June 10, 2017
We have scientists working in the Sandwich laboratories of U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer (that’s Sandwich the Kent town, not a sandwich laboratory), to thank for Sildenafil citrate, more commonly known by the brand name Viagra.
Popularly used to treat erectile dysfunction, research has shown that the drug can also extend the life of cut flowers for up to a week.
March 26, 2017
With 19 letters, the Northumbrian farmstead hamlet of Cottonshopeburnfoot would hold the record for the longest single-word place name in England, were it not for it appearing on the Ordinance Survey map as Cottonshopeburn Foot.
Barely a short tractor ride along the riverbank, the official record instead goes to Blakehopeburnhaugh, with 18 letters. Little more than a few farm buildings at the meeting of the Blakehope Burn and River Rede, the literal name means ‘black valley stream with flat riverside land’.
February 19, 2017
Although, since 1965, a legal team charged with revising ancient English laws has removed over 2,000 from the statute books, the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 is still in force. Under the Act, carrying a penalty of up to 14 days in prison, it is illegal to keep a pigsty unless separated from the street by a sufficient wall or fence.
February 5, 2017
With worries that Luftwaffe bombs might put the busy central London Vauxhall Bridge out of use during the Second World War, Millbank Bridge was built alongside as a backup.
Dismantled in 1948, Millbank Bridge was reassembled across a tributary of the Zambezi River, in what is now Zambia. As it was, Vauxhall Bridge survived the war intact.
February 4, 2017
In 1751, the English army began work constructing a road across the north of England, from Carlisle in the west to Newcastle in the east. The ‘military’ road was to follow the line of Hadrian’s Wall, the Roman-built divide between England and Scotland, making use of the stone from the redundant wall in its foundations. Manual labourers, brought in to help with construction, were housed at an inn midway between the two cities. Tired and thirsty from their long journey, the workers turned for refreshment to the inn’s local ale. Story tells that, finding the ale rather weak, they requested that the landlord brew the ale again, and, from that day forth, their place of rest became known as Twice Brewed Inn.
Skip ahead a few years and, in 1934, England’s first Youth Hostel was built on Military Road, barely a stone’s throw east of Twice Brewed Inn. Officially opened by Lady Trevelyan, a staunch teetotaller, in referring to Twice Brewed Inn, she declared, “Of course, there will be no alcohol served on these premises, so I hope the tea and coffee will only be brewed once”. And so, from that day forth, it became known as the Once Brewed Youth Hostel.
The Youth Hostel, together with Twice Brewed Inn and the surrounding farms, now make up the village of Once Brewed – known by some as Twice Brewed and known by others as Once Brewed / Twice Brewed – in what is now the Northumberland National Park.