83. Accidents

Monday, October 8th, 2018

‘We do not suffer by accident’ (Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice).

Welcome to Histories of the Unexpected where you will discover the history of things you did not know even had a history, like the history of the bubble, or the history of the fart. For this episode let us join the General Secretary of the Workers Party of the Past, Professor James Daybell, and the centurion of centuries, Dr Sam Willis, as by a stroke of good luck and happy coincidences they discover the unexpected history of accidents.

Our two fortunate historical adventurers take you on a journey of serendipity and calamities, chance and disaster, from the surviving records of the surgeon serving on HMS Edgar from 1797 to 1799 to the log book of HMS Alexander in 1771 and the accounts of the training undertaken by ‘Topmen’, from the mutiny onboard HMS Hermione in 1797 to Thomas Tusser’s instructional poem on good husbandry written in 1573, and from the stories of Tufty Fluffytail created by Elsie Mills in 1953 to the poignant messages chalked on the walls by miners who survived the initial blast but later perished in fires of the Wellington Pit disaster in 1910.

Whilst avoiding all set backs and misfortune, Sam and James discover that this unexpected history is actually all about: confidence and training, record keeping and safety tips, legislation and government bodies, rules and regulations, gallantry and courage, tragedy and loss, love and family. Listen out as Sam explains why the grey squirrel may be the Japanese knot weed of the animal kingdom and James lets us know what was the most dangerous activity in Tudor England.

‘They’re funny things, accidents. You never have them till you’re having them’   (Eeyore in Pooh’s Little Instruction Book’ (1996), inspired by A. A. Milne, written by J. Powers & E. Howard Shepard)

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