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High Diplomacy: Bulstrode Whitelocke and the Anglo-Swedish alliance of 1654

A Conversation Starter Bulstrode Whitelocke and the Anglo-Swedish alliance of 1654 Personal relations are highly important when conducting politics today. The first steps towards political decisions are often made through conversations and discussions at an informal level. The same applied to the early modern period, although its unofficial dialogue is harder to trace in the archives. However, oral history gives …

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Fred Burnaby: The Victorian Adventurer

The incomparable Colonel Frederick Gustavus Burnaby (1842-1885) In 1876 Fred Burnaby returned from an epic winter-ride on horseback and by sledge to the Khanate of Khiva, in the heart of central Asia. His book, A Ride to Khiva, was an instant hit and ran to eleven editions in the space of a year. On Horseback through Asia Minor, written after …

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The “Knockout” Game, Race, and Fears of Urban Crime in American History

The idea that cities are havens of delinquency populated by morally deprived low-lifes is a longstanding notion in American history. But whatever the current level of crime in American cities, the denser, ethnically-mixed populations of urban areas has ensured that the cultural meme of “cities as havens of vice” has remained perennially popular. The latest fear of urban crime comes …

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Five Minutes With… Dr Lindsey Fitzharris

Dr Lindsey Fitzharris is a medical historian with a PhD from Oxford University. She is the author and creator of the popular website, The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice, which is all about the horrors of pre-anaesthetic surgery. Lindsey has written for The Guardian, The Lancet, New Scientist, The Huffington Post & Medium; and has appeared on television for  Channel 4, BBC4 and National Geographic.  What …

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Behind the Scenes at the new Stonehenge Exhibition Centre

Stonehenge Opens its £27 million Exhibition Centre There’s no skirting the issue, Stonehenge is a really big deal for English Heritage. It is a globally known landmark that has lacked a solid tourist friendly exhibition centre for far too long. Their approach to this issue is not only a statement about the site, but a wider statement about how heritage …

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Rebecca Rideal Reviews ‘The Gin Lane Gazette’ by Adrian Teal

The Gin Lane Gazette Adrian Teal Unbound (2013) What an Age! What a time to walk the Earth! At the end of the eighteenth century, London was a gleaming metropolis with a population of well over a million, whose inhabitants had their fill of coffee houses, ale houses, theatres, pleasure gardens and masquerades. Londoners could spend their days reading the latest …

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Unlocking Bag End: Tolkien and the Victorian Arts and Crafts Movement

In a hole in the ground there was a library, a billiard room, not to mention a luxurious smoking room with comfortable seats soft enough to get lost in.  Above there would seem to be rolling hills, and a nice round window looks out onto lush views of an idyllic countryside.  This idyllic retreat is not set in JRR Tolkien’s …

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St Nicholas: Naughty or Nice?

In the Western world, Christmas is a time to celebrate, either to mark the birth of Christ or enjoy more pagan revelries. Although Christmas is celebrated at different times across Europe (in many countries, the main event takes place on 6 December – St Nicholas’ Day), at the heart of the holidays is a figure who rewards good children with …

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