Rank #1: Tracy Borman on 'The Private Lives of the Tudors'
Tracy Borman reveals how the Tudor monarchs were constantly surrounded by an army of attendants, courtiers and ministers, even in their most private moments. A groom of the stool would stand patiently by as Henry VIII performed his daily purges, and when Elizabeth I retired for the evening, one of her female servants would sleep at the end of her bed.
Dr Tracy Borman is a historian, author and joint Chief Curator for Historic Royal Palaces. Her books include the highly acclaimed 'Elizabeth's Women: the Hidden Story of the Virgin Queen'; 'Matilda: Queen of the Conqueror'; and 'Witches: A Tale of Sorcery, Scandal and Seduction'. Her latest book is 'The Private Lives of the Tudors', published by Hodder & Stoughton.
Mar 06 2017
Rank #2: Security Service file release September 2016
Professor Christopher Andrew, formerly official historian of MI5 and author of 'The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5', introduces key files from the release of Security Service files to The National Archives in September 2016.
Sep 28 2016
Rank #3: Magna Carta: Law, Liberty and Legacy
In this podcast, Julian Harrison discusses Magna Carta's fascinating history and legacy, focusing on some of the key loans made by The National Archives to the British Library's 'Magna Carta' exhibition in 2015.
Julian Harrison is a curator of Pre-1600 Historical Manuscripts at the British Library, and is also co-curator of 'Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy'. He is a specialist in medieval history, and is also editor of the Library's award-winning Medieval Manuscripts blog.
Sep 06 2016
Rank #4: 'A Bit of a Scratch', a radio drama about the battle against Venereal Disease during the First World War
'A Bit of a Scratch' explores the first recorded prosecution under the Venereal Diseases Act 1917. The legislation was introduced due to the large numbers, roughly 5%, of UK troops returning from the First World War with venereal diseases and to ensure that treatment was undertaken by qualified medical professionals. The last century has seen remarkable developments in sexual health, however with rising numbers of sexually transmitted infections and the emergence of antimicrobial resistant disease, the provision of high quality sexual health services are more important than ever.
This podcast was produced jointly with the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH). More information on the issues contained within this podcast can be found on the BASHH website and @BASHH_UK.
By: Debbie Manship
Cast (in order of appearance):
- Narrator: Stephen McGann
- Billy: Louis Cardona
- Edie: Lowri Amies
- Chemist: David Jarvis
- Doctor: Peter Wickham
- All other parts were played by members of the cast.
- Composer: Chris Madin
- Studio Engineer: Holly Parris
- Director: Paul Dawson
Produced by Role Call and iD Audio in association with M & F Health Communications"The British Army's fight against Venereal Disease in the 'Heroic Age of Prostitution'" by Richard Marshall is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
Jun 16 2017
Rank #5: The personal story of Holocaust survivor John Dobai
John Dobai was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1934. To mark Holocaust Memorial Day, John delivered a talk at The National Archives on 25 January 2019 about his personal story and the plight of Hungarian Jews.
Feb 19 2019
Rank #6: The life and death of King John
King John's acts of misgovernment prompted his barons to demand reform, setting the kingdom on the road to civil war and leading to John's grant of Magna Carta. Why was he seen as such a terrible king and how did Magna Carta come about?
Professor David Carpenter, Professor Stephen Church and Dr Marc Morris discuss the life and reign of King John, 800 years after his death in October 1216.
Nov 29 2016
Rank #7: Big Ideas Series: Entity disambiguation in digital cultural heritage
To enable people to explore a digital collection, the platform that hosts that collection needs to have a comprehensive understanding of the information it is presenting. However, the level and quality of assistance that can be provided to a user by a computer is largely dependent on the amount of information that the system has about the collection. While such information can be provided by a process of manually tagging and annotating archive contents, this can be expensive, time-consuming or even infeasible if the collection is too large.
This talk will explore the challenges involved in the automatic identification and disambiguation of entities within digital cultural heritage collections.
Seamus Lawless is Assistant Professor at Trinity College Dublin.
Our Big Ideas seminar series is funded by the Friends of The National Archives.
Jul 23 2018
Rank #8: The Battle of Agincourt
In 1415, King Henry V led an army to victory on the field of Agincourt. In this talk, which commemorated the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt, Professor Anne Curry discusses the events leading up to the conquest, and the myths surrounding it that have developed over the centuries.
Nov 16 2016
Rank #9: Lawrence, of Arabia and beyond
T E Lawrence’s role in the First World War is best remembered as that of a young, dashing officer leading the Arab Revolt in white billowing robes. This talk by The National Archives’ Overseas Records Specialist, Dr Juliette Desplat, looks beyond hero worship, at lesser-known aspects of Lawrence’s war – and some of his failures.
Sep 09 2019
Rank #10: Archive Notes: Prosthetics and the First World War
The first episode of a Q&A series in which we talk to researchers about the records and stories they've uncovered at The National Archives.
In 'Prosthetics and the First World War', our First World War diverse histories researcher Louise Bell discusses the impact of the war on disability history through our records: from designs for lighter, more flexible prosthetics to new rehabilitation methods trialled by specialist hospitals.
Jan 19 2017
Rank #11: A tourist's guide to Shakespeare's London
Discover what it was like to wander the streets of Shakespeare's London. Though large portions of the city from Shakespeare's time have since been destroyed by fire, war and developers, a surprising number of buildings and places still survive.
Author David Thomas discusses the sights, cuisine and pastimes of 16th century Londoners, while providing insight into what it was like to be a tourist during Shakespeare's lifetime.
Please note that there are occasional disruptions to the sound quality during this recording.
Sep 13 2016
Rank #12: From the Somme to Arras
Andrew Lock discusses the progress made by the British Expeditionary Forces between the battles of the Somme (1916) and Arras (1917). Although lessons were learned during the Somme campaign, Arras clearly exposed command and preparation deficiencies, leading to setbacks and the highest casualty rate of any British offensive in the war.
Apr 18 2017
Rank #13: Medieval treason and magic
In this podcast, two of our records specialists tell us about treason and necromancy in The National Archives' medieval records.
The first part, narrated by Paul Dryburgh, tells the story of a band of men from Coventry who planned to kill King Edward II and his supporters, the Despencers, with a plot that involved wax effigies and pins. In the second part, Sean Cunningham discusses one of the earliest English language statements in legal history; a tale involving a mole catcher and a magical dismembered hand.
Jun 15 2017
Rank #14: Jonathan Dimbleby on 'The Battle of the Atlantic: How the Allies Won the War'
In this talk, broadcaster and acclaimed author Jonathan Dimbleby shows how Britain's success in the Battle of the Atlantic led to the allied victory in 1945. Through extraordinary personal diaries and letters written by both sailors and politicians, he will tell the epic story of how the allies won the war.
Jonathan Dimbleby's illustrious career in broadcasting has spanned nearly five decades. He has presented television programmes on both the BBC and ITV, and has written numerous critically-acclaimed non-fiction history books.
Oct 19 2016
Rank #15: Never Forget: The Holocaust and Nazi Persecution
In this talk - held as part of Holocaust Memorial Day - record specialists Ela Kaczmarska and Lauren Willmott shed light on the atrocities committed during this dark period of history and the millions of victims who were persecuted by the Nazis' fascist ideology.
Oct 07 2016
Rank #16: Talks from the National LGBT History Festival: Emma Vickers on trans veterans of the British Armed Forces
On the 11 February 2017, The National Archives hosted a range of talks for 'OUTing the Past: the National LGBT History Festival' on topics including the role of lesbians in the fight for Votes for Women, the lives of trans veterans of the British Armed Forces and collecting trans narratives.
In this talk recorded from the festival, Emma Vickers discusses the lives of trans veterans of the British Armed Forces.
Feb 20 2017
Rank #17: Defeating the Zeppelins
For almost two years during the First World War, German airships roamed over the British countryside, bombing towns and villages without fear of a significant response from the aircraft assigned to defend the country. But all that changed in the late summer of 1916 when a new weapon was introduced, one that spelt the end of the Zeppelin menace.
Ian Castle is the author of two books and a website detailing Germany's air campaign against Britain during the First World War (www.IanCastleZeppelin.co.uk).
Nov 24 2016
Rank #18: The scandalous case of John Vassall
In 1962, while working as a clerk in the British Embassy in Moscow, homosexual civil servant John Vassall was caught in a ‘honey trap’ sprung by the Soviet Secret Service. He was blackmailed into passing secrets to the Soviet Union and as a result sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment for espionage.
Our contemporary records specialist Mark Dunton delves deeper into this scandal – one of a series that rocked the Macmillan government in the early 1960s, feeding into a national obsession with spy culture at the time.
This podcast was recorded as part of The National Archives’ Cold War season, a programme of events to coincide with the exhibition, ‘Protect and Survive: Britain’s Cold War Revealed’.
May 23 2019
Rank #19: The Cold War and UFOs
There is more to the Ministry of Defence UFO files than reports on strange sightings in the sky. They provide insight into the public’s perception of the Cold War and technological advances, as well as extra-terrestrial life, through an increase in sci-fi-related television, publications, and media reporting.
In this podcast, recorded as part of The National Archives’ Cold War season, Keith Mitchell, a specialist in our UFO records, delves into this fascinating topic.
May 23 2019
Rank #20: Culture Clash? Pop in a royal park
Fifty years ago, the Rolling Stones gave a concert in Hyde Park that turned into a memorial to founding member Brian Jones. It was an event that passed into legend. But back in 1968, when Peter Jenner, manager of Pink Floyd, wrote to the authorities asking for permission to hold a concert in Hyde Park, he received a negative reply, which he described as ‘crusty’.
So how did it come to pass that a whole series of pop concerts was held in this royal park between 1968 and 1969? Find out in this talk with Contemporary Records Specialist Mark Dunton.
Aug 23 2019