SHAKESPEARE’S LOVERS – Part One: The White Lady

The White Lady There is a theory that most of us fall deeply in love twice in our lives.  I believe that William Shakespeare did: that there were two women with whom he fell in love; that these two love affairs had a lasting impact on his life and work; and that neither of these women was his wife. As …

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Hampton Court Palace Reopens its Georgian Chocolate Kitchen

Having loved my recent encounters with Henry Jermyn, Cosimo de Medici & the rest of the rogues from London’s 17th century Chocolate House Tour, I was delighted to be offered the opportunity for more confectionary time-travel, on this occasion to meet the legendary chocolatier Thomas Tosier, who resided at Hampton Court Palace three hundred years ago. Mr Tosier was the …

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Five Minutes With… Amber Butchart

Amber Butchart is a fashion historian on a quest to reveal the secrets of our sartorial past and place the semiotics of style in a wider cultural, political and social sphere. She has contributed to productions for BBC 1 & 2, BBC Learning, Radio 4, Channel 4 and Sky Arts, from the Breakfast News to Making History and Woman’s Hour, and she …

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History in the Classroom: A Teacher Speaks

Over the past few weeks politicians and academics have engaged in fierce debate about how the First World War should be remembered and how history itself is being taught in our schools. The most recent furore began on the 30th December 2013 when the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Start the Week’ hosted by Andrew Marr discussed this very question. The …

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Memory and the Movies: 1960s Cinema-going in Britain

For many, 1960s Britain was full of women in miniskirts and men in flares. The colours were vivid and the sound of the Beatles or the Rolling Stones was in the air. This is how 1960s Britain is often remembered. The country was, as Time Magazine commented, ‘swinging.’ Except, of course, that it wasn’t. While London was certainly a hub …

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V&A announces new Europe 1600-1800 galleries

The V&A has unveiled details of the new Europe 1600-1800 galleries, opening to the public December this year. The £12.5m project – that will be free to the public – will see seven galleries transformed for the redisplay of more than 1,100 objects from the Museum’s unrivalled collection of 17th- and 18th-century European art and design.  Europe 1600-1800 will tell …

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The Railway Men

THE RAILWAY MAN is based on Eric Lomax’s best-selling memoir and a series of meetings, over many years, with Lomax and his wife, Patti. The film tells the extraordinary and epic true story of Eric Lomax, a British Army officer who is tormented as a prisoner of war at a Japanese labour camp during World War II. Decades later, Lomax …

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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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