REBECCA RIDEAL REVIEWS ‘BEASTLY LONDON’ BY HANNAH VELTEN

Beastly London: A History of Animals in the City By Hannah Velten Reaktion Books In 1900 there were an estimated 200,000-700,000 working horses in London. In 1947 the Ministry of Transport banned all horse-drawn vehicles from using major London routes in peak traffic hours. The world changed fast and we forgot. Until very recently, London was not just packed with …

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Dr Joanne Paul on the plight of St Pancras Old Church

Dr Joanne Paul discusses the campaign to save St Pancras Old Church The Church’s Appeals Project is seeking to raise £350, 000 that is needed to carry out essential repairs on the Grade II* listed church, one of the oldest in London. The church is home to an altar stone dating from the 7th century, the Grade I listed Sir John Soane monument …

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JAMES TAYLOR REVIEWS ‘CHURCHILL AND THE KING’ BY KENNETH WEISBRODE

Churchill and the King: The Wartime Alliance of Winston Churchill and George VI By Kenneth Weisbrode Viking In the spring of 1940, the Phoney War came to an abrupt end. Under the alarming assault of the Blitzkrieg offensive, Hitler’s army invaded Norway, Denmark, Belgium, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands in quick succession, and the countries of Western Europe fell with …

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Five Minutes With… Dr Miranda Kaufmann

Dr. Miranda Kaufmann is a graduate of Christ Church, Oxford, where she wrote her D.Phil. thesis on “Africans in Britain, 1500-1640”, and got two winning Rugby Blues.  She is now a freelance historian and journalist in London. Her latest project is the Influential Black Londoners exhibition, on at National Trust Sutton House, Hackney, 29 September-30 November 2013.  She will be …

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The History of Abbreviation

As an undergraduate, one of my lecturers once said that language is a tug-of-war between laziness and comprehensibility. Laziness, and our desire to communicate with as little effort as possible will make language change, but our need for comprehension will temper how much it changes. Text-language is a perfect example of this – we want to fit as much information …

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WOMEN ON BANKNOTES

My favourite book in the whole of the university library was Beauty and The Banknote, by Virginia Hewitt, published by British Museum Press. This monochrome picture book commands its own place in the Dewey decimal system category of Printed Paper Money (next to Postage Stamps and Related Devices, in case you were wondering) and contains pictures of women appearing on …

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The GOP, Government Shutdown, and the History of Killing Political Legitimacy

The situation was intense. The conservative party in America, its base strongest in the South, had recently suffered a devastating electoral defeat in which a progressive lawyer from Illinois won the presidency along mostly sectional lines. In response to the electoral rebuke of their policies, the conservative party decided that rather than accept the outcome of the election, they would …

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MAMMOTHS OF THE TUBE

LADIES FIRST. In 1960 a man from Edgware was cross enough to write to The Times.  Under the title ‘Mammoths of the Tube’ he complained Sir – One complains of the congested conditions prevailing today on the London Underground Railway system. Lately his condition seems to have been aggravated by various females carrying baskets, bags, and other articles which appear …

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LISTENING TO THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY WITH DR MATTHEW GREEN

When it comes to history tours, the team at Unreal City Audio, fronted by Dr Matthew Green, are really blazing a ‘trail’. We chat to Dr Matthew Green about the release of an extraordinary new app that brings to life the world of 18th century London. What first attracted you to the growth of coffeehouses in London?  Serendipitously, it was …

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The British Library hosts the Georgians

GEORGIANS REVEALED AT THE BRITISH LIBRARY Georgians Revealed – 8 November 2013 to 11 March 2014 – British Library It’s fair to say that being sandwiched in the middle of the Tudors and the Victorians has done the Georgians no favours. Like the Stuarts before them, the Georgians suffer the same level of popular neglect when held up against Henry …

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DR JOANNE PAUL REVIEWS ‘THE VAMPYRE FAMILY’ BY PROFESSOR ANDREW STOTT

The Vampyre Family: Passion, Envy and the Curse of Byron By Professor Andrew Stott Canongate The latest work by historian Professor Andrew Stott may take the reader from Soho to Moscow in tracing the affairs and tragic lives of the literary legends Lord Byron, John Polidori, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley, but its (broken) heart and (dark) soul remains …

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Sinead Fitzgibbon Reviews the National Portrait Gallery’s Latest Exhibition

Sinead Fitzgibbon Reviews the National Portrait Gallery’s Latest Exhibition Elizabeth I and Her People provides a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with some of most influential people of the Elizabethan period.  It features some of the most well-known portraits of the period – of Elizabeth herself, Walter Rayleigh, Bess of Hardwick, Thomas Gresham, John Donne, among many …

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FROM THE ARCHIVE: Women-Only Spaces

Lucy Allen looks at why all the best wombs are wearing misogyny gold this season. I’ve seen several discussions of the medieval birth-chamber as a woman-only space recently, including Helen Castor’s documentary. Castor claims that birth chambers were a space in which women were given extraordinary power in a habitually disempowering society – where midwives had the power to perform …

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Book Review: Nazis, Spies & Fakes: Ten Years at the Coalface of History

Nazis, Spies & Fakes: Ten Years at the Coalface of History By Guy Walters Lockhart Armstrong Limited It is a rather controversial time for a Daily Mail journalist to release a book entitled ‘Nazis, Spies and Fakes’, but please don’t let that stop you reading on. Guy Walters is a stellar historical journalist. The book is an assembly of Walters’ …

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