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Tom Bradby Interview: Writing The Great Fire

The Great Fire writer on creating ITV’s new drama “It’s a health and safety nightmare!” It’s the end of April and I’m sitting under a gazebo in the middle of the Oxfordshire countryside with screenwriter, author and ITV News political editor Tom Bradby. We’re sitting next to an impressive recreation of seventeenth-century London – complete with timber buildings, narrow streets and …

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The Queen’s Influence… by Sara Cockerill

The role of Eleanor of Castile as queen consort – and her influence over Edward I There is a fiction common in Victorian writing, that Edward I referred to Eleanor of Castile as “chère reine” and that it was thus that the Charing Cross derived its name.  In fact both elements of this fiction are wrong.  As is now moderately …

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“Messy” vs. Real Tears by Sigrid MacRae

“The world has always been messy,” President Obama told America recently. Total media immersion has probably magnified our awareness of it all, but buck up! We’ll get through it; we have before. He’s right about the mess. The Middle East is awash in frenzied blood-letting. Ebola, power grabs, planes flung out of the sky, land grabs, bombings, countless refugees, ISIS, …

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Bloody Scotland by Malcolm Archibald

An exclusive extract from Malcolm Archibald’s new book Bloody Scotland: Crime in 19th Century Scotland Chapter One Resurrection Men Some crimes are universal, but others are specific to place or time. Body-snatching was one such. It flourished in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and died out completely with the passing of the Anatomy Act of 1832. Until that time, body-snatching …

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How many times did Rasputin die?

Rasputin is one of those rare historical figures who lives on more as a myth than a man. The photos of him are genuinely eerie and there’s no denying his power as an adviser in Tsar Nicholas II’s court. He was associated with spirtual healing and the occult. However a calmer view of him reveals a man who was like …

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Art imitating life by John Burns

I am always a little wary when the terms “proper” or “scholarly” history are bandied about, usually in tandem with the terms “facts” and “unbiased opinion”.  Late last year there was a little political controversy in the UK regarding the use of the Blackadder TV series as a history aid.  It brought into the spotlight the role of the arts …

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5 Lost Texts I’d Love To Get My Hands On… Dr Joanne Paul

Every historian has had that moment, when they realise that the their perfect text existed once, but has since been irrecoverably lost. Here is a top five list of the texts, lost to time, I’d most like to get my hands on… 1. More of Sappho’s Poetry. Not much is known of Sappho beyond her glowing reputation in the classical …

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When Women Ruled Europe

Next year the Church of England will appoint its first female bishop and Hilary Clinton will decide whether to try for the US presidency. We might think that such manifestations of female power were novel. Feminist campaigners and male chauvinists alike could be surprised to learn that 500 years ago women held most of the top jobs in Europe. We …

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The greatest general you’ve never heard of…

Not a lot of attention (beyond Greece) is given to the Byzantine empire, this is in part because after a brief flourish after the end of the Roman Empire in the West the tale of this civilisation is one of constant, steady decline. However while Western Europe was mired in many wars of invasion after the collapse of the Roman …

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