Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Chicago World's Fair Premier Attraction

When George Ferris invented his eponymous wheel he probably never thought that it would reach the height and sophistication of the London Eye. This popular London attraction reaches the height of 450 feet. Stunning views of London can be seen by riding on the London Eye which was designed by the London architects, Julia Barfield and Marks. They won the design competition for the millennium with their construction.

The organizers of the World's Chicago Exposition in 1893 wanted an attraction which would rival the Eiffel Tower which was opened in 1889. Ferris designed the wheel because he was inspired by the old Merry-Go-Round. When the young engineer, George Ferris, presented his plans for a giant wheel on which passengers could ride, he was regarded as crazy. Eventually the Committee gave in and granted the 32 year old permission to begin construction. He had only four months to have it built before the opening of the fair.

The christening of the first Ferris Wheel was a big event. Imagine the excitement of seeing this huge wheel all lit up in the brilliant Chicago night. VIP's dressed in ball gowns and evening clothes celebrated the occasion by drinking champagne and smoking cigars. Each ride was clapped.

According to Chicago: It's History and it's Builders, people thought that the Ferris Wheel would not be able to stand the strains that it incurred while revolving or that a severe gale would topple it. There were many fears about public safety and some people were very tentative about riding on the giant wheel.

However, the Ferris Wheel proved to be probably the most popular attraction at the fair. Passengers loved the wonderful view of the city, the lake, and the prairies which were visible from the wheel's height of 264 feet. Eventually 2,160 passengers rode on the wheel. Each ride cost fifty cents.

This Ferris wheel was eventually moved to the St. Louis Fair. It was also a popular attraction there. After that it was broken up for iron, which is a bit sad.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

New Post Soon

I hope to write a new post about an Edwardian subject tomorrow!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Funeral Insurance Policies from Real Insurance

Arranging your funeral plans is a good idea. If you know that your loved ones won't have to worry about the expenses of the funeral one added burden can be taken off your mind. Funeral plans Australia can be made here.

Your family will also be covered by Real Insurance for any unexpected funeral expenses when you die. There is even a triple benefit of up to $45,000 for accidental death.

An instant quote can be obtained at Real Insurance. Prices for funeral insurance policies are very reasonable and start at only $1.72 per week, subject to certain conditions. A free information pack is available from Real Insurance and you can request a call from a customer service officer for help.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Atiya's Journey

This is an interesting article about a well-educated Indian lady's journal of her trip to England in Edwardian times: Atiya's Journey. I must buy the book!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Excellent Products at Cameras Direct

Cameras Direct has a wide range of photography products and a helpful and thorough web site. This is the place to buy a digital slr camera and there are many special offers available. The range includes the well-known brands, including Canon, Nikon, and Sony.

Cameras Direct also has tips and articles on how to be a better photographer. There are also free videos on various photography topics. Other features include long and informative reviews, which discuss the pros and cons of various cameras.

There are more than one thousand testimonials from satisfied customers on the Cameras Direct web site. The store certainly goes to a lot of trouble to please customers. The more expensive cameras and products are delivered overnight in Australia and postage is insured, for example. Longer warranties are also available. Why not ring today and ask for advice?

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Music-Hall Singer on the Goldfields

NB: This post is about a music-hall singer in the Victorian era. I wanted to write about Australian singers so I will include him.

Charles Thatcher has been described as 'the most acclaimed music-hall singer of the Australian goldfields'. This popular Englishman certainly led a successful and interesting life which varied from digging in the goldfields, singing, and importing.
He also lived in three different countries.

Born in Bristol in 1831, Thatcher was the son of a curio seller. When he was quite young the family moved to Brighton where his father ran a curio shop. Young Charles showed musical talent early - he learned the flute and played in London orchestras.

The seemingly easy fortunes to be made on the Australian goldfields attracted -Thatcher when he was only 21. He soon came to Australia on the Isabella. He quickly made friends and started digging. He was lucky enough to make one thousand pounds and decided to leave the hard labour of digging for gold.

Thatcher decided to become an entertainer in the music-halls. Although he apparently had a weak voice, he was handsome with broad-shouldered, clean-shaven looks. He also had a knack for writing humorous lyrics which he set to old songs. These qualities soon helped him become a success. He toured the goldfields with these songs.

The singer's lyrics concerned timely topics, such as the goldfields and cricket. He also sang political songs at times. Thatcher's comments about the gold commissioners and police were criticised. Thatcher regarded his songs as 'a popular history of the time'. He was nicknamed 'the Colonial Minstrel'.

When Thatcher was 30 he married a widow, Annie Vitelli, who was also a singer and entertainer. They had two daughters. The couple lived in Dunedin for some years where Charles continued to sing but they returned to Victoria.

They eventually decided to go back to England where Thatcher ran a successful curio shop, following in the footsteps of his father. He died of cholera in Shanghai, where he was on a business trip in 1878.

You can see a drawing of Thatcher here in the middle of the page:
Charles Thatcher