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History Storytime - For Kids

English, Children Stories, 1 season, 113 episodes, 17 hours, 52 minutes
History Storytime for children told by 7 year old Sophie, 5 year old Ellie and their Daddy. Exciting history stories of Knights, Tudors, Romans, World Wars, Revolutions, Explorers, Scientists and Sports. Hear amazing history stories of animals, stirring historical stories of love and betrayal, and of strong women and how they changed history. Real life narrative history as it should be told. Won Silver in the BritPodAwards. Helps support learning history for the National Curriculum with Key Stage 1 (KS1) and Key Stage 2 (KS2) and for all Elementary ages - Grades K-5. Great for supporting parents with homeschooling. Valued by teachers, enjoyed by parents, loved by kids.
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The Fall of the Roman Republic: The Rise of Augustus

Sophie (age 9) and Ellie (age 7) tell the story of how the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. 2000 years ago Rome was in chaos. The great Roman general Julius Caesar had been murdered. He was stabbed to death by nobles, including his friend, Brutus. They had believed he wanted to make himself King. They did not want to be ruled by a King. The murderers of Caesar were delighted with themselves. They thought they had saved Rome. However, Julius Caesar’s friends were furious. One of his friends was called Mark Antony. He was asked to speak at Julius Caesar’s funeral. Thousands of ordinary Romans were there. Mark Antony gave a speech in which he reminded everyone how much Caesar had loved the ordinary people. He also told them how in Caesar’s will he had left money for the poor people of Rome. Then he showed the crowd Caesar’s torn and bloody toga from when he had been killed. The crowd were furious. They turned on the murderers of Caesar and hunted them through the streets of Rome. Brutus and the other murderers fled. Caesar’s nephew was called Octavian. Caesar had adopted him as his son. He now called himself Octavian Caesar. Octavian and Mark Antony raised and army and chased Caesar’s murderers. They defeated them in battle. Brutus killed himself. Octavian and Mark Antony did not trust each other. They decided to divide up control of the Roman lands between them. Mark Antony took the East and ruled from Egypt. Octavian took the West and ruled from Rome. To make their alliance stronger, Mark Antony married Octavian’s sister, Octavia. However, in Egypt, Mark Antony met Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt. She had been Julius Caesar’s girlfriend. Now she became Mark Antony’s girlfriend. People in Rome did not like this. Nor did Octavian. War broke out. There was a big naval battle but at the height of the battle, Cleopatra and her ships fled. Mark Antony followed her. The battle was lost. Then Mark Antony’s soldiers fled too. Mark Antony then believed that Cleopatra had killed herself. He was so upset he tried to kill himself with a sword. However, before he died he learned that Cleopatra was actually alive. He died in her arms. Cleopatra tried to make peace with Octavian but he was not interested. She killed herself by letting a snake bite her. She died from its poison. Octavian then took total control in Rome. He called himself Imperator which meant Commander. Over time this word changed and became our word for Emperor. The Roman Republic was over; now it was the Roman Empire. PATRONS' CLUB If you liked this episode you might like to join our Patrons’ Club. You can join at There are exclusive episodes there. We have a new episode out about the Battle of the Atlantic in World War Two.
7/25/20227 minutes, 47 seconds
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Fall of the Roman Republic: The Death of Caesar

Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) tell the story of the Fall of the Roman Republic up to the death of Julius Caesar.----more---- 2000 years ago Rome was a mighty empire. It used to have Kings. However, the people of Rome decided that the Kings were cruel so they got rid them. After that they chose their rulers by elections. They promised to never have a King again. Rome got more powerful. Her mighty armies conquered other countries because they were very disciplined. At first the Roman farmers would also be soldiers and then go back to their crops when the fighting was finished. As there was more and more fighting, further and further away Rome needed to have soldiers who were just soldiers. However, they didn’t know what jobs the soldiers could do when they had finished being a soldier. The generals had a good idea. They decided to give the land that Rome had conquered to the soldiers. This made the soldier fight extra hard. However, it also made the soldiers very loyal to the generals who were going to give them land. Over time the soldiers became more loyal to their generals than to Rome. Many Roman generals got rich and powerful. No one more so than Julius Caesar. He was a brilliant general. He conquered Gaul which was the Roman name for France. However, the senators back home were suspicious of Caesar. They told him to come home alone without his army. Caesar invaded instead. He conquered Rome and became the most powerful Roman. He chased his enemies and defeated them. Then he met an Egyptian Queen called Cleopatra and she became his girlfriend. Back in Rome the senators were worried that Caesar wanted to make himself a King. One day they stabbed him to death in the senate. Even his friend Brutus stabbed him. The people who stabbed him thought they had won. They thought that they had saved Rome from having a King. However, they had forgotten that Caesar had friends, that his army loved him and so did the people of Rome. In two weeks time we will tell the rest of the story and how Rome got its first Emperor. Patrons Club If you liked this episode then do please join our Patron’s club. We have exclusive episodes there. You can join at
4/25/20229 minutes, 45 seconds
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The Siege of Vienna of 1683

Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) tell the story of the siege of Vienna from 1683. This was one of the most important battles and sieges in history. ----more----The mighty Ottoman Empire had conquered the old Eastern Roman Empire and the great city of Constantinople. It ruled a massive area in the middle east, Turkey and the Balkans. In Europe it faced the Holy Roman Empire whose capital was in Vienna. 350 years ago the Ottomans decided to attack Vienna. They assembled a mighty army. Vienna was poorly defended. Its walls were old. They only had a small army in the city. The Holy Roman Emperor fled the city. The Ottomans had huge cannon. They blasted holes in the walls of Vienna. Then the Ottomans attacked. Again and again they attacked the walls. The Viennese defended their city. But they were running out of soldiers. It seemed as if they city would fall. Meanwhile the Holy Roman Emperor had been asking other countries for help. His German allies agreed to help. So too did the King of Poland. But would they be in time? As the Ottoman army gathered for its final assault they heard trumpets in the hills around Vienna. The Germans and Poles had arrived. The Ottomans quickly turned around to face them. At first the Germans charged down the hills. The Ottomans fought them and the battle was in doubt. Then the bugles sounded again. A loud fluttering echoed across the battlefield. Then came the sound of thousands of horses hooves. The Polish Winged Hussars thundered into the Ottoman lines. These were brave Polish soldiers with armour like knights. They had massive feathered wings on their backs. Just then the Viennese soldiers charged out of Vienna. The Ottoman army ran for its life. Vienna and Europe were saved. If you liked this story you might like to join our Patrons’ Club. You can find exclusive episodes there. You can join at
4/11/20229 minutes, 39 seconds
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Harriet Tubman

Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) tell the story of the inspirational life of Harriet Tubman. She was an enslaved person in America who escaped to freedom and then helped others escape too. She later fought to free other enslaved people in America.----more---- Harriet was born in the South of the United States 150 years ago. Her parents were enslaved so she too was enslaved. She was forced to work for a white family and help raise their children. When she made a mistake she was beaten. She was even beaten when the baby she had to look after cried. When she got older she was forced to do hard work in the field. Once a metal block was thrown at her head and it badly hurt her. When Harriet was older she got determined to escape. She managed to escape using a secret route called the underground railroad. At first she was in the north of the United States. However, after a while even that was not safe. So she went to live in British Canada. Although she was safe there she worried about the black people, including her family, who she had left behind. Thirteen times she journeyed back to the south to rescue people. She had lots of adventures and was nearly caught several times. However, she helped 70 enslaved people to escape. She later helped a man called John Brown who wanted to start a war to free the black enslaved people. He failed and was executed. However, a few years later a war did start. The North of the United States and the South of the United States fought. The South wanted to have their own country so they could carry on having slaves. The North did not want this. Harriet helped the North in the fighting. At first she worked as a scout for the army, using the skills she had learned helping people escape. Later she helped attack a plantation and rescued hundreds of enslaved people. The North won the civil war and the enslaved people were freed. Harriet then settled down to enjoy her retirement. In her lifetime she was mostly forgotten. She died of old age aged 90 years old. After she died she became famous as people remembered how brave she had been.   PATRONS' CLUB If you liked this episode you might like to join our Patrons' Club. We have exclusive episodes there. 
3/28/20229 minutes, 27 seconds
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The History of Ukraine

Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) have been following the news about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. They decide to tell the story of the History of Ukraine going back over a 1000 years. ----more---- Their story starts with the Vikings. A thousand years ago Viking explorers left Scandinavia. Many of them went West and attacked England and France. Some even found America. Others went East and began exploring the huge rivers in what is now Russia. Eventually they found a town on a hill by a river. They attacked the town and took it for themselves. They called it Kyiv. They founded a mighty empire called the Kyivan Rus. They ruled all the land between what is now Kyiv and Scandinavia. Kiev was a mighty capital city. Moscow was just a small village that they ruled. They got rich from trade with Constantinople and became Christians. Then the Mongols came from the East. They destroyed Kyivan Rus. They burned many cities and towns – Moscow was destroyed and Kyiv conquered. For hundreds of years the Mongols ruled what we now call Ukraine and much of what we now call Russia. Slowly the people around Moscow managed to get rid of them and so did the Poles. The Poles and Russians then fought over who would control Ukraine. The Russians won and conquered Ukraine. However, the people of Ukraine did not forget that they had been a free people. 200 years ago many of them started to remember what it was like to be free and write stories and poems about it. Then World War One started. Millions of Russians were killed. There was a revolution and the people of Ukraine rose up and set up their own country. The new Russian government was called the Soviet Union. They were communists. They attacked Ukraine and conquered it. They then forced Ukraine into the Soviet Union and made them be communist. They were so bad at running the country that millions of Ukrainians were killed by famine. Then Germany under Adolf Hitler invaded the Soviet Union. He wanted to make all Russians and Ukrainians into slaves. Together the Russians and Ukrainians fought back. They defeated Hitler with the help of Britain, her Empire and America. However, after the war finished the Soviet Union would not let those countries it had conquered go free. It forced them to be communist and killed or imprisoned anyone who disagreed with it. Eventually all of Eastern Europe and the parts of the Soviet Union rebelled. The Soviet Union collapsed. Ukraine became a free people again. Now they had their own country again and could rule themselves. If you liked this episode please do join our Patrons' Club. You can join at  
3/7/202210 minutes, 1 second
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The Wars of the Roses

Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) tell the story of the Wars of the Roses. This was the civil war between the House of York and the House of Lancaster that was fought in the time of knights and castles to see who would rule England.----more---- 600 years ago two families had a claim to the throne of England: the Lancastrians and the Yorkists. They were powerful noble families. They each had a banner with a Rose on it. The Lancastrians had a red rose; the Yorkists had a white rose. At first the Lancastrians were more powerful. So their Duke became the King of England. He and his son were at first very successful Kings. They fought wars in France. One king won a great victory at the Battle of Agincourt. Then Joan of Arc came and helped to reconquer France. The English were defeated. By this time the Lancastrian King was called Henry VI. He was not a very good king. He had a strong wife called Marguerite and she would have been a much better ruler than him. Eventually the Duke of York got fed up with how useless Henry was being. The Duke claimed the throne of England for himself. He captured the King. However, Marguerite fought back. Her army killed the Duke of York in battle and they freed the King. The Duke of York’s young son, Edward was now the Duke. He quickly marched to London with his friend Warwick. Warwick was a very powerful noble. He was so powerful that people called him the Kingmaker because they said he could make Kings. Together they chased Marguerite’s army to the north of England and fought a great battle at Towton. Marguerite and the Lancastrians were crushed and Henry was captured. Now Edward was King of England. For ten years Edward ruled. However, he and Warwick argued over who should be the wife of Edward. They argued so much that Warwick asked Marguerite who was hiding in France to invade England. She did so with Warwick’s help. Edward and his younger brother Richard had to flee. However, they weren’t gone long. They raised an army, returned to England, killed Warwick, defeated the Lancastrians, took back the throne and then murdered Henry VI. Edward was now King. When Edward died he asked Richard to look after his young children until the oldest could be King. Richard agreed. However, Richard then imprisoned his nephews in the tower and took the throne for himself. The young princes were never seen again. There was one last Lancastrian prince. His name was Henry Tudor. He invaded England, defeated Richard in battle and killed him. Henry then married one of Edward’s daughters and united the families. The Wars of the Roses were over. If you liked this episode you might like to join our Patrons’ club. You can join at
2/14/202210 minutes, 15 seconds
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Genghis Khan

Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) tell the story of Genghis Khan.----more---- Genghis Khan was born 800 years ago in Mongolia. Except he was not called Genghis Khan then. His name was Temujin. He was the son of a chief of a small tribe. His father was poisoned and Temujin and his tribe had to flee. Life was hard growing up. Already though, Temujin was proving to be a fierce fighter. When he brother stole some food, Temujin killed him. Then Temujin married a wife from another tribe called Borte. Together the tribes were stronger. However, a different tribe attacked them. They kidnapped Borte. Timojen asked another tribe to help and attacked the tribe who had kidnapped Borte. He killed them and rescued her. Now Timujin was getting powerful. However, people in his tribe disagreed over who should have the important jobs. Timujin thought that people should have the jobs if they would be good at them. Some people thought that only rich nobles should have the best jobs. Those people were lead by a man called Jamukha. The tribe split in two and war between Timujin and Jamukha started. Jamulkha won the first battle and burned Timujin’s generals alive. Timujin escaped and promised he would never lose a battle again. In the next battle Timujin had some sneaky tricks up his sleeve and he defeated and later killed Jamulkha. Now Timojin was the most powerful man in Mongolia. He was in charge of all the tribes. They gave his the title “Genghis Khan” which meant “Ruler of everyone”. Genghis Khan now decided to attack the powerful Chinese Empire. After a long siege he attacked and conquered the capital which we now call Beijing. Then he turned his army west. He conquered every country until he got to Eastern Europe. Then he turned back to conquer the rest of China. After 25 years of rule he died. His body was buried in secret. Nowadays many people think of him as a bloodthirsty conqueror. However, he was more than that. He married so many people and had so many children that many ordinary people today are descended from him. He did not mind what religion you were, what your skin colour was or whether you were rich or poor. He only rewarded people and gave them good jobs if they deserved it. Finally, he made the roads safe for trading. He allowed a route between the East and the West called the Silk Road. People took amazing inventions from China to Europe – like the compass, paper and gunpowder. PATRONS’ CLUB If you like this episode you might like to join our Patrons’ Club. We have exclusive episodes there and next week are telling the history of the Soviet Union. You can join at
1/24/20229 minutes, 6 seconds
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Captain Cook and the European Discovery of Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii

Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) tell the story of the great explorer Captain Cook who was the first European to discover Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii.----more---- Before we even start our episode Sophie and Ellie point out that there were already people living there who did not need to be discovered as they had their own cultures, languages and homes. However, we decide to tell the story anyway as Captain Cook was still a great explorer . James Cook was born 300 years ago in Britain. Britain was a powerful country who got rich through trading and from her colonies. James Cook was born into a poor family. When he was 16 he went to become a grocer. The grocer’s was by the sea and James used to look out the sea and wonder what it would be like to be a sailor. After a year and a half he went to sea himself. He became a sailor on a ship which carried coal from Newcastle to London. It was a boring sailing job. However, James Cook spent his time learning all the mathematics that you needed to be a good sailor. Then war broke out between Britain and France. James decided he wanted a life of adventure so he joined the navy. He had to start at the bottom. However, the navy soon realized that he knew a lot about sailing and was good at maths. He was put in charge of the sailing on a warship. Britain and France were fighting to see who would rule Canada. The British decided to sail their navy up a river in Canada to attack the French. The French thought this was impossible. However, they had not reckoned with James Cook. He mapped the river and found out where it was safe for the British fleet to sail without hitting the rocks. The British found the French, defeated them and conquered Canada. The British admirals now realized that James Cook was a very clever man. After peace came they made him captain of his own ship and sent him to the Pacific. They told him that his job was to look at Venus from there. However, when he arrived he opened secret orders. Actually he job was to explore the islands and in particular to find the mythical land called Terra Australis – which we now call Australia. Captain Cook got very lucky because he met a local person called Tapaia. He knew the area very well and was a good sailor. Together they went exploring. The first place that Captain Cook found was what we now called New Zealand. There were people already there called the Maori. Then he carried on sailing and found what we now call Australia. There were other people living there who we sometimes called Aboriginal people. When he got back to Britain everyone was amazed. He was treated like a hero. He was sent out again to find more of Australia. This time he found lots of islands that he claimed for Britain. Then he was sent out a third time. This time he sailed to Hawaii and from there he went to the top of North America to what we now call Alaska. Up in the Arctic he tried to find a way to the Atlantic through the ice. He was not successful and sailed back to Hawaii. There he had an argument with the local King and was killed on the beach.   Still today though he is remembered as one of the greatest ever explorers. PATRONS’ CLUB Next week we are going to tell the story of the First Fleet. This is the fleet which first took Europeans to colonise and settle in Australia.  This episode will be exclusively available on our Patrons’ Club. Then the week after we will have another free episode available. You can join at
1/10/20229 minutes, 45 seconds
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History of the Christmas Carol

Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) tell the history of the Christmas Carol. Songs used to be sung by pagans thousands of years ago to celebrate the Winter Solstice. Christmas was at the same time as the Winter Solstice so the Church carried on with the singing but instead made the songs about Christmas. The first Christmas Carol we know of was from 2000 years ago and was called the Angels Hymn. All the early carols were in Latin and over time people stopped speaking Latin – and they stopped singing the Latin carols. Then around 800 years ago a monk called St Francis of Assisi wrote the first nativity play. He had songs in the play to make it more interesting. He also had these songs in people’s own language so they could understand it. Many of the songs became so popular that Minstrels would sing them. Many of the carols from his period have survived. While Shepherds watched their flocks by night is over 500 years old. However, 400 years ago in England the Puritans came to power. They were very serious. They chopped off the King’s head and they banned Christmas and the singing of carols. People liked carols so much that they carried on singing them in secret when they were not in Churches. This is where the tradition of carol singers comes from. Different carols came from different places. 150 years ago someone in America wrote Away in a Manger. People thought is was written by a famous holy man called Martin Luther, but it probably was not. The carol Come all ye faithful was written about 300 years ago. Many people think that it remembers the old Stuart kings who used to rule England. The most famous Carol story though is from World War One. British and German soldiers were fighting in the trenches. The fighting was very bloody. Then on Christmas Eve the German trenches were decorated with candles and lights. The British were confused. Then they heard the Germans singing Silent night in German. The British sang back The First Noel. Slowly the British and German soldiers came out of the trenches. They stopped fighting and celebrated Christmas together in the middle of a war. We are taking a Christmas break ourselves. Sophie and Ellie’s mummy works in the hospital and things are a little busy there at the moment. So we will be back with more History Storytime episodes in the New Year. Patrons Club If you liked this episode then do join our Patrons Club. You can join at  
12/20/20216 minutes, 51 seconds
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World War Two - Blitzkrieg

Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) tell the story of Blitzkrieg – how the Germans used tanks to conquer much of Europe at the start of World War Two. In World War One Britain invented the tank. America, Russia and Britain used tanks to defeat Germany. However, after the war people in those countries did not want to fight any more wars. They made their armies small. They also decided to defend in the future not to attack. The French built a line of forts for defence. They did not have many tanks and those they did have they used for defence. The Germans though had other plans. After Hitler came to power his built a powerful army for Germany again. This army had many tanks. The German generals invented a new way of fighting. It involved lots of tanks in one place smashing through the enemy lines. They would be helped by planes and paratroopers. They called this type of fighting, Lighting War. In German that is Blitzkrieg. It relied on their tanks – in German they were called Panzers. The Germans invaded Poland. The Blitzkrieg worked. They crushed Poland with his cavalry and old fashioned army. Next the Germans attacked France. They smashed through the French lines. The British ran away and the French surrendered. The battle was followed by an air battle over Britain. This saw many German planes destroyed and the British one. Next the Germans attacked Greece. Again the Blitzkrieg worked. Then they attacked Crete. Crete was an island and the British Royal Navy controlled the seas so the German used their paratroopers. They won the battle but many of the paratroopers were killed. Now the Germans had lost mucg of their airforce and their paratroopers. However, they still had their tanks. Next they attacked Russia. At first, the Blitzkrieg worked again. However, the Russians had developed their own excellent tank called the T-34. They were also happy to attack the Germans. There were huge tank battles in Russia. Slowly the Russians started to win. Then America joined the war. She had learned from the Germans how to use tanks. The British had also now learned. As the British and Americans fought the Germans they used their massive tank armies and many planes to defeat Germany. The War was won. PATRONS’ CLUB If you liked this episode you might like to join our Patrons Club. We have exclusive episodes there including one on the Siege of Bastogne which also involve tanks. You can join at  
12/6/20219 minutes, 57 seconds
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The Invention of the Tank

Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) tell the story of the invention of the Tank.----more---- At the outbreak of World War One, armies had infantry, artillery and cavalry. Many of the general had been in the cavalry themselves. However, once war started everyone realized that cavalry was not going to be very useful in this war. Machine guns fired bullets so fast that the cavalry were shot dead before they could finish their charge. The war soon became trench warfare as soldiers dug trenches to keep safe from the bullets. You couldn’t put a horse in a trench. The area between the trenches was also very dangerous. There were craters, mud, barbed wire and machine guns. Thousands were killed in attacks on enemy trenches. What was needed was a way of crossing the mud, crushing the barbed wire and not getting shot by the machine guns. British engineers came up with the answer. They wanted to build a vehicle which could do all that. However, the person who got most excited by it was the person in charge of the Navy. His name was Winston Churchill and he later became very famous in the next World War. He agreed to build the first tanks. As he was in the Navy, he called them Landships. The first tank was called “Little Willie” and the second tank was called “Big Willy”. They realized that if they wanted to keep them secret from the Germans they needed a better name than “Landship”. As a disguise they pretended that they were new types of water carriers. So they called them “Tanks”. The name has stuck ever since. The first time they used the tanks they were not very successful. However, the next time the British made sure they had lots of them. It was at a place called Cambrai in France. The battle started with a massive explosion under the German trenches. Then hundreds of British tanks rolled forward. They crushed the barbed wire. German bullets bounced off them. In the first few days they won a great victory. The bells of England rang out in celebration. While the Germans fought back at that battle, everyone realized that the tank could win battles. The next year, the Americans, French and British armies, with their tanks, drove the Germans back and won the war. After the war though the Germans thought long and hard about how to use tanks. In World War Two it was they who first worked out how to use them properly. PATRONS CLUB If you liked this episode then please join our Patrons’ Club. You can join at
11/29/20218 minutes, 40 seconds
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The History of Pollution and Saving the Planet

Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) have been learning about Climate Change at school as part of the COP conference. They have made a podcast about the history of pollution and saving the planet.----more---- Our story starts 800 years ago. Edward I was King of England. Coal was discovered in Newcastle and many London homes started using it to keep their houses warm. However, it made the city very smokey. The King’s mother thought it was so smokey that she left the town. The King decided to act. He banned people from using coal for their fires to try to make the air cleaner. However, people just ignored him. Then a later King, Richard II, decided that it he could get rich from taxing coal. He didn’t care about the air, he thought it was a way to get rich. As more and more people went to live in the cities, they realized that they started to have problems with poo and with clean water. There was nowhere to put the rubbish so people threw the rubbish and the poo onto the streets. There was no way to get proper clean water to drink either. So people got ill and often died. It was decided to build proper sewers to take the poo away and proper pipes and taps for clean water. This made everywhere a lot cleaner and saved many lives. Meanwhile, there were factories being built in the cities. These factories used coal – and people were still using coal to warm their houses. The smoke from the coal got worse and worse. It started to cause something called fog. This is where smoke and fog mix up. Its poisonous to breathe. One summer in London, 70 years ago, there was a terrible smog in London. The air turned green. Thousands died. It was decided to stop using coal in cities to save lives. However, not all pollution is visible. 40 years ago the world realized that there was a hole in the Ozone layer. The Ozone layer is an invisible shield around our planet which protects us from harmful rays from the sun. However, some chemicals were destroying the ozone layer. Those chemicals were banned and the ozone layer started to repair itself. This was an example of the world working together to help fix pollution. More recently, people have learned that all the coal and oil that we have been burning has meant that the planet’s climate has been changing, in particular, it has been getting hotter. The coal and oil have helped countries get richer and they have been able to use that money on good things like medicines. However, the pollution is not good and the whole world wants to find someway to stop it. At the end of the episode, Ellie and Sophie reflect on how in human history, humans have often managed to fix pollution problems when they have tried their hardest and work together. They also reflect on how we only have one planet and we need to look after it. We also have a poster that the girls designed for the COP summit. You can see it on twitter (@historytime99) or on Instagram (@history_storytime). Please give it a “like”! Patrons’ Club If you liked this episode you might like to join our Patrons’ Club. You can join at
11/22/20218 minutes, 47 seconds
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The Fall of Constantinople

Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) tell the story of the Fall of Constantinople in 1453. Constantinople was all that was left of the once mighty Roman Empire. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, 1500 years ago, the Eastern Roman Empire survived. Its capital was Constantinople. Over time though it became known as the Byzantine Empire. Constantinople was a might city. It had 500,000 people living there and huge walls to protect it. Then came Islam. People who follow Islam are called Muslims. They conquered much of the Byzantine Empire. Other Christians came to help. This was called the Crusades. However, the Muslims defeated them too. Eventually, all that was left of the Byzantine Empire was Constantinople. By now Constantinople had lost most of its people. It only had 50,000 left in the city. However, it still had its mighty walls. The Muslims were determined to conquer it. Its location made it difficult for people in Asia to attack Europe. The muslims who wanted to attack the city were called the Ottomans. They ruled what we now called Turkey. They had a secret weapon. Massive cannon. The walls of Constantinople were not built when cannon existed. The massive Ottoman army surrounded the city. Their cannon began firing. They blasted holes in the walls. Then the Ottomans attacked. The Ottoman army actually had Christians fighting in it. They led the way. There were not enough Byzantines to defend all the holes in the walls and the gates. As the Ottomans breached the city gate the Byzantine Emperor tore off his robes, drew his sword and charged into battle. His body was never found. The city was captured. 30,000 people in the city were made into slaves. The Ottomans turned the largest Church into a Mosque. This was now their capital. Europe was stunned. Now Constantinople was conquered it meant that the Ottomans could now attack Europe more easily. However, there was one benefit for Europe. Constantinople had been a centre of learning. They knew of many things that the ancient Romans and Greeks had invented. As people fled Constantinople they took with them that knowledge. This caused a rebirth in science, art, literature and history in Europe. We call this Rebirth, the Renaissance.   PATRONS CLUB If you like this episode you might like to join our Patrons’ Club. You can find exclusive episodes there. You can join at
11/15/202110 minutes, 15 seconds
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The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior

Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) tell the story of the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in the week of Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday.----more---- World War One had been a terrible war. Millions had been killed by machine guns and explosions. The fighting was so terrible that many of the bodies were never found. Back in Britain that meant is was difficult for people to properly grieve. It was decided to bury one unknown soldier in Britain to represent everyone who had died. That way everyone would have a place to go and to mourn. Four unknown soldiers were dug up from their graves in France. A British general randomly chose one of the bodies. The other three were reburied. The body was placed in a coffin of wood from Hampton Court Palace and a crusader sword placed on top. The chosen body was taken in a coffin to a French castle overnight. A brave French regiment guarded the body. Then it was taken to the port. A thousand French school children led the way, followed by the coffin and then 10,000 French soldiers. The most important French general was waiting. He saluted the coffin as it was placed on a French warship. The coffin was escorted to Britain by warships and saluted as it arrived. In London it was taken past crowds of people watching in silence. At Westminster Abbey the King and his government were there. So were 100 women who had lost their husbands and all their children in the war. Also 100 of the bravest soldiers in Britain. They buried the body and wrote an inscription on a marble gravestone saying how they felt about him and what he represented. The next year the future Queen of Great Britain was getting married in the Abbey. Her brother had been killed in the war. His body had never been found. As she was leaving the Abbey, the princess bent down and placed her bouquet on the Tomb. Ever since then, Royal princesses have left their bouquets by the tomb of the unknown soldier. Other countries also have their own Tomb of the Unknown Warrior or Soldiers to commemorate soldiers from World War One and other wars. PATRONS’ CLUB If you liked this episode you might like to join our Patrons’ Club. We have exclusive episodes there. This includes a new episode all about the American Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. You can join at    
11/8/20219 minutes, 59 seconds
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The Aztecs

Sophie (age 8) and Ellie (age 6) tell the story of the mighty Aztec Empire.----more---- The Aztecs ruled central America for hundreds of years. They conquered it from other countries. They were fierce warriors. Their capital was called Tenochtitlan. This is now the capital of Mexico. Back then it was an island on a lake. It had gleaming white palaces and Pyramids with temples on the tops of them. Religion was very important to the Aztecs. They practiced human sacrifice. This is where they would kill people to make the Gods happy. They used to capture enemies and sacrifice them. They would even sometimes go to war in order to capture people for sacrifice. Family was also very important to the Aztecs. The men would work as farmer or would have a trade like being a potter. The women would stay at home and cook for the family. All children went to school – including girls. At boys’ school, the boys learned a trade and how to fight. At girls’s school, the girls learned to dance, sing and how to cook. Aztec children were very polite and were taught not to complain about anything or to interrupt anyone. The Aztecs also loved playing games. They had a game called Patolli which was like a boardgame. They also had a game called Ullamalitzi which was a ball game with a rubber ball. The Aztecs had their own language. Many Aztec words later became Spanish words and some of those because English words. We get words like tomato, coyote and avocado from Aztec. Aztecs also loved chocolate. They were one of the first people to use chocolate. They made it into a drink. We get the word, chocolate, from them too. The mighty Aztec empire fell because of the Spanish. Spain had discovered the Caribbean with Columbus. Later though the Spanish wanted the riches of the Aztecs for themselves. They landed a small army under a man called Hernan Cortez. Cortez’s army might be small but he had guns and horses and the Aztecs had neither. The first thing that Cortez did was make friends with people that the Aztecs had conquered. Together they marched on the Aztec capital. The Aztec King tried to make friends with the Spanish. However, the Spanish wanted to conquer their country. Fighting started. Some of the Spanish soldiers got scared and wanted to go home. However, Cortez burned their own ships. Now the Spanish had to win or die. The Spanish had accidentally brought Smallpox with them from Europe. The Aztecs had no experience of smallpox. It killed half of the Aztec population, including many of its leaders. The Spanish defeated the Aztecs and conquered their Empire and took their gold. PATRONS’ CLUB If you liked this episode you might like to join our Patrons’ Club. We have exclusive episodes like our history of chocolate episode which talks about the Mayans and the Aztecs. In our normal episodes we also tell the history of the Horse which also talks about Cortez and his conquest of the Aztecs. You can join at
11/1/20218 minutes, 51 seconds
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Hallowe‘en Special: Ghosts in History

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) celebrate Hallowe’en by telling Ghost stories from history.----more----   They start with stories from ancient times. They tell how Odysseus went down to the underworld after winning the siege of Troy and met with ghosts. Aeneas, a Trojan prince, was fleeing Troy. He also visited the underworld and met with ghosts. The Romans loved ghost stories and lots of their stories have survived, including a spooky one about a haunted house with a ghost wrapped in chains. The Arabs also loved their ghost stories. The famous book, the Arabian nights has lots of ghost stories in it. Some of the most famous ghost stories in history involve Anne Boleyn. She was the second wife of Hentry VIII. She was executed by having her head chopped off. Many people later have said that they have seen her ghost. One story happened a 150 years ago in the Tower of London. A guard saw Anne Boleyn coming towards him. He attacked her with his bayonet. It went right through her. He was so afraid that he fainted. When he was found, he was put on trial for falling asleep. He told people what had happened but no one believed him. Then a General came forward and said that he too had seen Anne Boleyn’s ghost. The soldier was freed. There are also stories of ghosts in wartime. In World War One British soldiers were fighting the Germans in a town called Mons. After the battle many people told a story of how soldiers with bows and arrows had come from the sky to help the British. It was as if English soldiers from the past had come to help. A writer came forward and said he had made the story up. However, many soldiers said it was true and that they had seen it for themselves. In another story a British soldier was killed in the trenches. His best friend was very sad. The next day the dead soldiers’ ghost appeared to the man. The ghost pointed at the ground in the trench. The man started to dig where the ghost was pointing. He found a secret German tunnel filled with explosives that the Germans were going to blow up and kill all the British. The ghost had saved everyone’s lives. The most famous ghost in history though it not British, it is American. Abraham Lincoln was the President of the United States. He won the American Civil War and ended slavery. Many people in the White House have said that they have seen or felt his presence. Afterwards, we talk about whether or not we believe in ghosts. The girls don’t think they are real and we talk about some reasons why that might be the case. However, just before bed the girls hear a spooky sound… PATRONS CLUB If you liked this episode then do please join our Patron’s Club. You can join at
10/25/20219 minutes, 4 seconds
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The History of the Police

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the History of the Police.----more---- The first police were in Ancient Egypt. They were used to guard markets and temples. They had sticks to beat criminals with. They also used animals to help. They had trained monkeys and dogs who helped them catch baddies. In Ancient Greece they also had police. Every city was different. In Athens they used special slaves as police to keep order during meetings. We get the word Police from the Greek word “Polis” which means City. The Romans had lots of different types of police. They had the vigiles who used to stop criminals, catch escaping slaves and guard the Roman baths. When things got tricky they would call on the urban cohort. They were more like soldiers than police. They would deal with riots and treason. Roman officials also had their own bodyguards. They were called Lictors and they used to carry rods with them called Fasces. They would hit anyone who got in their way. Nowadays some bad governments like the Nazis are called Fascist governements and they get their name from the Fasces that the Lictors used to carry. Almost all societies have had some sort of police – whether they were the Chinese, Indian or South American societies in the past. In England the Saxons had a different system. They divided up families into groups of ten families. The head of on the families was in charge. He had to make sure that people obeyed the law, catch anyone who didn’t and then punish them. Once the Normans conquered England they changed things to made them more organized. They created the job of constable. This was paid for by the King. However, it was the French who made the first proper police force. King Louis XIV wanted Paris to be better run. He created a police force for the city. Later it got uniforms and became the first police force with uniforms. Meanwhile, Britain was struggling. Constables used to pay ordinary people to catch criminals. However, often they would catch ordinary people and try and claim the money. One judge got so annoyed he set up his own thief catchers called the Bow Street Runners. Glasgow copied the French and made a police force for the city. Eventually, the government in Britain made a police force for London called the Metropolitan Police. The special thing about this was that the founder, Sir Robert Peel, said that the job of the police was to serve the people. He also said they the police had to enforce the law and not just do what the government wanted. Other colonies of Britain copied her. Places like Australia and Canada set up their own versions. Even America made police forces for her cities that were based on the same ideas. PATRONS CLUB If you liked this episode then please do join our Patrons Club. We have exclusive episodes there and you can help to choose an episode. You can join at
10/18/20219 minutes, 21 seconds
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The Cold War

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the Cold War.----more---- At the end of World War Two the Soviet Union (the old name for Russia) and the United States of America were suspicious of each other. The Soviet Union would not let their newly conquered lands in Eastern Europe be free. They also would not disband their armies. This worried the capitalist and democratic countries of what we call the West. They agreed to protect each other. The Americans had nuclear weapons which the Soviets did not have. These weapons could destroy whole cities. The Soviets though had spies. Their spies in America and Britain stole the secrets to the Nuclear weapons. Then the Soviets could build their own. Both America and the Soviet Union built thousands of bombs. They built enough to kill everyone on earth. Both countries started to experiment with travelling into space. They wanted to explore. However, they also wanted to learn how to make missiles so they could put bombs on the top of them. There wasn’t a lot of difference between a nuclear missile and a space rocket. Sometimes the people in Eastern Europe would rebel. The Soviet soldiers would crush them. Whenever people in the Soviet Union complained they were sent to Siberia, which is very cold, and forced to work. One of the most difficult places was Berlin. This city was divided. West Berlin was free but East Berlin was ruled by the Soviets. The Soviets wanted the Americans to leave so they tried to starve the people of West Berlin to get the Americans to go home. America and her allies sent in enough food by place to keep the people alive. Then so many people were trying to escape from East Berlin that the Soviets made a wall through the centre of the city, dividing west from east Berlin. Anyone who tried to climb over the wall would be shot. The West tried hard to make sure that other countries did not become communist. Sometimes they did bad things to stop this from happening. Then the Americans decided to build weapons in space that could shoot down the Russian missiles in space. The Soviets did not have enough money to carry on. They had a new leader who was young called Mikhail Gorbachev. When the people of East Berlin started protesting, Gorbachev did not attack them. They pulled down the wall and freed themselves. Then people in the Soviet Union started protesting and wanting to end the Soviet Union. Again, Gorbachev let them win. People were now free. The Cold War was over. PATRONS CLUBS If you would like to join our Patrons’ Club you can at
10/11/20219 minutes, 58 seconds
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Napoleon‘s March on Moscow in 1812

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of Napoleon’s disastrous march on Moscow in 1812. ----more---- Napoleon was the Emperor of the French and at the height of his powers. He controlled almost all of Europe. Only Britain, Spain and Portugal defied him. Napoleon was obsessed with Britain. He decided that he could make her poor by stopping other countries from buying things from Britain. He forced everyone in Europe to stop buying from Britain. Except Russia. Russia was a huge and powerful country. Their ruler was called the Tsar. He was not afraid of Napoleon. Napoleon assembled a massive army, half a million strong. It had Frenchmen, Italians, Germans and Poles. He invaded Russia in the summer of 1812. The Russians knew that Napoleon was a brilliant General and his army was bigger than theirs. So they refused to fight. Instead they retreated deeper and deeper into Russia. Napoleon chased them. Many of his men died in the summer heat from marching. When Napoleon was half way to the Russian capital, Moscow, his generals urged him to wait out the winter. However, Napoleon was worried that people would think he was weak because he had not defeated the Russians in battle. He pushed on to Moscow. Outside Moscow he found the Russian army. The Russians had built strong fortifications. They were made of earth and had spikes in front of them. Napoleon’s generals suggested he go around the side of the fortifications. However, Napoleon did not want the Russians to run away again. Instead he attacked. The battle raged all day. It was the bloodiest battle in Europe until World War One. Eventually, fierce French attacks forced the Russians from their positions. However, still the Russians did not run away. Overnight the Russians retreated again. Napoleon marched into Moscow. He believed he had won. After all he had captured the Russian capital. Still though the Russians did not surrender. Then the Russians deliberately set fire to Moscow. They burned down their own city. Napoleon was left in a ruined city with no food and no shelter. He had to retreat. As he retreated the first snow fell. The weather got colder and colder. The French had no winter clothes. They began to freeze. Slowly their army disintegrated. Napoleon ordered their wagons burned to help the army march faster. Then Napoleon got to river. There was no bridge. He had burned the bridge building equipment in the wagons. The Russians closed in for the kill. Then one of the French engineers admitted that he had not burned all the equipment. There was enough left to build a bridge. Under heavy Russian attacks the French built a bridge and the army escaped across it. Now Napoleon needed to leave the army to get back to Paris and raise a new army. He asked his bravest general, Marshal Ney, to help get the army home. Marshal Ney commanded the rearguard of the army. He fought like a common soldier and was the last man out of Russia. He was called the Bravest of the Brave. Of the half a million men who invaded Russia, only 10,000 survived. It was a total disaster. Speaking of disasters, sorry this episode was late. When I uploaded it last night the whole episode crashed and wiped. The girls' were very understanding and we did the entire thing again this morning before school!  PATRONS’ CLUB If you like this episode you might like our Napoleon and Josephine episode. It is exclusive for Patrons and you can join at  
10/4/202110 minutes, 17 seconds
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Gruesome Executions in History

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of gruesome executions from history – feeding Christians to the lions, the punishment of the sack, decimation of soldiers and more. We start with the punishment of the sack. Romans kept this punishment for people who killed their father. They would put the person inside a large sack. Then they would put a live monkey, a snake, a dog and a rooster in the sack too. The sack was tied up with everyone inside. They it was thrown into the river so that everyone drowned. Next we tell of how the Christians were punished by the Romans. The Romans wanted Christians to agree that there’s was not the only God but there was also the Roman gods – Jupiter and Venus and others. Christians would not agree. So many of them were taken to the Colosseum in Rome. This is where Gladiator fights happened. The Christians had no swords or armour. The Romans had wild animals like lions and tigers. They had not been fed for ages so they were now hungry. The Romans let them loose on the Christians. The Lions and tigers ate the Christians. However, in Roman times it was not only the Romans who were fierce. There was a Roman General called Crassus. He was very rich. He led an army to invade Parthia. There was a battle fought in the desert. Instead of attacking the Romans, the Parthians attacked the wagons with the water in them. They broke open the barrels of water and the water drained into the desert. The Romans had to surrender because they had no water. When the Parthian Emperor had the Crassus in his hands, he poured molten gold down Crassus’ throat to mock his wealth. The Romans knew that losing battles was a bad idea. So they had a way of making sure that their soldiers did not run away. If a unit ran away in battle then after the battle there was a terrible punishment for them. Everyone in the unit had to draw straws. Some of the straws were long, but some were short. There were nine long ones to one short one. When you were drawing the straws you could not tell if the straw was long or short. Everyone who had a long straw too a club and stood in two lines facing each other. Everyone who had a short straw had to run between the two lines. The people with a short straw were then beaten to death by the people with a long straw. They called this decimation which means killing one in ten. It wasn’t only men and soldiers who faced terrible executions. The Romans had priestesses called Vestal Virgins. They kept a sacred fired in Rome burning. They lived in luxury but they were not allowed to have boyfriends or get married. If one of them did get a boyfriend then she faced a terrible punishment. It was not allowed to kill a Vestal Virgin. So she was locked in an underground room without any food and left there to starve to death! PATRONS’ CLUB We had so many stories this week that we have saved some of them for our Patrons’ episode. We have there a follow on episode. It has stories of death by rat, death by elephant, death by red hot poker, death by cannon and death by being hung, drawn and quartered. You can join at    
9/27/20218 minutes, 2 seconds
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World War Two - The Eastern Front

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the Eastern Front in World War Two between Germany and the Soviet Union. Hitler and his Nazis rule Germany. Stalin and his Communists rule the Soviet Union. They hate each other. Hitler decides to invade the Soviet Union and conquer it. The Soviet Union is huge and has many people in it. However, it is poor and its army is old fashioned. The Germans have invented a new way of fighting battles with tanks and airplanes. It called Blitzkrieg which means Lightning War. The Germans invade the Soviet Union without warning. They quickly smash through the Soviet lines and surround hundreds of thousands of soldiers. Then they push onto Paris. However, Moscow is so far from Germany that it too them until the start of winter before they arrived. The Soviet solders fought desperately. They were helped by Soviet soldiers from Siberia who were used to the cold. The German generals wanted to retreated but Hitler would not let them. He was right this time. The Germans just held on. In 1942 the German attacked again. This time they attacked South. They wanted to capture the oilfields to stop the Soviets having petrol for their tanks. They captured lots of land but had to capture the city of Stalingrad first. There is fighting for months. Secretly the Soviets mass tanks outside the city. They attack and surround the city. Hitler will not let the Germans retreat. It is a mistake and the whole German army is forced to surrender. Meanwhile, Hitler’s evil plans continue. His soldiers kill many ordinary people and, in particular, they start killing Jews. The next year Hitler attacks for the last time. There is a massive tank battle. The Germans lose. The following year the Soviets attack. They force the Germans back. Just as the Soviets are about to invade Poland they stop. The brave Poles rise up and fight the Germans. They beg for help from the Soviets. However, Stalin is happy to see the Poles be killed by the Germans because he wants to rule Poland after the war. The following year the Soviets close in on Berlin. They are cruel to many ordinary German people, especially to women. After brutal fighting the Soviets capture Berlin. Hitler kills himself, and he kills his dog too. The World War in Europe is over. Patrons Club Please do join our Patrons Club –
9/20/20219 minutes, 54 seconds
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The Peasants‘ Revolt

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381. ----more----It is a troubled time for England. The Black Death has devastated Europe. There are not enough people to work the fields. The poor people, who are called the peasants, want more money from the rich people as there are not enough workers. The rich people say no. England is at war with France and is running out of money. The government decide to raise taxes. Instead of just taxing rich people, the government decide to tax everyone – even the poor people. At first the taxes are low. However, they go higher and higher. The peasants cannot afford to pay the taxes. They need to eat too. So many of them stop paying the taxes. The government send people to collect the money. However, these tax collectors are mean. They are horrible to the peasants. One of them is nasty to the daughter of a man called Wat Tyler. Wat gets angry and kills the tax collector. Then more peasants join Wat Tyler and together they agree to march on London to see the King. They want to ask the King to lower the taxes. They believe that the King will help because he is only 15 years old and they think that his advisors are making him raise the taxes. The peasants' army approaches London. The young Kings goes to meet them by boat. However, the King is too scared to come ashore and he cannot hear the peasants. He goes back to London. Now the peasants are angry. They march into London and destroy the buildings of the King’s friends. The King agrees to meet with the peasants. As he leaves his castle, the Tower of London, the peasants attack the castle and capture it. The King agrees to help the peasants and he writes them letters saying that he will make things better for them. Many of the peasants are happy and go home. However, Wat Tyler doesn’t believe the King. He stays and meets the King the next day. Wat Tyler is rude to the King and his friends. One of the King’s friends has had enough and kills Wat Tyler. The Peasant Army is furious that their leader is killed and is about to attack. However, the King goes alone to the peasants and tells them that he is their leader because he is their King. The peasant army calms down. Meanwhile, the King's friends have returned to London and told the King’s soldiers that the King has been captured by the peasants. The King's army marches out to rescue the King. When they meet the peasants the King tells his army not to attack the peasants. However, the King is no longer afraid now he has his army. He kills the Peasant leaders. He tears up the letters and tells the peasants, “peasants you are and peasants you will remain”. It seems as if the Peasants’ Revolt has failed. However, the nobles have been scared by how strong the peasants were. They now start to be much nicer to the peasants. If you liked this episode then do please join our Patrons’ Club. You can join at
9/13/20218 minutes, 1 second
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Marie Antoinette

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of Marie Antoinette.----more---- Marie Antoinette was an Austrian Princess. She grew up in Austria in a palace. She met the famous composer Mozart when they were both children. She learned to play the piano, the flute and the Harp. She loved to dance and to sing. When she was 15 it was decided that she should marry the next King of France. He was called Louis – almost all French Kings are called Louis. Traditionally, Austria and France were enemies. However, both countries wanted to be at peace and hoped the marriage would help that. When Marie Antoinette got married she learned that Louis already had a girlfriend. He wouldn’t get rid of her. The poor people of Paris liked Marie Antoinette. They thought she was beautiful. However, when the old King died. Louis became King and Marie Antoinette became his Queen. The King realized he couldn’t have his girlfriend any more so he got rid of her. This made Marie Antoinette happy. All French Kings lived in a huge palace called Versailles. You can go there today and it is beautiful. Louis gave Marie Antoinette her own little palace called the Petit Trianon. She loved it. She redecorated the whole place. Marie Antoinette also liked jewellery and dresses and spent lots of money on both. This was a time when many people in France were very poor. People felt that she was spending too much money that France could not afford. Whenever there was a chance that France and Austria might go to war, Marie Antoinette intervened and stopped it. Some people in France rather liked fighting Austria. Some people started to feel that Marie Antoinette was less a French Queen and more of an Austrian Princess. There was a terrible scandal all about a diamond necklace. A bad woman called Jean pretended to be friends with the Queen. She persuaded a priest to led her money to buy a diamond necklace. The priest agreed because he thought that the Queen wanted him to buy the necklace. However, naughty Jean stole the necklace. The priest asked the Queen for his money. However, the Queen had not known anything about it all. She had never even met Jean. We know that the Queen was telling the truth. However, many people at the time thought that the Queen might have been lying because she did like expensive jewellery. Then the French revolution happened. The poor people of France attacked the King’s castle – the Bastille. They took control of the government. The King and Queen got scared and tried to flee. They were caught and locked up. The Austrians were angry that an Austrian Princess was held prisoner. So they invaded France. They told the French that if they harmed the King or Queen, then Paris would be burned. This made the French angry. They decided to execute the King and Queen. Both Louis and Marie Antoinette met their ends bravely by the dreaded Guillotine. PATRONS CLUB If you liked this episode then please do join our Patron’s Club. We have exclusive episodes there. You can join at
9/6/20219 minutes, 46 seconds
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Why did World War Two start?

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of why and how World War Two started.----more---- Germany was divided into many different countries by slowly one country called Prussia either conquered the other countries or persuaded the little Germany countries to join them. Germany had been created through fighting and this made some Germans think that conquering other countries was normal. However, while Germany was becoming one country, other countries were also getting bigger. Britain and France were building might Empires. America was exploring the West. Russia was conquering much of Asia. Germany was powerful in Europe but she felt weak in the world. Then there was World War One. Germany lost. Millions were killed, Germany lost land – including land where Germans lived, Germany had to pay lots of money for all the damage they had caused. People in Germany were very upset. Their Generals did not want to be blamed for losing the war. So they told everyone that they would have won the war except people back home gave up too early. After a few tricky years things calmed down in Germany. However, everything went wrong with the money in the world and people got very poor and many lost their jobs. Many counties stopped buying and selling from other countries. That was not such a big problem for Britain, Russia, France and America because they had big empires to buy and sell to. However, Germany did not have an empire. Then Adolf Hitler became leader of Germany. He was the most evil man in history. He wanted Germans to all live in Germany, he wanted more land for Germany, and he hated Jews and Communists. He blamed communists for Germany losing the First World War. Firstly, Hitler decided to march into a part of Germany that he was not allowed to have soldiers in. The world did nothing. Then he marched into little Austria. The world did nothing. Then he decided to attack a little country called Czechoslovakia. Britain and France gave him some of Czechoslovakia to keep him happy. He took that bit; then he took the rest too. Britain and France did not want to fight. That is why they kept hoping Hitler would stop if they were reasonable with him. However, Hitler did not want to stop. Next Hitler attacked Poland. He even managed to persuade the Russians to help him. This time Britain and France had had enough. They went to war with Germany. Britain’s Empire came to her aid. The Americans joined later on. Most wars have many complicated reasons for them. This war was Hitler’s fault. PATRONS CLUB If you would like to join our Patrons’ Club then please do join at
8/30/20219 minutes, 20 seconds
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Disaster in Afghanistan: The First Afghan War of 1839

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell of the First Afghan War of 1839, where the British invaded Afghanistan and were forced into a disastrous retreat from Kabul. ----more----In 1839 the British controlled India. They had built a mighty Empire. However, the Russians were also building a mighty Empire in Asia. The British worried that a Russian army might invade India. In between Russia and India was Afghanistan. Then the Afghans got a new king called Dost Mohammed. The British were worried he would be too friendly to the Russians. They decided to invade and replace him. They sent an army into Afghanistan. The army was partly British and partly well trained Indian soldiers. The British expected to win easily. They even took their wives with them. The British marched through the mountains to Kabul, capturing other towns like Kandahar on the way. In Kabul, Dost Mohammed fled. The British picked another Afghan to be king called Shuja Shah because they thought he would be good for Britain, not because he was popular. The war seemed won and so lots of the British soldiers returned to India. They left around 5000 soldiers in Kabul. The British had been paying money to local Afghan tribesmen. To save money the British decided to reduce the money they were paying. The Afghan tribesmen were upset and started attacked British wagons. British soldiers from Kabul defeated the Afghan tribesmen. The British demanded that the Afghans give up some of their children to ensure they would stop fighting. The Afghans refused and the fighting carried on. Then some of the British soldiers took some Afghan women as girlfriends. The Afghan men were very angry and decided they wanted revenge. Dost Mohammed had a son called Mohammed Akbar Khan. He called the different tribes together. They all agreed to attack the British. At the end of the meeting they started shouting “Jihad, Jihad” which means “struggle, struggle”. The next day the British were attacked. Different British officers were murdered trying to talk to the Afghans. The British General was not sure what to do. He decided to ask Mohammed Akbar Khan if the British could just go back to India. Mohammed Akbar Khan agreed but insisted that the British give up their cannons and leave behind most of their gunpowder. The British agreed. However, as soon as the British were out of Kabul the Afghans attacked again. They kept attacking all the way home for the British. The British agreed to surrender their women to the Afghans. However, the attacks continued. Only one British officer escaped. He stumbled on a pony back to a British fort. He was all that was left of the thousands in Kabul. The British were furious. They attacked Kabul with another army. They captured the place. But they did not want to stay. Once they left the old ruler of Afghanistan, Dost Mohammed, became ruler again. At the end of the story, Ellie reflects on how this is a story which should be better known. Sophie summarises the story as being about the British deciding to replace the Afghan rulers by invading the place, then being forced into a humiliating retreat, after which the old rulers came back. PATRONS CLUB If you liked this story then please do join our Patrons’ Club. We have exclusive episodes there and you can help choose an episode. You can join at
8/23/202110 minutes, 8 seconds
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The Hundred Years' War

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the Hundred Years’ War between England and France.----more---- This is a time of knights and castles. William the Conqueror had come from France to conquer England. This meant that English Kings now owned land in France. The lost some in battle, but gained other parts through marriage – especially the lands of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Often English Kings would be married to French princesses to help keep the peace between the two lands. However, when the French King died the next in line to the throne was the King of England. The French did not want an English King. So they changed the rules and said that descendants of Princes were more important than descendants of princesses. The King of England, Edward III was furious. He declared war on France. The French were confident of victory because they had many knights. They thorught their knights were invincible. However, the English had armed their soldiers with a longbow. Properly used they could destroy the French knights. At the first major battle at Crecy that is exactly what happened. The French were destroyed by the English Archers. The same happened at the Battle of Poitiers where the French King was captured by the English King’s son, the Black Prince. The French carried on fighting. So Edward and France did a deal. The English released the French king and the French promised Edward III could rule some of the French lands. However, once their king was safe the French refused to give England all the promised land. War continued. However, the Black Prince died and slowly France regained all her land. For 40 years there was relative peace. This was broken by England’s new King, Henry V. He invaded France and crushed the English at Agincourt. The French agreed that he could be King after the old French King. However, Henry V died first leaving an infant son. The French were not scared of him and fought on. Then a peasant girl called Joan of Arc claimed that God was telling her to fight the English. She persuaded the French ruler to lend her his army. She attacked and destroyed the English army. The English captured her and killed her as a witch. Later the final English Army met the French in Battle. However this time the French had a sneaky plan up their leaves. They had cannon. The cannon could fire further and it destroyed the English Archers. The Hundred Years War (which lasted 116 years) was over. France had won. PATRONS’ CLUB If you liked this episode then do please join our Patrons’ Club. You can find details at
8/16/202110 minutes, 4 seconds
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The History of Flight

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) decide to tell the history of flight. ----more---- We start off with legendary tales of flight like the story of Icarus. Icarus and his father need to escape a castle. They build some wings out of feathers and wax and flap them to escape the castle. They start flying but then Icarus flies too high. As he gets close to the sun his wax melts and his wings fall off. He falls to the ground with a splat. This story actually tells us a lot about what people thought you needed to do in order to fly. People looked at birds and thought that what you needed to do was to fly like a bird. They would make big wings and try and flap with them. They did not realise that a person is much heavier than a bird so you would need to make a huge wing that flapped really fast. One inventor called Leonardo da Vinci studied how flying might work. He was a famous artist and inventor 500 years ago. He even made a design for something that he called an Ornithopter but which was a lot like a helicopter. However, it was never built. 300 years ago people started to come with ideas for balloons. The Montgolfier brothers invented the hot air balloon. This saw a fire lit in a basket. The hot air then filled a balloon which was above the basket. The hot air rose and this made the balloon take off. They first experiment by putting animals in the basket. Later they put people inside. The Balloon was very good at going high up. However, it could not fly in a particular place. It was carried by the wind. So it was not that useful. Later a man called George Cayley realised that what was important about birds was not how they could fly, but instead how they could glide. He studied the science behind gliding and made many gliders over the next 50 years. However, what was really needed was an engine in the glider. Then it could take off more easily and stay in the air for longer. This is where the Wright brothers come in. They were American brothers who were very interested in flying. They read up lots about it. They also realised that if could move the wings slightly that would help with take off. This is where modern planes get the ideas for the flaps from. They spent a long time trying to make the perfect glider. They they put a small engine in it and had the engine work some propellers. The plane took off. But it didn’t fly for long. So they brothers spent the next two years working to improve the plane. This time it worked. The plane flew for 40 minutes. The Wright brothers had cracked flying. Now planes are part of our everyday lives. We use them for holidays, transport, war, fighting fires, exploring and more. Patrons’ Club If you liked this episode then please do join out patrons Club. All the details are at  
8/9/20218 minutes, 20 seconds
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The Modern Olympic Games

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the history of the modern Olympic Games. After last weeks episode on the Ancient Olympic games the girls want to bring the story up to date.----more---- Greece was conquered and the Olympics seemed forgotten for 1,500 years. However, after Greece fought and won her freedom again, people wanted to remember all the amazing things that the Greeks had done. This was science and maths, myths and legends. It was also the Olympic games. A Frenchman called Pierre Coubertin loved that in Britain they were doing lots of sports in schools and writing many rules for sports. He also loved Ancient Greece. He had the idea to bring back the Olympic Games but instead make them for the whole world. He organized the first modern Olympic Games in Athens. Like the ancient games he decided to have them every four years. However, differently to the ancient Olympic games, he decided to have them in a different city every time. The first challenge was to decide on the sports. They decided not to have the old fashioned ancient Olympic Sports like chariot racing. Instead they would have modern sports that people play nowadays. The games were a great success and got bigger and bigger. They even brought back some of the old traditions. For example, they light a flame at Olympia just like in the Ancient Olympic Games. They take the flame on torch to the host city and the flame burns all through the Olympics. However, some traditions have sadly not come back. In the ancient Olympic games all wars stopped during the games. In the World Wars the OIympics stopped, not the wars. One of the most famous games was in 1936 in Germany. Hitler was the leader of Germany and it was when the Nazis were in charge. He was a very evil man. He thought that the Germans were better than anyone else, especially Jews and Black people. However, Jesse Owens, an American, came to the games. He was black. He won every race by miles that he was in. Hitler’s stupid ideas about who was best were proved completely wrong. They also realized that they needed to make different types of Olympic Games. They wanted to do skiing. However, that meant they needed a cold place! So they made a second Olympic Games called the Winter games. They have this every four years too but in a cold country in the mountains. After World War Two they had the Olympic Games in London. There were many injured soldiers in the war. So a special competition was organized for them so they could compete fairly. Over time this grew to be a third Olympic Games called the Paralympics. Finally at the end we talk about how every Olympian started as a child with a dream. A child who wasn’t good at a sport. But one who wanted to try their best. Perhaps there is a future Olympian listening to this story. PUFFIN PODCAST: MISSION IMAGINATION We talk about the new Puffin Podcast, Mission Imagination, in this podcast. It just started and our girls really enjoyed it. They didn’t pay us any money to tell you about it. We would love to share any other podcasts that you like. They have an activity pack too which is here:   PATRONS’ CLUB We have a Patrons’ Club and we would love you to join. Details are at
8/2/20219 minutes, 2 seconds
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The Ancient Olympic Games

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the Ancient Olympic Games.----more---- With the modern Olympic games starting this week. Sophie and Ellie decide to tell the story of how 3000 years ago the Greeks invented the first Olympic Games. Next week they will tell the story of the modern Olympic games 3000 years ago Greece was not one country. The Greeks lived in different cities which all ruled themselves. However, they all worshipped the same Gods, spoke the same language and competed together in the Olympic Games. The first Olympic games were held in Olympia which was under the mountain where the Greeks believed that the Gods lived. At the beginning of the Olympic games a flame was lit to honour the Gods. The flame stayed lit for the whole time the Olympics were on. The first Olympic event was called the Stadion. We get our word Stadium from it. The Stadion was a race like our modern 200 metre race. In one early race a runner called Orsippus was running. In the middle of the race his loincloth fell off. Now he was naked. However, he carried on running anyway. He actually won the race. He even collected his crown totally naked. People watching decided that he had gone faster because he was naked. After than other athletes ran naked too. Most of the competitors were men. However, there were some women. Sophie and Ellie tell the story of Cynesca. She was a Spartan princess. She loved horses and chariots. She entered her horses and chariots several times into the Olympics and won. Later other women entered too and they said she had been their inspiration. When the Romans invaded Greece, everything changed. The cities were no longer in charge of themselves. Now they answered to Rome. However the Romans did like many Greek things. For example, they shared the same Gods, just with different names. The Romans especially liked the Olympic Games. One Roman Emperor called Nero even competed in the Olympic Games. He was a bad man. He tried to cheat by entering the chariot race with ten horses, whereas everyone else only had four horses. However, he was so fat that his chariot overturned at the first corner. Nero told everyone that he was the winner anyway because he said he would have won! After Nero returned to Rome he was killed and the Greeks then had his name removed from the list of Olympic Champions. The Olympic Games continued under the Romans until around the time of the Barbarian invasions. The Barbarians were not interested in the Olympic games and they stopped being held. There were no Olympics for 1500 years, until the invention of the modern Olympics. We will talk about them next week. PATRONS’ CLUB If you liked this story please do join our Patrons’ Club. Details are here:    
7/26/20219 minutes, 23 seconds
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The Vikings' Discovery of America

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the history of the Vikings' discovery of the Americas – hundreds of years before Columbus.----more---- A thousand years ago the Vikings were fierce fighters and brave explorers. They had already discovered and settled in Iceland. One of them was called Erik the Red. After his enslaved people cause a landslide a neighbour kills them out of revenge. In revenge Erik kills his neighbours. He is forced to leave Iceland for three years as a punishment. He decided to explore westwards. He sailed until he found a land which he called Greenland so it sounded better than Iceland. He explored the land and then sailed home to Iceland and told everyone about it. Many people followed him to live there. They ate seals and hunted Walruses for their ivory and Narwhals for their tusks and Polar Bears for their furs. One day a ship was blown off course and ended up even further west than Greenland. They spotted a land full of trees. Now Greenland had many things but it did not have many trees. The Vikings needed trees. When the ships captain returned he told everyone about this new land. Erik and his son Leif decided to go and explore it for themselves. However, before they could set sail, Erik had an accident. He couldn’t travel anymore. Leif had to go himself. Leif sailed westwards until he found the new land. It did have trees and beautiful beaches. It also had berries which could be made into wine. We now call this land Newfoundland and it is in Canada. However, back then Leif called in Vinland. Leif stayed for two winters before returned to tell everyone in Greenland what he had found. Later his brother Thorvald went to the same place to explore some more. This time they found some local people sleeping. The Vikings attacked them and killed them. But more local people came and attacked the Vikings. Thorvald was killed. Later more Vikings arrived. At first there was peace with the local people. However, after an argument a battle started. The Vikings were losing the battle and started to run away. However, Leif’s sister was there. She was furious with the Vikings for running away. She was pregnant and couldn’t run fast herself. She picked up a Viking sword. She tore off her own clothes and charged the enemy. The battle was won thanks to her. The Vikings stayed in Vinland for hundreds of years. However, around 600 years ago the weather got colder. The Vikings seem to have left Vinland. The next Europeans to arrive was the ships of Columbus. It is important to remember that the Vikings and Columbus were not the first humans living in the Americas. There were already people living there. It was their home first. PATRONS CLUB If you liked this episode you might like our Patron’s Club. We have exclusive episodes and you can help choose an episode. You can join at
7/19/20219 minutes, 17 seconds
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The History of Football

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell of the History of Football. But before they start they tell everyone the wonderful news that History Storytime won Silver in the British Podcast Awards!----more---- The history of Football starts thousands of years ago in China. The Chinese played a game very like football today. There were two teams and they scored by kicking a ball into a net. The Greeks and Romans also had a game that was very similar to football but which also involved using hands. However, while people all over the world played a game very like football, the rules were written down in England. 1000 years ago, England was football crazy. People played all the time. The games were quite disorganised. Towns would play against other towns. The rules were a little vague. They used a bladder blown up to be a ball. Ellie found that really disgusting!! However, there was a problem. England was at war with France. France had amazing knightsin history. However, the English had archers. Being an archer needed a lot of practice so every week Englishmen would practice their archery. That way they could pull the massive long bows and aim them at the French knights. However, more and more English men were playing Football instead of practicing their archery. The King of England got so annoyed that he actually passed a law banning football. However people just ignored him. Then the King of Scotland passed a law banning football. Everyone in Scotland ignored him too. Even women were playing football in history. Sophie reads a poem about women tucking in their skirts to play a proper game. Everyone had a slightly different version of the game with different rules. Around 300 years ago there started to be schools for rich children. Those schools wrote down rules for the sports so that the schoolchildren could play them properly. Around 200 years ago there were trains invented. Now schools could play against other schools. So they got together and wrote rules that they would all agree on. These became the first rules for football. At first it was the rich schools who were the best teams. However, football didn’t just stay a sport for the rich. The towns organised themselves into teams. Those teams were much better than the old rich schools. Now Football was a sport for everyone, and everyone had the same set of rules. The new rules travelled around the world. However, people still have to learn how to play well. In England plays used to just charge at the opposing side with the ball. In Scotland, though, they invented a new way of playing. This involved passing the ball around a lot. This passing game was much cleverer than the English way. It is the way that football is played today. Now millions of people play football and billions enjoy watching it. HISTORY STORYTIME PATRONS’ CLUB If you liked this episode, your kids might consider joining our History Storytime Patron’s Club. We have exclusive history episodes for kids there and your kids can help to choose a history episode. You can join at
7/12/20218 minutes, 53 seconds
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Lady Jane Grey: England's Nine Day Tudor Queen

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of Lady Jane Grey, the Tudor who ruled England for just nine days.----more---- Henry VIII was King of England. He was married to a Spanish Princess. They had a daughter called Mary. However, Henry really wanted to have a son. He asked the Pope if he could get divorced from his Spanish Princess and marry someone different. The Pope said no. So Henry decided to change the religion of England. England was a Catholic country which meant that the Pope was in charge of the Church. So Henry decided to change it to a Protestant country which meant he was in charge of the Church. Then he divorced his Spanish Princess and married a Protestant called Anne Boleyn. They had a daughter, Elizabeth. So he chopped off Anne’s head and married again. Finally, he had a son called Edward. However, his wife died and he went onto marry three more times. After Henry died his son, Edward, became King. Edward was a strict Protestant and so were many of his nobles. However, Edward got sick and was dying. Edward and his nobles worried that his sister, Mary, would now become Queen. They were afraid she would make England Catholic again. They decided instead to have another person become Queen. Lady Jane Grey. She was a niece of Henry VIII so had royal blood. She was also a Protestant. She was very young, only 16 years old. She was clever and beautiful. She was married to a rich protestant noble. It was her husband and her father in law who came up with the idea to make her Queen. They never bothered telling her about it. Edward left a letter saying that after he died Jane should be Queen. Then Edward died. Immediately, Jane was announced as Queen. She was astonished. She fainted on being told. When she woke up she immediately said that she shouldn’t be Queen and that her cousin Mary was the rightful Queen. Her family ignored her and told everyone that she was Queen anyway. However, the people of London did not agree. Many people thought that Mary was the rightful Queen. She had been Henry VIII’s daughter. More and more people demanded Mary become Queen. After just nine days Mary was swept to the throne. Even Jane’s own father in law who had come up with the whole idea was now supporting Mary. Jane was locked up in the tower of London with her husband. Their father in law was executed. Mary did not want to kill Jane. They were family. And it hadn’t been her idea. But more protestants rebelled including Jane’s father. Mary had had enough. She executed Jane’s husband. Then she executed Jane.   Poor Jane had only been Queen for nine days and was never even crowned. She was used by the men around her for their own power. And she paid the price. PATRONS CLUB Please do join our Patrons Club. You can get exclusive episodes and help choose and episode. Details are here:
7/5/20219 minutes, 18 seconds
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Marie Curie

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the amazing scientist Marie Curie.----more---- Marie Curie was born 150 years ago in Poland. Back then Poland was ruled by Russia and the Russians were not kind to the Poles. The Russians stopped the schools teaching science to the Polish children. However, Marie’s father was a science teacher. He took his school science equipment home and taught Marie there. Marie was very clever and top of her class at school. However, in Poland women were not allowed to go to university. So Marie became a governess instead to earn some money. Her sister had gone to Paris and told her that in Paris women could go to university. Marie moved to Paris and started studying Maths, Physics and Chemistry. We explain in our podcast all about these subjects. Marie met a man called Pierre. He was also a brilliant scientist. They fell in love. However, Marie wanted to return to Poland to be a scientist there. He loved her so much he said that he would follow her even if it meant he would never be a scientist again. She decided to go on her own. However, back in Poland no one would give her a job as a scientist because she was a woman. Pierre begged her to go back to Paris, be a scientist there and marry him. She agreed. Back in Paris Marie and Pierre started doing science together. Scientists had already discovered a rock called uranium. This gave off invisible rays. Marie and Pierre decided to study this rock and its rays. They crushed up the rock into a powder which gave off even more rays. Marie called this Polonium after her native Poland. As well as the powder there was some left over liquid. Marie and Pierre put the liquid in a sieve and did lot of different type of mixing with it. They found they had something completely different called Radium. This also gave off invisible rays, called Radiation. The radiation travelled through objects and so was very useful for taking pictures of things that you couldn’t see. This is how x-rays were invented. It was also useful for curing cancer because it zapped the bad cancer cells. However, in large amounts it was very dangerous. Marie and Pierre did not realise this and were often sick while doing their experiments. After these amazing discoveries, Marie and Pierre were awarded the highest prize in science – the Nobel Prize. Shortly afterwards, there was a terrible accident and Pierre was killed. Now Marie had to carry on alone. She continued to make x-ray machines and look for ways to use radiation in hospitals. Astonishingly she received the Nobel Prize again. When World War One broke out, Marie turned her x-ray machines into mobile machines that could help soldiers near the front line. She worked on them herself to help soldiers. After the war, Marie carried on working, until she died aged 66 from illnesses caused by having too much radiation. After Marie died other scientists carried on her experiments and some of these lead to inventing the Nuclear bomb. Marie Curie’s example shows that girls can achieve anything they want and are as good at science as any boy. In fact Marie was one of the greatest scientists who ever lived. PATRONS CLUB If you would like to join our Patrons' Club please go to We have exclusive episodes there. 
6/28/20219 minutes, 57 seconds
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Magna Carta

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of Magna Carta, which was signed at Runnymede in 1215, what it was, and what it means today.----more---- King John is not a good man. He is mean to his Barons. He taxes the poor so much that the legend of Robin Hood comes from this period. He loses most of the English lands in France. Now the Barons have to see him all the time which makes them like him even less. King John thinks that he can do what he likes and that laws are for the little people. The Barons write a list of demands down about things that they think should happen and rules which the King should obey. They call this the Great Charter which is Latin is Magna Carta. Some the demands are selfish ones that the Barons want like things about the rules for their children. Some of them are great for everyone like stopping the King putting people in prison without a trial. Some of them are good for people but seem a bit old fashioned today – like stopping the King taking someone’s horse and cart without permission. However, the most important thing about Magna Carta is that it is a set of rules that the King had to follow. No longer could he say that the laws did not apply to him. He had to follow them just like anyone else. At first King John refused to sign. However, the Barons were too strong and he was forced to sign the Magna Carta at Runnymede in 1215. Remember though that King John was a bad man. He did not intend to keep his promises. He got away from Runnymede and started a war with the Barons. The Barons got help from the French. However, when crossing some marshland the sea came in. King John lost all his crown jewels and his crown. He was so upset that he rolled over and died. The Barons offered to stop fighting if they King's young son agreed to the Magna Carta. The people looking after the young king agreed and the fighting stopped. All Kings and Queen afterwards agreed to follow Magna Carta. Whenever a King tried to do something naughty, people would point to Magna Carta and tell him not to be so naughty. Only a few parts of Magna Carta are still law. However, the principle that the King has to follow the law was made then. That is still the law now. Even though the Queen is not in charge of everything anymore, the idea of Magna Carta means that the government have to follow the law too. Magna Carta was so long ago that all those countries which were founded by Britain also used Magna Carta as the basis of their laws – places like the America, Canada and Australia. PATRONS’ CLUB If you liked this episode please join our Patrons Club. We have exclusive episodes there and you can choose an episode. You can join at    
6/21/20219 minutes, 33 seconds
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Romulus, Remus and the Founding of Rome

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) are joined by May (age 6) to tell the legends and truth behind of the Founding of Rome.----more---- We start with Aeneas escaping from a burning Troy. The gods tell him that it is his job to find the area where Rome will later be founded. Aeneas has many adventures, including visiting the underworld. He stops off in Africa where he meets Dido, the beautiful Queen of Carthage. They fall in love. Dido wants Aeneas to stay. However, the god Jupiter, reminds Aeneas that he needs to find the place where Rome will founded. Aeneas leave. Dido is furious. She curses Aeneas and his descendants and then kills herself. Later the Romans believe that the wars between Rome and Carthage are because of the curse that Dido made. Aeneas eventually finds the area near where Rome will one day be built. He settles there in some towns called the Latin people. Later one of the Kings of the Latins is thrown off the thrown by another man called Amulius. The old Kings daughter is a priestess. She has two children by the God Mars – Romulus and Remus. Amulius is worried that the boys will one day want to take his throne. So he abandons them by the river Tiber to die. However, the two babies are rescued by a she-wolf. The She-wolf takes them back to her cave and feeds them her own wolf milk to keep them alive. Later a shepherd finds them and raises them as his own son. As the boys grow up they realise who they are. They make a plan to get rid of the evil King. They are successful and they put their old grandfather back on the throne. The brothers now decide to found their own city. They find a place with seven hills and a river which looks good for a city. However, they argue about which hill to put the city on. Romulus wants to build it on the Palatine Hill. Remus wants to build it on the Aventine Hill. They argue and Remus is killed. Romulus now gets his way and the city of Rome is built on the Palatine Hill. We then discuss if these legends are true or not. We talk about how the Romans believed that they were true and that is important. The stories are probably not totally true. However, it is true that Rome was founded on the Palatine Hill and previously had been different Latin villages. So there is some truth in all the stories. PATRONS CLUB If you liked this episode you might like to join our Patrons’ Club. We have exclusive episodes there and you can help choose an episode or be in an episode like May. You can join at
6/14/20219 minutes, 59 seconds
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William Shakespeare

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the Life of William Shakespeare.----more---- William Shakespeare was born into Tudor England 500 years ago. He wrote some of the most famous plays in history. We tell the story of Hamlet and Ellie points out that this the same story as Disney’s The Lion King. We talk about how Shakespeare's plays are so famous that many people copy them and we watch them even today. William Shakespeare's father was a glove maker and also leant people money. He sent his son William to a local school. There he would have learned reading, writing, Latin and lots of history. Many of the things that were later in his plays are things he would have learned at school. When Shakespeare was 18 years old he met a girl called Anne. They got married and had a baby. Shakespeare then disappears for seven years from history. The girls explore the things which might have happened to him. Did he have to run away because he was caught poaching? Did he go on holiday to Italy? Did he go to London to learn how to write plays? By the time Shakespeare reappears, he is writing plays in London. We learn about what Tudor London was like – including some disgusting bits from our History of the Toilet episode.   The theatre is different then. All the parts are played by men – even women’s parts. Rich people pay for groups of people to write and act in plays. Shakespeare's friends are called the Lord Chamberlains company because the Lord Chamberlain pays for them. Some people want the theatres to be shut down. They think God does want people to have so much fun. However, Queen Elizabeth like the theatre and she keeps the theatres open. Shakespeare and his friends even build their own amazing theatre called the Globe theatre.   Then the Queen dies. Luckily, the new King, King James, also likes the theatre. In fact he likes Shakespeare and his friends so much that he agrees to pay for their plays. Now they are called the Kings Company. King James is very interested in witches so Shakespeare makes a play about witches, called Macbeth.   However, Shakespeare wants to retire and go home to Anne. One of his last plays is called the Tempest and it is about a powerful magician who wants to stop being a magician. Ellie points out that this is like Shakespeare being an amazing writer of plays but wanting to stop.   Then there is an accident in one of his plays. The Globe Theatre burns down. At that point, Shakespeare really has had enough. He stops writing plays and goes back to Stratford to be with Anne. However, we still remember him and watch his plays today. BRITISH PODCAST AWARDS We have been shortlisted for the British Podcast Awards in the Kids and Family category. You can vote for us too for the Listeners Choice Award. We would love it if you could. You don’t need to be in the UK to vote. Details are here: Listeners' Choice Award — British Podcast Awards, supported by Amazon Music PATRONS CLUB If you would like to join our patrons club you can join here: We have exclusive episodes like our one on the History of Chocolate or on Napoleon and Josephine or you can choose an episode like one of our Patrons chose this episode.
6/7/20219 minutes, 2 seconds
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The Persian Invasion of Ancient Greece

Sophie (age 7) & Ellie (age 5) tell of the Persian invasion of Ancient Greece and the Battles of Thermopylae and Salamis.----more---- The Persians are determined to get their revenge for their defeat at the Battle of Marathon. The new Persian Emperor, Xerxes, decides to conquer all of Greece once and for all. He assembles the largest army the world has ever seen. The army is too big to be taken by sea. So he builds a bridge of boats to get it from Asia to Europe. However, in building the bridge we learn how Xerxes is a cruel ruler. One of the nobles asks for his son to be left behind. Xerxes agrees but executes the nobles son and chops his body in two. There is a storm and the bridge of boats is destroyed. Xerxes has the sea whipped and red hot irons placed in it as a punishment. Finally, his army gets across and marches into Greece. Many Greek cities surrender. However, Athens and Sparta fight. The Spartans are fierce warriors. Their King, Leonidas, visits an Oracle to find out what is going to happen. The Oracle says that either a Spartan King will die or Greece will be conquered. Leonidas realises that he will have to die if Greece is to be saved. The Spartans choose a clever place to fight. It is called Thermopylae. It is a narrow path between the mountains and the sea. The Persians cannot get their whole army down the path as it is too narrow. The Spartans hold the massive Persian army at bay. However, the Persians discover a path through the mountains. Now they can get behind the Spartans. Most of the Greeks retreat. But Leonidas and 300 Spartans decide to fight to the death to delay the Persians. Leonidas also knows that if he dies then Greece will be saved. Persian archers kill Leonidas. However, his sacrifice has never been forgotten. Before the invasion, the Athenians had discovered silver in the hills near Athens. After a long discussion they had decided to use the money to build a mighty fleet. Athens is captured by the Persians but the Athenians still have their fleet. The Persian and the Athenian led fleet meet in battle near the island of Salamis. The Persian Emperor settles down on the land to watch the battle. The seas are narrow near Salamis and the Persians numbers do not help them. The Greeks win the battle. The Persians realise that now the Greeks can say to the bridge of boats and destroy it. This would trap the Persian Emperor in Greece. Quickly the Emperor and most of his army run home. A little of their army stays and is destroyed the next year. This war did not just save Ancient Greece. It also saved all the things that the Greeks had invented, like Democracy and Freedom. They gave those ideas to us. This is why we remember the battles of Thermopylae and Salamis today. PATRON’S CLUB If you liked this episode then do please join our Patron’s Club. We have an exclusive episode there all about what happened after the Persian Invasion of Ancient Greece. Sparta and Athens go to war with each other…
5/31/20219 minutes, 30 seconds
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Ancient Greece and the History of the Marathon

Sophie (age 7) & Ellie (age 5) tell the history of the Persian invasion of Ancient Greece and how it led to the Marathon race. Ancient Greece was a set of city states who ruled themselves. Next door was the mighty Persian Empire. The Persian Emperor told his people what to do. There were a few Greek cities in the Persian Empire. They did not like it. They rebelled. However, the Persians crushed the Greek cities. The Greek city of Athens helped the Greek cities rebel. The Persian Emperor was furious and decided to punish Athens. He sent an army to capture the city. The Persian army landed at Marathon near Athens. The Athenians marched their army out to meet the Persians. The Athenians blocked the road to Athens with tree trunks. They then sent messengers to the Ancient Greek of Sparta asking for help. The Spartans has the best army in Ancient Greece. However, the Spartans could not leave for a week because they had a religious ceremony. The Athenians were on their own. The Athenian army was like other Ancient Greek armies. It was a hoplite army. It was made of soldiers wearing bronze armour with long spears. They worked together in a column as a team. The Persians did not have so much armour or spears but they did have lots and lots of archers. The Athenians were also free people whereas the Persians had been forced to fight. Then Athenians then noticed the Persians getting ready to leave. They realised that the Persians might be getting back on their ships to sail directly to Athens. They could get there before the Athenians. The Athenians could not wait any more for the Spartans. They had to attack immediately. They marched towards the Persian army. The Persians archers fired into the sky at the Athenians. Just then the Athenians broke into a run. The arrows missed them. They kept on running and charged straight into the Persians. They defeated the Persians killing thousands of them. The remaining Persians fled to their ship, chased by the Athenians. As the Persians sailed away, the Athenians worried they still might sail to Athens. The Athenians knew they needed to warn the city that the battle had been won and not to give up. They sent their fastest runner to the city. The distance was 26 miles. He ran all the way from Marathon to Athens. He arrived and told the Athenian people that the battle was won. Then he was so tired that he died. The Persian ships did come, but when they saw the Athenians waiting for them, they fled. All Marathons now are named after the journey made by the Greek runner after the battle. They are all the same distance that he ran. PATRONS’ CLUB If you liked this story then do join our Patrons Club. We have exclusive episodes like the history of Chocolate and the Seven Wonders of the World.
5/24/20219 minutes, 56 seconds
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Livia, Domina of Rome

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of Livia, the most powerful woman in the early Roman Empire. ----more---- The Roman Republic is falling. Generals fight to be in charge. Eventually Julius Caesar wins out. Meanwhile, Livia is born to a rich and powerful Roman family. She has a perfect childhood and is married to her older cousin. They have a baby. Then Julius Caesar is murdered to stop him becoming King. Rome is split by civil war. Caesar’s nephew, Octavian, hunts down the murderers of Caesar and anyone supporting them and kills them. Livia’s father is also killed. After more fighting, Livia is forced to flee with her husband. She barely escapes Octavian’s soldiers. Eventually, there is peace and Livia and her husband can go back to Rome. Livia meets Octavian. Astonishingly they fall in love. They agree to get divorced from their partners. They get married. Livia’s old husband even gives Livia away at the wedding. Octavian changes his name to Augustus and becomes Emperor of Rome. They lead a relatively simple life. Livia is the perfect wife for Octavian. She is from an old family and that reassures the people of Rome that they can get back to the good old days. She is portrayed as the perfect wife. However, they have no children. Augustus has children from his previous marriage. He loves them and helps to raise them, but they die. Livia persuades him that her son. Tiberius, from her earlier marriage should become Emperor after him. Augustus is not sure. However, when he realises what a good general Tiberius is, he agrees. Augustus then dies and Tiberius becomes Emperor. People in Rome still love Livia. They call her the mother of the nation. This makes Tiberius jealous. Even though she is his own mother and helped him become Emperor he is still jealous of her. Livia keeps giving Tiberius advice on how to be a good Emperor. This really annoys Tiberius and they have lots of arguments. Eventually he goes to live on a remote island. He is still Emperor but spends most of his time playing silly games. When Livia died of old age she is mourned by Rome as one of the greatest women ever. PATRONS’ CLUB If you liked this episode you might like to join our Patron’s Club. You can listen to exclusive episodes or help choose and episode. You can join at
5/17/20219 minutes, 47 seconds
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The Viking Age: Triumph of the Northmen

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the history of how the Vikings built kingdoms, explored continents and worshipped their Norse gods. ----more---- In our first episode on the Vikings they had invaded England and England was now divided between a Saxon and a Viking Kingdom. Here we see how the Vikings repeatedly invade France. Eventually, the French give the Viking, Rollo, land to keep Paris safe from other Vikings. The land is called the land of the Northman, or Northmandy, eventually just Normandy. Other Vikings sail to the Mediterannean Sea. They are paid by the nobles of Italy to fight their wars. When the nobles can’t pay they give the Vikings land instead. Eventually the Vikings own so much land and so many castles that they just take over the whole country and make a Viking Kingdom. Other Vikings explore the Russian rivers. They get to a hill called Kiev which they think is a good place for a city. They capture it and build an empire which today we called Kievan Rus. Some Vikings even made it as far as the powerful city of Byzantium. There they become the bodyguards to the Emperor of Byzantium. They are called the Varangian Guard and were loyal to the Emperor. However, other Vikings look West. They take their ships across the sea to Greenland and make a settlement. One day a ship is blown off course thousands of miles and accidentally discovered North America. Other sailors follow until settlements are founded in what the Vikings called Vinland, which is in North America. The settlements do not survive though so when Columbus eventually makes it there, he if the first European to make permanent settlements. We also learn about the Norse gods. We learn of Odin, Frigg and Thor. We also learn how Friday is named after Frigg and Thursday is named after Thor. Finally we return to England. At first the Saxons defeat the Vikings and reconquer their lands. However, the powerful Viking, King Canute, decides to conquer England. The English kings are useless or unready as they were called. Canute becomes King. We tell his story of how he showed that Kings do not have the power by failing to turn back the tide. The Saxons become King again. However, William of Normandy attacked the English at Hastings and makes himself King. Although history records him as a Frenchman. He was actually descended from the Vikings who were given Normandy to live in. PATRONS’ CLUB If you liked this episode you might to join our Patrons’ Club. You can find us at
5/10/20219 minutes, 24 seconds
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The Viking Age: Fury of the Northmen

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the start of the Viking Age, from the attack at Lindisfarne to the creation of the Danelaw.----more---- Our story starts with the attack on the Lindisfarne monastery in 793AD. The monastery is famous for its treasures and how it helped Britain become Christian. No one is expecting an attack. So when the first heavily armed Vikings storm ashore it is a complete surprise. Monks are killed and enslaved, their treasures are stolen and altars destroyed. People around England and the world are stunned. The Viking Age has begun. The Vikings are the words given nowadays to the people who lived in Denmark, Sweden and Norway a thousand years ago. However, back then people called them the Danes or the Northmen. They invented new ships called the Longship which had a flat bottom so it could go up rivers or straight onto beaches, but also had a keel so it could make long sea journeys.  No one knows why the Vikings started to expand. Some think it was because of over population, some think it was just because their neighbours were weak, others think it was because of their shipbuilding technology, others think it was just to get richer. However, not all Vikings were raiders. They had inventors, explorers and traders too. At first their raids were just trying to take money and slaves. However, over time they became more ambitious. The Vikings decided to conquer England. The Great Heathen Army full of Vikings marched into England. Kingdoms tried to pay them to go away with gold. This was called Danegeld. The Vikings conquered East Anglia and killed its King horribly. Then they conquered Northumbria and Mercia. Only Wessex stood against them led by its King, Alfred the Great. The Vikings attacked Alfred one Christmas when there was supposed to be a peace. Alfred fled to the marshes. But he regrouped and fought back. A peace was made between the Danes and the Saxons. The Danes took the North and East of England. It was called the Danelaw. Many of the place names today are Viking ones. We pause our episode there. Next week we will talk about the exploration of the Vikings as they sail to the Americas and to Constantinople; how they conquered all of England; and about the Danish Gods. Patrons’ Club If you liked this episode please do join out Patrons’ Club. We have exclusive episodes on the History of Chocolate, the Seven Wonders of the World, the Bayeux Tapestry and The Siege of Bastogne. You can join at:
5/3/20219 minutes, 28 seconds
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How England & Scotland became Great Britain

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of how England and Scotland became Great Britain in the Act of Union in 1707.----more---- England and Scotland had fought wars for hundreds of years. The Romans had built Hadrian’s Wall to keep the Picts out of Roman Britain. The English had later tried to conquer Scotland in the Wars of Scottish independence but had been stopped by William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. However, the wars between the two continued. Scotland even allied with England’s arch enemy France. Everything changed with the death of the childless Queen Elizabeth. Her cousin, James, became King. He was already King of Scots. Now England and Scotland had the same King. However, that did not mean they became the same country. In fact the English were opposed to the very idea. So for the next hundred years the two countries had the same King or Queen but were ruled separately. However, the fighting did not stop. There was civil war in England and Scotland. Scottish armies crossed the border into England and English armies from England into Scotland. Peace eventually came. It was helped by the fact that both countries were Protestant. However, Queen Anne did not have any children who lived. People in England were very worried that it would mean that her Catholic family would inherit the throne. So England passed a law saying that only Protestants could inherit the throne. That could mean that Scotland got a different King to England. The English were worried that this might mean Scotland would again ally with France and perhaps become Catholic again. The English proposed that England and Scotland become one country called Great Britain. The Scots had a number of problems at this time. Firstly, they had lost lots of money in trying to make a colony in Central America. Secondly, there had been a famine in Scotland which had killed lots of people. People in Scotland were now poor. England also passed a law which would stop Scottish people owning property in England and trading with England without paying taxes. That would make things very difficult for Scotland. People in the Scottish parliament decided that they would be better off if they joined with England. They carried on negotiating though. They got the English to agree that Scotland would have lower taxes than England, that they Scots could trade freely with England and with her colonies and that they could keep their own courts. The English agreed. The Scots then voted to join with England into one country called Great Britain. The English voted the same. People in London celebrated. But there were no celebrations in Edinburgh. The people in the Highlands of the Scotland still wanted to have a Catholic king. They did not feel like they got much from the Union of England and Scotland. They rebelled. But the lowland scots felt that the British Empire benefitted them them and they liked having a Protestant King. Over the next 300 year the Scots and English together defeated Napoleon, created an Empire and won two World Wars. But Scots never forgot that they had had their own country. People still felt Scottish, even if they also felt British. Today some people in Scotland want Scotland to be its own country again. PARENTS' NOTE I am aware that this history topic is quite contested and very relevant for politics today. We have done our very best to be impartial, factual and fair. Happy to receive any feedback either via twitter or facebook. OTHER EPISODES If you liked this episode then you might like our Wars of Scottish Independence series. We have episodes on The Hammer of the Scots Medieval: War of Scottish Independence 1 - The Hammer of the Scots ( On William Wallace Medieval: War of Scottish Independence 1 - The Hammer of the Scots ( And on Robert the Bruce. Medieval: War of Scottish Independence 3 - Robert the Bruce ( PATRONS CLUB If you would like to join our Patron’s Club you can find it at There are extra episodes there.
4/26/20219 minutes, 43 seconds
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The History of the Toilet

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the history of the toilet.----more---- They start with toilets in the stone age including toilets of hunter gatherers and then those of the early settlements like that of Skara Brae. When cities are first built by the Mesopotamians and later the Greeks toilets become more sophisticated. They have pipes and drains. However, it is the Romans who take toilets to a whole new level. We hear how they built public toilets which were beautiful. Even among all the beauty though, wiping your bum was still a pretty disgusting process. The Romans did not even go to the toilet when they had banquets. Instead slaves would bring them pots to wee in at the table! The Medieval period saw more privacy with curtains put around toilets. But the poo needed to go somewhere. So builders of castles built toilet shutes down the side of castle walls which helped fill the moat with poo. That did not bother the French though who stormed one castle by climbing soldiers up the toilet shute into the castle and capturing it from the English. People living in medieval towns also had to get rid of their poo. They just used to through it out of the window onto the street. People would shout in French “guardez l’eau” which meant “watch out for the water”. But English people would pronounce it “Gardy Loo” and eventually just “loo” which is how English people started called toilets “the loo”. Kings eventually banned this because it made the cities smell and built some drains. Meanwhile in 1596, Sir John Harington invented the first flushing toilet. He even gave one to Queen Elizabeth I as a present. Today when Americans talk about going to the “John” then are remembering Sir John Harington. The Victorians made more flushing toilets and started to build sewers in London after there was a heatwave which caused a massive stink. Then a man called Thomas Crapper makes lots of toilets, including for the King. He even puts his name on his toilets. Eventually in the 20th century toilet paper was invented. Now we have toilet paper to wipe out bum, flushing toilets to take the poo out of the house, and sewers to take the poo out of the street. PARENTS’ NOTE We use the terms “poo” and “wee”. We don’t use any other terminology. PATRONS’ CLUB If you liked this episode you might like to join our Patrons’ Club. You can join at  
4/19/20218 minutes, 41 seconds
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Prince Philip in World War 2

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell how Prince Philip became a decorated war hero in World War 2.----more---- Prince Philip is a young Greek prince. He has been forced to leave Greece so he goes to Britain and joins the Royal Navy. While training he meets the young Princess Elizabeth and they later fall in love. But first World War 2 breaks out. Prince Philip is first sent to the Far East and he helps Australian convoys get their soldiers to Europe. But when Italy declares war on Britain everything changes. Now the Mediterranean is a battleground between Brtain and Italy. Prince Philip is posted to one of the main battleships. The Italians have a powerful battlefleet and it sets sail to fight the British. The British airplanes damage one of the Italian ships and most of the Italian fleets turn for home. But they leave some of their ships to help their damaged ship. In the middle of the night the British fleet find the Italians. They are able to find them because the British have radar which the Italians do not. However, the British still need to see the Italians to be able to fire at them. Prince Philip is in charge of his battleship’s searchlights. He turns the searchlights on and shines them onto one of the Italian ships. Quickly the British ships sink that ship. Then another Italian ship opens fire on the British. All the Italians can see is the British searchlights being held by Prince Philip. It is as if the whole Italian fleet is aiming at him. But he doesn’t flinch. He aims the searchlights at the new Italian ship. The British guns blow the ship out of the water. After the battle the British Admiral ensures that Prince Philip is given an award for bravery. Prince Philip then returns to Britain and helped convoys get to Britain. Then Prince Philip returns to the Mediterranean for the invasion of Sicily. By now he has been promoted. He is the second in command of a small ship. His ship comes under attack by a German bomber. It’s looking bad for the British. But Prince Philip has an idea. He decides to make a raft, set it on fire and throw it overboard. In the dark the German bomber was confused. It started to bomb the burning raft. The British ship slowly slipped away. Prince Philip had saved everyone. Then Prince Philip is sent to fight the Japanese in the Far East. He is present in Tokyo harbour when the Japanese surrender. After the war, Philip marries Princess Elizabeth. When she becomes Queen, he gives up his navy career to support her. We all know him for how he supported her over the next 70 years. But before then he was a decorated war hero. PATRONS CLUB If you liked this episode you might like to join our Patrons’ Club. You can join at
4/12/20219 minutes, 39 seconds
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The United States and World War 1

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the United States and World War One for the anniversary of America’s entry into the War. ----more---- Britain, France and Russia are at war with Germany and her allies. But a war in Europe seems to have little to do with the United States. However, the British battle fleet is far more powerful than the German fleet. So the Germans start to use submarines to sink British ships. German submarines find it difficult to tell the difference between a warship and a passenger ship. A German submarine sinks the passenger liner, Lusitania. There are over a thousand passengers on board including over a hundred Americans. The United States is furious. The Germans stop their submarine attacks for a while. However, they need to attack the British so they are desperate to continue the attacks. They send a telegram to Mexico. The telegram is called the Zimmerman Telegram after the person who wrote it. The telegram suggests to Mexico that if there is war then the Mexico should attack the United States and recapture Texas and Arizona. However, the British intercept the telegram. They give a copy of it to the American President. The Americans are very, very angry. Just then the German submarines start sinking American ships again. The United States has had enough. They declare war on the Germans. Millions of American join the army. The nickname of American soldiers is the “Doughboys”. The Germans realise they do not have long before the Americans arrive. They launch a final massive attack on the British lines. The British are forced back but keep fighting. However, as American troops start to arrive it frees up the French to help the British. Together the British and French start to push back the Germans. By now the Americans have properly arrived. They launch their own attacks on the Germans and defeat the Germans in a series of battles. The Germans realise that they cannot win the war. They have failed to defeat the British and the French and now the Americans have arrived. The Germans ask for peace. There is an Armistice on 11th November 1918 at 11am in the morning. Finally the fighting is over. We still remember that day as Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth and as Veterans Day in the United States. After the war many families do not have a body of a loved one to remember because so many of the bodies are unidentified. The American bring back one unknown soldier to Washington. He lies in state in the US Capitol. The British award him the Victoria Cross and the Americans award him the Medal of Honor. He is buried in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to represent all those who died. His tomb is guarded to this day. OTHER EPISODES: If you liked this episode then we have many other WW1 episodes. You might like our Animals in history episode. It tells the story of the brave pigeon, Cher Ami, who helped save the lives of many American soldiers in World War 1. Animals in History: Dogs, Cats and Pigeons! ( Or you can try our Christmas Truce episode WW1: The Christmas Truce of 1914 ( Or try our Boy Cornwell and the Battle of Jutland episode all about a boy sailor who became a national hero. WW1: Jack Cornwell VC and the Battle of Jutland ( If you want to know why World War 1 happened you might want to try our “Outbreak of World War One” episode WW1: Why did World War 1 start? ( Or our “Sophie and Franz” episode about the doomed love at the start of the war. WW1: Sophie & Franz - The World War 1 Love Story (   You could also try our episode about the Resolute Desk which talks about the friendship between Britain and the United States. The Resolute Desk of US Presidents ( PATRONS’ CLUB You might also like to join our Patrons’ Club which has other exclusive episodes. The details are at  
4/5/20219 minutes, 51 seconds
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Tales from Herodotus of Ancient Greece

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell some of the best loved tales from Herodotus.----more---- They start with the story of Croesus. Herodotus explains how Croesus was very rich. However, his neighbours were the powerful Persians. Croesus wanted to know if he should go to war with the Persians. He decided to ask an Oracle what to do. But he couldn’t be sure if the Oracles would tell the truth. So he asked different Oracles the same question, “What am I doing now?”. Then he arranged to do something very strange. He cooked a tortoise in a pot. Only one Oracle got the right answer. So he asked that Oracle whether he should attack the Persians. Herodotus tells us that the Oracle told him that if he attacked Persia a great empire would be destroyed. Emboldened, Croesus attacked the Persians. And prompted lost. He did not realise that the empire that he would destroy would be his own. Our second story from Herodotus is about the Persian Emperor discussing difference between peoples. He asked the Greeks if they would eat the body of their own dead father. The Greeks and Sophie and Ellie are disgusted at the very idea. The Greeks cremate their dead. Then the Persian Emperor asked some Indians if they would burn the body of their dead father. The Indians are disgusted at the very idea. They eat the bodies of the dead. Our third story from Herodotus is about the naughty Persians visiting the Greeks. The Persians request that the Greek wives join for dinner. But they then keep trying to kiss the wives. The Greek husbands are not happy about this. That night they get all the Greek men without beards to secretly dress up as women. When the Persians try again to kiss them, the Greek men stab the Persians with hidden daggers. Our fourth story from Herodotus sees the Persian invasion of Greece. The Persian Emperor builds a bridge of boats. But a storm comes and destroys the bridge. The Persian Emperor is so angry that he has the sea punished. It is whipped. Ellie observes that this is completely pointless. Our final story from Herodotus is about the Golden Ants. Herodotus tells a story about ants as big as small dogs which go digging in the East for gold. People then wait for them to come out of their burrows and take the gold. The story seems ridiculous. But more recently people have realised that Marmots in the Himalayas come out of their burrow covered in gold dust and local people would take the gold off them. Maybe this is the story that Herodotus was talking about in his tale. PATRONS’ CLUB If you liked this episode then you will love our Seven Wonders of the World episode. You can listen to it by joining our Patrons’ Club at
3/29/20219 minutes, 35 seconds
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Helen Keller

Ellie (age 5) tells her sister Sophie (age 7) the inspirational story of Helen Keller who overcame deafness and blindness.----more---- Helen Keller is born 150 years ago to a family in Alabama. At 18 months she was struck down by an illness and left deaf and blind. Unfortunately, this also means that she could not really talk because she could not hear or see anyone to copy and learn from. As she grew up Helen Keller was increasingly frustrated at not being able to communicate properly. This made her naughty and people did not know what to do with her. But already there were signs of something remarkable happening. She started to communicate with signs to a friend. Then the famous inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, recommended a tutor for her. That tutor was called Anne Sullivan. Anne started using finger spelling to teach her different words. At first Helen Keller did not understand what Anne meant. But when her hands were under a water tap, while Anne was writing the words water, it all suddenly clicked. Helen Keller realised what Anne was trying to teach her. That day it was as if a new world opened up for her. She learned 30 words that day alone. Then she learned braille and learned to read. Then a different tutor came and taught her how to talk from feeling people’s mouths and the vibrations they made. Helen Keller even went to university and was the first deaf and blind person in the world to get a degree. As Helen Keller grew up she became an inspiration to millions. She even helped other people like helping get women the vote and helping soldiers who had been wounded in World War Two. They even made films about Helen Keller’s life. Sadly, she was not able to marry which was one of the great regrets of her life. When Helen Keller died she was buried with her life long friend, Anne, who had taught her finger spelling all those years before. Ellie really wanted to tell this story as she has a book all about Helen Keller and found her story truly amazing. PATRONS’ CLUB If you liked this story then you might like to join our Patrons Club. We have exclusive episodes that you can listen to. These include episodes on the Seven Wonders of the World, The Siege of Bastogne, The Bayeux Tapestry and Napoleon & Josephine. You can join at
3/22/20219 minutes, 26 seconds
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The Fall of Napoleon

Sophie (age 7) & Ellie (age 5) tell of the fall of Napoleon - Spain, divorce, Russian disaster to Waterloo and St Helena.----more---- In the third of our Napoleonic series our episode starts with Napoleon at the height of his power. Europe lies before him. Only Britain remains still opposing him. Napoleon decides to launch economic war on Britain. He bans European countries from importing British goods. But people in Europe want the goods. So they keep trying to trade with Britain. Everytime they do, Napoleon invades them. But he bites off more than he can chew when he invades Spain and Portugal. Britain’s brilliant general, who later becomes the Duke of Wellington, protects Portugal. The Spanish people rise up in rebellion. The Spanish are not the only country to resent French rule. In an effort to stop attacks on his soldiers Napoleon makes people walk on the other side of the road so it is harder for them to attack his soldiers. So is born the fact that Europe (which Napoleon conquered) drives on the right; but Britain (which he did not) drives on the left. Napoleon is desperate for a son. So he divorces Josephine even though he loves here. He marries an Austrian princess hoping for a son an a friendship with Austria. He gets the son, but Austria still does not like him. Then Napoleon makes a terrible mistake. He invades Russia with a mighty army. But the Russians refuse to fight him. They retreat deep into Russia chased by Napoleon. A huge battle is fought before the gates of Moscow. Napoleon wins the battle but many of his soldiers are killed. However, Napoleon captures Moscow. He marches into the city in triumph, expecting victory. But the Russians have other ideas. Not only do they not surrender, they burn Moscow to the ground. Napoleon is forced to retreat. But the winter comes. The Russian cold and ice destroy his army. All of Europe turns on him. He raises another army but it is not as good as the one he lost in Russia. He is forced out of Germany and into France. He is still the best General in Europe but the numbers are too great. Paris falls and his generals abandon him. He is forced to give up the throne of France. The Tsar and Austrian Emperor take pity of him and give Napoleon the small island of Elba to rule. But the new French King is unpopular. Napoleon escapes and becomes Emperor of the French again. Europe again turns to fight him. This time Napoleon is defeated at the battle of Waterloo. He is exiled to St Helena. There is no escape. But before he dies he tells people his side of the story. He creates a legend which makes people forget the wars and invasions and remember instead the good things he did and the battles he won. NAPOLEONIC EPISODES This is the final part of a three part series. The other two episodes are: Emperor Napoleon Emperor Napoleon ( The Young Napoleon The Young Napoleon Bonaparte ( We also previously did an episode all about the Battle of Waterloo Napoleon and the Battle of Waterloo ( PATRON’S CLUB If you liked this episode please do join our Patrons’ Club. This series was chosen by one of our Patrons. We also have exclusive episodes including an episode all about the love between Napoleon and Josephine. You can join here:
3/15/20219 minutes, 21 seconds
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Emperor Napoleon

Sophie (age 7) & Ellie (age 5) tell how Napoleon came to power and how his armies were victorious all over Europe.----more---- Napoleon sails to Egypt. He wins a great battle in the shadow of the Pyramids. But Nelson destroys the French fleet, stranding the French in Egypt. Napoleon hears that the French government are losing battles at home. He abandons his army and sails for France. Back in France he takes control and makes himself ruler of France. Like Hannibal before him he crossed the Alps and then crushes the Austrians in battle. He gives France new laws called the Code Napoleon. But the supporters of the old King still believe that if he were to die then the old King’s family could return. Napoleon decides to crown himself Emperor so they realise that they time of the Kings is over. Europe is outraged. Three years of fighting ensues. Napoleon has spent several years with his army by the English Channel preparing to invade Britain. But Nelson destroys the French fleet. By this time Napoleon’s army is well trained. He marches it inland and surrounds the Austrian army. They surrender and he then chases after the Russian army. They meet at the Battle of Austerlitz. Napoleon gains a famous victory. Now Napoleon turns his attention to the famed, disciplined Prussian Army. He crushes them too. He chases into Poland after their Russian allies. He fights them to a bloody draw at the Battle of Eylau. We tell the story of the battle and how Napoleon’s solders walk into a snowstorm before his cavalry save the day. Later in the Spring, Napoleon defeats the Russians again. This time the Russians have had enough. Napoleon and the Tsar meet on a raft and agree peace. Napoleon now rules most of Europe. But all is not well. Europe does now want to be ruled by Napoleon. Britain lies unconquered. Napoleon still has not got an heir. Napoleon is never satisfied with a victory. He always wants more. Next week we will tell the final part of this series in which we learn about the fall of Napoleon. PATRONS’ CLUB If you like this episode then please consider joining our Patrons’ Club. We have exclusive episodes there and that includes and episode called Napoleon and Josephine. We tell the story of Napoleon and Josephine's love and marriage. It’s a great companion episode to this one. OTHER NAPOLEONIC EPISODES We also have other Napoleonic episodes. This is the second in our series on Napoleon. Our first episode was on the young Napoleon. The Young Napoleon Bonaparte ( We have also made an episode all about the Battle of Waterloo. Napoleon and the Battle of Waterloo ( Next week we will be talking about the fall of Napoleon.
3/8/20219 minutes, 59 seconds
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The Young Napoleon Bonaparte

Sophie (age 7) & Ellie (age 5) tell of the young Napoleon Bonaparte from his birth, the French Revolution, his marriage to Josephine, and to his Italian victories in 1797.----more---- Napoleon Bonaparte is born in Corsica to a poor but noble family. His noble blood means that he is sent to a military school. Ellie tells the story of the snowball fight and how it marked him out already as a military strategist. Napoleon is excellent at maths so he joins the artillery where they need mathematicians. However, promotion in the French Royal Army is about nobility not merit. So Napoleon’s progress is slow. But the French Revolution changes everything. The Bastille is stormed and later the French King is executed. But there is suspicion of Napoleon because of his noble blood. He has the chance to leave France, perhaps to return to Corsica. But he commits to France. Meanwhile the French city of Toulon rebels. People there want the old King’s family back again. British ships sail into the harbour to protect the city. Napoleon is summoned because of his artillery skills. He works to capture hills and then his cannon force the British fleet to withdraw. Toulon is saved. Later Napoleon finds himself in Paris. While in Paris there is another rebellion by French royalists. The French government are scared and call on Napoleon for help. Napoleon quickly gets cannon into position in the city. As the mob come around the corner Napoleon opens fire. The mob are destroyed. The revolution and the government are saved. Meanwhile Napoleon starts to make friends in the parties of Paris. He meets a captivating lady called Josephine. She is very funny and has many boyfriends. Napoleon falls in love with her and they are married. But there is not much time for honeymoon. Napoleon is made a General and given a small army and asked to conquer Italy. Italy is controlled by the powerful Austrians. But their armies are slow and used to fighting a much more sedate type of warfare. Napoleon is fast and aggressive. He throws the Austrians out of Italy. Along the way he peronally storms a bridge and also lays a cannon himself. His army are totally loyal to him. At the end of the episode the French Government look at Napoleon with nervousness. He has won great battles but what will he want to do next? This is the first in a three part series on Napoleon. Next week we have the zenith of Napoleon’s rule. PATRONS CLUB If you liked this episode then please do join our patron’s club. We have exclusive new episodes there. Our latest one is just out and it is a companion episode about Napoleon. We tell in detail the story of his great love with Josephine in our “Napoleon and Josephine” episode. It’s an exhilarating story as we follow Josephine’s life and her relationship with Napoleon through to his final words on his deathbed.  You can join on
3/1/20219 minutes, 58 seconds
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Isambard Kingdom Brunel with the Brunel Museum

Sophie (age 7) & Ellie (age 5) team up with the Brunel Museum to tell the story of the incredible engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel helped build the modern world.----more---- Sophie and Ellie are keen to explore Victorian Britain. They want to do a podcast on Isambard Kingdom Brunel but Daddy doesn’t know much about him. Luckily, Sarah, from the Brunel Museum is on hand to help. Together the three of them tell the story of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. But we start with his father. Marc Brunel is a Frenchman who has been sent to priest school. But his heart is not in it. Instead he likes making things. When the French Revolution breaks out he is forced to flee France. But not before falling in love with an English woman. They are parted by the Revolution and Marc flees to America. There he starts to achieve his life’s ambition to become an engineer. While in New York he meets the famous Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton is so impressed with Marc Brunel that he writes him a recommendation to get a job as an engineer in London. Marc travels to England and is married to his English sweetheart. Once in England he starts building things. One of those projects is a new tunnel under the Thames. The tunnel is wanted by the Duke of Wellington to help transport soldiers to the south coast. But people also hope that it will be used by paying customers too. The tunnel is considered an impossibility to build. But Marc has a helper. He has a new Chief Engineer, his son Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Together the two Brunels come up with an extraordinary new way of tunnelling underwater based on how a worm tunnels. The tunnel is built and Queen Victoria herself pays a visit. Isambard Kingdom Brunel is in demand from others for his engineering skills. He is asked to build the new Railway line to the West of England. This is a huge undertaking and needs bridges, tunnels and viaducts. Many of Brunel’s ideas are completely revolutionary. But they work and Brunel spends his time travelling around in his own railway carriage overseeing the project. Next the girls tell the story of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s ship building. He repeatedly built the biggest ship in the world. We hear the story of why he kept building bigger and bigger ships. We also hear how the activities of those ships helped make the modern world of telecommunications that we enjoy today. Finally, the girls reflect on the incredible achievements of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and how doing his maths homework at school helped him make the modern world! ABOUT THE BRUNEL MUSEUM This episode was a joint production with the Brunel Museum and their team – especially Sarah Kuklewicz. The Brunel Museum tells the story of one of the world’s great engineering dynasties. Brunel organised the world’s first underground concert party on the Museum site in 1827, and the Museum celebrates and interprets music and theatre as well as engineering. They aim to preserve and share widely the ground-breaking stories of the Thames Tunnel project and the outstanding achievements of the Brunel family and their relevance to our lives today. You can find out more about them here: Homepage - Brunel Museum ( Obviously the Museum is closed at the moment but teachers and parents might be interested in the activity sheets on their website. It is particularly suitable for KS1 and KS2 and their Victorian topic work. Activity sheets - Brunel Museum ( PLEASE DO SUPPORT THE MUSEUM Normally we include a link to our own Patrons’ Club. But rather than that this week we would be grateful if anyone would consider donating to the Brunel Museum. It’s a difficult time for all our museums and the whole heritage sector. I know any small donation would be much appreciated as they were very generous helping us prepare this episode: Make a donation - Brunel Museum (
2/22/20219 minutes, 14 seconds
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History of Burma / Myanmar

Sophie (age 7) & Ellie (age 5) tell the 1000 year history of Burma – Buddhism, Kublai Khan, Elephants, the British, WW2 and Aung Sung Suu Kyi.----more---- Sophie and Ellie are contacted by a listener who lives in Burma. The girls want to find out more about the place and what is going on there. They describe the Burmese geography and weather. Then they tell of the first Burmese King, a thousand years ago, and how he unified Burma. He then converted to Buddhism and introduced the religion to Burma. Ten thousand Buddhist temples were made. But the Buddhist temples paid no tax. And that made it hard for the King to keep a strong army. Then the Mongol King, Kublai Khan, invades. The Burmese fight him with their war elephants but they are crushed. The Burmese Kingdom is destroyed. But the Mongols do not stay. They just wanted to teach Burma a lesson. Marco Polo tells the story of the invasion. It takes hundreds of years for Burma to recover. But they are united again. This time they and their elephants attack Siam. They conquer the country with the help not just of the elephants but also guns from Portuguese traders. Eventually Siam rebels and frees itself. Again it takes hundreds of years for Burma to recover. Next Burma decides to expand West. They bump straight into the British Empire. A bloody series of wars occur. At first the Burmese successfully invade British India. But the British fight back. The Burmese elephants are no match for the British army and their new Rocket. Burma is conquered by the British and made into a colony. In the early 20th century more and more people in Burma want to be free of the British. The Burmese leader is called Aung Sun. He tries to get freedom for his people. Then World War Two breaks out. The Japanese Empire invades Burma. Many Burmese like Aung Sun join the Japanese to get rid of the British. Japan conquers Burma. But then Aung Sun and others realise they have made a terrible mistake. They realise that the Japanese will never leave Burma and they are an evil empire. Aung Sun and others help the British to reconquer Burma. Then the British give Burma her independence. But at the moment of victory Aung Sun is killed. The Burmese struggle without him. The army take over and will not let the people be in charge. Eventually there are elections which are won by Aung Sun’s daughter, Aung Sun Suu Kyi. But the Army arrest her for 20 years. Finally she is allowed to rule Burma. Not everything she does is popular outside of Burma but she remains popular in Burma. Recently the Army put her in prison again and took control of the country. Sophie and Ellie reflect on how the poor Burmese people have hardly ever in recently years been able to have a government that they wanted. They hope for a better time to come.   BURMESE NAMES I'm certain that our pronunciation of Burmese names is terrible. I'm very sorry. We found it hard to find out how to pronounce many of the names. PATRONS' CLUB Do please consider joining our Patrons' Club. You can find the details at Sophie and Ellie love getting to know their listeners.
2/15/20219 minutes, 57 seconds
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Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of Gandhi. We learn how he led India to independence. But more than that the girls learn life lessons from his example. 150 years India was ruled by Britain. India was a country of many religions, and many languages. These differences helped Britain to be in charge. But many Indians wanted to rule themselves. The girls explore why it was important for the Indians to rule their own country and the problems with Britain being in charge. We meet Gandhi. We learn about his personal value system. We discover how he was opposed to violence. We also learned how he believed that it wasn’t enough to achieve good things. He believed that the way in which you achieved things was also important. Gandhi didn’t hate Britain. But when he lived in South Africa he realized that the British Empire wasn’t always fair to people who were not white British. When he returned to India he began campaigning for India to be free. He believed that it was wrong to fight. Instead he believed that Indian’s needed to stop doing what British people told them to do. He organized lots of peaceful demonstrations. The girls tell the story of the terrible day at Amritsar when 400 Indians were shot dead on the streets on the orders of a British General. Eventually the British agree to talk to Gandhi. But the talks do not go well. Instead the British encourage the Muslims to be worried about an India run by Hindus like Gandhi. The talks collapse. The British arrest many independence protestors. Then World War Two starts. The British need India. Gandhi tells the Indians not to help the British. But millions ignore him and join the Army. In 1942 Gandhi tells the British to leave India immediately. The British won’t that because of the war. So they put Gandhi and his followers in prison. But after the war the British have had enough and agree to leave. It agreed to split India in two. There will be a mostly Muslim area called Pakistan and a mostly Hindu area called India. The split is terrible. Muslims and Hindu kill hundreds of thousands of each other. Then a Hindu decides it’s all Gandhi’s fault. He shoots and kills Gandhi. People are horrified. They realise that Gandhi was right. India becomes a country for all religions and languages. Over time the whole world realise that Gandhi was a great man. Even Britain makes a statue to him. At the end the girls reflect on Gandhi’s message to the world and the power of his example. PATRONS’ CLUB If you liked this message you might like to join our Patrons’ club. You can choose an episode – like this one was chosen by one of our Patrons. You can find extra episodes. Or you can be in an episode. You can find details on
2/8/20219 minutes, 59 seconds
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The Rescue of the Danish Jews in WW2

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of how Denmark’s Jews were rescued by Danish people at the height of World War Two and escaped overnight to Sweden and safety.   Hitler’s Germany has conquered most of Europe in World War Two. Hitler hates the Jews and tells lies about them. He tries to find them and kill them. But in Denmark the Danes are conquered but allowed to rule themselves – with the German army patrolling the streets.   The King tries to keep his people’s morale up. He rides his horse through Copenhagen every day. When a German soldiers asks why he has no bodyguards, a Danish citizen replies that all Danes are his bodyguard. The King fights against the evil German flag, the Swastika being flown. When the Germans propose that all Jews should wear a yellow badge, the King says he will wear one too. The Germans back down. Hitler sends the King a birthday card with a long letter sucking up to him. The King barely replies.   Hitler is enraged. He decides that Germany will take total control. He also decides to round up the Jews and prepare to kill them.   But a German finds out about the plan and warns the Danish government. The government and ordinary people step into action. In one night they warn all the Jews. They hide them from the Germans and then take them across the sea to Sweden where they will be safe. The evil German SS soldiers kick down the doors but cannot find the Jews. 7,500 are safe.   Now both the Danish people and the brave German who warned the Jews are remembered in Israel, the Jewish homeland.   PATRONS’ CLUB If you liked this episode then please do join our Patrons’ Club. We have exclusive episodes there. You can join on Sophie and Ellie also really enjoy getting to know our patrons and they swap photos.   PARENTS’ NOTICE ABOUT THIS EPISODE We wanted to tell a Holocaust story which was uplifting and positive and appropriate for little children. Obviously, that is difficult to do about what is one of the greatest tragedies and crimes in human history. But we hope we have managed it here. We teach the name of the Holocaust and that Jews were killed. We do not cover any of the details about how this was done. We do not explain in detail why people were anti-semitic, just that they were. In my own experience with the girls, they can sometimes repeat the various anti-semitic lies without explaining properly that they were false or giving the proper contexts. We also establish early on that the Jews escape so that the story is not scary for children. We try to establish that the Holocaust was a uniquely evil event. We took a few liberties with the story. 7,500 Jews escaped, but 500 were captured. Efforts by the Danish government ensured that only around 100 lost their lives. We simplified the story and kept it positive for children. But we wanted here to recognise that there was some tragedy.  If your child likes this then there is a film on Disney Plus called “Miracle at Midnight” which is very good. It was too scary and complicated for Ellie. But Sophie was fine with it. There is also an award winning childrens’ book called “Number the Stars”.   Thanks for listening. Feedback welcome @historytime99 or you can find on facebook.
2/1/20219 minutes, 44 seconds
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The Resolute Desk of US Presidents

Sophie (age 7) & Ellie (age 5) tell how Joe Biden and Donald Trump both chose to use the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office. They tell the history of the desk that is a symbol of friendship between Britain and America. ----more---- They explain how the British went exploring the North West passage in the 1850s. Successive expeditions went badly wrong. Eventually, one of the ships, the HMS Resolute got stuck in the ice. The crew had to abandon the ship. Two years later the ship was discovered. This time by an American ship over 1000 miles away. The ice had melted and the ship had floated away. It was like finding a ghost ship. The Americans took the ship back to America. The ship belonged to them now.   But there were lots of tensions between Britain and America. They had already fought two wars. They were still arguing. But they had so much in common. Many people thought they should be friends rather than arguing all the time. The American government decided to repair the ship and to send her as a present to Queen Victoria. Queen Victoria was delighted. It helped Britain and American become friends.   For twenty years HMS Resolute carried on sailing near Britain. Then it got too old. But Queen Victoria remembered she had been a gift from America. She decided to use her timbers to make some desks. One would be gift to the US President and another would be for herself.   The Americans were delighted with the gift. It was placed in the White House. Successive presidents used it in different rooms. When F.D. Roosevelt used it he had a little door installed so that no one could see that he used a wheelchair. Later US presidents rather forgot about the desk. Until John F Kennedy became President. His wife wanted to refurbish the White House. She went exploring around the White House. In a back room she found, under a pile of electrical equipment, the old Resolute Desk. She thought it was beautiful. She brought it out and placed it in the main office in the White House called the Oval Office. Then her children discovered the little door that Roosevelt had installed. A photographer took a photo of them playing while their Dad was on the phone. Suddenly the whole world remembered the Resolute Desk.   Most US Presidents since them have chosen to use the Resolute Desk. Sophie and Ellie reflect on the fact that Joe Biden and Donald Trump did not agree on much. But they did agree on using the Resolute Desk. It is a reminder of great US Presidents of the past as well as being a symbol of historic friendship between Britain and America.
1/25/20219 minutes, 58 seconds
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Ancient Greece

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell how the Ancient Greeks helped make the world around us. ----more---- We hear about how the Greeks learned about the stars and gave them the names of their Gods.   We hear how the Greek Hoplite was a war winning machine. We learn how Sparta turned their children into invincible warriors with a brutal training regime.   We tell how Athens had the idea to have the people in charge and voted on who their leaders should be. We tell how this gave us the word “Democracy”. The girls are unimpressed that Greek “Democracy” did not involve women.   We tell how the Ancient Greeks loved maths and science. Ellie tells the story of Archimedes and how he worked out how to tell how big something was from the water rising in his bath. Then he runs naked down the street shouting “Eureka, Eureka”.   We tell how the Greeks loved plays and the theatre. We re-tell the story of Oedipus (appropriately told for children). Oedipus kills a man on the road then he goes to the next City. They need a King and they have created a puzzle (riddle) to decide who should be King. This gives the children a chance to see if they can crack the puzzle (riddle). Oedipus cracks the puzzle and becomes King. Then he discovers that they man he killed at the start of the story was his own father. Upset, he stops being King. The girls talk about how Greek plays are exciting but a little bit miserable at times. We then discuss what a tragedy means.   We tell how the Greeks love of magnificent architecture helped tell their story through the ages. We also explain how even though the Romans conquered Ancient Greece, the were so impressed with the Greeks that they kept Greek culture and learning alive.   Finally, we reflect on some of the things that the Greeks gave the modern world.   Homeschooling / Key Stage 1 and 2   We know that many of you are currently homeschooling. We are too! The Ancient Greeks is on the Key Stage 1 curriculum so this episode on Ancient Greece is a good addition to your homeschooling   PATRONS’ CLUB   This episode was chosen by one of our Patrons’ members. Our Patrons get access to extra episodes, get to choose and episode or even to be in an episode. If you would like to join please go to   One of our episodes there is about the Seven Wonders of the World which tallies really well with this episode as it is about many buildings that the Ancient Greeks built.
1/18/20219 minutes, 39 seconds
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Eleanor of Aquitaine: Queen of England

Sophie (age 7) & Ellie (age 5) tell of Eleanor of Aquitaine. But Eleanor has been Queen of France. Now she becomes Queen of England.----more---- This is the second in our series about Eleanor of Aquitaine. But you don't need to have listened to the last episode to enjoy this one. Last week we learned how 800 years ago Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine, married the King of France. But she didn’t much like him. He was unhappy they didn’t have a son. So they divorced.   But no one expected what happened next. Eleanor married the dashing young pretender to the English throne. His name was Henry and he was ten years younger than her. The French King was furious. With Eleanor's help Henry took the throne of England. Now he was King of England and ruler of most of France. Eleanor was his Queen.   Furthermore, it turned out that Eleanor could have sons after all. Lots of them. She had eight children, four of them boys. For years she raised them. Then she set up her own Court. The Court of Love with minstrels and knights and her ladies in waiting.   Meanwhile, Henry got himself a girlfriend. Eleanor did not like that. Their children were also angry with Henry. He kept treating them like children even though they were quite grown up. They all rebelled against Henry. But Henry was a skilled General. He defeated Eleanor and his sons. He forgave his sons but put Eleanor in prison for 15 years.   She was only released when her son Richard became King. She then supported her son Richard and later her son John.   We tell how her story is ignored by many later writers like the Disney film Robin Hood because often women are ignored in history.   She died aged 81 years old and is remembered today as one of the greatest women in history. Other episodes If you liked this episode about Eleanor of Aquitaine you might also like our Matilda episode. It’s set around the same time in history with knights and castles. and tells you what is happening in England while Eleanor of Aquitaine is married to the King of France. It’s a another story about a powerful woman. You might also like to try our Jousting with the Royal Armouries episode. We made it with the world famous Royal Armouries in England. We tell the story of knights, tournaments and jousting. All the sorts of things that Eleanor and her knights and nobles enjoyed. Patrons Club If you liked this episode you might like to join our Patrons’ Club. There you can listen to exclusive new episodes, help choose an episode or be in an episode. You can join on
1/11/20219 minutes, 33 seconds
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Eleanor of Aquitaine: Queen of France

Sophie (age 7) & Ellie (age 5) tell of Eleanor of Aquitaine. In a time of knights and castles, men rule. But Eleanor is Duchess of Aquitaine - no one is telling her what to do.----more----   800 years ago Eleanor became Duchess of Aquitaine in South West France. It was a time of Knights and Castles. But the King of France, Louis the Fat, didn’t want to lose control of Aquitaine. So he quickly married 13 year old Eleanor off to his son – also called Louis. Louis didn’t much want to be King. He also didn’t much want to be a husband. He had thought he was going to be a monk. But after his older brother died he had to be King.   He loved Eleanor. But she thought he was really boring. He worried about having babies as he thought he might be more holy not to have any. But the monks and later the Pope himself told him to have some. He had Eleanor had girls. But that wasn’t any good for France. The laws of France said they needed a King.   They went on Crusade together to the Holy Land. It didn’t go very well. France lost the battles. Eleanor became very good friends with her uncle. Some people even thought they had become girlfriend and boyfriend. When they got back to France Eleanor and Louis decided to divorce. Eleanor went back to Aquitaine.   But Eleanor wasn’t upset by this. In fact for the first time in her life she was free to make her own decision. That decision was to lead to her becoming Queen of England.   But that’s the topic of the next History Storytime episode.   OTHER EPISODES   If you liked this episode about Eleanor of Aquitaine you might also like our Matilda episode. It’s set around the same time in history with knights and castles. and tells you what is happening in England while Eleanor of Aquitaine is married to the King of France. It’s a another story about a powerful woman.   You might also like to try our Jousting with the Royal Armouries episode. We made it with the world famous Royal Armouries in England. We tell the story of knights, tournaments and jousting. All the sorts of things that Eleanor of Aquitaine and her knights and nobles enjoyed.   PATRONS' CLUB   If you liked this episode you might like to join our Patrons’ Club. There you can listen to exclusive new episodes, help choose an episode or be in an episode. You can join on  
1/4/20219 minutes, 32 seconds
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The History of New Year

Sophie (aged 7) and Ellie (aged 5) decide to tell the history of New Year going back four thousand years. ----more---- They start by going to the time of the ancient Mesopotamians. They tell how they Mesopotamians celebrated New Year at the start of Spring on March 25th. They had parties and invented the idea of New Year Resolutions.   Fast forward to 2000 years ago and it is the time of the Romans. The Romans also celebrated the New Year on March 25th. But they had an important thing happen on January 1st. This was the date that the Consuls of Rome took charge. They were the people in charge of the city for that year. Over time Romans started to celebrate the day they took charge as the start of the year.   But the Romans had a problem too. Their calendar was all wrong. Julius Caesar was ruler of Rome. He decided to fix the mistakes in the calendar and while he was at it, he change the start of the year from March 25th to January 1st.   They also used to have massive parties on January 1st.   After the Romans the Christians kingdoms of Europe kept having different days for the start of the New year. Some of them used the old March 25th date and others the January 1st date. Gradually, they all started to use January 1st.   For some countries Christmas was more important than New Year. But for some countries New Year was far more important.   One of those countries was Scotland. There they celebrated New Year with a festival called Hogmanay. The traditions of Hogmanay are very old. Some people think that they word is French and was brought to Scotland by Mary Queen of Scots. It used to be a tradition that it brought good luck if you had a dark haired man come into your house straight after midnight. Sophie wonders whether that because a blonde haired man would be a dangerous Viking. Hogmanay is still a huge festival in Scotland. In fact the Scots have a two day holiday afterwards!   We end by telling some of the story of Auld Lang Syne and Sophie and Ellie sing the first verse.   We wish you all a very Happy New Year. Thank you for listening to History Storytime this year. PATRONS' CLUB Do please consider joining our Patron’s Club. Details are on You can access exclusive new episodes, be in an episode or choose an episode.
12/28/20208 minutes, 37 seconds
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The History of the Christmas Tree

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the Christmas Tree over thousands of years of history.   They tell how it has its roots in the Winter Solstice. Celts and Vikings would bring evergreen branches into the home as a sign that Spring would come. Ancient Egyptians would celebrate the return of the Sun God, Ra, with evergreen branches. The Roman festival of Saturnalia saw them bring evergreen branches into their homes along with other strange goings on. Across Germany people continued to bring evergreen trees and branches into their homes long after Christianity came. But they were not decorated.   Many people believe that the great Protestant reformer, Martin Luther was the first person to decorate a Christmas tree. Sophie tells how he was so amazed by the beauty of a tree that he chopped it down and took it home for his wife. It was the first Christmas Tree.   We then learn how the Christmas Tree was made popular by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Then it was taken to America by newspapers. The whole world was now using Christmas Trees.   Finally, we tell the heartwarming story of London’s Norwegian Christmas Tree. At the height of World War 2 the Germans invade Norway. Britain helps but to no avail. The King of Norway flees to London. Five years of war later the Americans and British are victorious. In 1947 a grateful Norway sends a huge Norwegian Christmas Tree to Britain as a Thank you present. They send a new Christmas Tree every year.
12/21/20209 minutes, 42 seconds
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WW2: The Battle of the Bulge

Sophie (aged 7) and Ellie (aged 5) want to know if battles ever happened at Christmas so together we tell the story of the Battle of the Bulge in World War Two.   It is winter 1944. Allied troops are at the borders of Germany. Germany seems defeated. The allies are resting, preparing for the final push for Berlin in the Spring which will end World War Two. But Hitler has a plan of his own. He gathers his last tank army together in great secrecy. His tanks smash through woods called the Ardennes. The Battle of the Bulge has started.   The Americans are stunned. The weather is terrible so the Allied planes cannot  help. German soldiers wearing American uniforms spread confusion behind Allied lines. German soldiers all kill captured American prisoners. But Hitler’s tanks are desperately short of petrol. They need to capture some of the Allied petrol to keep the attack going. But the allies keep blowing it up.   In the middle of the German advance is the town of Bastogne. The German tanks sweep past the town. But American paratroopers dig in around the town and hold it against all attacks – even on Christmas Day. This slows down the German advance. This gives the Americans time to bring their own tanks up. The weather also cleared and the Allied planes started bombing the German tanks. With one final throw of the dice the last German planes went into battle. But were shot down. Now Germany had lost her last tanks and her last planes. There was nothing to stop the Allies now.   A few months later Russia captured Berlin, Hitler killed himself and World War Two was over.   The girls also reflect on how at this Christmas we owe our freedoms to those brave American soldiers who fought for us in World War Two at the Battle of the Bulge at Christmas 1944   If you like this episode you might also like our other World War Two episodes.   Here we have an episode on Dunkirk 1940 in World War 2   Here we have an episode on the Battle of Britain 1940 in World War 2   Here we have an episode on Pearl Harbor 1941 in World War 2   Here we have an episode on VE Day 1945 at the end of World War 2   Patrons’ Club If you like listening to History Storytime you might like our Patrons’ Club. You get exclusive episodes, can choose and episode and be in an episode. We have a new episode out about the Siege of Bastogne which fits in well with this episode. We also have episodes about the Seven Wonders of the World and about the Bayeux Tapestry of 1066.
12/14/20209 minutes, 58 seconds
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WW2: Pearl Harbor 1941

Sophie (age 7) & Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor which happened today in 1941 and brought America into World War Two. #OTD   Until the 19th century Japan isolated itself from the world. Then Commodore Perry’s ironclad ship sails into Tokyo Harbour. The Japanese are amazed to realise how technologically far behind the world they have fallen. They resolve to catch up.   For the next fifty years they modernise their economy building a formidable modern navy and fleet. They then resolve to use them in a bid for power. They start with a surprise attack on Russia at Port Arthur. Japan wins the war. Then in the 1930s they launch a surprise attack on China sweeping to control great swathes of the country. They treat ordinary Chinese people very badly.   By 1941 the world is at war in Europe – World War Two. Other countries are concerned about Japan’s intentions. They stop selling oil to Japan. Without oil Japan would not be able to fight an aggressive war. Japan decides to strike at the oilfield in the far east controlled by the European Empires. But they know this will draw the American forces into World War Two. They decide to first launch a surprise attack on the US fleet at Pearl Harbor.   At Pearl Harbor the US fleet suspects nothing. People are going about their daily business. Suddenly they see Japanese planes overhead diving into bomb the ships at harbor. Bombs rain down. Torpedoes dart underwater. Withing minutes some of the greatest US battleships are sunk. Thousands of lives are lost. The US try to fight back but it is too late to save the bulk of the fleet.   The result is a crushing Japanese victory.   But the Japanese victory is a hollow one. The Japanese have sunk the US Battleships. But the US carriers are not in Pearl Harbor that day. They are safe to fight again. Worse for Japan, America is roused to utter fury at the unprovoked attack. The US President calls it a day of infamy. The huge resources of America are mobilised for World War Two. They far outweigh the capacity of Japan. Three years later the Japanese empire is destroyed, Japan’s cities are in rubble and Japan is occupied.   If you like this episode you might also like our other World War Two episodes. We have World War Two episodes on Dunkirk: WW2: The Miracle of Dunkirk and Winston Churchill in 1940 ( Or you might like our World War Two episode on the Battle of Britain: WW2: The Battle of Britain and Winston Churchill in 1940 ( Patrons’ Club If you like this episode you might want to join our Patrons’ Club. You can listen to exclusive episodes, help choose an episode or be in an episode. To join go to  
12/7/20209 minutes, 59 seconds
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American History: Rosa Parks

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the inspirational story of Rosa Parks and how her refusal to move seats on a bus, 65 years ago this week, helped change America for the better.   America in 1950s is still scarred by the impact of the evils of slavery. Slavery might have been abolished but mean laws have replaced them in the South of the United States which make life very difficult for black people. They are sent to different schools, they have to eat in different sections of restaurants and use different sections of toilets. Seats at the front of buses are reserved for white people, whereas black people have to sit at the back of the bus. It’s not just the laws, day to day they are often bullied by some of the white people.   Rosa Parks is a black lady living in Montgomery, Alabama. She has experienced racism all her life. One day the bus driver tells her to move seats to make space for white people. She decides enough is enough. She refuses to move seats. The police are called and Rosa Parks is arrested. Rosa Parks is taken to the court house and convicted and fined.   But the black people of Alabama have had enough too. Lead by inspirational leaders such as Martin Luther King they decide to take a stand. On behalf of Rosa Parks they organise a boycott of the City’s bus network. For over a year black people refused to travel on the buses. Meanwhile Martin Luther King and others organised different court cases to try to overturn the racist bus rules. Eventually they are successful. The efforts of people like Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks doesn’t only improve the bus situation but also many of the other laws are changed so that black people can no longer be discriminated against in law.   Rosa Parks continues her campaigning all her life. When she died she is honoured by her home town of Montgomery and also by the whole United States. Her stand against racism and against the bus laws of Alabama help to change a nation for the better.   Other Episodes: If you liked this episode you might also like our episode on the Slave Trade:   Or you might also like our episode on great black women of Britain:   Patrons Club If you like our History Storytime podcast then do please join our Patron’s Club. You can listen to exclusive episodes like our ones on the Seven Wonders of the World or on the Bayeux Tapestry. Or you can help choose the topic of an episode or even be in an episode. Details are here:
11/30/20209 minutes, 30 seconds
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Ancient Egypt: Tutankhamun and Mummies

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) love stories about Ancient Egypt so they tell the story of the boy Pharoah, Tutankhamun, including how his body was turned into a mummy.   We explain how Egypt got its wealth from the annual flooding of the Nile. The Old Kingdom turn this wealth into the Pyramids and the Great Sphinx. The Middle Kingdom builds on this. After years of turmoil the New Kingdom emerges. Powerful Egyptian rulers expand Egypt’s territories to nearby countries.   But the new Pharoah, Akenhaton wants to build a new religion at home. He replaces all the old priests and spends less time fighting other countries. His Queen, Nefertiti, becomes increasingly powerful.   But after they die they leave the eight year old boy Tutankhamun to become Pharoah. Tutankahmun reverses the policy of abandoning the old Gods. He returns Egypt to their traditional religion. He returns Egypt to their traditional approach of engaging, sometimes by war, with neighbouring countries. He gets married and has two children. But Tutankhamun is sick. His legs don’t work properly and he has to walk with a cane. He gets a severe form of malaria which leaves him weak and sick. Then his leg is badly injured somehow. Tutankhamun dies aged just 18 years old. After his death, he is turned into a mummy. We learn about the mummification process. It’s disgusting and Ellie tells the full gory details. He has his brain pulled out through his noise. His organs are sliced from his body and put in pots shaped like Gods. His body is stuffed with plants and herbs. Finally, it is wrapped up to protect the skin. Afterwards his mummified body is placed in a golden shell covered in jewels. He is placed into a tomb.   Over thousands of years his body and tomb are lost.   Then 100 years ago, explorers discover the lost tomb. When they open it they are amazed to see Tutankhamun’s beautiful golden mask and then to find his mummy inside. People around the world see the incredible workmanship. It sparks a global fascination with all things Egyptian - a fascination which continues today. If you liked this episode about Tutankhamun, ancient Egypt and mummies then you might enjoy our episode about Cleopatra:   Apple: Other:   Patrons’ Club Our Patrons’ Club has exclusive episodes for members. These include an episode on the Seven Wonders of the World which highlights the Great Pyramid of Giza. You can become a member here:
11/23/20209 minutes, 23 seconds
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American History: The Mayflower, Pilgrims and Thanksgiving

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the Mayflower, the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving in America. ----more---- The Pilgrims are protestant refugees from England. They are fleeing and intolerant England who persecute people who will not follow the established Church. At first they flee to Holland. But they do not want their children to grow up Dutch. So they decide to create an English colony in America. There is already a colony in Jamestown. But they decide to settle far from there. They want to an English Colony but one where they can practice their own religion. 102 colonist set out on two ships – the Speedwell and the Mayflower. But the Speedwell soon springs a leak and everyone transfers to the Mayflower. The journey is horrible. One person is lost overboard in a storm. The ship is blown off course. Eventually after over two months at sea they reach America. They are not where they wanted to be. But they make landfall and set up a new colony in what we now call Plymouth Bay, Massachusetts.   But they are not the only people there. There is already a native American tribe living there. But the Pilgrims make friends with the tribe. The tribe help teach them how to farm. The Pilgrims help the tribe with medicine.   To celebrate their first bumper harvest the Pilgrims celebrate Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is an old English holiday. But the Pilgrims also invite the native Americans to this years Thanksgiving. They feast on the great Harvest that they have collected. This is now widely recognised as the first Thanksgiving in America.   Today millions of Americans celebrate Thanksgiving and remember the Pilgrims and how they crossed an ocean to build a new and better society, one which became the United States of America.   Thirty million Americans can trace their ancestry back to just over 100 colonists on the Mayflower. This year is also the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s voyage.   This episode was chosen by one of our listeners in America called Stephen. He joined our Patrons’ Club. Members get to listen to exclusive episodes, to choose an episode like Stephen did, or to be in an episode. If you would like to join please go to There are already several episodes online there too.   If you liked this episode you might also like our episode on the Jamestown settlement and we get to meet the famous Pocahontas. Or you might also enjoy our Hallowe’en special on witches in which we see what happened to the New England settlements just a few decades later with the Salem witch trials.
11/16/20209 minutes, 17 seconds
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Victorians: The Life of a Child in the Victorian Period

Sophie (aged 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of children in Victorian times. We learn what school was like (not very nice!), what jobs they did (yucky ones!) and what they did for fun. ----more---- Ellie has a Victorian day coming up at school. She has to dress up as a Victorian school girl. So she and Sophie decide to explore what life was like back then. We start by learning about the huge changes that happened during Queen Victoria’s long reign. Incredible inventions like the steam ship and the telephone occur and huge changes like the growth of the British Empire happen. This is a time of enormous change. But the lives of children changes too. We learn how the lives of rich children and poor children are very different. Rich children are educated at home by the governesses before the boys are sent to boarding school. Ellie is outraged to learn that rich girls are rarely sent to school. Poor children are increasingly sent to school by Victorians. But the classes are huge. Sometimes 70 or 80 children in the class with only one teacher. As a result the teachers are very strict. The girls are fascinated by the punishments that the school teachers use - from lines to caning to a dunce cap. We also learn about the jobs that children used to do. Everything from cleaning up horse poo to clambering up chimneys or working in factories. Much of it is very dangerous or horrid work. But it’s not all work and no play. The Victorians invent the idea of a holiday. Children from the cities get to visit the new playgrounds of the seaside which are turned into fun resorts. More children’s toys are invented and a new type of book is written – the Children’s book. Incredible stories such as Treasure Island, the Jungle Book and Peter Pan are written. But when all is said and done the girls decide that Victorian life is not for them. It’s too strict and not fun enough. This episode has a strong link to Key Stage 1 (KS1) topic work. And in fact, both girls have studied the life of a Victorian child at school and dressed up as a Victorian child. If you liked this episode you might also like our Florence Nightingale episode.   PATRONS’ CLUB If you like History Storytime you might like to join our Patron’s Club. You can get access to exclusive episodes, choose and episode or even be in an episode. Details here: Episodes already available include the Seven Wonders of the World and the Bayeux Tapestry.
11/9/20209 minutes, 12 seconds
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Guy Fawkes, the Gunpowder Plot and Bonfire Night

Sophie (age 7) & Ellie (age 5) are missing fireworks and Bonfire Night because of Coronavirus. So they tell the story of Guy Fawkes, the Gunpowder Plot, and how Bonfire Night came to be celebrated.----more----   England is Protestant. But Guy Fawkes and his Catholic friends dream of a Catholic England. They hope that the new King James will be kinder to Catholics because his mother had been a Catholic. But James is a Protestant and does not like Catholics.   Guy Fawkes and his friends decide to kill King James, his nobles and his bishops by blowing up Parliament. They carefully gather gunpowder and store it in a cellar under Parliament.   However, they are worried that some Catholic nobles will also be killed so they write to one of them to warn him to stay away. That noble might have been a Catholic but he was also a loyal subject of the King. He immediately went and told the King’s spies. The Kings soldiers burst into the cellar and find Guy Fawkes with the gunpowder and a trail ready to be lit. They capture him. But they still do not know who the other plotters are.   Guy Fawkes is taken before the King but he tells the King nothing. After days of torture Guy Fawkes finally tells the names of the other conspirators. They are rounded up, tried and horribly executed.   Every year since people in England have celebrated Bonfire Night on the 5th November by lighting Bonfires and setting off Fireworks and even burning a stuff “Guy”.   Patrons’ Club   We also talk about our Patron’s Club. There are three tiers of membership and you can get exclusive episodes, choose and episode or be in an episode. Links are here:     If you liked this episode about Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night you might also like our episode on the Spanish Armada which talks about Protestant England.   Or if you liked this episode about Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night you might like our Jamestown and Pocahontas episode about how the colony of Jamestown was founded (and named after King James)
11/2/20209 minutes, 59 seconds
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Hallowe'en Special: Witches in History

For Hallowe’en Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of witches in history. We learn how the Witchfinder General in England used to find so called witches and about the Salem Witch trials in America.----more---- People in Europe are very worried about witches 500 years ago. They think that witches are people who are working with the devil. They worry that they are flying on broomsticks and have cats who are friends with the Devil. But actually, they are just picking on mostly poor and lonely women.   In East Anglia there is a scare about witches caused by a man known as the Witchfinder general. He gets paid for finding witches – so he keeps finding them. He has lots of unfair tricks to prove people are witches. He also writes a book about how to do it called “A discovery of witches”.   The book is popular in America. Especially in a town called Salem. Salem is very worried about witches. The whole town starts looking everywhere for witches. Hundreds of people are accused. Even a four year old girl gets accused of being a witch. A panic takes over the whole town. One person refused to say either way whether he is a witch or  not and meets a terrible end.   Eventually everyone realised that there was no such things as witchcraft and it was all made up. People started to learn more about science. They passed laws to stop people being prosecuted for witchcraft.   PARENTS: It’s obviously a bit of a spooky topic and we have some spooky music but it’s not an especially scary episode and Sophie and Ellie had no issues with it so we think it’s okay to listen to before bedtime. We also make it very clear that these people are not witches and the whole thing is made up.   PATRONS’ CLUB We also talk about our new Patrons’ Club. There are different tiers of membership. But they all involve more episodes each month and you can get to choose your episode or even be in an episode. We’d love you to become a member and Sophie and Ellie have got to know many of the children through it. Go to to sign up. We have exclusive episodes on the Seven Wonders of the World and on the Bayeux Tapestry. This last episode ties in with our recent Battle of Hastings episode.
10/26/20209 minutes, 15 seconds
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Black History Month: Ivory Bangle Lady, Phillis Wheatley & Mary Seacole

It’s Black History Month at school so Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell some stories of Black women who made history in Britain. They tell of Ivory Bangle Woman, the first black woman found in Britain; Phillis Wheatley, an enslaved black woman turned star poet; and Mary Seacole, a Jamaican doctress. ----more---- They have heard of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King. They appreciated these stories. But wanted to hear stories from their own history. Daddy suggested Walter Tull and Asquith Xavier. But they were insistent on having Black women at the heart of the story.   We start with Ivory Bangle Lady. Of North African descent she lived in Britain in Roman times and is the first Black woman found in Britain. Her tomb has many valuable objects found with it.   Then we move onto the story of Phillis Wheatley. She was taken as a child from Africa and kept as a slave in America. But she developed a talent as a poet. She was brought to Britain where her poetry wowed London high society. Eventually, she was freed and married a free black man.   Finally, we learn a little about the amazing Mary Seacole and some of her adventures. We join her in the Crimean War. Less well known that her contemporary, Florence Nightingale, she became loved by the troops for her work caring for them. Forgotten for many years she is now celebrated.   As we close Sophie reflects on how Black History Month should be needed and that Black History and the contribution of Black people is really just a part of British history.   Patrons’ Club We also talk about our new Patrons Club. There are different tiers of membership. But they all involve more episodes each month and you can get to choose your episode or even be in an episode. We’d love you to become a member and Sophie and Ellie have got to know many of the children through it. Go to to sign up. We have exclusive episodes on the Seven Wonders of the World and on the Bayeux Tapestry. This last episode ties in with our Battle of Hastings episode from last week.
10/19/20208 minutes, 57 seconds
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Medieval: William the Conqueror & the Battle of Hastings

This week is the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Sophie (aged 7) & Ellie (age 5) tell the story of William the Conqueror, King Harold and Harald Hardrada’s fight for the English throne.----more---- Edward the Confessor is old. He has no children. Harold wants to be the King after him and is a powerful Saxon noble. But William, Duke of Normandy is Edward’s Cousin and has a claim to the throne. Meanwhile the powerful King of Norway, Harald Hardrada wants to see Viking rule again over England. Three powerful men desire the throne.   But a few years before 1066 everything is complicated when Harold is ship wrecked in Normandy. He is “rescued” by William. And swears an oath to support William’s claim to the throne. Was he forced to make this oath? Sophie thinks so. But Ellie thinks that a pinky promise is a pinky promise.   When Edward dies, Harold is proclaimed King. William is furious and prepares to invade. Harold waits for him in the south. But Harald Hardrada, in concert with Harold’s estranged brother Tostig, lands in the North. The Viking army defeats the local saxon forces. Harold quickly marches his troops north. He catches the Vikings unprepared. The Viking army is slaughtered. Hardrada and Tostig are both killed. Harold has killed one of his rivals. But now he learned that William has landed in the south of England near Hastings.   Harold rushes his army south. And meets William in battle. Sophie and Ellie tell the gripping story of the battle. We hear how the initial Norman attacks are defeated. But we also learn how the Norman’s pretend to run away and draw some of the Saxons off the hill. This weakens their shield wall. Then the Norman archers shoot into the air, further depleting the Saxon ranks. Finally the Norman knights break into the Saxon lines and kill them. Harold himself is killed – maybe by an arrow in his eye.   The Normans are victorious. Saxon England has falled. William is the Conqueror.   PATRONS CLUB – EXTRA EPISODES Our Patrons’ Club helps support our family podcast. There are different tiers of membership. But they all involve more episodes each month and you can get to choose your episode or even be in an episode. We’d love you to become a member. Go to sign up and listen to an exclusive episode
10/12/20209 minutes, 55 seconds
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The Neolithic Stone Age: Stonehenge and Skara Brae

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell of the Neolithic Stone Age. We visit Skara Brae, explore Stonehenge, and see how Stone Age people moved from hunter-gathering to farming.----more---- This is the third of our Stone Age episodes. Our first episode was about the Paleolithic period when Stone Age people lived during the ice age. In our second episode we explored the Mesolithic period after the ice age when people were still hunting and gathering and moving from place to place. Now in the Neolithic period Stone Age people start to invent farming. This starts in the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East. But it begins to spread across the world. The population grows with all the extra food that farming makes. But it is not all good because now famine can devastate communities. Now people have more reasons to work together – so for example to cut down trees or build paths. But it also means that there is more war.   We go to Skara Brae to learn about one of the most extraordinary Neolithic discoveries. We explore the eight Stone Age huts and learn about what it tells us about the lives of the Stone Age people who lived in Skara Brae.   Finally, we explore Stonehenge. We explore why it might have been built We debunk the idea that aliens helped build Stonehenge. Rather, we show how Stone Age people could have built Stonehenge.   We then reflect on the great achievements of Stone Age people, a people who built homes like at Skara Brae and built great monuments like Stonehenge.   If you liked this episode then you might like our Mesolithic episode: Apple: Other:   Or you might like our Paleolithic episode: Apple: Other:   This whole three part series as a strong link to Key Stage 2 (KS2) of the National Curriculum.   NEW PATRONS’ CLUB – EXTRA EPISODES If you like History Storytime you might like to get involved with our Patrons’ Club. There are different tiers of membership. But they all involve more episodes each month and you can get to choose your own episode or even be in an episode. We’d love you to become a member. Go to to sign up and to listen to our latest exclusive episode on the Seven Wonders of the World.
10/5/20209 minutes, 8 seconds
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The Mesolithic Stone Age: Cheddar Man and Star Carr

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) go back 15,000 years to tell of the Mesolithic Stone Age. The Ice Age is over. The world has completely changed from the Paleolithic Stone Age and the woolly mammoths of our last episode. ----more---- There are new seas like the English Channel.  The era of animals like the Woolly Mammoth is over. Trees cover the land. Humans are still hunter gatherers. But they are now more seasonal. They are better at making tools, especially more delicate tools of stone. But they also use more wood like for example making canoes.   We learn how they are starting to keep animals for assistance, especially the Dog. They clearly love their dogs so much as they are often buried with them.   We learn about the stone age settlement at Star Carr in Yorkshire. We discover Britain’s first ever house, a mysterious floating platform over a lake, and some spooky sets of scary skull and antler hats.   But the girls really want to get to know an actual Stone Age man. So we meet Cheddar Man. Found 100 years ago his skeleton is the oldest skeleton ever found in Britain. The girls are astonished to learn how much we know about him just from analysing his bones. In particular, he had dark skin and blue eyes but his face is covered in a terrible scar.   The episode ends with the start of the Neolithic period which will be our topic for next week.   If you liked this episode you might like to listen to our episode on the Paleolithic period. Apple: Other:   For listeners in Britain we have had lots of good feedback from teachers that this series is especially helpful for Key Stage 2 (KS2) learning.   NEW PATRONS’ CLUB – EXTRA EPISODES If you like History Storytime you might like to get involved with our Patrons’ Club. There are different tiers of membership. But they all involved more episodes each month and you can get to choose your own episode or even be in an episode. We’d love you to become a member. Go to to sign up and to listen to our latest exclusive episode on the Seven Wonders of the World.
9/28/20208 minutes, 29 seconds
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The Paleolithic Stone Age: Cavemen and Woolly Mammoths

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell of the start of the Stone Age. Neanderthals, Woolly Mammoths and Sabre Tooth tigers roam the world for millions of years. But a new breed of humans, Homo Sapiens, comes out of Africa. Within a few tens of thousands of years they are the only human species left.----more----   We learn how early humans lived. We discover the Stone Age tools they use. We explore how to craft flint into useful tools like axes and even finer tools. We discover the food that Stone Age people ate. We explain different ways to light a fire. We learn that their diet and lifestyle was surprisingly healthy. We tell of the Stone Age Hunter Gatherer lifestyle and what it meant. We tell of their nomadic ways. We learn of the beautiful cave paintings that were made. We also have a proper look at the way in which early humans interacted with the famous Woolly mammoth.   We explore the impact that geography had. Firstly we learn about the Ice Age and its implications. Then we explore how the land masses were different then to now and how this facilitated migration.   We put the period in the context. Firstly we learn what makes the Stone Age different to the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. Then we learn what the relationship is between an Ice Age and the Stone Age. We explain how there are different periods of the Stone Age which sets up next week’s episode on the Mesolithic period.   This is the first of three episodes on the Stone Age, The next episode will focus on the Mesolithic period and explore the impact of the end of the Ice Age, how stone age people started to keep dogs and look at Cheddar Man. The final episode will look at the Neolithic period and show how humans settled down in places like Skara Brae and built monuments like Stonehenge.   This series of episodes is especially helpful for children studying Key Stage 2 / KS2 in English schools.
9/21/20209 minutes, 15 seconds
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Animals in History: The Horse

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell of the horse in history. We see how horses helped us with farming, transport and warfare. We see how inventions like the harness, saddle and stirrup helped change history.----more---- We learn about how the Assyrians built a huge empire thanks to the invention of the saddle. We hear how knights came to dominate Europe thanks to the stirrup. We meet famous horses like the ones that Cortez used to conquer the central America. We hear how the Mayans believed that the horse and its rider were one person. We hear the link between the horse and the space shuttle – and why in history you need to ask why, why, why. We see how horses so transformed farming that they allowed the rise of cities. We tell how they so transformed transport that they led to trade, roads and paved the way for the nation state. We learn how horses were replaced by engines – by cars, trains, tractors and tanks. We see how even today concepts like horsepower are used to measure the power of engines. But we also talk about how we still enjoy the pleasure of horses today for riding or ceremonies or racing. If you like this episode then you should also listen to our other similar episode – “Animals in History: Dogs, Cats and Pigeons!” NEW PATRONS’ CLUB – EXTRA EPISODES In this episode we also meet some of our new Patrons’ Club members. There are different tiers of membership. But they all involved more episodes each month and you can get to choose your episode or even be in an episode. We’d love you to become a member. Go to to sign up and to listen to our latest exclusive episode on the Seven Wonders of the World
9/14/20209 minutes, 56 seconds
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Medieval: War of Scottish Independence 3 - Robert the Bruce

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5)  tell how Robert the Bruce gets Scotland its independence. With William Wallace’s rebellion crushed, Scotland lies under England’s rule. But to free Scotland, Robert the Bruce must first commit a terrible crime.----more---- He needs to murder his great rival, John Comyn. He murders him in a Church. People are appalled. But they realise that Robert the Bruce is their best hope for freedom from English rule. Robert embarks on a series of hit and run raids on the English. Edward I, the Hammer of the Scots, rouses for one last campaign to crush Robert the Bruce. But old and sick he dies as he crosses the Scottish border. His son, Edward II is not up to the job. His nobles hate him. While he squabbles with his own nobles, Robert the Bruce captures more and more of Scotland. Finally Edward II takes his army north. But Robert outsmarts him at the Battle of Bannockburn. The English knights suffer a devastating defeat. And Edward II flees for this life. Scotland is now free with Robert the Bruce as the King of Scots. By contrast, Edward’s nobles are so angry with Edward that they kill him gruesomely. But Scotland stays free. England never again tries to conquer Scotland. And when Scotland and England become one country hundreds of years later they do it peacefully and not through conquest. This is the final episode in our three part series on the Scottish Wars of Independence. If you liked this one you might like: Part 1: The Hammer of the Scots Part 2: William Wallace You don’t need to listen to previous episodes to enjoy the next one. NEW PATRONS CLUB - EXTRA EPISODES: In this episode we also launch our new Patrons’ Club. There are different tiers of membership. But they all involve more episodes each month and you can get to choose your episode or even be in an episode. We’d love you to become a member. Go to to sign up and to listen to our latest exclusive episode on the Seven Wonders of the World.
9/7/20209 minutes, 17 seconds
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Medieval: War of Scottish Independence 2 - William Wallace

Sophie (aged 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the true story of William Wallace, of Braveheart fame, and his fight for Scotland’s freedom.----more---- 800 years ago England’s King Edward I has crushed Scotland. He chose and then removed Scotland’s King. But revolts break out across Scotland. One of the leaders is called William Wallace. He gathers more and more rebels to his cause. Then he meets up with other Scottish rebels. But the English know their knights are invincible. So they send out an army of Knights to crush Wallace and his rebels. The two armies meet at Stirling. The English cross the narrow bridge but find themselves cut off from the bridge and with their horses stuck in the mud. Thousands are killed. Wallace is appointed Guardian of Scotland. But Edward I then invades again. The two armies meet at Falkirk. This time Edward relies on his Welsh archers to break up the Scottish formations. Then the English knights charge and crush the Scots. Wallace flees and goes into exile. But the flame of rebellion has been lit. Now the Scottish nobles join the fray – in particular a young nobleman called Robert the Bruce. We will hear more about him in our next episode. But Wallace returns to Scotland he is betrayed to the English. The English give Wallace a terrible punishment. He is to be hanged, drawn and quartered. PARENT ADVISORY: Sophie (age 7) gives a detailed description of the execution. It is at 08:20 and is clearly sign posted in case you want to fast forward it. The girls really wanted to do it properly. NEW PATRONS CLUB - EXTRA EPISODES: In this episode we also explain our new Patrons’ Club. There are different tiers of membership. But they all involve more episodes each month and you can get to choose your episode or even be in an episode. We’d love you to become a member. Go to to sign up and to listen to our latest exclusive episode on the Seven Wonders of the World.
8/31/20209 minutes, 56 seconds
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Medieval: War of Scottish Independence 1 - The Hammer of the Scots

We start our three part series on the War of Scottish Independence as Edward I, Hammer of the Scots, first chooses, then removes Scotland’s King and conquers Scotland.----more---- Edward I, King of England, is a man with a plan. He shows little interest in France. First he crushes his rebellious English barons. Then he conquers Wales. Great castles keep the Welsh subdued. Now he turns his attention to Scotland. The Scots are without a King. Thirteen Scottish nobles claim the throne. Unable to decide who should be King they turn to Edward I to choose. But Edward extracts a terrible price. He demands that he is recognised and the Lord Paramount of Scotland. Desperate to be chosen as King the nobles agree. Edward dismisses the claim of Robert Bruce and chooses John Balliol to be King. But Edward means to hold the Scottish nobles to their oaths. He determines on war with France and summons the Scottish nobles to join him. The Scots have no interest in war with France and do not feel obliged to help Edward. They sign a secret treaty with France – the Auld Alliance. A furious Edward declares War on Scotland. Robert the Bruce, furious that his family were passed over for the throne joins the English. Edward’s knights are invincible. They storm the town of Berwick and sack the town. Then they crush the Scots in battle. John Balliol and his nobles make peace. But a vengeful Edward strips John Balliol of his crown and makes the Scottish nobles swear allegiance to him. Edward and England now rule Scotland. NEW PATRONS CLUB - EXTRA EPISODES: In this episode we also launch our new Patrons’ Club. There are different tiers of membership. But they all involve more episodes each month and you can get to choose your episode or even be in an episode. We’d love you to become a member. Go to to sign up and to listen to our latest exclusive episode on the Seven Wonders of the World.  
8/24/20209 minutes, 59 seconds
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Medicine: The Spanish Flu of 1918

We learn about Spanish Flu of 1918 which swept the world at the end of World War 1. Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of their great, great uncle, a decorated war hero who fought in the trenches for four years, only to be struck down as the war ends by the Spanish Flu. He is not alone. Europe is broken by war. Weakened populations are easy prey to illness. Soldiers live like rats in the trenches – a perfect breeding ground for sickness.----more---- Doctors in America first notice the new flu like illness. But World War 1 wartime censorship means that the illness is only properly reported in neutral Spain. As a result it is called the Spanish Flu – though it likely spread in France because of the war. As soldiers go home from war they spread the illness around their countries. Unlike most illnesses the Spanish Flu strikes at the young people – the survivors of war. There are no effective treatments. So governments resort to face masks, closure of public buildings and quarantines. Sound familiar? The harder the lockdown the lower the death rate. But some cities think too soon that they have beaten the virus and open up again. Only to get hit by a second wave. Millions world wide fall to the Spanish Flu. We reflect on the similarities but also the differences with the coronavirus. In particular we talk about how our doctors and scientists know so much more about medicine today. And also we have the advantage that they did not have a hundred years ago – we have the example from history of the Spanish Flu. If you like this episode you might enjoy our episode on the outbreak of WW1: Or our episode on the Black Death: Or our episode on the Smallpox Vaccine:
8/17/20209 minutes, 6 seconds
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WW1: Sophie & Franz - The World War 1 Love Story

We tell the tragic love story of Sophie, who married the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and whose murder helped start WW1. Like so many women she was belittled when alive and forgotten when dead. We put her back in the story.----more---- From a modest family she was not noble enough to marry into Royalty. But Franz Ferdinand and her shared a forbidden love. Until it was discovered by chance. Scandal ensued. The Hapsburg Emperor forbade the match. But eventually relented. But at a terrible price for Sophie and Franz. Their children were disinherited. She was to be treated as the lowest person at Court. They accepted the sacrifice for love. We see how these slights led Franz and her to make a series of fateful decisions on that day in Sarajevo. The decision to travel together in the car and her refusal to leave his side are all explained by the prejudice and abuse she received in Austria. Her devotion played into the hands of Gavrilo Princeps. And they were both shot dead. The Archuke’s last words were for her. Their death led directly to the outbreak of World War One. We raise questions about the shooting in Sarajevo which led to World War 1 We tell the story of the Hapsburg monarch and how it built and empire through marriage. We tell how those marriage rules meant marrying for love was almost impossible We tell how Sophie, from a modest background, met Archduke Ferdinand before World War 1 We tell how their affair was discovered and a great scandal ensued. Eventually Sophie and Franz are allowed to marry We show the similarities between their story and the Cinderella story. But their children are disinherited. Sophie is treated appallingly by the rich families of Vienna In 1914 the couple visit Sarajevo They are shot dead by Gavrilo Princeps. This shooting precipitates the outbreak of World War 1 But after their death the Archduke’s Will is read and he ensures that finally he and Sophie are treated equally. If you liked his episode you may also enjoy our other episode on the outbreak of World War 1
8/10/20209 minutes, 35 seconds
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WW1: Why did World War 1 start?

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of why World War One happened – on the weekend of the anniversary of the War starting.----more----   We start in Sarajevo with Gavrilo Princeps shooting the Archduke Ferdinand and his wife. But we soon move into exploring some of the theses which historians put forward. We properly explore how the alliance system in Europe acted as a domino effect. We understand the role that the Schliefflen plan had on German thinking. Then we delve into what is known as the Fisher controversy – did the Germans deliberately start the war to help them manage their own internal problems?   The whole story is told through not just words but also through song. A unique set of lyrics brings the whole story to life. It is a refrain throughout the episode and then the whole verse it sung at the end. The episode ends with a segment of the Last Post. For people who would like to sing along with the song, the lyrics are here: "Gavrilo shot an old Archduke I don’t know why he shot the Archduke Austria did attack the Serbs Not for them a war of words The Kaiser attacked the Tsar as well The world was alight with bullet and shell The Germans did attack poor France Something to do with the trains at first glance German troops attacked Belgium They certainly were not welcome Britain came to Belgium’s aid They saw it as a great crusade The colonies helped Britain out With all their help, we were in with a shout America she turned up late But when she came she was first rate   And millions died"   If you liked this episode you might like our episode on the Christmas Truce of 1914. Or you might like the story of Jack Cornwell who won the VC, the highest award for gallantry, at the age of just 16 at the Battle of Jutland.
8/3/20209 minutes, 59 seconds
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Medieval: Joan of Arc

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) want a story of a girl knight. So they tell the story of Joan of Arc, the French heroine who turned the tide of The Hundred Years War.----more----   We learn how England’s Henry V and his archers crushed the French knights at the Battle of Agincourt. He then agreed to that he will succeed the old French king. Everything is thrown into turmoil when Henry V dies. The French King’s son, the Dauphin fights back. But the English archers are invincible, the English occupy Paris, and the Dauphin can’t even be properly crowned King at the traditional Cathedral of Rheims.   Then a French peasant girl, Joan of Arc, appears at the French Court. She had made her way there across enemy territory disguised as a man. She says that angels have told her to help throw the English out of France. At first the Dauphin does not believe her. But he and the priests test her and she passes every test.   They give her armour and a banner and she leads his armies in battle at the critical battle of Orleans. Joan and her army smash through the English lines and save the city. Then in the pursuit there is a pitched battle between the English and the French. This time the French knights ride down the English archers in a stunning victory. The military power of the English is broken. Joan and the Dauphin march on Rheims and the Dauphin is crowned King. Joan continues fighting. But the French nobles do not support her. In one battle she is pulled off her horse and captured. The English put her on trial for saying that angels were talking to her and for dressing as a man. They find her guilty and she is burned to death at the stake. But her efforts had turned the tide. The French went on to win The Hundred Year War. If you liked this episode you might like our episode on “Jousting with the Royal Armouries” which includes a description of a Tournament in the Hundred Years War. Or you might like our story of Richard III and the Wars of the Roses.  
7/27/202010 minutes, 9 seconds
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Cleopatra echoes through history. But who really was she? Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) explore her life. We hear of her dreams for Egypt, her alliance with Rome and her love for Julius Caesar and later Mark Antony.----more---- We explore how she was maligned by Roman historians. But through the trials and tribulations are the tale of a brave woman confronting the prejudices of her age. We explore her world of Ptolemaic Egypt and how it differed from Ancient Egypt. We live her battle with her brother as she grows up in a sexist, patriarchal society. We follow her as she is delivered by carpet to Caesar (DHL and Fedex eat your heart out). We appreciate how Roman jealously of her, and of Caesay destroyed Rome from within. Then in a twist we see how her love affair with Mark Antony led to the final destruction of the Roman Republic and the Emperorship of Octavian / Augustus. All with songs, music and sound effects. - What was Egypt under the Ptolemies. - Who really was Cleopatra - What was happening in the Roman Republic - Of Caesar and Pompey - Caesar’s defence of Alexandria - How Cleopatra and Caesar fell in love – the carpet - Caesar’s conquest of the East – Veni, Veni, Veci - Roman jealously against Caesar - The Ides of March - The betrayal of Brutus - The Murder of Caesar - The revenge of Octavian and Antony - The Second Triumvirate - The breach between Octavian and Antony - The Battle of Actium - The Death of Antony - The Death of Cleopatra - The Empire of Augustus If you like this episode then you might like our Roman Empire Episode: Or our Hannibal episode: Or our Boudicca episode: Or our Fall of Rome episode:  
7/20/20209 minutes, 59 seconds
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Medieval: Jousting with the Royal Armouries

This week Sophie (aged 7) and Ellie (age 5) team up with Chloe from the Royal Armouries – the UK’s National Museum of Arms and Armour - to tell the story of Jousting. We follow the history of jousting from its beginnings as training for warfare to an increasingly stylised spectator sport. We track some of the great tournament specialists – the celebrities of their age. And we dive into one of the Great Tournaments of medieval England.----more----   We learn the rules of jousting – what to do and what not to do. We see the comparisons between the film the Knight’s Tale and the real thing. We experience the drama as knights get trapped in their helmets and a King of France is killed while jousting. We discover the growing importance of chivalry as part of what it meant to be a knight. We learn how the equipment started to serve a decorative, fashion purpose. We discover the different aspects to a tournament – it was not just about the jousting. We follow the crowd in England as they enjoy a spectacular tournament and we experience it through the eyes of a medieval observer. Noble ladies lead knights by silver chains through the streets of London to cheering crowds. And a French knight wins an English Grand Tournament in London in the middle of the Hundred Years’ War.   We also see how and why the joust declined and then ended as a sport.   If you like this episode you might also like our episode on Matilda and the Anarchy.   Or you might also like our episode on the Wars of the Roses and Richard III.   You can find out more about the Royal Armouries, their spectacular Museum in Leeds, their Fort Nelson in Portsmouth, and their displays of armour and guns at the Tower of London here:
7/13/20209 minutes, 53 seconds
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The Glorious Revolution and the Battle of the Boyne

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland in 1690, and how it helped secure the Glorious Revolution for William, Prince of Orange. ----more---- James II is King of England, Scotland and Ireland. But he is also a Catholic. Many people – especially in England and Scotland are very worried about that. So William of Orange is invited over with his wife Mary to become King of England, Scotland and Ireland. James flees to France rather than fight. William and the English Parliament agree a new constitutional settlement. A Protestant supremacy is secured and also the rights of Parliament are guaranteed. Meanwhile an ambitious King Louis XIV sees his plans for European domination damaged. So he helps James II to try to retake his throne. This time though Louis is up against not just the Protestant countries but the Pope and his allies too. Everyone is scared of Louis’ ambition. James’ army find the gates of Londonderry / Derry shut to them by the Ulster Protestants. This gives time for William to come to Ireland with his well trained but pan European army. He defeats the James II at the Battle of the Boyne. James flees to France again. William and Mary now rule England, Scotland and Ireland. The Glorious Revolution is secure. We cover how much of the war was really about geo-politics and a family feud and rather than just religion. And we talk about the irony that a battle which is seen as symbolic of the wars between Protestants and Catholics actually had the Pope on the so called Protestant side. Having had help from the excellent Museum of the Battle of the Boyne we also talk about how some of the weaponry of the period actually worked. Explore Protestant and Catholic Europe Learn how James II loses the confidence of his nobles We learn of the secret communications between William and the English nobility We follow William’s invasion We see how James II fled rather than fight for his throne We understand the settlement that William came to which led to the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement. We put these in their historical context. We follow the machinations of King Louis XIV, determined to rebuild his alliances. We follow James’ army as it marches to Londonderry / Derry. We hear the closing of the gates by the Apprentice Boys of Derry. Finally we re-live the excitement of the Battle of the Boyne. William’s outflanking manouvre fails. But his Dutch Guards storm across the River Boyne Held up by Jacobite cavalry charges, the battle is won when William gets his Ulster cavalry across the river. James then flees to France again. The Glorious Revolution is secure We finally discuss how some people celebrate the battle today on Orange marches in Northern Ireland. If you are interested in more on this period you might like our Great Fire of London Episode Apple: Other: Or you might like our War of Austrian Succession and Jacobite Rebellion episode in which James’ Grandson, Bonnie Prince Charlie, tried to avenge the Battle of the Boyne with the Highlanders at Culloden. Apple: Other:      
7/6/20209 minutes, 44 seconds
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American History: Alexander Hamilton - The History Behind the Hamilton Musical

Sophie and Ellie tell the story about Alexander Hamilton to help them understand the story told in the Musical – which comes out on Disney this week. The girls have heard some of the songs from Hamilton the Musical. But they don’t really understand the full story. So together we learn the life story of Alexander Hamilton. ----more---- Obviously we don’t use any of the songs. But we do explain some of the phrases used in the musical through some of the lines. For example, we explain what the phrase “right hand man” means and what the US constitution is and what the Federalist Papers were. And we echo some of the concerns that are raised by the Musical about the rights of women and black people by the musical. We tell the story of: Hamilton’s birth and upbringing Hamilton’s friendships in America How Britain and America came to war in the Revolutionary War The efforts of loyalists like Sam Seabury The intervention of the French and Lafayette The Battle of Yorktown The French Revolution and how Hamilton kept America out of it The election of 1800 and the election of Thomas Jefferson Alexander Hamilton and the Reynolds affair The duel with Aaron Burr We also explain how the benefits of the revolution did not come to women or to black people And we explain why the cast of Hamilton are black and latino. Finally we explain how people felt about Alexander Hamilton after he was gone. If you are interested in finding out more about Alexander Hamilton or George Washington then you might like our Battle of Yorktown episode. You can also find out more about George Washington’s early life in our War of Jenkins Ear episode. And you can learn about the founding of America in our Jamestown episode  
6/30/202010 minutes, 15 seconds
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On the anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush, Sophie and Ellie tell the story of the ship of West Indians that transformed Britain and what happened next. ----more----   They learn about the Windrush’s journey from the Jamaica to Britain and the West Indians who came looking for jobs in a Britain rebuilding after the War. We listen to a newsreel of how the Windrush immigrants were perceived as they first arrived. We learn how they struggled with their first few weeks in the underground station at Clapham. Then see how they found jobs and settled in places like Brixton and Notting Hill. We see how the NHS, London Transport and other actively recruited people from the West Indies. But we also learn about the racism that the West Indians experienced.   The girls talk about their own mixed race background to put it in context. They learn about how their Great Grandfather came to Britain as a West Indian immigrant in the 1940s. The whole immigration discussion is placed in the context of this historic immigration from ancient times. We use an original song to illustrate this.   We end by celebrating how our diversity is the strength of Britain. What is immigration Immigration through the ages The post war labour shortage in Britain The Windrush sets sail News coverage of the arrival of the Windrush How the Windrush passengers stayed underground at first in Clapham Why so many of the Windrush generation settled in Brixton and Notting Hill The efforts made to encourage more West Indians to come to Britain The racism experienced by West Indians, including by some police. An extensive discussion between the girls of what racism means to them The culture that the West Indians brought with them that became part of British culture.   If you like this episode you might like our Slave Trade episode
6/22/20208 minutes, 45 seconds
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Napoleon and the Battle of Waterloo

On the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, Sophie (aged 7) and Ellie (aged 5) explore the famous battle which ended Napoleon’s rule. ----more---- We start with the French revolution and how that led to the Napoleonic Empire. We then learn how a disastrous march on Moscow saw Napoleon’s army destroyed by the Russian winter. Chased across Europe, Napoleon is forced to abdicate and the old Bourbon rulers return. Just a few month later Napoleon makes a daring escape in what became known as the Hundred Days. We follow his small army as his confront the King’s army and through through the force of his own personality persuaded them to join him. All of Europe unites against him. But Napoleon attacks first. Crossing the border into Belgium he defeats Marshal Blucher at Ligny. Thinking the Prussians are now out of it, Napoleon attacks Wellington at Waterloo. We follow the seesaw of the Battle of Waterloo as French attacks and British counter attacks go in. Then we relive the high drama as Napoleon realises that Marshal Blucher has come to attack him. Then Napoleon makes the fateful decision to sent in his Imperial Guard for one final attack on the British lines. All brought to life with music, song and lots of excitement French revolution Napoleon becomes Emperor Success built on domestic reforms and military success Disaster in Russia sees the destruction of Napoleon’s empure and his abdication. Napoleon returns for the Hundred Days and makes himself Emperor again. Napoleon smashes Blucher at the Battle of Ligny Napoleon and Wellington face off at Waterloo We learn about the Wellington’s strong position at Waterloo and his tactics Napleons attacks go in but are blunted The Prussians arrive Napoleon sends in his Imperial Guard The Imperial Guard are defeated and the French army are routed for the Waterloo battlefield Napoleon is exiled and imprisoned on the barren Island of St Helena. If you like this episode then you might like our episode about the French revolution:
6/15/20209 minutes, 40 seconds
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The Slave Trade

Sophie and Ellie ask about the Black Lives Matter protests. So we tell the story about the Slave Trade and the legacy it leaves. We learn about the transatlantic slave triangle of Europe, West Africa and the Americas. Sophie tells us about the brutality of slavery. Both children are astonished to hear of their own slave ancestry from the West Indies. But then they look on aghast as they discover their own family history includes not just slaves but also a slaver. ----more----   They reflect on how so many people got rich from slavery. They discuss how they feel about people like Edward Colston, the rich Bristol slaver, who got rich from slavery but spent the money on schools and hospitals. Finally we reflect on the words of Martin Luther King and how we should all strive to judge people by the content of their character and not the colour of their skin. Black Lives Matter protests The history of slavery in the ancient and medieval world The economics of the slave trade – the Triangle The involvement of Africans nations in slavery Why African nations got involved in selling slaves The Europeans build forts and trading posts in Africa The infamous “middle passage” and the horrors of slavery The slave markets and practice of slavery in the Americas Family history in which Sophie and Ellie learn there are slaves and slavers in their family Understanding how countries like Britain got rich from slavery Discussing how we feel about the fact that the wealth from slavery built so many good things but off the misery of so many Learning about Edward Colston and his involvement in the slave trade and the life of Bristol. Reflecting on the wise words of Martin Luther King on race.   If you like this episode then you might also like our Columbus episode which instigates the Transatlantic slave trade era.   Or you might like our episode on the Roman Empire in which we learn about another slave society.
6/8/20208 minutes, 55 seconds
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WW2: The Miracle of Dunkirk and Winston Churchill in 1940

This week is the anniversary of the 1940 evacuation at Dunkirk in World War Two. Sophie (aged 7) and Ellie (aged 5) tell the story of how against all the odds the British army was saved from the Dunkirk beaches.   ----more---- Hitler’s plans for victory in World War Two are thwarted as the British Army makes its escape. The story is full of twists and turns so extraordinary that it became known as the Miracle of Dunkirk. We feel the fear as the German tanks close in on Dunkirk thanks to their Blitzkrieg tactics. Sophie and Ellie put themselves in shoes of a British solder waiting on the beaches for rescue. An original song brings the excitement to life as the Small Ships come into view. Afterwards Winston Churchill reminds the country that wars are not won by evacuations. Songs, music, sound and humour bring the story to life. Germany attacks Poland We learn about the Blitzkrieg tactics The Germans outflank the Maginot line The Panzers race behind the British and French Armies The British and French fall back on Dunkirk The French buy time with a brave defence at Lille Hitler give his “Halt” order to the Panzers. We explore the different reasons why Hitler gave this order The Royal Navy tries to rescue the soldier from the beaches We discuss why this was so difficult The call goes out for the small ships to help. We experience life on board one of the small ships as it faces German air attack We learn what people thought back home of the soldiers Winston Churchill’s words ring out across time as we hear his actual radio address Britain may have got her army home, but we learn how it is denuded of tanks and equipment. Britain now lies defended only by the Navy and Airforce The scene is set for the Battle of Britain. If you like this episode you might also enjoy our Battle of Britain episode:
6/1/20209 minutes, 46 seconds
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Romans: The Fall of the Roman Empire and the End of Roman Britain

We learn about the Fall of the Roman Empire and the End of Roman Britain. Sophie and Ellie help tell the story of how the continuous barbarian attacks, corruption, overmighty generals and a manpower shortage led to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. We dive into the story of Britain to show what this meant for one part of the Empire. Then we go to Rome itself for the Sacking of Rome in 410AD. Sophie sings a song which brings to life the abandonment of Britain by Rome. ----more---- Britain is now reconciled to Roman rule. The era of Boudicca is long past. Britain is heavily garrisoned with Roman soldiers to keep out the Irish, the Picts, the Angles and the Saxons. But the Roman Empire is getting weak. It is so big that the Empire is divided into a Western and an Eastern half. But this just fatally weakens it more. Corruption takes money away from funding the army Disease sweeps through the empire giving it a manpower problem The Roman Empire reacts by inviting tribes into the Empire to help defend it. But this just brings their enemies within the borders The Generals all want to be Emperor themselves. Their fighting weakens the Roman Empire Magnus Maximus takes the Roman legions to the continent to help make himself Emperor When he loses the legions are not replaced. Soldiers are taken off Hadrians Wall to defend Rome Then the final Roman soldiers go to help drive back the Goths who have stormed across the frozen River Rhine. Britain is defenceless. The Roman Emperor writes to the Britons to tell them that they are on their own. But none of this is enough to save the Western Roman Empire The Goth storm the city and sack Rome. After more and more attacks the Western Roman Empire is abolished. If you’ve liked this episode you might like Our story of how Hannibal tried to defeat Rome with his elephants Our story of Boudicca’s doomed revolt against Rome Or our exploration of the Roman Empire at the height of its power  
5/25/20209 minutes, 36 seconds
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American History: George Washington and the Battle of Yorktown

Sophie and Ellie tell the story of how America got its independence from Britain thanks to the Battle of Yorktown in 1781. ----more---- We hear the different sides of the arguments that led to war between Britain and her American colonists. The war is stalemated. But the French join the war. The war culminated in the Battle of Yorktown. We feel the excitement of the battle as Alexander Hamilton storms the British positions under George Washington’s leadership. The British are left stunned and defeated. America gains her independence. The war sows the seeds of the French Revolution. We link the story to last week’s episode about the Jamestown colony The causes of the American Revolutionary Wars The fact that the war has different names in Britain and in America – The Revolutionary War in America, and the America War of Independence in Britain. The heavy German composition of the British Army The skill of George Washington in victory and in defeat The reasons why the British could not win the war The entry of the French The change in strategy of both Britain and Washington as they pivot from New York to the South The pivotal sea battle at Chesapeake Bay, why the British lost, and why it mattered. Alexander Hamilton storms the British fort at Yorktown The British surrender at Yorktown and play the World Turned Upside down. George III is left stunned by his defeat The British give up the war America gains her Independence The French may have helped win this war. But they have sowed the seeds of the French Revolution We explore how the institution of slavery tarnished the victory. The story is enlivened with music, sound effects and an original song which brings to life the different points of view between Britain and America. There is empathy for the points of view of both sides. If you like this podcast you might like our episode about the founding of the colony of Jamestown by the English: Or you might like our War of Jenkins Ear in which we learn how George Washington came by his home of Mount Vernon Or you might like our episode on Smallpox which shows how George Washington defeated Smallpox in the war.
5/17/20209 minutes, 41 seconds
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American History: Jamestown, Pocahontas and the colonisation of America

We tell the story of the founding of Jamestown settlement in 1607 and how Pocahontas helped it survive so it eventually grew into the United States of America.  And we tell where the Disney film Pocahontas got it wrong and got it right.   ----more---- Sophie (aged 7) and Ellie (aged 4) put ourselves in the shoes of the Powhatan Indians. We feel the excitement of the colonists as they build the Jamestown settlement. This is the anniversary week of the founding of the Jamestown settlement so it is a great time to listen to this podcast. English sailors bravely cross the Atlantic for Virginia They build the settlement of Jamestown We explore the reaction of the Powhatan Indians. Sophie and Ellie put themselves in the shoes of the Powhatan Indians and talk about how they might have reacted We feel the experiences of the settlers as they starve and freeze through the winter. We meet the brave John Smith. And we see him captured by the Powhatan Indians We hear how Pocahontas threw herself over his body to save him We find out more about their friendship. Joy turns to tragedy as John Smith is injured. We learn about the differences between the Disney Pocahontas and the real Pocahontas Things go from bad to worse in later winters for the Jamestown settlers with the Starving time. With John Smith gone Pocahontas stops helping the Jamestown colonists. Eventually the colonists decide to abandon the settlement in 1610. It looks as though the colonisation of North America by the English has failed. But back in England John Smith is writing a book about his adventures with Pocahontas. The English are gripped by the book. They decide to send more settlers and colonists to Jamestown. Just as the Jamestown settlers set sail the English fleet arrives. The Jamestown colony is saved. Eventually that colony grows into the United States of America. If you like this episode you might also like our Christopher Columbus episode: Or you might also like our Space Race episode about a more recent exploration: Enjoy this classic history story brought to life for kids but now understand what really happened.
5/10/20209 minutes, 56 seconds
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WW2: VE Day 1945 - the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe

Sophie and Ellie tell the story of VE Day (V-E Day) celebrations 75 years ago. ----more---- They are missing out this year because of the Coronavirus. They had been planning a VE Day street party. But now they are trapped at home. So with their Daddy they tell the story of the VE Day celebrations. They learn how awful World War 2 had been. They understand just how relieved ordinary people were to put it all behind them. They get swept up in the VE Day Party atmosphere of 75 years ago. Much of the story is told through the actual words of Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth II. As a young woman she partied incognito on the streets of London and later said that VE Day was “the most memorable day of my life”. We also hear the actual words of the Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister, and of President Truman, the President of the United States of America. They both marked VE Day with radio addresses to their peoples. - The dying days of the war - Vicious fighting as the Russians close in on Hitler’s bunker - Hitler kills himself - The toughness of the home front for civilians - Word leaks out about the precise date of VE day - Churchill makes sure London has enough beer for a massive party on VE day - Street parties, conga dancing and mass celebrations light up VE day - Churchill gives a patriotic VE day address - Princess Elizabeth sneak out of the Buckingham Palace to celebrate incognito with the crowds - In her own words we follow Princess Elizabeth around London enjoying the VE Day partying with her - We hear President Truman’s sadness that President Roosevelt died and just missed VE day If you liked this podcast you might like our episode on the Battle of Britain And you might like our episode on Animals in History which has other stories from World War 2 in it. This episode offers a great way to introduce children to the importance of VE day in our national memory. We were supposed to be having a national holiday and a series of events to mark it. This episode can help with your home learning around this important topic.
5/3/20209 minutes, 14 seconds
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WW2: The Battle of Britain and Winston Churchill in 1940

We tell the story of the Battle of Britain through the speeches of Winston Churchill. We discover the strategy of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany to conquer Britain. We hear stirring speeches from Winston Churchill as he rallies the British people before the Battle of Britain starts. The podcast is set alive with the noise of dogfights and Spitfires and Hurricanes fight Messerschmitts in the skies above England. ----more---- We learn about how the German strategy goes wrong as they start to bomb London. We hear the newsreels of the bombing of Buckingham Palace. As victory draws near we hear Winston Churchill’s on the radio telling the British people that the moment is now. With songs, including an original song, that all the kids can singalong too and help tell the story. Finally, no one can fail to be moved by Winston Churchill’s eulogy to The Few, to whom we all owe so much. 1940 and World War Two Hitler’s plan to invade Britain How Winston Churchill rallied Britain The Spitfire, Hurricane and Messerschmidt fighters The causes of the Battle of Britain Why Britain won the Battle of Britain We understand the critical role that Radar played in the Battle of Britain How the Poles and other nations helped win the Battle of Britain How Winston Churchill paid tribute to the brave British pilots A great way to keep kids entertained during lockdown. They will enjoy the songs and find the battle stories very exciting. Winston Churchill’s speeches are still an inspiration to us all. With the Battle of Britain a part of the National Curriculum for KS2 you can be sure that this is a great home learning podcast. If you like this podcast you might like our podcast about the Spanish Armada of 1588. Or you might like our podcast about Jack Cornwall and the Battle of Jutland in WW1.
4/26/20209 minutes, 59 seconds
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Medicine: The Cow and the Smallpox vaccine (and the Coronavirus)

Sophie (aged 7) and Ellie (aged 4) tell the story of the Smallpox vaccine. They are bored at home with the Coronavirus. They cast their mind to the Smallpox virus which devastated civilisations and killed millions of people all over the world. We learn how we defeated smallpox through the bravery of people like George Washington and the genius of Edward Jenner with some help from Blossom the Cow. This positive and uplifting story gives hope and trust that we have beaten viruses like smallpox and can do it again. ----more---- We learn: How smallpox killed millions How smallpox is a virus like coronavirus but much more dangerous We learn how some think that China gave smallpox to the Roman world through trade We follow Cortez and the Spanish as they conquer the Aztec Empire with the help of Smallpox We come across an evil British general who wants to use smallpox as a biological weapon We see how George Washington in the American War of Independence is brave enough to try a new prevention treatment for smallpox Sophie tells the science of how vaccines work to build up immunity for viruses like smallpox and maybe one day Coronavirus We meet Blossom the Cow and Edward Jenner. We learn about Edward Jenner’s experiments to develop a vaccine against smallpox. We find out about the scientific method and how experiments are the foundation of science. We celebrate Edward Jenner’s great success in developing a vaccine to prevent smallpox. We see how smallpox has now been completely eradicated by modern science. We hope for and foresee a world where other viruses like Coronavirus can be eradicated too. This episode works well with the Florence Nightingale episode on the foundation of modern nursing: And with the Black Death episode the on the pandemic of the 14th century:  
4/19/20209 minutes, 59 seconds
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Medieval: The Wars of the Roses and Richard III

Sophie (aged 7) and Ellie (aged 4) tell the story of climax of the Wars of the Roses. England is riven with civil war. The Houses of Lancaster and the House of York battle for the throne of England. It seems as if the House of York is triumphant. The Lancastrian king is killed. Edward IV is King of England and the land is at peace. The Wars of the Roses are over. Or are they? ----more---- On his deathbed Edward IV asks his brother Richard to take care of the kingdom and his his sons. Richard promises to do so. But once Edward is dead, Richard III takes the throne for himself. He is crowned King Richard III. He imprisons his nephews in the Tower of London. Then they are never seen again. Over time they are called the Princes in the Tower. Everyone starts to think that Richard III has killed them. The Wars of the Roses restart. In France lives Henry Tudor, the father of Henry VIII of six wives fame. Henry gets an army together and invades England. At Bosworth Field in 1485 the army of Richard III and Henry Tudor meet. The climactic Battle of Bosworth sees Richard III betrayed by his nobles. He is killed in battle. Henry Tudor crowns himself Henry VII, King of England. The two princes in the Tower of London are never seen again. But years later two bodies of young boys are found behind a staircase in the Tower of London. Most people assume that Richard III killed them. Henry VII and his children then blacken the name of Richard III with the help of a playwright called Shakespeare. The Wars of the Roses are finally over. Together we explore Richard III – why did he do what he did? The Wars of the Roses The causes of the Wars of the Roses The Battle of Bosworth The story of the White Rose of York and the Red Rose of Lancaster How the country came together again How Shakespeare and others helped ensure Richard III was hated throughout history. The podcast is brought to life with action effects and an original song from the point of view of Richard III before the Battle of Bosworth. Thanks to the clever tutors at Mentor Education who helped with lots of ideas for the content too. Fits in well with Key Stage 1 (KS1) and Key Stage 2 (KS2) of the national curriculum and can be used by teachers, and enjoyed by parents and children alike.
4/12/20209 minutes, 47 seconds
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The Great Fire of London of 1666

Sophie tells her younger sister, Ellie, all about the Great Fire of London of 1666. We learn about the Plague, the Baker's oven on Pudding Lane, how fire ravaged the city and destroyed the remnants of the Plague, and finally how Sir Christopher Wren rebuilt the city. With songs galore which children can sing-a-long too.  ----more---- Great Fire of London The Plague The events of 1666 Samuel Pepys Sir Christopher Wren St Paul's Cathedral Pudding Lane Monument We learn what caused the Great Fire of London and we learn when the Great Fire of London was - 1666 of course! But before that we learn how plague had ravaged the city of London in 1665. We learn how in September 1666 the baker Thomas Farriner started the Great Fire accidentally in his bakery on Pudding Lane. We discover how the fire spread through London burning it to the ground. The Mayor of London tried at first to put the Great Fire out. He did not succeed. Then the King of England took charge of putting the Great Fire out. But he also did not succeed. Thousands of homes were destroyed and tens of thousands left homeless. But only eight people died. We sing songs such as London’s burning and Oranges and Lemons. We learn how after the Great Fire was put out Sir Christopher Wren was given the task of rebuilding London. He used this opportunity to build St Paul’s Cathedral and its magnificent Dome. Afterwards a Monument to the Great Fire was also built in London. We also discover how the unexpected side effect of the Great Fire of London was that the last remnants of the Plague was wiped out. This podcast episode also works well to supplement the school projects done at Key Stage 1 in primary schools (KS1), part of the national curriculum. Many teachers use these podcasts to help their KS1 and KS2 lessons and parents too with their homework.  
4/5/20209 minutes, 34 seconds
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Romans: Hannibal and his Elephants cross the Alps in 218BC

Sophie (aged 7) is joined by her sister Ellie (aged 4) and between them they help tell the story of how Hannibal crossed the Alps with his elephants to take on the might of the Rome. ----more---- We learn about the love between Aeneas and Dido eventually tore the ancient world apart. We learn about how Rome had an amazing army with powerful legions. But we also learn that Hannibal learned to beat that army. We learn that there are three types of elephants. And we learn that elephants really don't like trumpets. Oh and we have a great song too! We cover: The Trojan war The Wooden Horse and the Fall of Troy The love of Aeneas and Dido The Founding of Rome by Aeneas How rivalry between Rome and Carthage really came about The causes of the Roman Carthaginian wars The oath of Hannibal to always be an enemy of Rome The power of the Roman Legions The invasion of Italy by Hannibal and his Elephants Hannibal crosses the Alps with his elephants The types of elephants that Hannibal used Indian elephants vs African elephants vs Hannibal’s elephants The destruction of the Roman armies at Cannae and other battles Hannibal’s fateful decision not to march on Rome The Roman fightback The final battle of Zama The fleeing of the Elephants from the sound of the trumpets The conquest of Carthage The birth of the Roman Empire If you enjoy this topic you will also like the “Boudicca and the Roman Conquest of Britain” History Storytime Podcast And you will also enjoy the “Roman Empire: Emperors, People and Mice” History Storytime podcast Taken together the podcasts cover some of the major moments in Roman history and explain how Roman society worked, how the Roman legions conquered the known world, and how Rome became the greatest empire the world has ever known. All helpful for teachers looking for materials to support key stage 1 (KS1) and Key Stage 2 (KS2). Children and parents will love how history, nature and music collide.  
3/25/202010 minutes, 59 seconds
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Animals in History: Dogs, Cats and Pigeons!

We learn about some of the amazing contributions of animals in history. Sophie learns how Laika was the first dog in space but met a sorry end. Sophie tells the story of unsinkable Sam - the cat who was sunk three times in World War Two and served in both the German and British navies. And we learn about the brave Pigeon Cher Ami who saved hundreds of American lives in World War One. And you can all sing along at the end with Sophie as she pays tribute to animals in history with a special song.
7/1/201912 minutes, 13 seconds
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Renaissance: Henry VIII and his Six Wives

Sophie learns about the most famous King of England, Henry VIII. We see how Henry's desire for a son led him to desperate measures. Heads tumble, scandal erupts and a new religion takes hold in Renaissance England. Finally, we see how even though Henry thought only sons could rule, it was actually his daughter who brought in a Golden Age for England.
5/25/201911 minutes, 37 seconds
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1700s: The War of Austrian Succession and Jacobite Rebellion

Sophie finds out how Prussia's Frederick the Great gets Germany started on the path of world conquest. Meanwhile the British find out that the polite warfare of Europe doesn't work against the fury of a Highland charge of the Jacobite Rebellion. The Highland dream is then crushed at Culloden and Sophie brings the romance of Bonnie Prince Charlie to life with the Skye Boat Song. 
3/23/20199 minutes, 51 seconds
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1700s: The War of Jenkins Ear and Washington's home

Sophie tells her Daddy the story of the War of Jenkins Ear in which Britain and Spain struggle for naval supremacy on the high seas 200 years ago. Commodore Anson leads his naval squadron to scurvy and riches in the Pacific. Meanwhile the booty from the war helps the Washington family build their home on Mount Vernon in what will become the United States of America.
1/26/20199 minutes, 41 seconds
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Explorers: Columbus and the Discovery of the New World in 1492

Sophie learns that Christopher Columbus didn't discover America, wasn't a great sailor, wasn't nice to people and spent most of his time lost! But by not turning back he opened up the New World. 
1/19/20199 minutes, 40 seconds
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WW1: The Christmas Truce of 1914

Sophie asks for a Christmas Story. We go back over a hundred years to the First World War. Britain and Germany are fighting a brutal war in the Trenches of France, when British soldiers hear the sound of Silent Night coming across No Man's Land. With songs from the period, the modern miracle of the Christmas Truce of 1914 is brought to life. 
12/16/20187 minutes, 39 seconds
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Romans: Roman Empire - Emperors, People and Mice

Sophie asks to go back to the height of the Roman Empire and we learn about Emperors, Legions, Mice, Roads and Gladiators. With a song by Sophie that everyone can sing along with, and lots of stories about silly Roman Emperors, there's something for all the family. 
12/8/20188 minutes, 19 seconds
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Explorers: The Space Race and the Moon Landing in 1969

Sophie learns about the Moon landings and the Space race. Against the backdrop of the bitter era of the Cold War, we hear JFK set out his moon vision for NASA. We learn about Astronauts, Cosmonauts and Chimponauts! We see how America triumphs with actual sound of the moon landings.
12/1/20189 minutes, 1 second
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Victorians: Florence Nightingale: The Lady of the Lamp

Sophie goes back to Victorian times to learn about the exploits of Florence Nightingale. We experience the thrill of the Charge of the Light Brigade, the horrors of the hospital at Scutari and meet Mary Seacole. We learn about how Florence Nightingale invented nursing with the help of her maths homework, her kindness and a very famous lamp. We even get to hear a unique recording of Florence Nightingale's actual voice. 
11/24/20188 minutes, 57 seconds
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Medieval: "Queen" Matilda, Knights and Eels

Sophie asks for a story about a Queen. So we go back 800 years and learn how "Queen" Matilda had her throne stolen by King Stephen, and that eating eels is very dangerous!
11/17/20189 minutes, 48 seconds
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WW1: Jack Cornwell VC and the Battle of Jutland

Sophie asks for a story about a child. So, on the 100th anniversary of the ending of the First World War, we learn about brave Boy Cornwell, who fought in that war and was the youngest winner of the Victoria Cross. 
11/11/20188 minutes, 47 seconds
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1700s: The French Revolution and the Guillotine

Sophie asks about the French Revolution. We learn about Marie Antoinette, Sophie tells us about the Guillotine and we all learn not to lose our head!
11/5/20188 minutes, 21 seconds
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Renaissance: The Spanish Armada of 1588

Sophie asks about the Spanish Armada of 1588. We learn about Sir Francis Drake, pirates, galleons, bowls, fireships and storms. And we discuss whether England won because of their navy, the Protestant Wind or just because they had a Queen!
11/5/20189 minutes, 9 seconds
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Medicine: The Black Death

Sophie asks about the song a "Ring a Ring a Roses". And we learn about the rats and the Black Death - together with lots of songs. 
11/5/20188 minutes, 23 seconds
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Romans: Boudicca and the Roman Conquest of Britain

Sophie asks for a Roman or a Queen story. So we do both with the story of Boudicca from 2000 years ago. We learn that making a Briton woman mad is a very bad idea...
11/4/20188 minutes, 54 seconds