Five Minutes With… Greg Jenner

Greg Jenner is a writer, historian and TV freelancer. He is best known as the Historical Consultant to the BBC’s comedy sketch show Horrible Histories, and has just written his first book – One Million Years In A Day – which will be published in 2015. He is obsessed with Twitter. What is an historian? This is one of those …

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SHAKESPEARE’S LOVERS: The Dark Lady

Last month, I suggested that William Shakespeare had two major love affairs in his life.  The first was with his ‘White’ lady, who helped to inspire his ‘fair’ female characters, such as Bianca (The Taming of the Shrew) and Helena (A Midsummer Night’s Dream).  The model for these saintly ‘White’ ladies was almost certainly ‘Annam Whateley de Temple Grafton’, as …

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Going along with the ride: Museums in the 21st century

21st century museums are exciting places to visit. Exhibition opening nights resemble something more akin to an Oscars after party than a tea and sandwich get together of professors in tweed coats. It seems that museums would like to remind their audiences that they have come a long way from the era of glass cases and “do not touch” signs …

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M.F. Husain: Master of Modern Indian Painting

M.F. Husain: Master of Modern Indian Painting 28 May – 27 July 2014 Admission: FREE For the first time, the final nine paintings by the celebrated Indian artist, M.F. Husain (1915- 2011) will go on public display at the V&A this summer. The Indian Civilization series comprises eight monumental triptych paintings, each measuring 12 feet wide by six feet high, …

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ICONIC TEXTS: Dr Hannah Dawson on ‘Leviathan’ by Thomas Hobbes

In the first instalment of our brand new series of podcasts, Dr Hannah Dawson discusses one of the most controversial texts in the English language. Written during a period of civil war and published following the regicide of Charles I, Leviathan or the Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil earned its author the nickname the ‘Monster of Malmesbury’. …

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Shakespeare at the V&A Museum

Shakespeare: Greatest Living Playwright 8 February – 21 September 2014 Admission: FREE The 23rd April 2014 marks 450 years since William Shakespeare was born. To mark this occasion, the Victoria and Albert Museum has a new exhibition exploring how Shakespeare’s works have inspired theatrical interpretations through the centuries and across the globe. Shakespeare: Greatest Living Playwright takes Shakespeare’s First Folio …

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SHAKESPEARE’S LOVERS – Part One: The White Lady

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

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Hampton Court Palace Reopens its Georgian Chocolate Kitchen

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

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Five Minutes With… Amber Butchart

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

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History in the Classroom: A Teacher Speaks

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

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

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

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Alfred the Great: The Hip Bone’s Connected to the…

Move aside Dermot! Run away Ant and Dec! Dead kings are the new TV must-have. In just under two years, Channel 4 has signed up Richard III, and BBC2 has snapped up Alfred the Great. Boudicca is supposed to be under a McDonalds in Birmingham, so there is still time for ITV to get in on the action (yes, I …

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