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Making History Podcast Profile

Making History Podcast

English, Public-Community, 1 season, 53 episodes, 1 day, 39 minutes
Popular history series where the past connects with the present.
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London versus the Rest?

Tom Holland and Iszi Lawrence explore historical connections to today's big issues. Recent political convulsions have revealed a rift between the UK's capital and its regions. So this week Tom and Iszi consider other moments in history when London has been out of sync with the rest of the country - from the Romans to the 1700s. Examining how John Bull came into being and looking at the particular history of Northumbria, they look at the relationship between London and the rest of the UK. Presenters: Tom Holland and Iszi Lawrence Producer: Alison Vernon-Smith A Pier production for BBC Radio 4
2/4/202028 minutes, 12 seconds
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With this year's Oscars imminent, Tom Holland and Iszi Lawrence meet the cineasts who help us understand history and the history of cinema. Hannah Grieg, historical consultant on the Oscar-winning film The Favourite, and the screenwriter of Churchill, Alex von Tunzelmann, discuss the portrayal of history on the big screen. Tom meets Kevin Brownlow, whose work finding and restoring film from the silent era earned him an Oscar in 2010. And Matthew Sweet tells the story of Vic Kinson, a bookkeeper from Derbyshire, who created the IMDB of his day. Produced by Craig Smith A Pier production for BBC Radio 4
1/28/202028 minutes, 9 seconds
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High Flyers

Tom Holland and Iszi Lawrence continue to explore the historical connections behind today's headlines. As the first electric commercial aircraft takes flight in Vancouver, Tom and Iszi look at the lengths people have gone to over the past millennium to reach for the skies. Tom goes to the spot where Eilmer of Malmesbury, an 11th century English monk, made one of the earliest attempts at flight in the British Isles. Inspired by the Greek fable of Daedalus, he strapped wings to his hands and feet and jumped from the abbey tower. He broke both his legs. And Iszi visits the Science Museum to find out about the first woman in space. At the age of 26, Valentina Tereshkova, orbited the earth 48 times over 3 days and parachuted out of the capsule to land safely in Siberia. Producer: Kim Normanton A Pier production for BBC Radio 4
1/21/202028 minutes, 5 seconds
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Keeping It In The Family

Tom Holland and Iszi Lawrence present the show that explores the historical connections behind today's issues. As fascination with genealogy and our own family history has become almost a national obsession, this week's programme looks at the historical aspects of what makes up a family and how attitudes to incestuous relationships have shifted over time and throughout cultures. From Ancient Egypt to the nuclear family, from the Victorians and the National Vigilance Association to Jacobean literature, how has incest been defined, discussed, outlawed and - occasionally - even encouraged? Producer: Alison Vernon-Smith A Pier production for BBC Radio 4
1/14/202028 minutes, 6 seconds
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After the feast of the festive season comes the pain of the January fast. Well, to help us better understand our relationship with the food we eat, Making History goes on the spice trail with historians Roger Michel and Matthew Cobb. Curator Victoria Avery tells us why pineapples were all the rage in Elizabethan times and Dominic Sandbrook offers up a potted history of fast food in the UK - with a side of fries and a banana milkshake. Feast and Fast: The Art of Food in Europe, 1500 - 1800 at the Fitzwilliam Museum runs until 26th April. Producer: Craig Smith A Pier production for BBC Radio 4
1/7/202028 minutes, 5 seconds
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Back to the Future

Tom Holland and Iszi Lawrence present the show that explores the historical connections behind today's issues. In this New Year's Eve programme, Tom and Iszi look at what history has had to say about the future. They explore when "the future" emerged as a concept and why some people thought they could foretell it They look at the time when the future became political and ask what we can know about our ancestors' fears from the science fiction they produced. Producer: Alison Vernon-Smith A Pier production for BBC Radio 4
12/31/201928 minutes, 9 seconds
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Tom Holland and Iszi Lawrence continue to explore the historical connections behind today's headlines. Today - with a resurgence in nationalism from Beijing to Barcelona and with flag-flying dominating the world news, Tom and Iszi look into the origins of this powerful force. Author, critic and long-time scholar of fairy tales, Marina Warner, recalls regimes who have used them as a political tool for their own sinister ends. And with the possibility of a second referendum in Scotland being discussed, Tom goes to the spot where Robert the Bruce was buried to consider the challenges of teaching a balanced history curriculum in schools. Producer: Kim Normanton A Pier production for BBC Radio 4
12/17/201928 minutes, 6 seconds
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The First Draft?

Tom Holland and Iszi Lawrence are back to explore the historical connections behind today's issues. In this programme - The First Draft? After the most tumultuous parliamentary session many can remember, Tom and Iszi meet top journalists to ask whether they consider they are history's first chroniclers. From Today programme newsgatherers to ancient Greek historian Herodotus, the team discuss who really "makes history". Producer: Craig Templeton-Smith A Pier production for BBC Radio 4
12/10/201927 minutes, 57 seconds
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Battle Lines

In the last of this series Tom Holland and Iszi Lawrence look at the stories around another line in history - battle lines. From the fable of the Nazi invasion across one of Britain's oldest battle lines on Suffolk's beaches, through Thucydides and on to cross-dressing soldiers across the ages. Presenters: Iszi Lawrence and Tom Holland Producer: Alison Vernon-Smith Series Editor: Simon Elmes A Pier production for BBC Radio 4
2/19/201928 minutes, 2 seconds
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Bread Lines

Tom Holland and Iszi Lawrence follow history’s story-laden lines and linkages to uncover connections and compelling stories. This week, with food banks and the effects of austerity never far from the headlines, Tom and Iszi examine breadlines and hunger, from the Scottish clearances to the Rowntrees in York. Archaeobotanist Professor Dorian Fuller talks about the significance of the recent discovery of the world’s oldest bread – which dates back 14,500 years to the time of hunter-gatherers before the beginning of farming. Producer: Kim Normanton A Pier production for BBC Radio 4
2/12/201928 minutes, 3 seconds
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Supply Lines

Tom Holland and Iszi Lawrence follow history’s lines and linkages to uncover connections and compelling stories. This week - Supply Lines With supply lines after Brexit so much in the news lately, Tom and Iszi look at historical aspects of getting goods across continents and through barriers, natural and man-made. From Hannibal and his elephants to the surprising origin of just-in-time delivery methods, the programme uncovers the historical origins of modern supply lines. Presenters: Tom Holland and Iszi Lawrence Producer: Alison Vernon-Smith A Pier production for BBC Radio 4
2/5/201928 minutes, 3 seconds
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Power Lines

Tom Holland and Iszi Lawrence explore the stories revealed by history's lines and linkages to uncover connections and compelling stories. This week - power lines. Tom makes a beeline for the Science Museum to find the first ever transatlantic telegraph cable, and discovers a recording of a Paul Robeson concert marking a historic moment in telecommunications. Iszi goes pylon spotting and hears about a pioneer who helped found the Electrical Association for Women. Producer: Craig Templeton-Smith A Pier production for Radio 4
1/29/201927 minutes, 59 seconds
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Tom Holland and Iszi Lawrence follow history’s lines and linkages to uncover connections and compelling stories. This week, with the imminent arrival of a new Royal baby, Tom and Iszi examine bloodlines - from some of the Queen’s own surprising ancestors, to the vagaries of dog breeding. Adam Rutherford discusses how DNA testing has informed the study of history and the programme asks if race really is a question of genetics, or a cultural construct. Producer: Alison Vernon-Smith A Pier production for BBC Radio 4
1/22/201927 minutes, 56 seconds
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With Donald Trump’s Mexican wall back in the news, Tom Holland and Iszi Lawrence follow history’s lines and linkages to discover how Britain’s borders have been used to separate communities. Tom travels to Offa’s Dyke to find out how the 176-mile-long, 8th century earthwork divided the Anglian kingdom of Mercia from Powys. In Belfast, the so-called peace lines are barriers that often cut across streets separating nationalists from unionists. But now a new scheme is under way to neutralise their effect. Making History examines how Belfast is changing. And, crossing the border - how the development of passports formalised frontier control. Producer: Alison Vernon-Smith A Pier production for BBC Radio 4
1/16/201927 minutes, 54 seconds
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Tom Holland and Iszi Lawrence follow history’s lines and linkages to uncover connections and compelling stories. As the new HS2 rail link between London and Birmingham begins its first construction phase, Tom joins the railway archaeologists who’ve been excavating one of London’s ancient graveyards along the new line. And, further down the communications corridor, the programme explores the history of protest in the face of transport progress. Also, with centuries-old woodlands being displaced by new roads and railways, we look at Britain’s ancient sylvan history. Producer: Alison Vernon-Smith A Pier production for BBC Radio 4
1/8/201927 minutes, 29 seconds
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Tom Holland and Iszi Lawrence consider fascinating and multi-faceted aspects of history. The new series of this long-running programme focuses on lines - historical and historic lines and routes that may be physical or conceptual and that criss-cross our geographical and cultural landscape. It looks at why and how they came about and discusses what they offer us in our understanding of our past and present. Programme 1. The Prime Meridian - the journey from Stonehenge to Jazz As it's New Year's Day, it seems the perfect opportunity to explore the history of the Prime Meridian at Greenwich and our relationship with Time. We start at Stonehenge and finish at the National Jazz Archive, located on the meridian at Loughton in Essex. Along the way, Tom and Iszi take in the Romans, French-Anglo rivalry and which animals can hear a beat. Tom Holland is a writer and historian who has written a number of popular and successful works including Dynasty and Rubicon. Iszi Lawrence is a comedian and broadcaster who's appeared on Making History as a guest but is now the new co-presenter. Producer: Alison Vernon-Smith A Pier production for BBC Radio 4
1/1/201927 minutes, 47 seconds
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The End of Steam. St Edmund. Southall Youth Movement

Tom Holland is joined by the history podcaster and stand-up comedian Iszi Lawrence. In Britain's recent past, a long hot summer has often coincided with racial unrest on our streets - 1981 is perhaps the most notable example. But while we remember events in Brixton, Toxteth and Tottenham, have we forgotten the tensions in Southall during the 1960s and 70s which, some argue, paved the way for better race relations in the UK? Lovejit Dhaliwal visits a Heritge Lottery project in Southall re-examining the importance of the town's Youth Movement. King Edmund of East Anglia lost his life in a period of our history when the country we now know as England was still being defined. He was our patron saint until the 14th century but now he's largely forgotten - and so his is resting place. Historian Dr Francis Young has a hunch that he's still in Bury St Edmunds, not in a church but under a tennis court. Fifty years ago, a programme that some know as 'dieselisation' reached its climax on Britain's railways and saw the end of steam in public service. Many mourn the passing of steam trains but, as Helen Castor found out on a trip to Swindon, keeping these beasts going was dirty, dangerous and laborious. Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
7/24/201827 minutes, 53 seconds
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The Clockwork Orange Town

Helen Castor is joined by Flora Samuel, Professor of Architecture in the Built Environment at the University of Reading. Tom Holland and Dr Matthew Green take a trip down the Thames to Thamesmead, an overspill "new town" that received its first inhabitants fifty years ago this month, but which is better known as the location used by Stanley Kubrick in his dystopian classic A Clockwork Orange. But was this brutalist solution to London's slum housing doomed from the start, or were some of the ideas of Le Corbusier and those who influenced the design of this place fairly similar to the better accepted work of Ebeneezer Howard and the Garden City movement? Iszi Lawrence is in Fitzrovia with writer, broadcaster and Victorian historian Kathryn Hughes to find out why the lack of public toilets meant women were so inconvenienced in the Victorian and Edwardian period. What lay behind the then-accepted notion that women shouldn't "go" in public? Monks in Leicestershire are brewing up a storm, the first batch of a new Trappist ale. But what's the historic connection between abbeys and brewing? Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
7/17/201827 minutes, 52 seconds
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Church Pews and the Medieval Weather Forecast

Tom Holland presents the history programme which connects the past with today. Enthusiasts for Victorian church architecture are furious that the pews designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott in Bath Abbey have been dismantled and removed and are to be sold. Supporters of the plan say that it will create a huge space which the Abbey can then use for community events. Of course, back in medieval times most churches had no furniture, so why was it introduced and what can it tell us about the people that installed and sat on it? Iszi Lawrence visits Somerset to find out more. It's the season of village fetes, country fairs, music festivals, cricket and world-class tennis and everyone is more than usually interested in the weather forecast. We think of this as a very modern service and are amazed even at the accuracy of meterologists during the planning of D-Day in 1944. But weather forecasts have been made for centuries and those making them knew more about the science behind them than we may think. Helen Castor visits Merton College Library in Oxford, which in the fourteenth century was the Met Office of its day. Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
7/10/201827 minutes, 47 seconds
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The Radio Ballads, Dorothea Lange, Archaeology of the A14

Helen Castor is joined by Professor Lucy Robinson from the University of Sussex. A new exhibition at the Barbican in London features the photography of Dorothea Lange who is best known for her coverage of the dust-bowl depression of mid-west America in the 1930s. Many of her now iconic images were actually staged - but does that alter their historical importance? Helen takes in the exhibition with the historian of race in modern America, Dr Melissa Milewski. The 70th anniversary of the NHS at 70 is being marked across the BBC. In one of the more unusual ideas, Radio 3 are creating a symphony from the sounds that are commonplace in the health service. The inspiration for the piece comes from the "radio ballads" back in the late fifties and early sixties, produced by Charles Parker and featuring the music of Ewan McColl. Olivette Otele is a French-African historian who had never come across these radio programmes - so what can she glean about life in Britain sixty years ago by listening to them again? And Tom Holland has a song of the road too. He's in Cambridgeshire, in the middle of Britain's biggest archaeological dig, where the A14 meets the A1 and a new historic landscape is being revealed. Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
7/3/201827 minutes, 58 seconds
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Pilgrimage, Overseas cricketers, How the ancients helped build Milton Keynes

Tom Holland is joined in the studio by Dr Marion Bowman from the Open University. As more and more people become interested in making a pilgrimage, Tonderai Munyevu - the star of the play Black Men Walking - joins with members of the British Pilgrimage Trust for a day on the South Downs where they encounter pagans, priests and members of the public. Is a journey into the past a spritual wander or just an excuse for a nice walk? The cricket season is in full swing and following on from a heavy defeat to the Scots, England now face the Aussies and India in a hectic summer when it seems every cricket playing nation is represented. It's only fifty years since the first overseas players came into the county game and Helen Castor has been meeting with two people who were at the vanguard of this sporting influx - the Barbardian Vanburn Holder and the legendary Indian wicketkeeper Farokh Engineer. As the longest day passes and the night begin to lengthen again, Tom celebrates the solstice in the most unlikely place and finds out about the role of ancient people in the planning of Milton Keynes. Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
6/26/201827 minutes, 49 seconds
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Witches, poison and why the hedgehog was unloved in history

Helen Castor is joined in the studio by the historian of witchcraft, Professor Owen Davies. Historian Tom Charlton travels to Manningtree in North Essex - the scene, in the 17th century, of a series of witch-trials instigated by the so-called Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins. Hopkins has gained notoriety for these and other brutal acts against women but he is the one who is always remembered - not the victims. Now a local woman, Grace Carter, wants a #MeToo moment so that the women are not forgotten. Professor Alison Rowlands, who studies witchcraft across Europe, joins Tom to help Grace sort out fact from fiction as she plans a monument to this painful past. The poison attack on the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury caused consternation around the world. Skripal and his daughter were in hospital for weeks and were lucky not to have been killed by the nerve agent used against them. Poisoning seems a very underhand act today but, back in the Middle Ages when knowledge of the natural world was more instinctive, it was commonplace. Indeed, as Iszi Lawrence found out, natural poisons were at the root of medieval medicine. Our modern world, with its fast roads and industrial farmland, is no place for hedgehogs and their numbers are in serious decline. Perhaps it's the threat to their numbers or the affectionate portrayal of Mrs Tiggy Winkle by Beatrix Potter, but we seem to be very fond of this prickly mammal. Four hundred years ago, things were very different. Hedgehog numbers were healthy but people thought they were witches and hunted them. To find out why, Tom Holland has been spending the night spotting hedgehogs in an Oxfordshire garden with natural history writer Hugh Warwick. Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
6/19/201827 minutes, 55 seconds
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Coastal change: Overfishing and the death of the seaside

Tom Holland is joined by Dr Matthew Green for a programme that's all at sea. Helen Castor is in Great Yarmouth where local people voted overwhelmingly for Brexit. One of their major gripes with Brussels was the detrimental impact they thought EU quotas had on the town's fishing industry. Dr James Barrett is an archaeologist who researches the medieval fishing communities of Britain and he reveals that, 800 years ago, the fishermen of Gt Yarmouth worked closely with their counterparts across the North Sea to bring in unimaginable quantities of herring - along with Britain's main supply of wine. Earlier this year and just a few miles north of Great Yarmouth, villagers living in chalets on the cliffs at Hemsby were evacuated as the so-called "Beast from the East" tore into the unstable, sandy cliffs. Several of these properties have since been demolished, while others have been the focus of a frantic attempt to protect them from the unforgiving sea. Such destruction is commonplace in the history of the East Coast. Geographer Sally Brown from the University of Southampton heads to East Yorkshire to meet Marcus Jecock from Historic England and find out how the North Sea has shaped the lives of people living nearby for centuries. The British seaside resort has been an unloved place ever since package holidays took its clientele to sunnier climes overseas. Now funding bodies such as the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Arts Council have been investing in projects that seek to restore some of these places to their former glory. But how effective is this and does one seaside history fit every coastal resort? Guardian writer Tim Burrows goes home to Southend to ponder the death of the seaside. A Pier production for BBC Radio 4
6/12/201827 minutes, 56 seconds
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Dark tourism, World Cup 1938, The mobile library

Helen Castor presents the popular history magazine. She's joined by Dr Jane Hamlett from Royal Holloway University of London. It's 140 years since the UK prison system was nationalised and Iszi Lawrence visits Shrewsbury with Professor Alyson Brown from Edge Hill University to discover why a change in organisation was needed. Today, paying customers are experiencing life here at Her Majesty's pleasure - and all over the world people seem to want to visit places which have a grim and troubling past. So what's the appeal and the purpose of so-called "dark tourism"? Tom Holland talks to Dr Philip Stone from the University of Central Lancashire. The 2018 World Cup in Russia came at a time when President Putin's stock was high at home, but on the floor abroad. Not for the first time, football was seen as having the potential to offer a political leader a global platform. We go back to France '38 which was held against a backdrop of a growing global diplomatic crisis. Sports writer Julie Welch is joined by Professor Simon Martin and football journalist Jonathan Wilson to explain how, with civil war in Spain, the merging of the Austrian and German teams after the Nazi Anschluss and Mussolini promoting his brand of fascism through football, this really was a tournament with all to play for. Council budget cuts, E-readers and on-line delivery are all presenting challenges to Britain's library service, and mobile libraries in particular have been badly affected. But when did the library van first start doing its rounds? Author of Mobile Library, David Whitehouse, heads back home to Nuneaton and the mobile library his mother used to clean. A Pier production for BBC Radio 4
6/5/201827 minutes, 49 seconds
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Gambling, Homelessness, Human trafficking

Helen Castor is joined in the studio by Professor Lucy Robinson from the University of Sussex. As concerns grow about fixed-odds betting machines on our high streets, Matthew Greent takes us back to a gambling crisis over 200 years ago in London. Dr Rachael Attwood explores the dangerous, de-humanising world of nineteenth century human trafficking and, as the numbers of rough sleepers grows on Britain's streets, we find out about homelessness in the past. And the last in our challenge to find the place that is top for history in the UK - Top Town History. Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
2/6/201827 minutes, 35 seconds
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The fight to eradicate polio

Tom Holland and guests highlight histories that help us understand more about the background to some of today's important issues. Helen Castor visits Coventry where, in 1957, one of the last polio epidemics hit the city. Local people were furious that widespread vaccination wasn't brought in, but the fledgling NHS simply didn't have enough stocks and medical experts were concerned about an American trial that had gone wrong. We learn that the government of the day were worried that Britain was entering a high-tech world without the skills that other countries had and was reluctant to bring in costly medicines from overseas, preferring that we develop our own. The last time Parliament sat outside Westminster was in 1681, when it went to Oxford for a week. Today, with the government yet to finalise plans for the restoration and repair of the Palace of Westminster, we ask whether history might be made and a decision taken to move the engine of our democracy out to the shires once again, on a temporary basis. What can we learn from that short relocation over 300 years ago. Top Town History features the home of Magna Carta, Egham, and the former-industrial powerhouse of Bury in Lancashire. Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
1/30/201828 minutes, 5 seconds
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Rage Against The Machine

Helen Castor and her guests take us back to moments in the past when social and economic change conspired to produce the historical forerunners of two of today's most pressing issues - technological change and housing. Tom Holland visits a fruit-packing factory in Kent where, today, much of the work is done by robots. Their introduction hasn't threatened any jobs yet but, half an hour away, are the villages where, in 1830, rural farmworkers raged against new threshing machines they feared would take away much-needed work in the winter months. Professor Carl Griffin from the University of Sussex explains how the mythical Captain Swing shook the government of the day and terrified landowners in a series of machine-wrecking riots that swept South East England, Wiltshire and East Anglia. Britain's housing issues have kick-started a boom in a type of home that came to the rescue in the dark days after World War Two, when prefabs offered accommodation for those who were bombed or living in slums. Thanks to a certain Swedish company, we all know about flat-packed furniture but, back in the late 1940s, it was Swedish flat-packed houses that were causing a stir. Architectural writer Jonathan Glancey gives us the low-down on a house that changed lives and is, in some places, still standing. Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
1/23/201827 minutes, 51 seconds
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Tasting the Past

Tom Holland and his guests showcase the stories that are making history. Helen Castor heads for Wales and new scientific research telling us much more about what the Romans ate and how far away they had to source their food to feed their armies. Helen's in Newport, not far from Caerleon which was one of only three permanent fortresses in Roman Britain. Here, archaeologists and scientists from Cardiff University are using dental palaeopathology to discover where the animals that were slaughtered for their meat came from. The results suggest that so-called supply chains were as long and involved as they are today. Also, we cross the Bristol Channel for more food history as reporter Hester Cant tastes the city's vibrant street food culture and discovers just how long its been established in the UK. Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
1/16/201828 minutes, 9 seconds
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Acid Attacks

Helen Castor is in the chair for this edition of the long-running history magazine programme. Today, she's joined by the historian of Victorian sex, suffrage and entertainment, Dr Fern Riddell - along with an expert on Victorian and Edwardian humour, Dr Bob Nicholson of Edge Hill University in Lancashire. Making History reporter Hester Cant braves the streets of north London with Fern Riddell to dig into the nasty past of acid attacks on the capital's streets, and a nineteenth century scare that became actor murdering mania. Iszi Lawrence takes to the jiu jitsu mat with historian Naomi Paxton to discover how and why the suffragettes embraced this martial art. Tom Holland has a tale that's hot off the historical presses. And the Cornwall village of Linkinhorne comes under the spotlight when it enters the jeux sans frontières of history competitions, Top Town History. Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
1/9/201827 minutes, 19 seconds
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Tom Holland is joined by Dr Alice Taylor from King's College in London and the historian of pop culture, Travis Elborough. Helen Castor charts the course of the Prague Spring, that period of liberalisation in Czechoslovakia brought in when Alexander Dubcek became leader in January 1968. She hears from those who were there and those who study that period now and asks whether people had any inkling what an extraordinary year it would be. Alice Taylor introduces a new project which will celebrate the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath in 2020. She explains how fact and fiction were brought together to create the notion of a Scottish nation and a document that would heavily influence the Constitution of the United States. French Journalist Agnes Poirier leafs through the pages of Our Island Story, the 1905 children's book that some argue not only re-imagined English history but then shaped the world-view of some of our political leaders. Fresh from the publication of his book of twentieth century diary extracts, Travis Elborough discusses if the diary is dead in the digital post-truth age. And Iszi Lawrence enlists the help of the world wide web in her search for the origins of the expression "hair of the dog". Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
1/2/201828 minutes, 7 seconds
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Who was Saint Stephen?

Helen Castor is in the chair for a festive edition of the popular history magazine programme. She's joined by Professor Miri Rubin from Queen Mary, University of London and Tony Collins the Professor of Sport at De Montfort University in Leicester. On this feast of Stephen, Tom visits Norwich to find out more about the character who met a violent death and became the first christian martyr. He talks to the choristers who will be singing Good King Wenceslas in the city's grand Norman cathedral over Christmas and the Bishop of Norwich the Rt Reverend Graham James. Dr Hugh Doherty from the University of East Anglia takes the story of martyrdom on to the 12th century. In Norwich, a city which had no saint, a twelve year old boy called William was found dead just before the feast of Passover. Some pointed the finger of blame for this death at the city's growing Jewish community, accusing them of a ritual murder. Was William a martyr as some in Norwich tried to make him, or was this nothing more than a nasty anti-semitic medieval marketing campaign. Boxing Day is a time for games and a feast of sport. A football match will be on many people's festive agenda. Journalist Paul Brown has traced festive football back to its Victorian and Edwardian roots and discovered that Everton FC once played no fewer than three games on Christmas Day and Boxing Day! Finally, a new game - Top Town History. Two Making History listeners go head to head to prove that where they live is best for history. Today, Fort William meets Reading in a battle for the past. Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
12/26/201728 minutes, 2 seconds
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The Charter of the Forest

Tom Holland with the last in the series, exploring new historical research and resonances. We travel to Durham to examine the world's oldest piece of environmental legislation, the Charter of the Forest which was made law 800 years ago in 1217. Tom reveals how travellers from Heathrow may well be taking off from one of the most important Iron Age sites in the UK. We also hear memories of family holidays from a unique collection in Leicester and reveal how key figures in Russia's October revolution of 1917 met in the East End of London 10 years earlier. Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
8/1/201727 minutes, 59 seconds
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Being Gay Before Gay Lib

Helen Castor takes the hot seat for the programme which shows why history matters. Today, testimony about coming out before the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967 and what we know about the lives of gay people in Victoria's Britain. Iszi Lawrence discovers that the 'gig' economy was widespread in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. And Tom Holland is on Tyneside to celebrate the history of a building which played host to an almost forgotten intellectual revolution. Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
7/25/201728 minutes, 4 seconds
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Hadrian's Wall

Tom Holland travels north to mark the 1900th anniversary of Hadrian becoming Emperor, by examining the impact of his biggest legacy in Britain - Hadrian's Wall. We also take-off for Heathrow to learn about its Iron Age origins and ask if a mound near a car park in Slough could really be a Saxon burial site. Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
7/18/201728 minutes, 1 second
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Jack Monroe and Rationing in the First World War

Helen Castor is joined by Dr Sam Willis to discuss food shortages in the First World War, Silk Roads, the history of the duffle coat and Franklin's infamous last voyage. Food blogger Jack Monroe heads for the National Archives to learn how the submarine war in 1917 presented a serious threat to food supplies. She discovers that the rationing put in place then was successfully used again in World War Two. Tom Holland meets the author of the best-seller Silk Roads, Peter Frankopan, to ask whether China is trying to emulate a centuries old history of trade and influence through its Belt and Road policy. Fashion historian Amber Butchart marks the passing of author Michael Bond to explain the history of Paddington Bear's iconic duffle coat. And Sam Willis previews Death in the Ice, a new exhibition on Franklin's ill-fated journey to find the North West passage. Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
7/11/201728 minutes, 11 seconds
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Segregation in wartime Britain

Helen Castor and her guests discuss the history stories that are alive today. Seventy five years on from the first American bomber raid taking off from British soil to attack targets in Nazi-occupied Europe, poet Sugar Brown hears how the thousands of Yanks who arrived in the UK in 1942 were segregated by race - both when they were in uniform and when they were out on civvy street. On the eve of the announcement of the Art Fund Museum of the Year, we hear from two retired ladies who, having completed a journey on every London bus route, are now visiting every museum in the capital. Iszi Lawrence asks them what makes a good museum. Tom Holland meets with the author Peter Frankopan to hear how China's new Belt and Road initiative has its historical roots in the Silk Road which, for a millennium, connected the Korean peninsular and Japan to the Mediterranean Sea. And as a new TGV line opens to Bordeaux we ask what's 'must-see' in that fabulous city for the historian. Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
7/4/201728 minutes, 5 seconds
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The Dunkirk Spirit

Tom Holland is joined by Dr Dan Todman from Queen Mary University, London and Professor Lucy Robinson at the University of Sussex. Britain's retreat from Dunkirk in 1940 was a precursor to the fall of France and a summer in which it looked like Britain too would be be overwhelmed by the Nazi war machine. The evacuation of thousands of troops from the beaches of Northern France in an armada of boats of all shapes and sizes has been spun into a defining moment when the plucky Brits snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. But Dunkirk was a disaster. So why don't we remember it as one? As a new film explores this moment of history, we explore the "Dunkirk spirit" and whether it really existed. Helen Castor is in Norwich which, it was once said, had a pub for every day of the year and a church for every Sunday. In the Middle Ages, it also seemed to be teeming with anchoresses, anchorites and hermits - people who, with the blessing of the church, withdrew from everyday life but were still on hand to dish out advice to those who wanted it. How important were these people in medieval society and why are we less comfortable with loners and recluses today? Helen is joined at St Julian's in Norwich by Professor Carole Rawcliffe and Dr Tom Licence from the University of East Anglia. There are archaeological artefacts from all eras. In Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, it is the sweet-wrappers, marbles and toy figures discarded by children in the 1950s and 60s that are adding to our knowledge of the past. In a housing estate that was designed by planners influenced by American ideas from the 1920's, a team from the University of Lincoln is working with the local community to see whether ideas about encouraging play in British housing estates really worked. Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
6/27/201727 minutes, 59 seconds
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The Stonehenge Tunnel

Tom Holland goes behind the headlines to look at the stories making history. Helen Castor travels to Salisbury Plain to hear more about a growing row between archaeologists and our leading heritage organisations about plans to build a tunnel under Stonehenge. She discovers how, increasingly, it isn't iconic Stonehenge that is at the centre of researchers' thinking but the wider and even more historic landscape. In Lincolnshire, Carenza Lewis and a team from the University of Lincoln are using archaeology for what some might describe as more pressing questions - how we can tackle the housing crisis and provide green space and places to play. A community project in Gainsborough has been evaluating the success of the 20th Century Garden City Movement by analysing artefacts from a post-war housing estate, to see if people actually exploited the space provided by urban planners. Chinese President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road initiative is a multi-billion dollar infrastructure project that looks set to transform large swaths of Asia and the world beyond. But, as Tom Holland discovers from Silk Road historian Peter Frankopan, British explorers were eying up the economic possibilities of the isolated frontier near Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan more than 150 years ago. Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
6/20/201727 minutes, 51 seconds
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Zombies in Yorkshire?

Helen Castor presents the programme that goes behind the history headlines. Scottish medievalist Fiona Watson and landscape historian Francis Pryor join Helen to discuss medieval mutilations in North Yorkshire, illegal whisky distilling in nineteenth century Scotland and the news that human beings may have evolved in Africa 100,000 years earlier than we thought. Tom Holland travels to North Yorkshire and the deserted medieval village at Wharram Percy which archaeologists now believe was the site of a gruesome practice of mutilation in the middle ages. Dr Simon Mays is a human skeletal biologist for Historic England and he noticed some odd marks on human bones recovered at Wharram Percy in the sixties. These bones were found in the middle of the deserted village - not in the churchyard. Simon thinks the marks on them were caused by severe blows made shortly after death - maybe to stop disruptive souls from tormenting villagers again. Whisky writer Rachel McCormack takes us to another remote and deserted location, the Cabrach between Aberdeen and Inverness. This was the centre of a well-developed, but illegal, whisky distilling industry in the eighteenth century. Although the remote location kept these stills hidden from the revenue men it also made them commercially unviable when whisky production was licensed in the 1820s. The ruined farmsteads in this otherwise untouched environment are the only clues to this tumultuous past. Dr Vanessa King and Dr Matthew Green show Helen a seedy and brutal history of a night out on London's South Bank, and Dr John McNabb responds to news that Homo Sapiens may be 100,000 older than we once thought. Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
6/13/201727 minutes, 43 seconds
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The English Pearl Harbour

Tom Holland returns with the history magazine that showcases the latest research and demonstrates the relevance of the past in the present day. The Dutch Are Coming! 350 years on from a daring Dutch mission up the Thames estuary, in which the flagship of the English fleet was taken and Sheerness captured, we ask whether this was the pinnacle of power for the Netherlands navy and how the international ambitions of both countries in the 17th century may also have helped shaped their response to globalisation today. Domesday Uncovered. Helen Castor is deep in the archives at Exeter Cathedral to find out how new research is unravelling some of the mysteries of one of the most famous documents in English and Welsh history, the Domesday Survey of 1086. Remarkably, this priceless historic gem was discovered by historian Stephen Baxter in a dreadful condition a few years ago. Now, splendidly restored, its able to shed some light on how William's great survey was actually achieved and why he did it. The History of Political Constituencies. As voters across the United Kingdom prepare to go to the polls, Iszi Lawrence asks Dr Paul Seaward and the team at the History of Parliament to explain the history of our political constituencies, how and why they have changed, and some of the shenanigans that went on in them throughout our electoral past. Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
6/6/201728 minutes, 13 seconds
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Helen Castor is joined by Professor Mark Bailey from the University of East Anglia and Dr Eloise Moss from the University of Manchester to discuss the Black Death and Victorian tabloids. Tom Holland is in Lincolnshire where Professor Carenza Lewis explains why pottery is telling us so much more about the Black Death. Her new research, working with volunteers across East Anglia, shows the pan-European epidemic of the mid-fourteenth century had an 'eye-watering impact' with communities losing up to 70% of their population. Dr Bob Nicholson and former newspaper editor Roy Greenslade leaf through the pages of one of the most scurrilous tabloid publications ever, the tamely titled Illustrated Police News. And we invite listeners to suggest characters from the past for the Making History plinth. Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
10/3/201627 minutes, 43 seconds
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Tom Holland is joined by Rebecca Rideal and Dr Tom Lorman to discuss armed revolt, fire and a secret war. Helen Castor meets up with a witness to the Hungarian Revolution of sixty-years ago and we discuss the changing attitudes to refugees. In London, Dr Tom Charlton is joined by Professor Vanessa Harding and Professor Justin Champion in what became the 17th century equivalent of the Calais 'jungle' - a refugee camp created by the Great Fire of 1666 which was occupied for years. And Lord Paddy Ashdown makes the case for a forgotten hero to be remembered on the Making History plinth - the wartime SOE's Roger Landes. Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
9/13/201627 minutes, 49 seconds
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Tom Holland and guests discuss the stories that are Making History. Helen Castor is joined by Stephen Chalke and former Sussex cricket captain John Barclay to discuss the origins and rather odd structure of English (and Welsh) county cricket. Iszi Lawrence heads to North Yorkshire to hear a story of divorce and betrayal from the 1st century and the forgotten queen who was central to both. And the former head of Friends of the Earth, Tony Juniper, takes us to South America to remind us of the achievements of the nineteenth century scientist and explorer Johann Baptist von Spix. Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
9/6/201627 minutes, 35 seconds
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Helen Castor is joined by Professor Ted Vallance from the University of Roehampton and Dr Alex Woolf from the University of St Andrews. On the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London, Dr Tom Charlton heads to St Paul's to learn how preparatory work by Sir Christopher Wren and the storage of printers manuscripts fuelled the inferno. Afterwards, the building lay in ruins and accusations flew freely - many suspecting the destruction of the historic church was the work of Catholics. After an outbreak of the plague and war with the Dutch, these were difficult times for Charles II and the restored monarchy. Tom Holland visits Glasgow where archaeologists are working on the newly discovered ruins of what they believe to be a twelfth century bishop's palace. The find is shedding more light on the history of the kingdom of Strathclyde, which stretched from the Clyde into modern Cumbria and played a part in fighting Athelstan's attempts to bring all of Britain under his rule in the tenth century. The English king of Wessex and Mercia won the battle against the Scottish kingdoms but was only successful in creating what we now know as England. Alex Woolf explains how long it took for Scotland to become a political entity. Also, Al Murray nominates Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery for the Making History plinth and Tiffany Watt Smith unpacks the history of anger. Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
8/30/201627 minutes, 38 seconds
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Jazz in the Trenches, Woad, Notting Hill Carnival

Tom Holland is joined by Dr Lucy Robinson from the University of Sussex to consider jazz in the trenches, woad and the women behind the Notting Hill Carnival. Helen Castor meets Dr Michael Hammond, Associate Professor at the University of Southampton, to hear about Blues in the Trenches. Dr Hammond argues that 'the blues' as a musical tradition was brought to the trenches of the Great War by African-American soldiers from all parts of the US and they shared different performance styles and traditions - creating cross-pollinations that foreshadow the country blues recordings of the 1920s and 30s by Charley Patton, Furry Lewis, Bukka White, Geechie Wiley, Ma Rainey, Elvey Thomas, Blind Willie Johnson and notable others. Closer to home, on the banks of the River Thames, Iszi Lawrence traces the origins of today's craze for tattoos and body art back to the Celts, when she learns to make woad. On the eve of the Notting Hill Carnival, comic Ava Vidal nominates the activist, feminist, socialist and founder of the Carnival Claudia Jones for the Making History plinth. Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
8/23/201627 minutes, 51 seconds
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Helen Castor is joined by the architectural writer and cultural commentator Travis Elborough and garden historian Deborah Trentham. Tom Holland takes a ride on Brighton's new attraction, the British Airways i360, and is joined at 450 feet by Professor Fred Gray to gain new insight into the history of seaside attractions. Surprisingly, the new doughnut on a stick (as locals are describing it), offers similar experiences and challenges to those of the West Pier which opened 150 years ago. In Norfolk, Radio 4's organic gardening legend Bob Flowerdew gets to grips with a character who, on the face of it, is his horticultural opposite. Lancelot 'Capability' Brown was born 300 years ago and Bob visits one of his masterpieces - Kimberley Hall - to ask landscape historian Professor Tom Williamson where the neatness and order of the English country house came from and what it was supposed to do for those who lived with it. We continue our series of forgotten history heroes as food writer William Sitwell nominates the man who became famous for his pie but who also kept Britain fed during World War 2 - Lord Fred Woolton A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
8/16/201627 minutes, 56 seconds
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Tom Holland considers historical revelations with a resonance today. He's joined by two archaeologists - Professor Carenza Lewis from the University of Lincoln and David Miles, the former Director of Archaeology and Chief Archaeologist at English Heritage. As combine harvesters tear into Britain's corn crops, David Miles takes us back to the birth of farming and the transformational period that was the Neolithic. Iszi Lawrence changes into her running gear to recreate the Battle of Marathon - in Salford. Can historians and sports' scientists work together to solve a mystery surrounding this famous victory of the Greeks over the Persians which continues to puzzle historians? Think British steel and its places such as Middlesborough, Sheffield and Port Talbot that come to mind. So why is Helen Castor in Clerkenwell? Professors Chris Evans and David Green give her a guided tour of one of Britain's earliest and most important centres of steel production. And Professor Simon Schaffer at the University of Cambridge tells us why the Danish scientist Hans Christian Oersted should really be on the People's Plinth. Producer Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
8/9/201627 minutes, 52 seconds
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In the first in a new series of the topical history programme Helen Castor is joined by the historian of women in medieval Ireland, Dr Gillian Kenny and Dr Jennifer Redmond who lectures in Twentieth Century Irish History and is President of the Women's History Association of Ireland. Tom Holland is in Northern Ireland, close to to the border with the Republic near Enniskillen. There are no customs officials or soldiers these days but will Brexit change that? Tom meets the historian Seamas McCannay and geographer Bryonie Reid to ask whether the 95 year-old history of a border between North and South can help us understand what the future for Britain's only physical connection with Europe might be. Dr Bob Nicholson of Edge Hill University heads to Liverpool on the lookout for Bosom Caressers, Corpse Revivers and a real Eye Opener. These are all cocktails, described in a Victorian song which Bob has discovered in his research and which has led him to question our perception of the Victorian middle class as abstemious and upright citizens. He spends an afternoon drinking to further his historical research. There won't be a dry eye in the house as we consider a relatively new sphere of historical endeavour - the history of emotions. Dr Thomas Dixon at Queen Mary University of London kicks off a short series by considering the history of crying and, in particular, the history of men crying. And which character from the past do you feel that history has forgotten? We ask historians, writers and those in the public eye to suggest the overlooked individuals who really should be on the People's Plinth. Sue MacGregor suggests Ellen Kuzwayo, women's rights activist and president of the African National Congress Youth League. A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
8/2/201627 minutes, 47 seconds
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Helen is joined in the studio by BBC New Generation Thinker Danielle Thom from the V&A in London and Dr Gillian Kenny from Trinity College in Dublin. Dr Tom Charlton uncovers some surprising evidence that the original Darby and Joan were 17th Century radical pamphleteers. He heads to the first Darby and Joan club, which was opened in 1942 in Streatham, South London, and talks to Professor Ted Vallance at the University of Roehampton. Maurice Casey joins us from Cambridge to discuss new evidence that Bolsheviks visited the scene of the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916 to find out more about the Republicans' tactics. Tom Holland is in Oxford to ask why there are memorials to Nazis in some of the colleges. And Dominic Sandbrook takes us back to the oil crisis of 1973, which he feels is a pivotal year in history. Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
3/29/201627 minutes, 57 seconds
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Tom Holland is joined by Dr Nick Beech from Queen Mary University of London and Professor Emma Griffin from the University of East Anglia. We're in Toxteth, Liverpool, to find out more about the history of the terraced house. Christian Wolmar joins us from King's Cross railway station where he asks whether the Flying Scotsman deserves to be so famous. And we explore the history of Easter with the Bishop of Norwich who explains why it moves around the calendar. Helen Castor catches up with Dr Oleg Benesch at the University of York who argues that the Samurai of the nineteenth century borrowed heavily from the Victorian notion of chivalry. Finally, the author Jenny Uglow shares with us her favourite year - 1798. Producer Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
3/22/201627 minutes, 52 seconds
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Helen Castor and guests discuss the stories that are Making History

Helen Castor is joined by Dr Jane Hamlett from Royal Holloway University of London and the critic and writer Kate Maltby. Tom Holland travels to Thetford, the ancient capital of East Anglia, to hear evidence that the Iceni were speaking a form of English in the years before the Romans arrived. Dr Daphne Nash Briggs and Dr Sam Newton have examined coins of the period to reveal that the people of Norfolk had as strong a relationship with the Continent as they did with the rest of Britain - and, as well as speaking the Celtic Brittonic language, would also have conversed with their trading partners in the Germanic languages that would eventually become English. If true, this thesis completely changes our ideas that our language came with the Anglo-Saxons after the Romans left these shores. We travel to Liverpool to try out some Victorian jokes. Its all part of research being carried out by Dr Bob Nicholson at Edge Hill University. Stand-up comic Iszi Lawrence finds out more. This week's favourite year is 1453, put forward by Dr Rory Cox from St Andrews University. Producer: Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
3/15/201627 minutes, 45 seconds
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Tom Holland is joined by Professor Louise Jackson from the University of Edinburgh and journalist Sarah Ditum. Dr Naomi Paxton explores how sex trafficking and moral panic thed to the birth of the Women's Police Service in 1914. Dr Fiona Watson explains why 1302 is her favourite year in history - and, in particular, one day when, at a battle on the Continent, the mounted knight was rumbled. Helen Castor explores the origins of Marriage Banns and Dr John Gallagher argues that historians should be concerned about style as well as substance. Producer Nick Patrick A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.
3/8/201627 minutes, 57 seconds
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The latest historical and archaeological research.
3/1/201628 minutes, 2 seconds