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Histories of the Unexpected

Histories of the Unexpected explores the past in ways that you never dreamt possible. Surely there’s nothing unexpected about the past? About History? Aha, well Histories of the Unexpected adopts a new approach to exploring our past. Gone is the traditional linear plotting of battles, monarchs and political movements. Histories of the Unexpected argues that everything has a history, even the most unexpected of subjects. Like SLIME. Or COURAGE. or APPLAUSE.... Presented by Dr Sam Willis and Professor James Daybell. Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

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Christmas Ep.2

Sam & James dig deep into the Unexpected History of Christmas. For more exclusive interviews and documentaries, signup to HistoryHit,TV, click here to subscribe.Producer: Natt TapleyAudio: Pete DennisTheme tune: Dan Morelle Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

33mins

21 Dec 2017

Rank #1

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Clothing

Sam Willis and James Daybell take on the UNEXPECTED history of CLOTHING! It's all about social control, death, recycling and mending, nationalism, Venice, knights and maidens, the Crown Jewels, ostriches, Thomas Wolsey, and the rediscovery of a long lost dress that once belonged to Queen Elizabeth I of England! Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

47mins

4 Dec 2019

Rank #2

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Vikings

James and Sam explore the UNEXPECTED history of the Vikings. Who knew that the Vikings are all about graffiti, break-ins, criminal profiling, colour, teeth, keys, birds, nicknames, saunas, silk, mischief, staffs and goading! Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

37mins

6 May 2019

Rank #3

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World War 2

Sam and James discuss all of the unexpected aspects of WWII, which is all about rubble, carrots, blood, pockets, suicide, gates, Zen Buddhism, furniture, cancer, Mozart, King Arthur, cows, mothers, puppets, handkerchiefs, and much, much more! It's not just all about the Nazis, Churchill and the Battle of Britain... Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

34mins

13 May 2019

Rank #4

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The Letter

Doubt thou the stars are fire,Doubt that the sun doth move,Doubt truth to be a liar, ~Shakespeare, Hamlet’s letter to OpheliaBut never doubt the unexpected historical links as the lieutenant of lifetimes, Professor James Daybell, and the investigator of intrigue, Dr Sam Willis, take the old post road from London to Dover. With a stop-off on Dartmoor, it’s then across the sea to Jamaica as they chart the material history of the letter. From statecraft to warfare, from love to diplomacy, join James and Sam as they uncover the unexpected history of letters. Need tips on how to hit just the right note with a letter to the mother-in- law? Listen out for how the Elizabethan gentlewoman Maria Thynne wrote to hers. You may well be inspired.History, of course, can only be written if there is evidence on which to base it, and letters provide such rich testimony of the past in so many ways. What would history be, and what tales would remain untold if such vast hoards of letters had not survived? And what of the future, in a world of electronic communication, of Twitter and emojis, and the correspondence of lawyers? Pick up a pen and write some lines, seal them in an envelope and send them away, you never know what you may get back."My letters! All dead paper, mute and white!And yet they seem alive and quivering …”~Elizabeth Barrett BrowningDr Sam Willis - @DrSamWillisProfessor James Daybell - @JamesDaybellFollow the show's new Twitter: @UnexpectedPodHistoryHit Network - Twitter FacebookProducer - Dan Morelle Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

34mins

11 Nov 2016

Rank #5

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The Spanish Armada

Sam and James explore the UNEXPECTED history of the Spanish Armada. It's all about collapsed expectation, flags, spies (as always), threat, fire, people not doing the right jobs, seasickness and lies. Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

32mins

21 Oct 2019

Rank #6

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Soap

In this episode James and Sam explore the Unexpected History of SOAP, which is of course all about hazing, the British Royal Navy, profanities, marketing, the Spanish Flu, popular politics, freedom of speech, Speakers' Corner, and John Major's 'Soap Box' electioneering...and a little bit about coronavirus! Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

42mins

28 Mar 2020

Rank #7

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Blood and Bones

Inspired by Halloween and Bonfire Night, Sam and James discuss the unexpected history of blood and bones: it's all about prehistoric axes, mass graves, Viking armies, Tudor surgery, bear baiting, blood sports, how much it costs to make a human being, Ottomans, Italy, and eating human bone powder. So that's cannibalism too... Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

47mins

6 Nov 2019

Rank #8

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Dragons

Dr Sam Willis - @DrSamWillis Professor James Daybell - @JamesDaybell Follow the show's new Twitter: @UnexpectedPod HistoryHit Network - TwitterFacebook Producer - Dan Morelle Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

18mins

4 Apr 2017

Rank #9

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Nazis

Sam and James discuss the unexpected history of the Nazis. They're all about, motherhood, shame, medals, public speaking, architecture and cars....who knew? Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

33mins

27 Jul 2019

Rank #10

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Christmas Ep.1

“It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags!... Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! ...” (Dr Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, 1956)It can only be the Unexpected History of Christmas!Let us once again join the Santa of Historical Skepticism, Professor James Daybell and the Charles Dickens of Christmas Past, Dr Sam Willis as they untangle the tinsel and unravel the lights to reveal the unexpected history of Christmas. Upon Santa’s sleigh, they will dash from medieval carousing to a Dickensian Christmas, and from racing crabs on Christmas Island in the 1950s to the Puritans and Christmas riots in Canterbury, 1647.Like Christmas Elves they’ll assemble the links between rituals and traditions, Minst pies (not a typo) and celebrations, international date lines and land shy ravens. Listen out as James plays ‘guess the day an island was discovered,’ and Sam suggests one way to get two Christmases in one day. Oh, and whoever wrote the song about the three kings following the star, well they may need to rewrite, although it may not have quite the same rhyming style! “God bless us, everyone!” (Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, 1843)“Good tidings we bring for you and your kin We wish you a merry Christmas And a happy New Year”Dr Sam Willis - @DrSamWillis Professor James Daybell - @JamesDaybell Follow the show's new Twitter: @UnexpectedPod HistoryHit Network - Twitter Facebook Producer - Dan Morelle Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

35mins

24 Dec 2016

Rank #11

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Stench! Homeschooling Public Health in Victorian England

This eighth episode in the special series of Histories of the Unexpected Homeschooling explores STENCH and Public Health in Victorian England. The Unexpected History of STENCH is all about personal hygiene and the marketing of smelling nice in 1950s USA; the holocaust and use of napalm during the Vietnam war, stinkiness in the medieval world, and of course nineteenth-century disease and public health. James and Sam explore discuss Public Health Reforms in Victorian Britain, including Edwin Chadwick's 1842 Report on the Sanitary Conditions of the Labouring Population, and look out for recipes to make your own stink bombs! Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

19mins

11 Apr 2020

Rank #12

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Pockets

Dr Sam Willis and Professor James Daybell whisk you through the mysterious crannies in the unexpected history of pockets! For more exclusive interviews and documentaries, subscribe to HistoryHit.TV - a new kind of history channel.Producer: Natt TapleyAudio: Pete DennisTheme tune: Dan Morelle Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

28mins

7 Apr 2018

Rank #13

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Graffiti

Dr Sam Willis - @DrSamWillisProfessor James Daybell - @JamesDaybellFollow the show's new Twitter: @UnexpectedPodHistoryHit Network - Twitter FacebookProducer - Dan Morelle Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

30mins

24 Jan 2017

Rank #14

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Applause!

In this episode of Histories of the Unexpected, James and Sam explore the unexpected history of APPLAUSE, which is all about popularity in Ancient Rome, Stalinist Russia, babies, opera-going sophisticates, crowds and paying people to clap (or boo!), Henry James's failure as a playwright, and of course gratitude to the NHS and front line medical staff across the globe during the COVID19 crisis! Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

45mins

16 Apr 2020

Rank #15

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Oranges

Find out about the unexpected history of the orange, how it's linked to the the Gunpowder Plot, and other extraordinary historical connections.Dr Sam Willis - @DrSamWillisProfessor James Daybell - @JamesDaybellFollow the show's new Twitter: @UnexpectedPdcstHistoryHit Network - Twitter FacebookProducer - Dan Morelle Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

19mins

30 Sep 2016

Rank #16

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Bells

Dr Sam Willis & Professor James Daybell explore the unexpected history of bells. For more exclusive history documentaries & interviews, subscribe to HistoryHit.TV.Producer: Natt TapleyAudio: Pete Dennis Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

34mins

17 Jun 2018

Rank #17

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Showoffs! Homeschooling Norman Castles!

This thirteenth episode in the special series of Histories of the Unexpected Homeschooling explores SHOWOFFS and NORMAN CASTLES! The Unexpected History of showing off is all about world-famous historical showoffs, like Henry VIII, Hitler and Louis XIV, it's about the history of fashion (think outlandish gloves and tall hats), architecture and prodigy houses, lavish gifts and bling!, US consumerism in the 1950s and of course schadenfreude! James and Sam explore the fascinating history of Norman Castles through the subject of showing off, including the building of stone and wood castles, the strategic control of England by the Normans, and detailed discussion of Motte and Bailey Castles. Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

23mins

20 Apr 2020

Rank #18

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Bubbles!

Like a well-spring of historical facts, bubbling over with unexpected links, Dr Sam Willis, the maitre’d of museums, and Professor James Daybell, the inspector of eons, take you on another intoxicating ride through history. From Oliver Cromwell’s Navigation Act of 1651, the American Boys Handy Book and the culture of childhood, South American colonies, and early cancer cures, (and with a little help from Lady Luck) they’ll make the links for the history of the bubble.How did the need to halt deforestation in the early seventeenth-century spur new technological developments which allowed the British to enjoy their cider fizzy? What does the price of tulip bulbs, which in the mid-1600s reached the equivalent of a modest house, and England’s war debt in the 1700s, have to do with the bubble?If you have a sore throat listen carefully – for we may have a cure for that! ‘Fire burn and cauldron bubble…’Dr Sam Willis - @DrSamWillis Professor James Daybell - @JamesDaybell Follow the show's new Twitter: @UnexpectedPod Producer - Dan Morelle Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

22mins

1 Nov 2016

Rank #19

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The Fart

Dr Sam Willis - @DrSamWillis Professor James Daybell - @JamesDaybell Follow the show's new Twitter: @UnexpectedPod HistoryHit Network - Twitter FacebookProducer - Dan Morelle Our GDPR privacy policy was updated on August 8, 2022. Visit acast.com/privacy for more information.

31mins

12 Jul 2017

Rank #20