27th November 1895. Too Late for a Yorath’s.

What drew me to this post was the name Yorath which at one time satisfied the thirst of south Wales, but like so many businesses has succumbed to the march of time.

It was Today in 1895 that Lloyds (Newport) Ltd was registered as Lloyd & Yorath and so acquired William Yorath & Sons and J.L. Lloyd & Company Ltd., wine and spirit merchants, High Street, Newport, Wales.

A company was operating under a William Henry Gregory until acquired by Yorath & Sons in 1877 and known as the Cambrian Brewery to that date. The name was changed to Lloyd (Newport) Ltd in 1946.

The whole enterprise was acquired by the Birmingham Brewery Ansells (‘The Better Beer’), along with 120 houses in 1951, but set to suffer the inevitable closure in 1961.(1)

Lord Raglan, Commercial Street, Newport, now a branch of Halifax.
Trout Vaults, Note Ansells Sign.

One wonders how many of these pubs are still trading in 2020? Names such as: The Six Bells, Stow Hill; The Orange Tree, St. Michaels, Street; Ship and Pilot, Church Street; Trout Vaults, Market Street and Three Salmons, Western Valley Road, Golderstone. The Salutation (Sally) once popular with merchant seamen, has been replaced by a police station. Plus ca change!

(1) Ansells Ind-Coope (south Wales Ltd), in 1968. Ansells became Ind-Coope Tetley Ansell then Allied Breweries, to later disappear from brewing altogether.

Ind Coope and Alsopp was long based in Burton-on-Trent, Staffs., known for its Double Diamond which was said to ‘Work Wonders’.







20th November 1792. The Consequences of Radicalism.

Radicalism increased resulting from the Napoleonic Wars along with Republicanism in Europe, later to be aided by the works of Marx and Engels, (‘bourgeois radicals’, as Labour’s prime-minister Attlee was to describe them).

The conflict against Napoleon caused much social unrest typified by the Republicans and Levellers whose association had been launched at a meeting at the Crown and Anchor Tavern in London Today on the 20th November. (1)

However there were many influential sympathisers from a wide range of society, including the writer William Godwin, poet William Wordsworth and industrialist Samuel Whitbread MP., supporting the likes of revolutionary Thomas Muir who was to be transported to Botany Bay.

The term Radical was used up until 1819 to describe so-called ‘radical’ parliamentary reformers such as Major John Cartwright who desired much the same as reformer William Cobbett: annual parliaments, universal suffrage and secret ballots.

But Cobbett originally a Tory, disliked Cartwright’s network of clubs, the pattern for the London Corresponding Society formed in 1792 in Clerkenwell, which stimulated Christopher Wyvill to later set up the rival County Association to represent the Landed Interest to counter the perceived threat of the likes of Cartwright.

London’s Clerkenwell Green had long been the home of radicalism since the revolutionary Wat Tyler encamped there in the 14thc to be superseded by the demands of the Chartists and others in the 19th century with a desire for political reform.

Clerkenwell Green 1898.

The newly emerging unions were also seen as a threat to the social order meeting in its taverns, whilst the returning Tolpuddle Martyrs were first greeted on the Green where later pro-Fenians were to meet. It was also a haven for Welsh Dissenters, Catholic recusants and supporters of the Paris Commune: the offices of the Communist Morning Star were nearby.

Such was the fear of revolution in late 18thc Britain that William Pitt saw fit to introduce Treason Legislation and Trials of 1794-95 to ward off any importation of what was happening across the Channel.

In 1794 the Pitt Treason Trials were an extension of the Sedition Trials of 1792-1793 intended to cripple the radical movement, resulting in 30 being arrested, three for treason.

In 1793 fear of Republicanism caused the government to draft a Traiterous Correspondence Bill, introduce a new Treason Act and suspend Habeus Corpus.

However the presiding judge who took a surprisingly, for those times, impartial approach, was the Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, James Eyre (1734-1799).

It ended with the three charged with treason, Thomas Hardy, John Horne Tooke and John Thelwall, being exonerated by three separate juries, the rest were dismissed, but referred to by Pitt as ‘morally guilty’.

It is a melancholy thought to read that as late as the end of the 18th century, The Treason Act 1790 modified the penalty for High and Petty Treason; for females it substituted burning, (from 5th June), to drawing on a hurdle and hanging!

(1) On 28th November 1792 John Hatsell Clerk to the Commons referred to the Association for Preserving Liberty and Property ‘against this growth in radicalism’.





15th November 1971.

A plaque records on the site of the old Standard Telephone & Cable Company (STC) at Southgate, north London: ‘The first spoken word from the Western Hemisphere to these islands received in the grounds of this factory on 14th January 1923’.

Telecommunications made great strides in the 20th century and it was Today on 15th November 1971 when Intel released the first commercial microcomputer, the 4004.

Little did we as a nation know the impact this piece of information would have on their lives in the next thirty years. The first PC was the MITS Altair 8800 of 1974 followed by Apple 1 and 11, Commodore PET and the original IBM PC 1981. By 1986 The Amstrad (Alan Sugar Trading) PC 1512 introduced the home computer with green screens to minimize eye strain.

The Xerox Alto computer (commercial version the Xerox Star) is important as it had ‘wimp’ interface with windows, icons, menu and pointing device and was revolutionary not so much as it used windows as it used a mouse, graphical icons and a menu.

Microsoft wrote its first window version in 1985 and Windows 95 turned Bill Gates into household name. Sir Tim Berners-Lee at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), atom-smasher in Geneva, developed a way of sharing information across many types of computer with Hypertext Transfer Protocol HTTP, thus the first World-Wide-Web (www) on the Internet was born.

In 1964 IBM launched the System/ 360 Mainframe followed by System/370 in 1970 which set new standards for sophistication and flexibility for business. Britain’s only large-scale manufacturer of main-frame computers was ICL which received preferential treatment for government contracts.

But it was IBM who secured 40% of overall British market. ICL was acquired by Standard Telephones & Cables (STC) and eventually was sold to Fujitsu. In 1981 the epoch making IBM PC was first marketed; the first desktop PC.

Ferranti built the first commercial available computer the Ferranti Mark I, delivered in 1951, in association with Cambridge and Manchester University Computer Departments which resulted in the development of the Mercury and Atlas Machine ( Manchester) and Atlas 2 or Titan (Cambridge).

In the early 1980s Ferranti produced some of the logic arrays for home computers such as the Sinclair ZX81, 2X Spectrum, Acorn Electron and BBC. In 1988 the micro-electronics was sold to Plessey.(1)

One pioneer of the commercial development of computers was J. Lyons in October 1947 which were interested in new office management technology. The LEO 1 was operating in April 1951 and ran the world’s first regular routine office computer.

On 17th November 1951 Lyons began a weekly operation of a bakery valuation job on LEO (Lyons Electronic Office) and was the first business application to go live on a stored programmed computer.

(1) In 1935 Ferranti moved into ’brown goods’ (radios and TVs) the business being sold to Ecko in 1957 which ceased in 1993.



Ferranti and British Electrical Industry. J.F.Wilson.



8th November 1899. Calico.

Calico initially from Calicut in India, is a plain, unbleached, woollen and not fully processed cotton. It is less fine than Muslin, but less coarse than canvas and denim.

Today in 1899 Calico Printers Association was incorporated as a company with its first HQ at Charlotte Street, Manchester. In 1912 they moved to a new Edwardian Baroque building cloaked in Portland Stone. (1)

Drawing published in 1913 of Oxford Street HQ.

The Company was formed from 48 textile printers and 13 textile merchants. In 1941 Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) was discovered by J.R. Whinfield of Accrington in the laboratories. This new polythene was developed into the synthetic textile fibre Terylene by ICI.

PET chemical formula (C10 H8 O4 )(n) is the most common thermoplastic polymer resin of the polyester family used in clothing fibres.

Share certificate dated 1st June 1965 in name of Dr. Robert Henry Matthews.

Thus the polymer is a fibre as polyester and in plastic bottles is described as PET which for re-cycling purposes is to be found on the base.

Calico Printers acquired the assets of United Turkey Red Company in 1960 and in 1968 merged with English Sewing Cotton Company to form English Calico Ltd, changing its name in 1973 to Tootal Ltd. (2)

(1) Architects were Clegg, Fryer and Penman with the Edwardian Baroque style being popular in the British Empire. It was less ornate than the High Victorian style.

It emanated from 2 main styles; the French architecture of the 18thc and the Wren of the 17thc. Sir Edwin Lutyens was an exponent and it was contemporary with the Art Nouveau.

(2) United Turkey Red of Dumbarton, Scotland. Dyers, Calico, Printers estab. 1898. They were the largest bleaching, finishing, dying, printing company in Scotland.



Calico Printers Assoc., Ltd (1949). 50 years of Calico Printing.

United Turkey Red Co. Graces Guide.


5th November, 1958. Housing.

Proving ownership of land in absence of documents is problematic and forgeries of Crown grants to such also made for problems especially if land was subject to Common Law Encumbrances (mortgage), so in the 18thc the Land Registry was founded.

Today in 1958 the Conservative Macmillan Government announced a new initiative for cheap home loans, making it easier to get mortgages on pre-1919 properties. A deposit of £125 was needed with up to 20 years to repay a 6% mortgage. Macmillan had been charged with building 300,000 houses a year as Minister of Housing in the early 1950s, which he achieved.

Home ownership started with the advent of the ‘Terminating’ Building Society in Birmingham in 1775 when a building club might be started by a bricklayer with members perhaps subscribing 2 guineas per month and each house valued for about a £100 was balloted. When all houses had been built the society was disbanded. The disadvantage of this was that funds were limited to monthly subscriptions and that it took many years for all members to be housed.

Many in the 19thc joined Friendly Societies to avoid hardship and the workhouse and a small fee would guarantee funds to workers in illness and cover funeral expenses and under the 1875 Act the right to own land and property in the name of trustees.

With names like the Order of the Sons of Temperance, The Manchester Oddfellows, The Druids, and The Ancient Order of Foresters Friendly Society, to the Liverpool Victoria and Royal Liver Assurance they still offer health, educational grants and life cover to this day.

By 1849 thirteen societies were registered in Birmingham and ‘Permanent Societies’ developed where money was borrowed and lent at interest following the national bank rate. As each mortgage was repaid, the money was lent to new borrowers, so there was no need to disband the society.

But it was expansion at a price as builders created a situation close to renting so they could control their mortgagors by weekly collections and other dubious practices.

It took the campaign by Elsy Borders in West Wickham, Kent against the Bradford Third Equitable Building Society by organising a mortgage strike because of faulty workmanship. Though 3,000 were to join the strike the case ended in the Lords where she lost her case, but by then The Building Society Act of 1939 had resulted. In addition to rent control the first war and post war initiated public house-building mainly by local councils.

Housing tenure for 1914 in England and Wales shows owner-occupiers to be 10%; local authority 1%; private rentals 80%. In 1977 in sequence: 54%, 32% and 9% and by 1990 was 67%, 24% and 7%. Between the wars 1.9 million dwellings were built mainly directly or with public subsidies as against 2.7m by private builders.

The 1915 Rent and Mortgages Interest Restrictions (War) Act as a result of this private landlordship became less profitable and tenants’ rights more secure and renting from Local Authorities more important.

The 1919 Housing and Town Planning Act required Local Authorities to prepare surveys and submit schemes for building houses to be financed by a government subsidy to cover expenditure in excess of the product of a penny rate with controlled rents. However the Act had proved extravagant and was sharply cut back in 1921 and completely stopped in 1922 at a time of financial stringency.

With new Acts of 1923, 1924 and 1925 Corporation building was resumed and by the end of the decade many houses had been built and under the 1930 Housing (Slum Clearance) Act much further building took place.

In the Author’s town of Burton-on-Trent the building was mostly completed by 1934 and between 1935 and 1938 there was relatively little building, but under the 1938 Housing (Financial Provisions) Act a final spate was ended by World War II.

Post 1945 increasing births and expectations meant a low building rate was inadequate with only 200,000 built between 1949 and 1951. In the latter year a Ministry of Housing was created as a separate ministry which made the prestigue of Harold Macmillan who achieved his targets, though at the cost of a cut in building standards.

Building was mainly by councils though the 1950s saw the private sector grow as war-time restrictions were eased. Before this change out of 13½m dwellings in England and Wales, 3 million were publicly owned and another 4 million rent controlled.

Post-War Pre-fabs.

Rents went up in un-controlled tenancies after the 1957 Act leading to Rachmanism. Post war the acute housing shortage caused by bombing was solved by the erection of ½ a million ‘pre-fabs’ and though built with a life span of 15 years, some were around in the 1960s. By 1976 a mortgage rate of 12.25% was not to deter property speculators mostly Arabs cashing in on the oil boom. (1)

Another Conservative initiative was the 1980 Housing Act of Margaret Thatcher, which gave tenants the right to buy Council Houses on a sliding-scale based on length of occupation, with 100% mortgages.

More than a million houses were sold, roughly a fifth of the stock, which reduced their availability for those wanting council houses. Many were to be repossessed in the 1990s as too many low-paid were drawn into the market. By the credit-crunch of 2007 inability to re-pay loans was a major cause of bank problems and collapse.

One of the great blights of the 1930s was the ‘ribbon-development’ of the uniform style, semi-detached houses on roads out of urban areas.(2)


(1) The Eponymous Rachmanism was unscrupulous abuse by private property owners.

(2) A significant change post-2005 was a remarkable growth in private rentals. Houses built in England and Wales 1919-24: Local Authorities, 176,914, Private 221,543; 1945-49: 432,098, 126,317; 1965-69: 761,224, 994,361; 1986-90: 155,500, 903,600.


Many references from sources in the public domain.


The History of Burton. 1974. Dennis Stuart.


4th November 1946. Warmest November Day until…

November-The ninth Roman month from the Latin for nine when in 44 BCE the calendar changed to that based on the solar cycle. It had 29 days in Republican and 30 in the Julian calendars. It was the Anglo-Saxon wint-monath-month of wind.

Of all the months November is the least likely to be dry. Between 1971-2000 normal rainfall was 3.94 inches, but during the 1990s, November rain stood at 5.04in which was 25% more than the next wettest months of October and December, which was well over double that of July, on average the driest.

It was on 4th November in 1946 when the highest November temperature (at the time), in the UK, under standard conditions at 21.7c (71f), was recorded at Prestatyn, Flintshire. This resulted when the foehn wind descended the lee slope of the Welsh hills

Exceptional warmth in the month is almost always imported from sub-tropical latitudes by a strong south-westerly or southerly wind.

In the lee of high ground the warmth is accentuated by the compression of air descending the mountain slopes, a mechanism known as the ‘foehn effect’ after the dry wind of the Alpines. Similarly Edinburgh’s 69f (20.6 c) was the highest in Scotland on this date.

November sunshine is normally feeble so sunshine contributes little to temperature on these relatively warm days. England’s warmest none foehn related temperature was on November 5th 1938 when 70f (21.1c) was recorded at several sites in East Anglia and the South East.

If we define a very dry month as having less than an inch of rain there have been only three such Novembers in the last 275 years compared with nine Octobers and ten Decembers.

The driest November on record (up to 2007) was in 1945 when the average over England and Wales was just 0.67inches (17mm), whilst Fleetwood had none, the only record of a rainless November in the record books.

However records are there to be broken, so the 1946 figure was beaten on 1st November 2015 when the temperature reached 22.4 (c) (72.40 (f) again in Wales at Trawsgoed, Ceredigion at 2pm.





28th October 1893. Power of the Electron.

Today saw the birth of [Sir]Christopher Kelk Ingold known for his ground-breaking work in the 1920s and 1930s on the reaction mechanism and electron structure of organic compounds.

He is especially known as one of the chief pioneers in physical organic chemistry for his introduction in 1929 of the concepts, among many, of the Nucleophile and Electrophile. (1)

A Nucleophile (electron rich), donates an Electron Pair to form a bond and by so doing constitutes a Lewis Base.

In general within a row across the Periodic Table, the more basic the charged ion (the higher the pka of the conjugate acid), the more reactive it is as a nucleophile. (2)

Electrophiles are molecules and atoms that are ‘happy’ to take (accept) electrons from others and are Lewis Acids.

Examples of Electrophiles are molecules where atoms have a big difference in electronegativity; for example HCl (hydrogen chloride; a carbonyl (Carbon double bonded (=) to Oxygen); or an oxidizing agent.

Electrophiles are attacked by nucleophiles, being opposite kinds of molecule, resulting in an Addition Reaction, where a molecule acquires and is enlarged by extra atoms.

As in chemistry as in the wider world there are always forces eager to attack others in an attempt at gaining an advantage which once achieved results in the aggrandisement of the more powerful force until equilibrium is attained.

(1) Nucleophile (nucleus and philos (loving) and Electrophile (electron philos (loving) replaced Cationoid and Anionoid proposed by A.J.Lapworth in 1925.

(2) p [power]Ka denotes strength of an acid; the lower pKa indicates a stronger acid.

Ka measures the strength of acid in a solution and is more specific than pH (power or potential of Hydrogen.

NB: A Lewis Acid can accept 2 electrons to form covalent bonds. A Lewis Base gives 2 electrons to form a bond.




26th October 1940. Whistle for It.

Whistles have sounded a mixture of triumph and disaster in sporting occasions, in the shattered waste-land of World War I and in the call to life-boats on the ill-fated Titanic, to name a few: one of the major figures in the manufacture and development of whistles was the Hudson Family of Birmingham.

Birmingham City Police Whistles. West Midlands Police Museum.

It was Today in 1940 that the Joseph Hudson Whistle Factory in Birmingham received a direct hit in an air-raid.

The Popular ACME Thunderer.

The Company was founded in the 1870s in the Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham by Joseph Hudson (1848-1930) and his brother James and set to become the largest manufacturer of ACME whistles.
Joseph developed his whistle tinkering in his shed at a time when the police were struggling with their use of wooden rattles and the idea of putting a pea inside meant the sound could be heard up to a mile. His demonstration at Scotland Yard in 1884 secured him a police outlet in London and further interest came from the military, sporting use and the railways. (1)

Wooden Rattle which preceded the police whistle. Alamy Images.

Hudson at the time was the only company in the UK to use wood-horn, Bakelite, plastic and silver in his products.

Hudson moved to Barr Street, Birmingham where they continue to manufacture whistles, sirens and hooters.

(1) 1878 saw the first use of whistles in football at a time when 2 umpires were on the pitch with a referee as mediator. Before whistles, any signals were made by a hankie or a shout. Umpires were replaced in 1891 by a referee on the pitch with his whistle.



gdfra.org.au. History of Whistles.

news.bbc.co.uk. 24.5.2009. Bob Walker. BBC 5 Live. Whistles Through History.


21st October 1809:Lichen and Uses.

Fungi can’t Photosynthesise as they are lacking the green pigment Chlorophyll.

The Scottish organic Chemist, John Stenhouse born Today in 1809, was known to have registered many patents in a wide variety of applications, but focused on the chemical products of plants and derivatives. Many were of medicinal and commercial value for example he discovered Betorcinol an homologue of Orcinol, and Erythritol which are both found in Lichens. (1)

Erythritol is a sugar alcohol, a food additive and sugar substitute and was discovered in 1848 by Stenhouse. It is found naturally in some fruits and fermented food and made from corn using an enzyme fermentation. At the industrial level it is produced from Glucose by fermentation with yeast.

Erythritol is 60%-70% as sweet as sucrose (table sugar) and is non-caloric.

White wool dyed with ‘Orchella Weeds’, using the traditional method.

Orcinol is used in the production of the dye Orcein (also known as Orchil and Lacmus), and is extracted from several lichen species known as ‘Orchella Weeds’. The major source of Orcein is Archil Lichen (Roccella tinctoria). (See below).

The Fungus, Roccella tinctoria.

Orcinol is extracted from Archil Lichen and converted to Orcein by Ammonia and Air. Back in the day, urine was the source of the Ammonia.

Most of the common Lichens are to be found on trees and walls with a tendency towards being orange and grey and spread at a microscopic speed which gives some idea of age. (2)

(1) Stenhouse, whose father was in making calico, manufactured and prepared materials for dressing yarns and textiles. He also discovered the absorbent qualities of wood charcoal and its disinfectant and deodorising qualitities which he utilized in air-filter respirators. He died in 1880.

An Homologue has a similar chemical molecular structure and the same Functional Group.

(2) Lichen or Lichenized fungus is 2 organisms functioning as a single stable unit. Lichen comprises a fungus living in symbiotic relationship with Alga or Cyanobacterium. There are c 17000 species wordwide.




The Scots chemist John Stenhouse, born Today in 1809 was an organic chemist known for the registering of many patents, but also for his work of the chemistry of plants and their derivatives having a medicinal and commercial value. (1)He discovered Betorcinol, a homologue of Orcinol and Erythritol, both found in Lichens.(2

20th October 1960. Timely End of Censorship.

Today in 1960 in No 1 Court at the Old Bailey, London, the ‘Lady Chatterley Book’ trial opened before Mr Justice Byrne.

Mervyn Griffiths-Jones for the prosecution implored the jury to consider; ‘if the book is one you would even wish your servants to read’. It took the jury three hours to decide to ignore the judge’s summing-up and on 2nd November to return a verdict of ‘not guilty’. Thus did the infamous book open the door to the so-called ‘swinging sixties’.

It was a routine announcement by Penguin Books on 25th August which set the machinery in action when they announced an intention to publish a ‘popular’ unexpurgated edition at 3s 6d (old money), of D.H. Lawence’s 1928 classic, a book previously available in Britain in the 1932 abridged and much-censored version. But only a matter of weeks before the Director of Public Prosecutions informed Penguin they intended to prosecute under the 1959 Obscene Publications Act.

In the early 1960s censorship seemed absurd when a sketch on TV seen by millions in David Frost’s TWTWTW about the sinking of the royal barge was banned on stage in an era now bereft of any sacred cows. Though the BBC in a last ditch effort eventually had to pull the plug on the programme with an election looming. However after the Labour Party victory in 1964 satire lost much of its edge as the Tory target was gone. (1)

The 1960s was the decade which saw Benthamite or Utilitarian philosophies adopted by both Tories and Labour, where action should be judged ‘good’ insofar as it produced the greatest happiness of the greatest number; actions to be judged on likely consequences, a belief not of absolute values of the dogma of Christianity, but in relative Utilitarian and humanitarian ones.

The Decade thus saw a new laissez-faire in the 1960 Betting and Gaming Act; the 1965 Abolition of the Death Penalty; The 1967 Abortion Act; The 1967 Sexual offences Act, before which homosexuals could be arrested for private consensual acts. The 1968 Theatres Act; The 1969 Divorce Act, the same year as voting age was reduced from 21 to 18.

(1) TWTWTW abbreviation for the cult satire programme: That was the week that was. It was presented by cult presenter David Frost, rarely out of the public eye.