Page 60. " a complete set of the Britannica "
Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition (1911)
Creative Commons AttributionEncyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition (1911) - Credit: Stewart Butterfield

The Encyclopaedia Britannica has been respected as a reliable source of information since the late eighteenth century, when the first edition was produced in Scotland (between 1768 and 1771). It is the oldest publication of its kind in the world: its founders, Colin MacFarquhar, Andrew Bell and William Smellie intended it to be "the worldwide leader in reference, education and learning".


Page 63. " entertaining two guests, a young lady and gentleman, in the summerhouse "

Creative Commons AttributionSummerhouse - Credit: Neosnaps
Summerhouses come in a wide range of architectural styles: classical stone (as in the illustration), wooden structures that can be turned to follow the sun, or simple brickwork. A summerhouse is a place to rest, to read, or to serve tea.

Page 63. " a bath-chair arrived and with not a little difficulty, my father was transported into the house "

The bath-chair, invented in Bath in the eighteenth century, was a means of transporting an invalid.  It was a chair mounted on a chassis, with wheels resembling those of a pram. It usually had a folding hood in case of rain, with a built-in glass window. The first bath-chairs were pulled along by a small horse or donkey, but they were later redesigned so as to be pushed by a helper or propelled by the invalid themselves.


Page 72. " a colleague from his lordship's Foreign Office days "

The Foreign Office in Winter
Creative Commons AttributionThe Foreign Office in Winter - Credit: Foreign & Commonwealth Office
The Foreign Office was formed in March 1782 under Prime Minister Charles Watson-Wentworth, second Marquis of Rockingham, with the purpose of furthering Britain's interests abroad.

The department (now the British & Commonwealth Foreign Office) is based in Whitehall, and it was here in 1925 that the seven Locarno Treaties were signed by Germany, France, Belgium, Italy and the United Kingdom in an attempt to secure peace in western Europe.

Page 74. " figures such as Lord Daniels, Professor Maynard Keynes, and Mr H. G. Wells "

Only two of the three are real figures: H. G. Wells and Professor Maynard Keynes.

John Maynard Keynes
Public DomainJohn Maynard Keynes - Credit: IMF

John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) is remembered for his macroeconomic theories, published in his book The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936), which suggested that in times of widespread unemployment a government could stimulate an economy by increasing public spending and reducing taxes. Keynesian monetary theory was incorporated into governmental fiscal policy, albeit not strictly in the way that Keynes had advocated, and remained in force until the 1970s when it was replaced by monetarism.  However the recent recession has seen a resurgence of interest in Keynes's ideas.

Herbert George Wells in 1943
Public DomainHerbert George Wells in 1943 - Credit: Yousuf Karsh

Herbert George Wells (1866-1946) was a prolific author of 20 fiction novels, over 40 short stories and 4 non fiction works. Much of his fiction was considered visionary, covering a broad range of science fiction and fantasy.

In 1933 his futuristic novel The Shape of Things to Come predicted the outbreak of war between Germany and Poland; recent months had seen the rise of the Nazis, violent attacks on Jews and enforced sterilisations in Germany. The Nazi party won the 1933 German elections with 17 million votes.

One of his science fiction novels gained great notoriety in 1938: a radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds caused widespread panic in the United States as over a million listeners, missing the first few minutes of the broadcast, believed that the fictional news reports of machines from outer space landing in New Jersey were true.

No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own ...


Page 75. " fair play had not been done at Versailles "
The Big Four
Public DomainThe Big Four - Credit: Edward N Jackson

The Peace Treaty of Versailles, signed in June 1919 to end World War 1, was widely considered too harsh a burden for Germany to bear, particularly as President Woodrow Wilson's fourteen points, intended to ensure a just and lasting peace, did not appear to have been met. In later years, it was thought that the humiliating conditions imposed upon Germany may have contributed to the rise of national socialism and the emergence of the Nazi regime.

Neither Wilson nor British Prime Minister David Lloyd George wanted to push Germany into severe recession, partly because the British and American economies would suffer as a consequence. However Lloyd George was caught in a dilemma, having promised the British people that he would make Germany suffer for the war.

French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau and others were intent on punitive action to prevent any future invasions of France, and were determined to push the Treaty through as it stood without any concessions or compromises.

Photograph (left to right): Prime Minister David Lloyd George of the United Kingdom, Premier Vittorio Orlando of Italy, French Premier Georges Clemenceau, and President Woodrow Wilson of the USA, at the Paris Peace Conference 1918.

Page 75. " as he folded The Times with some disgust "

The Times newspaper first appeared in 1785 as The Universal Daily Register. In 1788 the name was changed to its current title.

It earned the tongue-in-cheek alternative title of The Thunderer in 1830, following a vigorous attack on a court verdict and a subsequent leader: "we thundered out that article in Tuesday’s paper which caused so great a sensation..."