History storytime for children with 7 year old Sophie, 4 year old Ellie and their Daddy. Exciting stories of knights in shining armour and their battles. Henry VIII, the Tudors, Romans, World War 2, George Washington, Columbus and more. Even amazing stories of animals in history like elephants, dogs, cats and pigeons. Stirring stories of love and betrayal. Strong women and how they changed history. Real life narrative history as it should be told. Valued by teachers, enjoyed by parents, loved by kids.
The History of the Toilet
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the history of the toilet.----more----
They start with toilets in the stone age including toilets of hunter gatherers and then those of the early settlements like that of Skara Brae. When cities are first built by the Mesopotamians and later the Greeks toilets become more sophisticated. They have pipes and drains.
However, it is the Romans who take toilets to a whole new level. We hear how they built public toilets which were beautiful. Even among all the beauty though, wiping your bum was still a pretty disgusting process. The Romans did not even go to the toilet when they had banquets. Instead slaves would bring them pots to wee in at the table!
The Medieval period saw more privacy with curtains put around toilets. But the poo needed to go somewhere. So builders of castles built toilet shutes down the side of castle walls which helped fill the moat with poo. That did not bother the French though who stormed one castle by climbing soldiers up the toilet shute into the castle and capturing it from the English.
People living in medieval towns also had to get rid of their poo. They just used to through it out of the window onto the street. People would shout in French “guardez l’eau” which meant “watch out for the water”. But English people would pronounce it “Gardy Loo” and eventually just “loo” which is how English people started called toilets “the loo”. Kings eventually banned this because it made the cities smell and built some drains.
Meanwhile in 1596, Sir John Harington invented the first flushing toilet. He even gave one to Queen Elizabeth I as a present. Today when Americans talk about going to the “John” then are remembering Sir John Harington.
The Victorians made more flushing toilets and started to build sewers in London after there was a heatwave which caused a massive stink.
Then a man called Thomas Crapper makes lots of toilets, including for the King. He even puts his name on his toilets.
Eventually in the 20th century toilet paper was invented.
Now we have toilet paper to wipe out bum, flushing toilets to take the poo out of the house, and sewers to take the poo out of the street.
We use the terms “poo” and “wee”. We don’t use any other terminology.
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Prince Philip in World War 2
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell how Prince Philip became a decorated war hero in World War 2.----more----
Prince Philip is a young Greek prince. He has been forced to leave Greece so he goes to Britain and joins the Royal Navy. While training he meets the young Princess Elizabeth and they later fall in love. But first World War 2 breaks out. Prince Philip is first sent to the Far East and he helps Australian convoys get their soldiers to Europe. But when Italy declares war on Britain everything changes. Now the Mediterranean is a battleground between Brtain and Italy. Prince Philip is posted to one of the main battleships.
The Italians have a powerful battlefleet and it sets sail to fight the British. The British airplanes damage one of the Italian ships and most of the Italian fleets turn for home. But they leave some of their ships to help their damaged ship. In the middle of the night the British fleet find the Italians. They are able to find them because the British have radar which the Italians do not.
However, the British still need to see the Italians to be able to fire at them. Prince Philip is in charge of his battleship’s searchlights. He turns the searchlights on and shines them onto one of the Italian ships. Quickly the British ships sink that ship. Then another Italian ship opens fire on the British. All the Italians can see is the British searchlights being held by Prince Philip. It is as if the whole Italian fleet is aiming at him. But he doesn’t flinch. He aims the searchlights at the new Italian ship. The British guns blow the ship out of the water. After the battle the British Admiral ensures that Prince Philip is given an award for bravery.
Prince Philip then returns to Britain and helped convoys get to Britain.
Then Prince Philip returns to the Mediterranean for the invasion of Sicily. By now he has been promoted. He is the second in command of a small ship. His ship comes under attack by a German bomber. It’s looking bad for the British. But Prince Philip has an idea. He decides to make a raft, set it on fire and throw it overboard. In the dark the German bomber was confused. It started to bomb the burning raft. The British ship slowly slipped away. Prince Philip had saved everyone.
Then Prince Philip is sent to fight the Japanese in the Far East. He is present in Tokyo harbour when the Japanese surrender.
After the war, Philip marries Princess Elizabeth. When she becomes Queen, he gives up his navy career to support her.
We all know him for how he supported her over the next 70 years. But before then he was a decorated war hero.
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The United States and World War 1
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the United States and World War One for the anniversary of America’s entry into the War.----more----
Britain, France and Russia are at war with Germany and her allies. But a war in Europe seems to have little to do with the United States. However, the British battle fleet is far more powerful than the German fleet. So the Germans start to use submarines to sink British ships. German submarines find it difficult to tell the difference between a warship and a passenger ship. A German submarine sinks the passenger liner, Lusitania. There are over a thousand passengers on board including over a hundred Americans.
The United States is furious. The Germans stop their submarine attacks for a while. However, they need to attack the British so they are desperate to continue the attacks. They send a telegram to Mexico. The telegram is called the Zimmerman Telegram after the person who wrote it. The telegram suggests to Mexico that if there is war then the Mexico should attack the United States and recapture Texas and Arizona. However, the British intercept the telegram. They give a copy of it to the American President. The Americans are very, very angry. Just then the German submarines start sinking American ships again.
The United States has had enough. They declare war on the Germans. Millions of American join the army. The nickname of American soldiers is the “Doughboys”. The Germans realise they do not have long before the Americans arrive. They launch a final massive attack on the British lines. The British are forced back but keep fighting. However, as American troops start to arrive it frees up the French to help the British. Together the British and French start to push back the Germans. By now the Americans have properly arrived. They launch their own attacks on the Germans and defeat the Germans in a series of battles. The Germans realise that they cannot win the war. They have failed to defeat the British and the French and now the Americans have arrived. The Germans ask for peace.
There is an Armistice on 11th November 1918 at 11am in the morning. Finally the fighting is over. We still remember that day as Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth and as Veterans Day in the United States.
After the war many families do not have a body of a loved one to remember because so many of the bodies are unidentified. The American bring back one unknown soldier to Washington. He lies in state in the US Capitol. The British award him the Victoria Cross and the Americans award him the Medal of Honor. He is buried in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to represent all those who died. His tomb is guarded to this day.
If you liked this episode then we have many other WW1 episodes. You might like our Animals in history episode. It tells the story of the brave pigeon, Cher Ami, who helped save the lives of many American soldiers in World War 1.
Animals in History: Dogs, Cats and Pigeons! (historystorytime.com)
Or you can try our Christmas Truce episode
WW1: The Christmas Truce of 1914 (historystorytime.com)
Or try our Boy Cornwell and the Battle of Jutland episode all about a boy sailor who became a national hero.
WW1: Jack Cornwell VC and the Battle of Jutland (historystorytime.com)
If you want to know why World War 1 happened you might want to try our “Outbreak of World War One” episode
WW1: Why did World War 1 start? (historystorytime.com)
Or our “Sophie and Franz” episode about the doomed love at the start of the war.
WW1: Sophie & Franz - The World War 1 Love Story (historystorytime.com)
You could also try our episode about the Resolute Desk which talks about the friendship between Britain and the United States.
The Resolute Desk of US Presidents (historystorytime.com)
You might also like to join our Patrons’ Club which has other exclusive epis
Tales from Herodotus of Ancient Greece
Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell some of the best loved tales from Herodotus.----more----
They start with the story of Croesus. Herodotus explains how Croesus was very rich. However, his neighbours were the powerful Persians. Croesus wanted to know if he should go to war with the Persians. He decided to ask an Oracle what to do. But he couldn’t be sure if the Oracles would tell the truth. So he asked different Oracles the same question, “What am I doing now?”. Then he arranged to do something very strange. He cooked a tortoise in a pot. Only one Oracle got the right answer. So he asked that Oracle whether he should attack the Persians. Herodotus tells us that the Oracle told him that if he attacked Persia a great empire would be destroyed. Emboldened, Croesus attacked the Persians. And prompted lost. He did not realise that the empire that he would destroy would be his own.
Our second story from Herodotus is about the Persian Emperor discussing difference between peoples. He asked the Greeks if they would eat the body of their own dead father. The Greeks and Sophie and Ellie are disgusted at the very idea. The Greeks cremate their dead. Then the Persian Emperor asked some Indians if they would burn the body of their dead father. The Indians are disgusted at the very idea. They eat the bodies of the dead.
Our third story from Herodotus is about the naughty Persians visiting the Greeks. The Persians request that the Greek wives join for dinner. But they then keep trying to kiss the wives. The Greek husbands are not happy about this. That night they get all the Greek men without beards to secretly dress up as women. When the Persians try again to kiss them, the Greek men stab the Persians with hidden daggers.
Our fourth story from Herodotus sees the Persian invasion of Greece. The Persian Emperor builds a bridge of boats. But a storm comes and destroys the bridge. The Persian Emperor is so angry that he has the sea punished. It is whipped. Ellie observes that this is completely pointless.
Our final story from Herodotus is about the Golden Ants. Herodotus tells a story about ants as big as small dogs which go digging in the East for gold. People then wait for them to come out of their burrows and take the gold. The story seems ridiculous. But more recently people have realised that Marmots in the Himalayas come out of their burrow covered in gold dust and local people would take the gold off them. Maybe this is the story that Herodotus was talking about in his tale.
If you liked this episode then you will love our Seven Wonders of the World episode. You can listen to it by joining our Patrons’ Club at www.patreon.com/historystorytime
Ellie (age 5) tells her sister Sophie (age 7) the inspirational story of Helen Keller who overcame deafness and blindness.----more----
Helen Keller is born 150 years ago to a family in Alabama. At 18 months she was struck down by an illness and left deaf and blind. Unfortunately, this also means that she could not really talk because she could not hear or see anyone to copy and learn from. As she grew up Helen Keller was increasingly frustrated at not being able to communicate properly. This made her naughty and people did not know what to do with her.
But already there were signs of something remarkable happening. She started to communicate with signs to a friend. Then the famous inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, recommended a tutor for her. That tutor was called Anne Sullivan. Anne started using finger spelling to teach her different words. At first Helen Keller did not understand what Anne meant. But when her hands were under a water tap, while Anne was writing the words water, it all suddenly clicked. Helen Keller realised what Anne was trying to teach her. That day it was as if a new world opened up for her. She learned 30 words that day alone. Then she learned braille and learned to read. Then a different tutor came and taught her how to talk from feeling people’s mouths and the vibrations they made. Helen Keller even went to university and was the first deaf and blind person in the world to get a degree.
As Helen Keller grew up she became an inspiration to millions. She even helped other people like helping get women the vote and helping soldiers who had been wounded in World War Two. They even made films about Helen Keller’s life. Sadly, she was not able to marry which was one of the great regrets of her life.
When Helen Keller died she was buried with her life long friend, Anne, who had taught her finger spelling all those years before.
Ellie really wanted to tell this story as she has a book all about Helen Keller and found her story truly amazing.
If you liked this story then you might like to join our Patrons Club. We have exclusive episodes that you can listen to. These include episodes on the Seven Wonders of the World, The Siege of Bastogne, The Bayeux Tapestry and Napoleon & Josephine. You can join at www.patreon.com/historystorytime
The Fall of Napoleon
Sophie (age 7) & Ellie (age 5) tell of the fall of Napoleon - Spain, divorce, Russian disaster to Waterloo and St Helena.----more----
In the third of our Napoleonic series our episode starts with Napoleon at the height of his power. Europe lies before him. Only Britain remains still opposing him. Napoleon decides to launch economic war on Britain. He bans European countries from importing British goods. But people in Europe want the goods. So they keep trying to trade with Britain. Everytime they do, Napoleon invades them.
But he bites off more than he can chew when he invades Spain and Portugal. Britain’s brilliant general, who later becomes the Duke of Wellington, protects Portugal. The Spanish people rise up in rebellion.
The Spanish are not the only country to resent French rule. In an effort to stop attacks on his soldiers Napoleon makes people walk on the other side of the road so it is harder for them to attack his soldiers. So is born the fact that Europe (which Napoleon conquered) drives on the right; but Britain (which he did not) drives on the left.
Napoleon is desperate for a son. So he divorces Josephine even though he loves here. He marries an Austrian princess hoping for a son an a friendship with Austria. He gets the son, but Austria still does not like him.
Then Napoleon makes a terrible mistake. He invades Russia with a mighty army. But the Russians refuse to fight him. They retreat deep into Russia chased by Napoleon. A huge battle is fought before the gates of Moscow. Napoleon wins the battle but many of his soldiers are killed. However, Napoleon captures Moscow. He marches into the city in triumph, expecting victory. But the Russians have other ideas. Not only do they not surrender, they burn Moscow to the ground. Napoleon is forced to retreat. But the winter comes. The Russian cold and ice destroy his army.
All of Europe turns on him. He raises another army but it is not as good as the one he lost in Russia. He is forced out of Germany and into France. He is still the best General in Europe but the numbers are too great. Paris falls and his generals abandon him. He is forced to give up the throne of France. The Tsar and Austrian Emperor take pity of him and give Napoleon the small island of Elba to rule.
But the new French King is unpopular. Napoleon escapes and becomes Emperor of the French again. Europe again turns to fight him. This time Napoleon is defeated at the battle of Waterloo. He is exiled to St Helena. There is no escape.
But before he dies he tells people his side of the story. He creates a legend which makes people forget the wars and invasions and remember instead the good things he did and the battles he won.
This is the final part of a three part series. The other two episodes are:
Emperor Napoleon (historystorytime.com)
The Young Napoleon
The Young Napoleon Bonaparte (historystorytime.com)
We also previously did an episode all about the Battle of Waterloo
Napoleon and the Battle of Waterloo (historystorytime.com)
If you liked this episode please do join our Patrons’ Club. This series was chosen by one of our Patrons. We also have exclusive episodes including an episode all about the love between Napoleon and Josephine. You can join here: