Curse or coincidence?

The cursed Hope Diamond

Tales of curses are as old as time itself. Everyone has heard stories of plunderers and archaeologists alike falling foul of ancient maledictions after disturbing the tombs of pharaohs during their eternal rest, or tales of creepy dolls bringing bad luck upon their new owners. Other hexed objects have included wooden chairs, paintings, wedding dresses, vases, and even phone numbers, but a large amount of stories about cursed objects feature jewels. Here is one such story…

The Hope Diamond

The 45.52 carat Hope Diamond is a rare blue naturally occurring diamond that currently resides in the Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC. …

The poisonous tint that created Victorian fashion victims

Lime, bottle, forest, British racing car: all descriptive words for the colour green (or names on a pretentious paint chart). But have you ever heard of Scheele’s Green?

A skeleton gentleman at a ball asks a skeleton lady to dance; representing the effect of arsenical dyes and pigments in clothing and accessories. Wood engraving, 1862. Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

In 1775, Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele created the perfect hue of vivid green by combining sodium carbonate, arsenious oxide and copper sulfate.

It was incredibly cheap to manufacture and was used to dye fabrics, wallpapers, paints, toys, confectionary, beauty products, and much more.

Victorian Britain went mad for the fashionable decor colour du jour! Due to its affordability and popularity, all classes with disposable income swathed and swagged their houses and…

From the Paris morgue to CPR training

Viewings at the Paris morgue. Jstor

Death masks have been a way of preserving the final likeness of the dead for centuries. Their general purpose was to help create acurate funeral effigies or busts of the unseeing sitter.

Many death masks are famous and are the cause of a creepy fascination of many, but none have captured the imagination quite like that of L’Inconnue de la Seine, or The unknown woman of the Seine. This unknown woman’s likeness eventually became the face of the Resusci Annie dolls that anyone who has done a first aid course will recognise.

But between her tragic death and her modern-day…

…still eaten today

Photo by Calum Lewis on Unsplash

Great Britain seems to have had a food PR problem for several decades. Most people think of fish and chips or a classic sunday roast dinner as being the height of traditional British cuisine.

But if you dig just a little bit deeper beneath the surface you will find a rich gastronomic history, from exotically spiced and delicately sauced dishes of the medieval period through to today’s vibrant food scene filled with chefs who are living off the fat of the land, and making the most of fresh, British produce.

Here we take a look at some of Britain’s historic…

Megxit, duty and Oprah…

Harry and Meghan By Mark Jones:, CC BY 2.0,

On a beautiful summer’s day in May 2018, the bunting was hung and the champagne was on ice. A fairytale straight out of The Princess Diaries came true as Meghan Markle and Prince Harry married in St George’s chapel at Windsor Castle after a whirlwind romance which caught the public’s imagination. However, almost immediately afterwards the adoration of the couple du jour began to fade, with tales and whispers about the newly minted Duchess of Sussex appearing everywhere.

Rumours begin

Even before her marriage, Meghan was being unfavourably compared to that woman, the other American divorcee who had the cheek to pollute…

From the turnip to the sublime

Dance of Death in the Nuremberg Chronicle, by Hartmann Schedel (1440–1514)

Death comes to us in many guises. We sometimes leave the mortal world in a blaze of glory, sometimes in a very mundane way on a drizzly Tuesday afternoon.

But sometimes, it happens in embarrassing or unusual ways. This is rather unfortunate if you are a historical figure and your legacy through the echoes of time isn't your just great work, but the weird way in which you left your earthly body.

Here are six of those bizarre deaths from history…

1) Saint Lawrence

You’ve arrived… now what?

Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash

Moving house and settling into a new area can be difficult. Moving to a new country entirely and having a language barrier is an even bigger challenge.

My family and I recently made the move to France. We have experienced the intitial settling in, and have learnt a fair few lessons of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to sorting out the boring official stuff and the prospect of becoming part of the community and making friends. It’s daunting but oh-so-worth it when you crack it.

If you’re sensible, you’ve spent the last months (or even years) scoping…

Warning: may contain carrots!

Shopkeeper stamping a ration book. Library of Congress

“I am speaking to you from the Cabinet Room at 10, Downing Street.”

So began the darkest news the country had endured since the Great War. At 11:15 am on Sunday 3 September 1939, British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, announced to the nation that the country was at war with Germany in a radio broadcast.

Away from the battle raging on the continent, World War II (WWII) saw another battle being fought in homes around the United Kingdom. The war led to the disruption of food imports, leaving the country at risk of starving.

Wartime spirit helped women, the elderly…

How a leap of faith helped to kickstart my life

Photo by Justin Luebke on Unsplash

“Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.”

- Winston Churchill

On paper, I had it all. I was living with my lovely boyfriend and had a very easy, reasonably well-paid job in a library at a world-renowned institution. I had great hours and generous leave in one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Why was I so dissatisfied?

I looked inward and searched the nooks and crannies of my mind and heart and came out with these realisations:

1. My job was good and I loved the people I worked with, but at…

All about us…


Welcome to The History Edit, the home of interesting stories about history.

We believe that history should entertain, enthral, delight, shock and awe. We do not believe that history should be dull and dry.

Here you will find the best snippits, the juciest morsels, and the most interesting history stories. We pride ourselves on providing entertaining narratives that are also accurate and educational.

So sit back with your (insert favourite drink here) and dig in!

Writing for The History Edit

If you would like to become part of The History Edit collective, just pop a comment on this post and you will be added as…

Jade Revell

Historian and freelance writer with special interests in Richard II, food history and a little bit of everything else.

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