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5:52pm on Wednesday, 25th May, 2011:

Checking Facts


I bought a copy of Goldsmith's Almanac from 1869 over the Internet. It only cost me a fiver.

As you can see, it's quite small. It still has its silk cover, though, and has notes made throughout as it has a number of blank pages apparently intended for this purpose.

I bought the almanac because I set a children's book I wrote in 1869 and I thought it might contain some obscure facts I could use, such as the name of the French Ambassador to London (Prince de la Tour d'Auvergne, if you must know). However, I was somewhat alarmed to read this:

I was alarmed because the Prime Minister in 1869 was Gladstone, not Disraeli. Oh well, the election was in December 1868, so perhaps the almanac wasn't published in time to make the change?

Well yes, except:

So they have a list of all MPs from the December 1868 election (Disraeli is there under number 30) , but they didn't change the name of the PM on the earlier page.

Damn. If I can't trust the almanac to give the correct name of the PM, what facts in it can I trust?

Referenced by More Interesting but Pointless Research.

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Copyright © 2011 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).