Category Archives: Educational texts

Harrow School



Harrow School is one of the most celebrated schools in the British Isles. The schools is located in the London suburb of Harrow.

In the 1570s a businessman named Sir John Lyons approached Queen Elizabeth I. He requested her permission to found a school. Her Majesty was graciously pleased to accede to his humble petition. The country needed schools to be founded. 40 years earlier King Henry VIII had closed many schools as part of his Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Sir John founded the school. Harrow was then a village in the County of Middlesex. It was a dozen miles from London. The school was built on a hill. The school was for boys only. Back then perhaps a third of boys went to school. Most boys never learnt to read. Very few girls went to school.

The school was connected to the Church of England. The Church of England was the official form of Christianity. Other types of Christianity were not permitted. Almost every boy at the school was an Anglican – a member of the Church of England. A chapel was built at the school. The boys were required to attend divine worship daily.

The school was primarily for boys from the parish of Harrow. A parish is an area of land which belongs to a particular church. All the people living within a few miles of that church were supposed to worship in that church on Sunday. The parish was also the smallest unit of land for the purposes of governance. Those who were not from the parish were permitted to attend the school but were called ‘foreigners’. Boys from the parish went for free. Foreigners had to pay.

The curriculum chiefly consisted of Latin and Greek. People read the Bible a great deal. The brightest boys learnt Hebrew so they could read the Old Testament in the original. English was not considered a respectable language. Higher education was in Latin. Law courts operated in Latin. Governmental documents were composed in Latin. Diplomacy was conducted in the Latin language.

The school soon acquired a reputation for excellence. Within 200 years it was considered one of the most distinguished schools in the realm. It had a healthy rivalry with Eton which lay 20 miles to the south-west. Aristocrats sent their sons to Harrow.

Boys came to Harrow aged about 10 and stayed on till perhaps 15. Some went on to the two great English universities.

Sir William Jones was a celebrated philologist and jurist who studied here. The first Prime Minister who have been a schoolboy at Harrow was Spencer Perceval. He was assassinated in 1812. He is the only Prime Minister to have been assassinated. The man who killed Perceval was John Bellingham. John Bellingham’s descendants went to Eton.

In the 19th century Harrow expanded considerably. It came to have several boarding houses. The oldest one is called the Headmaster’s House. The headmaster was housemaster of the Headmaster’s House. He no longer is since the school is so huge that he cannot perform that duty now.

There was a French invasion scare in the 1860s. The school therefore founded a cadet corps. The boys did military training.

The boys often went hunting. They had horses at the school.

The school developed its own form of football called Harrow Football. However, in the late 19th century boys began to play Association Football – as in the sport that is known as ‘football’ in almost every country. Rugby also became popular. There was an outdoor pool. Boxing was also allowed. Cricket was played in the summer. There is no rowing here. That is because the school is far from the River Thames.

Harrow began to play cricket in a three sided competition against Eton College and Winchester College. This was played at Lord’s – the main cricket stadium. This was a three day event and a date on the London social season. In the late 19th century the Wykehamists (boys from Winchester) disgraced themselves so badly that Winchester was kicked out of the tournament. Eton and Harrow still play each other at Lord’s in June.

In the 19th century some boys from Scotland came to the school. They were Protestants but usually not Anglicans. They were mostly members of the Church of Scotland. They were welcomed by the school.

At the end of the 19th century Roman Catholics and Jewish boys were permitted to enter the school. Hindus and Muslims entered the schools. At first the non-Christians were a tiny, tiny proportion of the school.

Prime Ministers who attended this school included Sir Robert Peel, the Earl of Aberdeen and Viscount Palmerston. Later Sir Stanley Baldwin became Prime Minister too.

In 1905 an Indian boy named Jawahar Lal Nehru enrolled at Harrow. He was diffident and very well behaved.  He became Prime Minister of his nation.

Sir Winston Churchill was also at this school. He was considered an academic laggard. Like dull witted boys he went to join the army. He enlisted in the cavalry which was for the dimmest of the dim.

The school has a farm. Many boys go and run their family’s estates.

In the late 20th century Harrow lost its political edge. It has expanded though. It has boys from China, Nigeria and Malaysia.

Harrow has schools in Beijing and Bangkok. It remains all boys.

The colours of the school are black and white. Boys who have been here are called Old Harrovians. The school song is Forty Years on.  Famous old boys include Alan de Boton, Lord Butler of Brockwell, Lord Guthrie, Richard Curtis, James Blunt and Benedict Cumberbatch.


  1. When was Harrow School founded?
  2. Which man founded it?
  3. Which queen gave him permission?
  4. What did a ‘foreigner’ mean at Harrow in the beginning?
  5. Which philologist attended the school?
  6. The headmaster was housemaster of which house?
  7.  Which two languages were the basis of the curriculum?
  8. Which Christian denomination is this school attached to?
  9. What geographical feature is the school on?
  10.  What are the colours of the school?
  11. Harrow played a three sided cricket competition against which two other schools?
  12. Where does Harrow play against Eton?
  13.  Does Harrow row?
  14.  Name two other sports played here?
  15.  Name five British PMs who have been there?
  16. Which Indian PM was an Old Harrovian?
  17. Harrow has schools in which other lands?
  18. WHat non British nationalities attend Harrow?
  19.  Are there girls at Harrow?
  20.  What is your opinion of Harrow? Five marks.





Cambridge University



Cambridge University is one of the most distinguished universities on the planet. Sometimes it has been ranked top. Cambridge is located in the United Kingdom.

In the 14th century some academics and students fled from riots in Oxford. They went to the fens in Cambridge and founded a university there.

There are about 30 colleges in Cambridge. The oldest of these is called Peterhouse. Notice that it is always ‘Peterhouse’ and never ‘Peterhouse College’. The colleges vary in size. All of them are mixed now. Cambridge has a federal system. The colleges are like states in a federation. Colleges have slightly different characters.

At Cambridge undergraduates usually do just one subject. If they do two or even three these tend to be closely related. At this university people can read all the mainstream subjects such as English, Maths, Biology, History, Geography and Information Technology, Religious Studies, Drama etc… One can study almost any language that you care to name. Some people do Classics – Latin and Greek. People can study subjects that lead directly to a profession – Medicine, Law and Architecture. Veterinary Medicine is not available at Cambridge. There are subjects that are combination such as Social and Political Sciences (SPS). SPS include Politics, Economics and another subject from this area which can be Philosophy, Sociology, History or Geography.

Most colleges do most subjects. It is not the case that one college is for Spanish, another is for Music and another is for Physics.

Trinity is the most magnificent of Cambridge colleges. It is also very large. King’s College is another very noble college. King’s was founded by Henry VI. He set up King’s the year after he founded Eton College. King’s scholars would go to Eton and after a few years go on to King’s College, Cambridge. After some time King’s took boys who had not been to Eton. The coat of arms of Eton and King’s are almost identical. However, the connection has long since been severed. Almost nobody from Eton goes to King’s these days. King’s gives its name to the nearby street – King’s Parade.

Women were admitted to Cambridge in the 1870s. They could attend lectures like male undergraduates. The female undergraduates did all the work that boys did and sat all the exams. However, they could not be awarded a degree. They were given a letter saying that they had satisfied all the conditions of graduating but had not been awarded a degree. This was an absurd situation. Only in 1949 did Cambridge University award degrees to women.

There were boys colleges and girls colleges. In the 1960s they started to go mixed. The majority of students at Cambridge are women.

There is a Chancellor of Cambridge University. He is elected for life by the graduates of the university. The incumbent is Prince Philip – the Queen’s husband. A woman could hold this office but thus far no woman has ever been elected to it.

King’s College Cambridge holds the most famous carol service in the world. It began in 1919. The chaplain of the college started a new style of worship. He had been an army chaplain in the First World War. He found a more innovative and entertaining style or worship engaged his congregation. The carol service at King’s commence at eleven o’clock. It consists of nine lessons and nine carols. The ‘lessons’ are Biblical readings. The readings and carols are always the same. It is broadcast live across the Commonwealth. The choir includes boys from King’s College School – as in they have unbroken voices. The opening hymn is ‘Once in Royal David’s City’. Three boys are trained for this. The one who has been picked to sing is told only seconds beforehand.

There is a friendly rivalry between Oxford and Cambridge. They are collectively known as Oxbridge. Take the ‘Ox’ from Oxford and add it to the ‘bridge’ of Cambridge and you have Oxbridge. Sometimes they are called Varsity. This is an abbreviation of ‘university’. Then change the ‘e’ to an ‘a’.

There are Blues matches. These are sports matches between Oxford and Cambridge. They are called Blues matches because both sides wear blue. Oxford wears navy blue and Cambridge wears light blue.

The Varsity match is the first Saturday in December. It is a rugby match played at Twickenham which is the English national rugby stadium.

The University Boat Race is rowed on the Thames in London. It is held on the Sunday before Easter. This is the oldest rowing race in the world. It started in 1829 and has been held every year except during the world wars. It was sometimes held at Henley-on-Thames and sometimes at Westminster. For over a century is has been rowed starting at Putney.

The city is bisected by the River Cam. The name is pronounced ‘kam’ to rhyme with ‘ham’. However, the city’s name is pronounced ”CAME  bridge” with the first syllable rhyming with ‘tame’.

There are gorgeous meadows called the Backs. People punt up and down there. The land is very flat. Cambridge is a town and not a city. It has a science park.

Someone who studies at Cambridge is a Cantabrigian. This is derived from the word ‘Cantabrigensis’ – the Latin for ‘of Cambridge’. Oxonians sometimes called Cantabrigians ‘tabs’ which is a contraction of ‘Cantabrigensis’. Tab is mildly cheeky.


  1. Which country is Cambridge in?
  2. Where did the first students at Cambridge study before they arrived in Cambridge?
  3. What river bisects Cambridge?
  4. What are the Backs?
  5.  Which is the oldest college in Cambridge?
  6. Who founded King’s College?
  7. Boys from which school used to go to King’s College?
  8. What is a Blues match?
  9. Which blue do Cambridge wear?
  10.  What is the Varsity match?
  11. What is the University Boat Race?
  12. Where does this race start?
  13. When was the race not held?
  14. Which was the first year for the university boat Race?
  15. Name five subjects that can be studied at Cambridge?
  16.  Are men allowed to go to Cambridge?
  17.  Which Latin word means ‘of Cambridge’?
  18. What is the slightly mocking word that Oxonians use in relation to Cambridge students or graduates?
  19. Who is the chancellor of this university?
  20.  How many women have served as chancellor?
  21. What is your opinion of Cambridge University? Five marks.
  22.  What does Oxbridge mean?
  23.  What other word means the same as Oxbridge?

Bruce Reynold comprehension========================================



Bruce Reynolds was born in 1931. Reynolds was a Londoner. He came from a working class family. He lived by the River Thames in an area called Putney. His mother died young. His father then remarried.

In the Second World War Bruce was evacuated to the countryside. Children were sent out of big cities to prevent them being killed by bombs. It is there that he began petty crimes. He returned to London. He stole from his mother-in-law’s purse.

As a teenager he left school. He worked as an office boy for a newspaper. One of his friends drew him into stealing from shops. They broke in at night and stole cigarettes. These could be easily sold. Eventually he was caught. Bruce was sent to Borstal. This was a special prison for those under 18. He escaped but was soon recaptured. He was released at the end of his sentence.

The army called him up for service. Bruce soon absconded. He walked along the railway lines at night to London. Bruce went to Lyons Corner House. It was a foolish place to go. It was open 24 hours and the police often went there to see if there were any wanted criminals. Bruce was apprehended. He deserted from the army a second time.

Bruce became involved in organized crime. He liked to use ladders to climb into the houses of the rich. He stole jewelry and suchlike. Bruce was motivated by status as well as greed.

Sometimes Bruce was caught and spent terms in gaol. He was above average intelligence. He felt no sympathy for his victims.

In 1963 he planned the Great Train Robbery. He and 15 accomplices hid out in the county of Buckinghamshire at Leatherslade Farm. In the middle of the night they donned army uniforms. They drove in lorries painted like army lorries. The gang went to near Bridego Bridge. They changed the signal light to red. This made the train stop. Bruce and his gang had inside information. The train was carrying millions of pounds.

Bruce#s gang climbed into the train cab. They assaulted the train driver. The gang brought their own train driver. The gang managed to get the locomotive and the High Value Packages car to separate from the rest of the train. They moved the locomotive and the HVP 2 km down the track.

The gang then assaulted the HPV. It had no locks on it. The gangsters wore army uniforms and balaclavas. They waved iron bars. The postal workers lay on the floor to surrender. The gang formed a human chain. They lifted the mail sacks full of cash out. They passed them down their line to their two trucks. The gang then drove off.

The trucks drove slowly. They did not want to attract too much attention. Within an hour the police received a report. The gangsters used their police scanners to listen in. A police officer said, ##You are not going to believe this. Somebody just stole a — train!##

The gang had stolen a train but only for a few minutes. The gang were delighted with their haul of 2.5 million pounds. They planned to sit tight until the police passed by. However, the train robbers listened to the radio and realized that the police were closing in. The criminals abandoned their hideaway. They drove to Thame and stayed at Brian Field’s house. Thereafter Bruce went to London. He stowed much of the ill-gotten gains in a garage.

After a few days Bruce discovered that the police had found their hideout. The train robbers became demoralized and jittery. Bruce went to ground. He and his wife farmed their child out to relatives. Bruce and his wife Angela moved address and adopted assumed names. Later they went to live in a flat in an alleyway in London. This alleyway did not appear on maps of London. They stayed in all day and only ventured out at night even then in disguise. How much fun was that? Despite all their lucre they were virtual prisoners and had to cut off contact with people who knew them.

After some months most of the train robbers were in custody. They were indicted. They were brought to trial before a jury at the Buckingham Assizes. The court found almost all of them guilty. They were sent down for sentences of up to 35 years. These were extraordinarily lengthy sentences that were awarded as a reflection of the enormity of the crime.

Bruce obtained a passport in a false name. He then flew to Belgium. From there he flew to Canada and thence Mexico. There he obtained residency. He spoke no Spanish but acquired a smattering. His money went far there. He lived like a king. Later he sent word for his wife to join him. A year after the robbery Angela and their son Nick came to Mexico.

The Reynolds family lived high on the hog. They also invited another train robber and his wife to come too. However, Bruce grew bored. He considered venturing into business but did not. He also visited Canada and the United States.

In 1968 funds were running low. Bruce flew to France to case joints for robbery. However, he did not effect any heists. He made the fateful decision to return to the United Kingdom. He had not set foot there for four years. He contacted old criminal acquaintances.

There were places in Wales that Bruce tried to steal from but without success. The underworld started to tell the police that Bruce was back. Some criminals had an understanding with the police. These malfeasants kept the police abreast of events among the criminal fraternity. In return the cops would sometimes let a malfeasant off a crime. The coppers got rumbles that Bruce was back in town.

In November 1968 Bruce was residing in the town of Torquay. The police burst into his flat. He was arrested. Tommy Butler was the arresting officer. Bruce was then charged with the Great Train Robbery. Bruce knew that the case against him was unarguable. He pleaded guilty. He was sent down for 25 years. However, his wife was not charged with receiving stolen goods. Nor was his child sent to an orphanage.

In 1977 Bruce was set at liberty. He had served only 9 years. He did some odd jobs. Bruce later published a self-aggrandizing autobiography. He died in 2013.


  1. When was Bruce Reynolds born?
  2. In which city was he born?
  3. What happened to his mother?
  4. Which London suburb did he grow up in?
  5. Why was he evacuated as a child?
  6. Which member of his family did he steal from?
  7. What stolen item did he sell on the street?
  8. Which year did he die?
  9. In which year was he finally released from prison?
  10. What was his wife#s name?
  11. How many children did he have?
  12. Which farm did he hide at before and after the Great Train Robbery?
  13. How much stolen?
  14. Which country did the robbery take place in?
  15. How did he avoid police detection in the months after the robbery?
  16. Which country did he spend four years in?
  17. Which police officer arrested him?
  18. Did Bruce plead guilty?
  19.  Did he write his life story?
  20. What is your opinion of him?



Boarding schools UK.===========================================


British boarding schools have many advantages. Pupils perfect their English, make lifelong friends, achieve excellent exam results, broaden culturally and play lots of sports.

There are over 300 boarding schools in the United Kingdom. Most of these are mixed – that means for boys and girls. A few schools are for boys only. A very few schools are for girls only.

There are preparatory schools which take pupils from the age of 7 to 13. They are known as ‘prep’ schools. They prepare pupils for secondary school that is why they are ‘preparatory’.

There are secondary schools which take pupils from the age of 13 to 18. Sometimes the prep school and the secondary school are beside each other and part of the same organization. For example, Gordonstoun School takes pupils from the age of 7 to 18. Aberlour House is the prep school department of Gordonstoun School. Aberlour House is for pupils aged 7 to 13.

Very few schools are 100% boarders. For example, Eton, Harrow and Winchester are 100% boarding. They take no day pupils at all. Even the teachers’ sons have to be boarders if they go to those schools. Many boarding schools have some day pupils. For instance, Oundle School is about 80% boarding and the rest are day pupils. There are schools which are mainly for day pupils but have a few boarders. Reading Blue Coat School is 90% day pupils but has a few boarders. It is not a good idea to be in such a minority because the needs of the minority are largely disregarded.

Some pupils are weekly boarders. That means they spend Monday to Friday at the school. They go home to their parents on the weekend.

Boarding schools are spread throughout the United Kingdom. However, they tend to be concentrated in the London area where most of the money is. These schools are therefore more difficult to get into.

Boarding schools usually have superb facilities. This means huge playing fields, gymnasia, art departments, theatres, swimming pools, tennis courses, golf courses and even riding stables.

There are boarding schools which cater for those with limited English. Sherborne International takes pupils who do not speak much English. It concentrates on raising their level of English. After a year or two these pupils can switch to a mainstream school. Some choose to remain at Sherborne International.

If a pupil has little English he or she may be allowed to go back one year or two. The school leaving age is 18 in the UK. Those with less English can sometimes stay on until the age of 20.

Some schools take most of their pupils from overseas for example Rodean School. Other schools are overwhelmingly British. For instance, Uppingham School is over 90% British.

Most schools have a religious affiliation. This is usually Church of England and some are Catholic. Schools will admit pupils whatever their religious denomination. However, in most schools pupils are required to attend Christian worship. They are not under any pressure to convert.

If you would like further information or advice please contact me.


  1. What are some advantages of attending a boarding school?
  2. What does UK stand for?
  3. What does it mean if a school is mixed?
  4. Are all schools mixed?
  5.  How many boarding schools are there in the United Kingdom?
  6. What is #prep# short for?
  7. What are some of the facilities at boarding schools?
  8. What is the prep department of Gordonstoun called?
  9.  Where are the most oversubscribed boarding schools?
  10. What is a weekly boarder?
  11. What is special about Sherborne International?
  12. What is the youngest you can start to board?
  13. What age do people usually leave school in the UK?
  14. What percentage of pupils at Uppingham are British?
  15. What are the main two denominations of schools?
  16. What is your opinion of boarding? Five marks.





What is Common Entrance?====================================================



Common Entrance is an exam that is sat to gain entrance to independent schools in the United Kingdom. An independent school is one that is not controlled or funded by the government. There are hundreds of such schools.

Pupils sit the common entrance exam a few months before they intend to start at a school. Typically they sit the exam in May with a view to starting at a school in September that same year.

Pupils sometimes sit 11+ Common Entrance because they want to begin the school at the age of 11. The boy or girl might not yet be 11 when he or she sits the 11+ exam. He or she might still be 10.

The other main type of Common Entrance is 13+. This means the boy or girl wants to start the school at the age of 13. He or she might be 13 or still 12 when he or she sits the exam.

If a child is not a native speaker of English he or she may be allowed to go back a year. For example a girl who is 14 might be allowed to take the 13+ exam.

Common Entrance is called ‘common’ because it is shared or ‘common’ to hundreds of secondary schools. Therefore a pupil can go to any independent school in the United Kingdom at primary school level and then sit this exam to go on to almost any secondary school.

Note that not all secondary independent schools accept Common Entrance. Some have their own admissions exam.

A pupil will do several exams in Common Entrance. These are English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography and other subjects. If the girl or boy has learnt French or Latin then he or she will do exams in those subjects.

The Maths exams at Common Entrance are Maths 1, Maths 2 and Maths 3. They are progressively harder – Maths 1 is easy, Maths 2 is medium and Maths 3 is advanced. Most schools require only Maths 1 and Maths 2. The brighter pupils will also do Maths 3. Some schools consider Maths 1 to be such a cynch they do not bother with it and demand all pupils sit Maths 2 and Maths 3 only.

A pupil might do an exam in Religious Studies if he or she has studied that subject. Religious Studies is not just about Christianity but it is a comparison between major religions such as Hinduism and Islam. A pupil is not required to state a belief in any religion. He or she simply needs to know that Christians believe in the resurrection and Muslims read the Koran and Hindus do not eat beef  etc… The pupil is not saying that ”I believe in such and such” only that people of whatever faith believe such and such.

Some schools will also test pupils in Verbal Reasoning and Non Verbal Reasoning. Certain schools also interview pupils.

There is no pass mark for Common Entrance. It is for each school to determine its own pass mark. Some schools require only an average of 50% to pass Common Entrance.


  1. Is Common Entrance for schools in the UK?
  2. Do girls as well as boy sit this exams?
  3. What month do people usually take this exam?
  4. In which month does the school year commence?
  5. Is it possible do to this exam at 11?
  6. Is it possible to do the exam at 10?
  7. If some sits Common Entrance at the age of 10 at what age will she start the school that she wants to go to?
  8. If someone does 13+ at what age would he or she start his or her desired school?
  9. What is the word ‘common’ doing in the title of Common Entrance?
  10. Do all secondary schools use common entrance?
  11. Is Common Entrance used for entrance into Primary schools?
  12. Name five subjects that everyone does for Common Entrance?
  13. What languages do some people do?
  14. How many Maths exams are there?
  15. Which is the hardest Maths exam?
  16. What is the nature of the Religious Studies exam?
  17. Is there a pass mark?
  18. Would you like to do Common Entrance?
  19. How many days does it take to sit CE?
  20. What is the exam system in your country? Ten marks.


Northern Ireland



Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. It is questionable whether Northern Ireland is a country. Some call it a province. Northern Ireland has the Republic of Ireland to the south. The border between Northern Ireland and the Republic is over 130 miles.

The North Atlantic Ocean is adjacent to Northern Ireland. The North Channel separates Northern Ireland from Scotland. The Irish Sea lies to the south. In it one can find the Isle of Man.

Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland. This city has a third of Northern Ireland’s 1 800 000 people. The name of the city is derived from Beal Feirste as in Valley of the River Feirste. The second city of Northern Ireland is Derry. Derry is derived from the Irish word ‘doire’ meaning oakwood.

Strictly speaking Armagh is a city too since it contains a cathedral. In point of fact it has two cathedrals.

There are six counties in Northern Ireland. These can be remembered by the mnemonic Fat Lad – Fermanagh, Armagh, Tyrone, Londonderry, Antrim and Down. Many prefer to call the county Derry rather than Londonderry. Therefore some would render the mnemonic Fat Dad.

Lough Neagh is a large lake in the middle of Northern Ireland. Neagh is pronounced ‘nay’. An ancient legend has it that a giant picked up a sod of earth and that created the lake. He flung the earth and it landed in the sea creating the Isle of Man. Lough is pronounced with a guttural for the ‘gh’ like the Scottish ‘loch.’

People have lived here for  millennia. Celts came. There were various waves of invasion. The Celts were pagans and followed their own faith. The Gaels were the last Celtic invaders. There were various kingdoms often at war against each other. People were semi-itinerant since the land was not very suitable for tillage.

Ireland was divided into several kingdoms. One of these was Ulster – which is the eastern part of what we now call Northern Ireland. There was also Tyrone – the Land of Owen – the west. There were other realms around such as Breifne. There was a high king in Tara. This title did not belong to a dynasty. People regularly fought for the crown. It was a battle royal.

St Patrick arrived in the 5th century AD. He brought the Christian faith. He founded Armagh Cathedral. Armagh is the religious capital of the whole of Ireland.

In the 9th century AD the Vikings and Danes started to raid. They founded some settlements.

In the 12 century AD Anglo-Normans and Cambro-Normans came over. They settled the eastern part of the land. The capital of the whole of Ireland was Dublin. Ireland was connected to England and Wales politically. The King of England was Lord of Ireland. English and Welsh immigrants introduced the English language to Ireland. However, most people in Ireland spoke Irish. The Gaelic Church was abolished and the Roman Catholic Church was founded.

The hereditary Gaelic rulers continued to rule their tribes. They exercised authority on behalf of the king. This was indirect rule.

In the late 13th century Edward the Bruce led an insurrection against the crown. He styled himself High King of Ireland. However, he was beaten. His brother Robert became King of Scots.

In the 16th century the government abolished the Roman Catholic Church and set up the Church of Ireland. However, the government’s writ did not extend far beyond the east coast. Most people remained Catholics. Around this time Henry VIII followed a policy of surrender and regrant. Native Irish chieftains renounced their chieftainship and in were given heritable titles. The Irish system of inheritance was by the family electing their leader. The system copied form the English was primogeniture – the eldest son inherited even if he was a nincompoop.

In the late 16th century there was a rebellion against the Crown. Hugh O’Neill led a revolt in Ulster. He was finally vanquished in 1607. He fled to Spain.

After The Great O’Neill was put to flight the monarch sent over English, Welsh and Scots settlers. These immigrants were almost exclusively of the Protestant faith. They supplanted Catholics who had rebelled against the government. Ireland was divided into counties at this time.

Some of the livery companies in London invested money in expanding the city of Derry. In gratitude to these companies the immigrants renamed the city Londonderry. Until then Derry had been part of County Coleraine. After this the county was called County Londonderry but many prefer to call it County Derry. The eastern half of Ulster was then mainly populated by Scots and English immigrants. The people who had been living there already were Catholics almost to a man and mainly Irish speaking.

In the 1640s there was the English Civil War. This spilt over into Ireland. Most Catholics backed Charles I. Catholics were the majority. Most Protestants supported the English Parliament. In 1641 Catholics in Ulster attacked the Protestant immigrants and Portadown and slew many.

In 1649 the English Civil War ended. Cromwell became Lord Protector of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. He crossed the sea. In Ireland there were many Royalists – enemies of Cromwell. Oliver Cromwell bested the Royalists. At the Siege of Drogheda his soldiers killed hundreds of civilians. They were English Catholics.

Cromwell could not pay his New Model Army. He therefore confiscated land from Royalists. In Ireland most people had been Royalists. Land was forfeit and granted to Parliamentarian soldiers from England. Henry  Cromwell – Oliver Cromwell’s son – became Lord Deputy of Ireland – ruling the country on Oliver Cromwell’s behalf.

Cromwell was very anti-Catholic. The Irish Parliament was elected. Only rich landowners could vote. These people were mostly Protestants of recent immigrant descent. They passed discriminatory laws against the Catholics.

In 1688 a Catholic became king. He was James II. In Derry the Protestant community refused to accept James II soldiers. Thirteen apprentice boys slammed the gates of the city as James II’s men approached. A siege began. This lasted for months and many people starved to death. James II’s supporters were called Jacobites – as in Jacobus is James in Latin. James II men built a boom across the River Foyle to prevent ships bringing supplies or reinforcements to the city.

Finally a ship called Mountjoy broke the boom and relieved the city. James II’s men retreated.

In November 1688 William of Orange landed in England. William was the Stadholder of the Netherlands. He was the nephew of James II and also his son-in-law. William of Orange was a Protestant. He had been invited by the Immortal Seven – leading Whig and Tory politicians and a bishop.

James II fled as William advanced. The English Parliament said that James II had abdicated the throne. They proclaimed William to be king and his wife Mary to be queen as joint sovereigns. William of Orange was now William III. King James II went to Ireland where was a Catholic he was assured of fervent support.

William III went to Ireland. He landed in the north and marched south. James II decided to stop his enemy’s advance at the River Boyne. A battle took place there on 1 July 1690. William III won despite having a heart attack. James II retreated. He was called ‘James the shit’ by his men whom he had abandoned. He then took ship for France.

Protestant mastery in Ireland was assured. However, the Protestants of the north were not so sure that Great Britain would always back them up.

The Church of Ireland was the state religion. This comprised no more than 20% of the population. There were other Protestants such as Presbyterians. They were discriminated against but not so severely as the Catholic majority. In Ulster Protestants were in a majority. In the 18th century French Protestants arrived. They set up the linen trade.

Most people were farmers. Some landlords were exploitative. There was Ulster custom whereby tenants had some security of tenure.

There was agrarian terrorism. People attacked unpopular landlords. Clandestine organisations existed such as whiteboys and Defenders. Sometimes they were sectarian.

Many people emigrated from the north of Ireland. They sailed from Derry to America. In 1788 Derry commemorated the siege and there were good communal relations.

In the 1780s the Irish Volunteers were formed. This was due to the war against France. They were to defend the realm in case the French invaded. The Volunteers also demanded legislative independence for Ireland. They got it.

In the 1790s there was another war against France. Revolutionary nostra became popular. The United Irishmen was formed in 1793. They started a revolt in 1798. This jacquerie devolved into a sectarian bloodbath.

In 1801 the Act of Union became law. The Protestant majority in the north-eastern six counties of Ireland came to be pro-Union. The Industrial Revolution spread to this portion of Ireland.

In the 1830s Daniel O’Connell led the Repeal Association. He was a Catholic from the South and he wanted the Act of Union to be terminated. Unionists mobilized to oppose this. In the end O’Connell’s campaign did not bear fruit.

The famine struck in the 1840s many people died. Catholic emigration continued. More Catholics moved to Derry in particular.

In 1867 there was an attempted uprising by the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB). They called themselves the Fenians. Fenian became an opprobrious term for a Catholic. Sectarian divisions deepened.

In the 1880s the Home Rule Party was the main nationalist party. Parnell led it. In east Ulster unionists said that if Home Rule were passed their portion of Ireland should be excluded from the provisions of such a bill. They hoped to scupper Home Rule for the whole of Hibernia. In the end the Home Rule bill was defeated in the House of Commons.

Nationalists and particularly republicans began to oppose loyalist parades. There was regular rioting around the marching season – July.

The Liberal Party had been significant in the north of Ireland until that time. In 1886 most Liberals in Ireland became Liberal Unionists. They allied with the Conservative Party. Over the next 30 years they gradually merged with the Conservatives.

North-east Ireland was divided between nationalists who wanted Home Rule and unionists who did not. In 1893 there was another Home Rule Bill. People founded Young Ulster. This was a paramilitary organization dedicated to fighting any bid to impose Home Rule on Ulster. In the end the bill was beaten in the House of Lords.

Belfast gained city status in the late 19th century. It was a centre of ship building. It was very industrialised. The city was bigger than Dublin.

A Home Rule bill was introduced in Parliament in 1912. In 1913 the Ulster Volunteer Force was founded to stop it. They imported guns from Germany. The Irish Volunteers were formed that year to defend the liberties of all the people of Ireland.


In 1914 the First World War broke out. Many men volunteered for the British military.

In 1916 the Irish Volunteers staged a rising in Dublin. They were thrashed and became known as the Irish Republican Army (IRA). A desultory irregular conflict followed.

Sectarian violence flared in the north of Ireland. A Government of Ireland Act was passed in 1920. A separate Home Rule Parliament was founded for Northern Ireland. It met in July 1921. The rest of Ireland left the UK in December 1921.

In the 1920s Northern Ireland struggled with unemployment and sectarianism. The Catholic minority faced unofficial discrimination.

The Parliament of Northern Ireland was housed in Stormont. This was completed in 1930. The Unionist Party won elections.

American troops arrived in Ulster in the Second World War. In the 1950s there was some IRA violence. In the 1960s nationalist politicians and other radicals campaigned for an end to discrimination. Loyalist thugs attacked them. The IRA weighed in. In 1969 an irregular conflict erupted. It sputtered on until the late 1990s.

The highest mountain in Northern Ireland is Slieve Donard in COunty Down. The capital is Belfast. The River Lagan is the longest river. There are lots of lakes in Fermanagh. The largest is Lough Erne.

A Londonderry Air was considered Northern Ireland’s song.  Some consider it to be the Star of the County Down. At football matches God Save the Queen is sung.

The Flag of Northern Ireland has a white field. There is a red Cross of St George. There is a red hand in the centre on a white six pointed star. The hand is covered by a crown. The points of the star denote the six counties.

Bushmills whiskey is produced here. Note that Irish whiskey has an e in it. Scotch whisky does not.

There is an Ulster fry. This cooked breakfast includes wheatie bread.

Northern Ireland has a devolved administration within the UK. The First Minister is Arlene Foster.

English is the official language. Some people speak a dialect called Ulster Scots. There are some people who can speak Irish.

Derry is the second largest city. It is the main city in the west.

Football is very popular in Northern Ireland. Rugby is played there too. There are also many golf courses.

The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) is also prominent in Northern Ireland.



  1. Which island is Northern Ireland on?
  2. What was the original language here?
  3.  When did the English arrive?
  4. What is the religious capital?
  5. How many counties are there in Northern Ireland?
  6. What are the two mnemonics for the counties?
  7. What is the alternative name for Derry?
  8. What does Tyrone mean?
  9. Which ocean is Northern Ireland beside?
  10. Which area of the sea separates this land from Great Britain?
  11. Who led a revolt here in the 13th century?
  12. What happened to Hugh O’Neill?
  13. Which side did most people in Ireland take in the English Civil Wars?
  14. Which English ruler defeated the Irish Royalists?
  15.  When did the Siege of Derry begin?
  16. Who won the Battle of the Boyne?
  17. Which Catholic king was defeated in 1690?
  18. When was the Act of Union enacted?
  19. Which organization started a revolt in 1798?
  20. Who was Daniel O’Connell?
  21. What is the northern province of Ireland called?
  22. What is the capital city of Northern Ireland?
  23.  What is the largest lake?
  24.  Which river bisects Derry?
  25. What are the two main songs of Northern Ireland?
  26. When was the Parliament of Northern Ireland set up?
  27.  Who were Liberal Unionists?
  28. What year was the first Home Rule bill?
  29. What problems did Northern Ireland face in the 1920s?
  30. Which foreign troops came here in the 1940s?
  31. Draw the flag of Northern Ireland?
  32. WHat is the highest mountain here?
  33. What is the second city?
  34.  What is the longest river?
  35. When did the recent conflict break out?
  36.  Who is First Minister?

THB that the environment is more important than the economy. ================================



we need the plane to live. air. cancer from ozone layer

quality of life. pollution. noise traffic stench. what if we all had a chopper?

happier with less. stress and competition. enough for everyone ‘s need not for greed

we are natural. we are animals. omagine if we had no parks.



poverty. millions die of hunger. no clean water. water is naturallt dirty poo

medicines. ecomomy develops those.

quality of life. electricity . housing . life saving. cars. ambulances. oil needed.

we raise ourselves above animals. big brain. adapt environement. go back to being apes . first world bourgeois nonsense.