John W Hawkins Reviews ‘Landscapes of London’ by Elizabeth McKellar

John W Hawkins Reviews ‘Landscapes of London’ by Elizabeth McKellar Elizabeth McKellar Landscapes of London: the city, the country and the suburbs, 1660-1840 Yale University Press, 2013 xvi + 260 pages; 24 colour + 120 b/w illus. £45.00 RRP According to the author, a respected architectural historian, ‘This book is about cities, where they begin and where they end.’ Except …

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Five minutes with… Dr Ian Mortimer

Dr Ian Mortimer is an acclaimed historian, bestselling author and television presenter. His latest book Centuries of Change: Which Century saw the Most Change and Why it Matters to Us is published by Random House and out now. What is an historian? A historian (I don’t use the old-fashioned ‘an’, I pronounce the ‘h’ instead) is simply someone who studies …

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Sophie Cooper reviews ‘Bloody Scotland: Crime in 19th Century Scotland’ by Malcolm Archibald

Malcolm Archibald, Bloody Scotland: Crime in 19th Century Scotland Black & White Publishing: Edinburgh, 2014 RRP: £9.99 Body snatchers, murdering bigamists, and poisoners. Whisky-joints and smuggling rings. A socially-excluded victim of bullying that finally snapped and killed his tormentors. These are all stories that we have come across, either in the news of today or in films and books about …

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The Mystery of Edward II’s Death

Everyone knows how Edward II died. He was murdered at Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire on 21 September 1327 by being held down and having a red-hot poker inserted inside his anus, and his screams could be heard miles away. This cruel torture was most probably devised as punishment for his presumed sexual acts with men. Right? Wrong. Edward II’s murder by …

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Tom Bradby Interview: Writing The Great Fire

The Great Fire writer on creating ITV’s new drama “It’s a health and safety nightmare!” It’s the end of April and I’m sitting under a gazebo in the middle of the Oxfordshire countryside with screenwriter, author and ITV News political editor Tom Bradby. We’re sitting next to an impressive recreation of seventeenth-century London – complete with timber buildings, narrow streets and …

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The Queen’s Influence… by Sara Cockerill

The role of Eleanor of Castile as queen consort – and her influence over Edward I There is a fiction common in Victorian writing, that Edward I referred to Eleanor of Castile as “chère reine” and that it was thus that the Charing Cross derived its name.  In fact both elements of this fiction are wrong.  As is now moderately …

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Five minutes with… Dr Jonathan Foyle

Dr Jonathan Foyle is an architectural historian, author, broadcaster and Chief Executive of World Monuments Fund Britain. His latest book is about Lincoln Cathedral and will be published by Scala next March. What is an historian? The ultimate quality of a good historian is someone who cheats time itself. They can reveal truths that could have been lost to record; and encounter …

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What’s Happening in Black British History?

What’s Happening in Black British History? A Conversation Senate House Malet Street London WC1E 7HU Thursday 30th October – tickets £7.50-£15 Thirty years after the publication of Peter Fryer’s Staying Power, immigration is still a hotly contested topic, while slavery continues to dominate popular perceptions of Black British History. New research is revealing different stories, but how is this being …

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“Messy” vs. Real Tears by Sigrid MacRae

“The world has always been messy,” President Obama told America recently. Total media immersion has probably magnified our awareness of it all, but buck up! We’ll get through it; we have before. He’s right about the mess. The Middle East is awash in frenzied blood-letting. Ebola, power grabs, planes flung out of the sky, land grabs, bombings, countless refugees, ISIS, …

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Bloody Scotland by Malcolm Archibald

An exclusive extract from Malcolm Archibald’s new book Bloody Scotland: Crime in 19th Century Scotland Chapter One Resurrection Men Some crimes are universal, but others are specific to place or time. Body-snatching was one such. It flourished in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and died out completely with the passing of the Anatomy Act of 1832. Until that time, body-snatching …

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How many times did Rasputin die?

Rasputin is one of those rare historical figures who lives on more as a myth than a man. The photos of him are genuinely eerie and there’s no denying his power as an adviser in Tsar Nicholas II’s court. He was associated with spirtual healing and the occult. However a calmer view of him reveals a man who was like …

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Art imitating life by John Burns

I am always a little wary when the terms “proper” or “scholarly” history are bandied about, usually in tandem with the terms “facts” and “unbiased opinion”.  Late last year there was a little political controversy in the UK regarding the use of the Blackadder TV series as a history aid.  It brought into the spotlight the role of the arts …

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Five minutes with… Dan Jones

Dan Jones is a medieval historian, author and award winning journalist. His latest book The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses and the Rise of the Tudors is published by Faber and Faber and is out 4th September 2014.  What is an historian? Researcher, thinker, writer, storyteller, author, TV presenter, radio voice, lecturer, journalist, talking head. Tweeter. Truth-teller. Social …

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