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First World War

‘Which inventions were created by accident?’

Potato chips. In the 1800s in New York, a customer at a restaurant sent back French fries because they were too thick. The cook made thinner ones that the customer still thought were too thick. Exasperated, the chef made ones that were exceedingly thin to piss off the customer... who loved them.

Books of the year 2013: War

Private Alex Stringer, of the Royal Logistic Corps, was 20 when he was blown up in Afghanistan: "The reason I lost my left leg so high up is because the burning paint cooked my left leg all the way down to the bone. But if I hadn't set myself on fire, I would have bled out and died – as a result of it, all the arteries became cauterised".

Black music: The European connection

Queen Victoria was a fan – and an African superstar’s grandfather an early performer. John Clarke looks back at the hidden history of Europe’s links to black singers and performers

Grace Jones: Britain's oldest person, who worked as a seamstress and a

Grace Jones was the oldest person in Britain and the last person in this country to have been born in the 1800s, during the reign of Queen Victoria. Her 113 years of life encompassed the invention of the aeroplane, the development of electronic communications and two world wars. She was the sixth oldest person in the world.

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Francis Golding: Civil servant who went on to work with the likes of

Francis Golding was one of the country's leading architectural, planning and conservation consultants, and had a big influence on the look of contemporary London. He died from injuries sustained in one of the cycling accidents that occurred in Central London on 5 November. Golding's major clients included Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, Terry Farrell, Rick Mather, Rafael Viñoli, Jean Nouvel and Michael Hopkins. With Foster he worked on the "Gherkin"; with Nouvel on One New Change, also in the City of London; and with Rogers he consulted on the controversial Chelsea Barracks. He was cross about the Prince of Wales's intervention, though in the case of the Prince's Poundbury development in Dorset, he said, "I've seen the past and it works."