Quarantine,is a state,period or place of isolation,which animals or people that have been exposed to an infectious disease are placed so they can be treated ,and so the disease doesn’t spread rapidly.There has been many occasions where a quarantine was the only option left to preserve life.

The word ‘quarantine’ is derived from Italian word ‘quarantinario’ ,which means 40 and this alludes to the first recorded quarantine in the 14th century (1370) ; where Venice,a prime trade port,grew cautious and so introduced the rule that any ship that was suspected of harboring the deadly black death,would have to wait 40 days before the passengers and  goods could arrive ashore.Venice also built a hospital off it’s coast,where the sailors/passengers of the infected ships would go to get better, but  more likely to die.


There have been many dire cases,where quarantines have been essential,but there are a few that stand out in the history of quarantines. The Yellow fever in Philadelphia (1793) was one of those cases,but it wasn’t that successful.Over the time span of two years,over a tenth of the city’s population died from the lethal fever.Thousands were fleeing to the countryside to escape,and at the peak of the epidemic,100 people were dying a day.The government collapsed as the capital of America at that time was Philadelphia.The best known ‘cure’ of the yellow fever in the 18th century was the ‘bleed’ technique,where 

the doctors would drain their patients ‘infected’ blood, and then would give them wine to compensate for such vast losses of blood. A  way they tried to avoid the spreading of the fever,was to quarantine the sailors at the Lazaretto hospital,which sat outside the city and was actually built in response to the outbreak of this ferocious fever,but the disease spread through mosquitoes,so it wasn’t that effective.  

The influenza pandemic of 1918 killed more killed more than WWI and also called for quarantines.In Autumn of 1918,the 1st World War was winding down and peace was on the horizon.Deep within the trenches the soldiers suffered through the hardest conditions,and in that same year,in pockets of the world,something now known as the common cold erupted.The influenza that year was far worse than a cold.In the two dangerous years that this disease was imminent,it killed over 500 million people,the pandemic was so jolting because it targeted the healthiest and youngest people .It infected 28% of all Americans and killed ten times as many as the war did,half of the American soldiers died due to the influenza and not the enemy.The influenza was so severe that the average life expectancy decreased by 10% in America. Schools were shut in Europe and public gatherings were banned in the US.In Portland,Oregon decided to take matters into their own hands in the October of 1918.All downtown stores were required to close at 3:30pm,and all offices at 4:00.Some business were held as an exception,but only if they sold vital supplies like food or medical substances.Also police and firemen stood on the streets,overseeing the civilians and making sure no one pushed the four feet proximity rules.

By: Sophie Lea 



The History of Quill Pens

Quill pens firstly appeared in Seville Spain. They where a way of writing from 600 to 1800 AD. Pen ink was invented independently in France and Australia. 
People would get some ink, which was quite pricey at the time. They would get a quill feather, which can come from many different animals, usually being a goose. They would dip the goose feather in ink and write with the sharp tip of the feather on the paper.


Did you know that the quill has been a big part of the American history? The quill has been used to write many important documents like the Declaration of Independence, the U.S Constitution, and many other great documents. The quill was used for many other important items that change history , and not all American history. For example the quill was used for translating the Bible. This changed and made history. 
Also did you know that the quill's ink is held in an ink well? Sometimes during  harsh winters the ink would freeze, this made the new steel  nib pen a lot more useful. Also did you know after something was finished being written the writer would sprinkle sand on  the finished piece so the ink would not smear.  Another cool fact is that when you write with a quill you hold the quill at a 45 degree angle.

Quiz about Quills:

1. Which Country where Quills first founded?
2. What years did people use them as a way of writing?
3. When the bible was translated was it written using a quill?
4. Can you still buy quills?
5. What was invented first, the ball point pen or quill pen?
6. What animal feather do they usually use to make the quill pen?
7. What angle do you hold the pen at?



1. Spain
2. 600 to 1800 AD
3. Yes, when the bible was translated it was written using a quill.
4. Yes, you can still buy quills, but they tend to be fake feathers, the real ones are expensive.
5. The quill pen was invented before the ball point pen.
6. They usually use goose feathers to make quill pens.
7. When you write with a quill pen, you hold it at a 45 degree angle.

By: Blossom Santana-Spevick

Queen Victoria


Born: May 24th 1819, Kensington Palace, London
Died: January 22nd 1901, Isle of Wight
Reign: 1837 - 1901
Occupation: Queen of the United Kingdom and Empress of India 

Becoming Queen:
Hundreds of years ago, Britain was ruled by Victoria. At the time, the British Empire was huge, resulting in over 400 million people across the globe calling Victoria their Queen. After the death of William IV, Victoria was crowned Queen at the age of 18 and reigned for 63 years making her Britain’s longest reigning monarch. Today she is known for her unique personality and successfully leading the country through the ‘Victorian Age’.

Aged 21, Victoria married her cousin Albert who was a German Prince. She had 9 children, 40 grandchildren and 37 great-grandchildren and majority of them married into other royal families around Europe. After the death of Albert, Victoria was distraught and she made the decision to only dress in black clothes for the remainder of her life. During this time, she stepped back from the politics and the public began to question her ability to rule. However she soon recovered and began to take an interest in the British Empire, especially India.

The Victorian Era:
Victoria led the industrial revolution creating a time for progress and prosperity across Britain. The industrial revolution creating more housing, more jobs and better facilities (for example, railways and bridges). However, this also had disadvantages since many laws had to be put into place to improve conditions for some of the jobs. Also the gap between the poor and the wealthy widened meaning the rich were getting richer while the poor were getting poorer. 

Changes to Britain:
Whilst in power, Victoria made dramatic changes to Britain.
-Britain became a superpower - one of the most powerful countries in the world with the biggest empire and a large population
-The amount of people living in Britain increased tremendously causing a sudden demand for more food, clothes and housing.
-Factories and machines were therefore made to keep up with popular demands and new towns were built 
-The introduction of trains and railways was originally built for transportation of goods however opening it up to the public allowed people to get around easily whilst also creating a whole load of new job opportunities.

By Deepa Patel

Quiz of Qs

(Email us at bms.solastera@gmail.com with the answers)

Queen Elizabeth II
When was Queen Elizabeth II born?
When was her coronation?
How many children does The Queen have?
Who is the Queen married to?
Who is the Queen’s oldest Grandchild?


How many members of the band were there?
How many songs did they release?
How long is the song Bohemian Rhapsody? 
What year did Freddie Mercury die?
Who has replaced Mercury in Queen’s world tour that has been happening recently?


Queens Park Rangers
What football league is QPR in?
What year was the club founded?
What is their stadium called?
Who is their current manager?
What year was QPR last in the Premier League?


Quack Doctors
What is a quack doctor?
What century was Quackery at its highest point?
In what year did doctors have to be fully registered to practice?
Which Famous Quack Doctor was accused of being Jack the Ripper?
In what year was the Pure Food and Drug act approved in the US?

By: Benji Winslett

Qing Dynasty


The Qing Dynasty was the final imperial dynasty in China, lasting from 1644 to 1912. It was an era noted for its initial prosperity and tumultuous final years, and for being only the second time that China was not ruled by the Han people.



Near the end of the Ming Dynasty in 1616, Manchurian Forces from then northeastern Asia defeated the Ming army and occupied several cities on China’s northern border.

A full-scale invasion followed. China was defeated in 1644, with Emperor Shunzi establishing the Qing Dynasty.

Many of the new Han subjects faced discrimination. Han men were required to cut their hair in Mongolian fashion or face execution. Han intellectuals attempted to criticize the rulers through literature; many were rounded up and beheaded. Han people were also relocated from the power centers of Beijing.



Social mores became more conservative during the Qing reign, with worsened penalties for homosexuals. Increased demand for purity in women led to a mass refusal of men to accept widows as their brides.

This led to significant growth in suicides of widows, and the creation of homes for widows where interaction with men was limited.


This conservative shift reflected on the arts, and there was a general turn against literature and stage plays that were deemed subversive. Books were routinely banned, and theaters shut down.

Despite this oppressive atmosphere, some creative work did gather attention, as with the poetry of Yuan Mei and Cao Xueqin’s novel Dream of the Red Chamber.

Painting also managed to thrive. Former Ming clan members Zhu Da and Shi Tao became monks to escape governmental roles in Qing rule and became painters.


Internal political and military threats created further instability for the Qing Dynasty.

The White Lotus sect was suppressed after an eight-year rebellion, lasting from 1796 to 1804. The Eight Trigrams sect rose up in 1813, taking several cities and entering the Forbidden City before being defeated.

The most deadly was the Taiping Rebellion, lasting from 1850 to 1864. Put into motion by Christian religious fanatic Hong Xiuquan, the city of Nanjing was occupied by rebels for a decade and 20 million Chinese died in the conflict.

By: Tasmita Jeyashanker



Shakespeare is a very famous poet, playwright and actor and was known and is still known as the greatest English writer. His novels are about life, love, death, murder, mystery, grief, jealousy and magic. Some of his well known stories he has written are Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and Hamlet. Throughout his time of writing, he has also created his own famous quotes and phrases which are commonly used today without many of us knowing Shakespeare was the creator of them. He is still studied today in schools and we study some of his novels and his biography. 

Some of his Quotes are:
1 “Knock Knock! Who’s there?” This is a commonly used phrase which you would hear a lot in jokes. 
2. “Wear your heart on your sleeve.” If you wear your heart on your sleeve, you would show your emotions openly and be very proud of yourself and don’t hide yourself away. 
3. “Wild Goose Chase.” If you go on a wild goose chase, you go out looking for something or someone which isn’t very successful. 
4. “Heart of Hearts.” The phrase “Heart of Hearts” means having a heart that is absolutely full of love. 
5. “Full Circle.” if someone is the full circle, they are beautiful in every way and they have the power to be able to create, transform and nurture. 
6. “Naked Truth.” When someone uses the phrase “naked truth” they are referring to saying that they want the full truth and no lie of fibs. They don’t want anything else but the truth. 
7. “Seen better days.” If you use this phrase, you are saying that the day you are talking about is in a very bad condition. It has been through better times and days.
8. “Love is blind.” When you love someone for knowing all their goods, but being unable to see all the faults in them and figuring out the true person that they are. 
9. “Freezing.” This is a phrase used to describe how cold one must be. It means to be also getting goosebumps and shivering. 
10. “Goodness Sake.” This is a phrase used by many people which means that they are very annoyed or maybe even relieved about something. 

Quiz Time
How well do you know Shakespeare?
Fill in the missing Shakespeare word in each of these 10 quotes. The first one has been done for you. 

1.Fight fire with fire.
2.Heart of _ _ _ _.
3.Vanish into _ _ _ _ air. 
4.Wild _ _ _ _ _ chase. 
5.Forever and a _ _ _. 
6._ _ _ _ _ of flesh.
7.Whats done is _ _ _ _.
8.Laughing _ _ _ _ _.
9.Not _ _ _ _ _ one wink.
10.Dead as a _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _. 

By Preesha Mistry


2.Heart of gold.

3.Vanish into thin air.

4.Wild goose chase.

5.Forever and a day.

6.Pound of flesh.

7.Whats done is done.

8.Laughing stock.

9.Not slept one wink.

10.Dead as a doornail. 

Quentin Tarantino

Fact File:

  • Quentin Tarantino is an American filmmaker, born March 27th 1963, most known for his satirical, ultra-violent features such as Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained.

  • He began writing screenplays for short films (sometimes based upon pre-existing properties) and starring in stage plays like ‘Romeo and Juliet’.

  • In the early ‘90s, Tarantino obtained his first big breakthrough into the vast world of Hollywood cinema by being tasked to scribe the screenplay for From Dusk ‘Till Dawn.

  • Following the film’s large financial success, he moved onto his own projects, beginning with 1992’s Reservoir Dogs, which he wrote, directed and starred in. 

  • It received positive reviews from critics and has since become a ‘must-watch’ from many large media companies.

  • In 1994, Tarantino released Pulp Fiction, perhaps the film he is most known for, weaving together various short stories presented in non chronological order: it subsequently won ‘Best Picture’ and ‘Best Screenplay’ at the Academy Awards.

  • He has released eight films since then, all positively reviewed by critics and well-received by audiences, with his latest (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) being just released 2 months ago.


Common Themes in Tarantino’s films:

  • Twists: Tarantino usually likes to put his own stamp on either his fictionalised events or historical occurrences: for example, in one of his historical works, he brutally slaughters Hitler.

  • Revenge: many of Tarantino’s films focus on the violent and corruptible areas of modern and historical society. Usually this involves bloody massacres or a twisted revenge story (used in both Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill Vols. 1 and 2).

  • Pop culture: especially in his latest film, Tarantino references pop culture whether it be music, advertising, fake product placement or even the film industry itself. There usually is some sort of theory or breakdown of something familiar to most people, allowing for the characters to feel real.

  • The ‘Tarantino Cinematic Universe’: While Marvel may have perfected the universe formula, Tarantino did it first, drawing links between characters and key objects in his films. One of these is linking two characters from different films by a blood relationship.

  • A ‘Mexican Standoff’: Finally, many of Tarantino’s films end memorably with a stacked gunfight, usually resulting in many casualties and a lot of violence.


A Tarantino Filmography:

Reservoir Dogs - 1992 with an average review score of 91%

Pulp Fiction - 1994 with an average review score of 92%

Jackie Brown - 1997 with an average review score of 87%

Kill Bill Volume 1 - 2003 with an average review score of 85%

Kill Bill Volume 2 - 2004 with an average review score of 84%

Grindhouse: Death Proof - 2007 with an average review score of 84%

Inglourious B******s - 2009 with an average review score of 89%

Django Unchained - 2012 with an average review score of 87%

The Hateful Eight - 2015 with an average review score of 74%

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - 2019 with an average review score of 85%

By Beau Waddell

Quack Doctors

Quack Doctors are called Quack Doctors because it is a shortening of the old Dutch quacksalver (spelled kwakzalver in modern Dutch), which originally meant a person who cures with home remedies, and then came to mean one using false cures or knowledge. Quack Doctors increased in the 1700s. A Dutch organisation that opposes quackery, Vereniging tegen de Kwakzalverij (VtdK) was founded in 1881, making it the oldest organisation of this kind in the world. An attempt in England in 1748 to prevent the sale of medicines by anyone except doctors failed. It was only in 1858 that a medical act set up a ‘Medical Register’ of qualified doctors.


There are still many Quack Doctors around the world today such as Stanislaw Burzynsk. His clinic conducts experimental research on and administers antineoplastons to cancer patients. He operates in Texas. Belle Gibson falsely claimed that she had brain cancer which was cured by alternative therapies and nutrition as outlined in her book The Whole Pantry.Ann Louise Gittleman published a series of fad diet books that promote pseudoscientific ideas about weight lossTullio Simoncini has claimed that cancer is caused by, and in fact is, the yeast Candida albicans, and that it can be cured with an injection of sodium bicarbonate.

Louis Pasteur was a French biologist, microbiologist and chemist renowned for his discoveries of the principles of vaccination, microbial fermentation and pasteurization. He has saved many lives because of his discoveries. He created the first vaccine for rabies. He is best known for stopping milk and wine going sour. Louis Pasteur was accused of quackery ad thought to be a quack doctor.

By Henna Nabi

Queen Matilda


Unlike in France, where Salic Law was enforced, women could become queens in their own right in England.  So, when Prince William, the son and heir of Henry I, drowned in the White Ship Disaster of 1120, Henry, despite being the father to numerous bastards, found himself with only one legitimate heir, his daughter Matilda.

When it became obvious to Henry that there would be no more legitimate heirs, despite his wife being much younger, he got  the Barons to swear fealty/allegiance to his daughter, Matilda.  The barons did this, although it is not known whether their intention was to uphold this when Henry eventually died.

Matilda has been described as haughty, proud and headstrong.  She was able to command respect and loyalty, as her relationship with her half-brother, Robert, Earl of Gloucester showed, during the turbulent years of The Anarchy.  She was married aged around twelve to Henry V, the Holy Roman Emperor and she was known as Empress Maude. She was widowed in 1125 and then made to marry Geoffrey of Anjou, around eleven years younger than her, against her will.

When Henry was taken ill after eating a surfeit of lampreys (an eel-like food), and subsequently died on the 1st December 1135  (therefore meaning that the other 23 chocolates in his medieval calendar were left untouched), Stephen of Blois, the nephew of Henry I and grandson of William the Conqueror rushed to take the throne and he was crowned at Westminster Abbey on the 22nd of December 1135.

Surprisingly, Matilda remained in Normandy where her husband, Geoffrey of Anjou, fought to keep the lands for her and any heirs to rule over.  Stephen, having been accepted by the Lords and with the support of Pope Innocent II being voiced in 1136, his position as king seemed secure. It wasn’t until 1139 that Matilda made her way to England to claim the throne.  

Matilda’s uncle David I of Scotland had sworn an oath to recognise her as the future queen. He marched into northern England, but was quickly defeated by Stephen’s army. Soon after this at Easter 1136, Matilda’s half- brother, Robert of Gloucester, paid homage to his new king which went against the oath that he had sworn to his late father Henry I. Throughout 1136-37 there were various uprisings against Stephen then in 1138 Robert of Gloucester changed his mind and raised the colours of his sister. 

On the 30th September 1139 Matilda landed with Robert of Gloucester and a small escort to make her claim to the crown. Stephen allowed her to move around freely to show that he felt confident and wasn’t threatened by her. By early 1140 it had become violent and civil war (The Anarchy) was the norm in south west England. Stephen didn’t have the resources to get Matilda out of the country and she didn’t have the support to overthrow him. In February 1141 Stephen found himself surrounded in Lincoln Castle by Matilda’s army and he was later taken away in custody.  Matilda’s coronation was arranged for 24th June 1141,  but it wasn’t meant to be as London was very loyal to Stephen, and on the eve of her coronation Matilda and her entourage were driven out of London. 

Matilda and her supporters made their way to Winchester Castle, where she was surrounded, but she managed to escape, however, Robert of Gloucester was taken prisoner.  Matilda was unable to fight without him and so agreed to release Stephen, after nine months as her hostage, in return for Robert.  With Stephen being a prisoner for so long, the balance of power in Normandy had shifted and Matilda’s husband had managed to secure it during this time. 

In England, neither side could make the breakthrough that they needed. Once again, Matilda was trapped in a castle, this time at Oxford and again she escaped. Still there was deadlock. Battles still broke out; castles, so new to the country, played a big part with sieges. By 1143 the deadlock deepened.  In 1147, Matilda was dealt a huge blow when Robert of Gloucester died of a fever.  The following year, Matilda left England and returned to Normandy, but she did not abandon her cause. Instead, her son, Henry, came over to continue the fight. Stephen tried, like the tradition of the French Capetian kings, to have his son, Eustace, crowned whilst he was still alive, the Pope refused permission for him to do this. Eustace died in 1153 and the following year, Stephen died.  Henry, grandson of Henry I became king of England.  The Anarchy was finally over and Matilda, Lady of England,could see her line continue. 

By: Joe Brown