United’s plucky 1953/54 giant-killing side that came tantalisingly close to a fifth-round FA Cup clash with Arsenal. Later, Brighton secured Tim’s lasting loyalty when he witnessed their brave 1961 FA Cup battle with First Division champions Burnley.

That same year, Tim was captivated by explosive Sussex batsman Ted Dexter and mesmerised by West Indian fast bowler Wes … More

Born OTD in 1763, English pamphleteer, farmer, and journalist, William Cobbett. Cobbett is best known for his ‘Rural Rides’, a classic account of early 19th century Britain which has never been out of print. But he was a much greater figure than that implies, being the foremost satirist and proponent of reform of the time. He had a taste for provoking the deceit and vanity of the supposedly good and great, and had an abiding hatred of the establishment, or ‘The Thing’, as he christened it. In the pages of his ‘Political Register’ he lambasted corruption and excoriated hypocrisy, and was forever in fear of prosecution for libel, for which he was sent to Newgate prison for two years, which was the cause of his bankruptcy and forced him to flee to America.

The early years of the 19th-century were ones of misery and oppression. The common people were forced into conditions of … More

Born OTD in 1871, Polish Marxist, philosopher, economist, anti-war activist & revolutionary socialist, Rosa Luxemberg. A giant of the political left, Luxemburg is one of the foremost minds in the canon of revolutionary socialist thought. But she was much more than just a thinker. She made herself heard in a world inimical to the voices of strong-willed women. She overcame physical infirmity & the prejudice she faced as a Jew to become an active revolutionary whose philosophy enriched every corner of an incredibly productive & creative life—her many friendships, her sexual intimacies, & her love of science, nature and art.

Always opposed to the First World War, when others on the German left were swept up on a tide of … More

Witchcraft: A Secret History unravels the myth from the mystery, the facts from the legends. Meet all the witches of your imagination and discover the meanings of their rituals and rites, their lore, and their craft. Discover the significance of their sabbats and covens, their chalices and wands, their robes and their religion. Unlock the secrets of the legendary witches of mythology and folk tales and find out how these early stories influenced the persecutions and witch-hunts of the Middle Ages.

Learn about the people who inspired the pagan revival and how their work in literature and magic rekindled the fires … More

Born OTD in 1942, revolutionary African-American political activist who, along with Bobby Seale, co-founded the Black Panther Party, Huey P. Newton. Eloquently tracing the birth of a revolutionary, Huey P. Newton’s famous & oft-quoted autobiography is as much a manifesto as a portrait of the inner circle of America’s Black Panther Party. From Newton’s impoverished childhood to his adolescence & struggles with the system, from his role in the Black Panthers to his solitary confinement in the Alameda County Jail, Revolutionary Suicide is smart, unrepentant & thought-provoking in its portrayal of inspired radicalism.

In October 1967, one year after the founding of the Black Panther Party, Huey Newton was involved in a shooting … More

Born OTD in 1912, English Marxist historian and academic, specialising in 17th-century English history, Christopher Hill. Within the English revolution of the mid-17th century which resulted in the triumph of the protestant ethic – the ideology of the propertied class – there threatened another, quite different, revolution. Its success ‘might have established communal property, a far wider democracy in political and legal institutions, might have disestablished the state church and rejected the protestant ethic’.

In ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ Christopher Hill studies the beliefs of such radical groups as the Diggers, the Ranters, … More

Born OTD in 1868, Irish politician, revolutionary, nationalist, suffragist, socialist, the first woman elected to the Westminster Parliament, Constance Markievicz. A founder member of Fianna Éireann, Cumann na mBan and the Irish Citizen Army, she took part in the Easter Rising in 1916, when Irish republicans attempted to end British rule and establish an Irish Republic. She was sentenced to death but this was reduced on the grounds of her sex.

Twenty illustrated essays on Irish women, historical and contemporary, who have defied cultural norms around femininity and achieved great things. … More

Born OTD in 1924, historian, writer, socialist & peace campaigner, E. P. Thompson. He is probably best known today for his historical work on the British radical movements in the late 18th & early 19th centuries, in particular The Making of the English Working Class. This classic and imaginative account of working-class society in its formative years, 1780 to 1832, revolutionized our understanding of English social history. Thompson shows how the working class took part in its own making and re-creates the whole-life experience of people who suffered loss of status and freedom, who underwent degradation, and who yet created a cultured and political consciousness of great vitality.

Reflecting on the importance of the book for its 50th anniversary, Emma Griffin explained that Thompson “uncovered details about workshop … More

From the critically acclaimed Little People, Big Dreams series, discover the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., the inspiring minister and civil rights activist. Little Martin grew up in a family of preachers: his dad was a preacher, his uncle was a preacher, his grandfather was a preacher… so maybe he’d become a great preacher too. One day, a friend invited him to play at his house. Martin was shocked when his mother wouldn’t let him in because he was black. That day he realized there was something terribly unfair going on.

Martin believed that no one should remain silent and accept something if it’s wrong. And he promised himself that – … More