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Ask a Librarian

Sunday February 18, 2018

Before Google, our inane questions were answered by patient librarians. The New York Public Library unearthed a box of these questions from the '40s – and they’re amazing.

From the original Joffrey to Russia’s craziest tyrant, here are five Great Villains of History who could have done with a good hug.

One of the original greats from the 1950s shows us how it's done. 

Everything you wanted to know about water monsters, from island-sized turtles to evil, sexy horses.

One day, a pioneering pilot complained to his pal about the difficulty of checking his pocket watch whilst flying. The friend happened to be a jeweller by the name of Cartier… 

Just when you thought there was nothing left to learn about your literary heroes, along comes a study correlating their wake-up times and literary output. Grab your alarm clock and read on…

So much for almond milk being a 21st-century health trend – turns out it was the beverage (and culinary ingredient) of choice among the medieval super-rich. Blancmange, anyone?

Thinking about getting some ink? Or just after some audacious advice for 2018? Check out these pearls of wisdom from Sailor Jerry, the father of the old-school American tattoo (not to mention a rather tasty brand of spiced rum)... 

We kind of fell in love with this story of a group of totally untrained classical musos – including a young Brian Eno – who, despite being terrible, ended up becoming a minor hit. 

How They Made Wallpaper in the 1960s

Wednesday January 03, 2018

We’ve uncovered a gem from the British Pathé vaults: a weirdly mesmerising short film about the old art of hand-blocked wallpaper printing.

 

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