Mumtaz Mahal

Mumtaz Mahal was the Empress consort of the Mughal Empire from 19 January 1628 to 17 June 1631 as the chief consort of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The Taj Mahal in Agra cited as one of the Wonders of the World, was commissioned by her husband to act as her tomb. Mumtaz Mahal was born Arjumand Banu Begum in Agra to a family of Persian nobility, she was the daughter of Abu'l-Hasan Asaf Khan, a wealthy Persian noble who held high office in the Mughal Empire, the niece of Empress Nur Jahan, the chief wife of Emperor Jahangir and the power behind the emperor. She was married at the age of 19 on 30 April 1612 to Prince Khurram known by his regnal name Shah Jahan, who conferred upon her the title "Mumtaz Mahal". Although betrothed to Shah Jahan since 1607, she became his second wife in 1612. Mumtaz and her husband had fourteen children, including Jahanara Begum, the Crown prince Dara Shikoh, the heir-apparent, anointed by his father, who temporarily succeeded him, until deposed by Mumtaz Mahal's sixth child, who succeeded his father as the sixth Mughal emperor in 1658.

Mumtaz Mahal died in 1631 in Burhanpur, during the birth of her fourteenth child, a daughter named Gauhar Ara Begum. Shah Jahan had the Taj Mahal built as a tomb for her, considered to be a monument of undying love; as with other Mughal royal ladies, we have no contemporary likenesses that are accepted as of her, but numerous imagined portraits were created from the 19th century onwards. Mumtaz Mahal was born as Arjumand Banu on 27 April 1593 in Agra to Abu'l-Hasan Asaf Khan and his wife Diwanji Begum, the daughter of a Persian noble, Khwaja Ghias-ud-din of Qazvin. Asaf Khan was a wealthy Persian noble, his family had come to India impoverished in 1577, when his father Mirza Ghias Beg, was taken into the service of Emperor Akbar in Agra. Asaf Khan was the older brother of Empress Nur Jahan, making Mumtaz a niece, a step daughter-in-law of Nur Jahan, the chief consort of Emperor Jahangir, Shah Jahan's father, her older sister, Parwar Khanum, married Sheikh Farid, the son of Nawab Qutubuddin Koka, the governor of Badaun, the emperor Jahangir's foster brother.

Mumtaz had a brother, Shaista Khan, who served as the governor of various provinces in the empire during Shah Jahan's reign. Mumtaz was a talented and cultured lady, she could compose poems in the latter. She was reputed to have a combination of modesty and candor, a woman warmly straightforward yet bemusedly self-possessed. Early in adolescence, she attracted the attention of important nobles of the realm. Jahangir must have heard about her, since he consented to Shah Jahan's engagement with her. Mumtaz Mahal was betrothed to Shah Jahan around 30 January 1607, when she was 14 years old at the time and he was 15, they were, married five years after the year of their betrothal on 30 April 1612 in Agra. The marriage was a love-match. After their wedding celebrations, Shah Jahan, "finding her in appearance and character elect among all the women of the time", gave her the title "Mumtaz Mahal" Begum. During the intervening years between their betrothal and marriage, Shah Jahan had married his first wife, Princess Kandahari Begum in 1609 and in 1617, after marrying Mumtaz, took a third wife, Izz-un-Nissa Begum, the daughter of a prominent Mughal courtier.

According to the official court historians, both the marriages were political alliances. By all accounts, Shah Jahan was so taken with Mumtaz that he showed little interest in exercising his polygamous rights with his two other wives, other than dutifully siring a child with each. According to the official court chronicler, Motamid Khan, as recorded in his Iqbal Namah-e-Jahangiri, the relationship with his other wives "had nothing more than the status of marriage; the intimacy, deep affection and favour which Shah Jahan had for Mumtaz exceeded what he felt for his other wives." Shah Jahan's historian Inayat Khan commented that'his whole delight was centered on this illustrious lady, to such an extent that he did not feel towards the others one-thousandth part of the affection that he did for her.'Mumtaz had a loving marriage with Shah Jahan. During her lifetime, poets would extol her beauty and compassion. Despite her frequent pregnancies, Mumtaz travelled with Shah Jahan's entourage throughout his earlier military campaigns and the subsequent rebellion against his father.

She was his constant companion and trusted confidant, leading court historians to go to unheard lengths to document the intimate and erotic relationship the couple enjoyed. In their nineteen years of marriage, they had fourteen children together, seven of whom died at birth or at a young age. Upon his accession to the throne in 1628, Shah Jahan designated Mumtaz as his chief empress with the title of'Malika-i-Jahan' and'Malika-uz-Zamani'. Mumtaz's tenure as empress was brief, spanning a period of only three years due to her untimely death, Shah Jahan bestowed her with luxuries that no other empress was given before her. For example, no other empress' residence was as decorated as Khas Mahal, where Mumtaz lived with Shah Jahan, it had rose-water fountains of its own. Each wif

Charles Dawson (billiards player)

Charles Raynor Dawson was an English champion player of English billiards. He held the world professional title in billiards in 1899, 1900, 1901 and 1903, when it was held on a challenge basis. Stevenson was born in Huddersfield in 1866, he worked in the weaving trade before becoming manager of the George and Dragon Hotel in Huddersfield in 1887, where he learnt to play billiards to a high standard He played matches for money before challenging for the world championship title. Dawson won the billiards title against John North in 1899, but the match attracted little attention as leading player John Roberts Jr. was not involved. In 1900, H. W. Stevenson and Edward Diggle challenged Dawson for the Billiards Association title. Stevenson beat Diggle in the preliminary round, compiling a break of 648 in the match, but lost 6,775–9,000 to Dawson. In January 1901, Stevenson beat Dawson to win the title, but Dawson won it back in April. Following the April match, Stevenson challenged Dawson again; the match was due to be played within three months of the challenge being made, but both players agreed to a postponement until November.

Although Dawson was aware that the match was due to be played in November, he organised an exhibition match with Diggle in Glasgow for that month and was unavailable for the championship match. Stevenson refused a further extension, was awarded the title. Dawson and Stevenson contested the title again in 1903, with Dawson winning a close match 9,000–8,700. Following this, the championship was not contested for several years. In 1908, the Billiards Association declared Melbourne Inman the champion. In 1904, Dawson published, his highest break at billiards, excluding the anchor stroke, was 823. He retired from playing in 1909, due to failing eyesight, died in Storthes Hall Asylum, Huddersfield on 16 July 1921. January 1899, beat John North 9,000–4,715 April 1900, beat H. W. Stevenson 9,000–6,775 April 1901, beat H. W. Stevenson9,000–5,796 March 1903, beat H. W. Stevenson 9,000–8,700 Charles Dawson biography at the Billiard and Snooker Heritage Collection

Meirion Mill Railway

The Meirion Mill Railway was a narrow gauge railway that operated at Meirion Mill in Dinas Mawddwy, Wales. It only operated for three years from 1975 to 1977. Meirion Mill is a tourist attraction that operates in a large slate building on the site of the Dinas Mawddwy station of the Mawddwy Railway; the building was a slate warehouse for the nearby Minllyn Slate Quarry. After the Second World War, the building was converted into a Woollen mill by a consortium of local sheep farmers. In 1966, it was taken over by a Cheshire industrialist. Street renamed the operation "Meirion Mill" and turned it into a tourist attraction and selling a wide range of woollen products. In 1974, Street was looking for ways to attract more visitors to the mill, he intended to create a small museum related to the Mawddwy Railway on the site. He learned that a narrow gauge steam locomotive called "Trixie" was available for purchased from the nearby Centre for Alternative Technology, he bought "Trixie" and commissioned Alan Keef to build a narrow gauge railway next to Meirion Mill along the trackbed of the Mawddwy Railway.

Trixie arrived at the mill on 15 January 1975. The 2 ft gauge track was laid during the spring of 1975, the railway opened for passengers on 19 July 1975. Along with the track, Alan Keef supplied a diesel locomotive and two passenger carriages that originated at Butlin's Filey holiday camp; the railway operated for the rest of the 1975 season and during 1976. During the winter of 1976, the line was relaid on the east side of the car park at the mill. Trixie and one of the carriages were moved to Alan Keef that winter and did not return to the railway; the railway opened for the 1977 season with the diesel locomotive operating trains. After the opening Easter weekend the railway inspectorate ordered the line closed and it was lifted shortly afterwards. A few wagons, obtained from the Gartheiniog Slate Quarry on the Hendre-Ddu Tramway, remained on display and in storage at Meirion Mill in 2016