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History

Making History

Updated 4 days ago

Society & Culture
Personal Journals
History
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Popular history series where the past connects with the present. Helen Castor and Tom Holland with the latest research that's Making History.

Read more

Popular history series where the past connects with the present. Helen Castor and Tom Holland with the latest research that's Making History.

iTunes Ratings

29 Ratings
Average Ratings
17
4
3
4
1

Foolish marketing; good content

By OFCV - Jan 03 2017
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Enjoyable content but terrible self-promotion; each podcast summary says same boring aspects of host, etc with ZERO program differentiation. Need to check how appear on a list bc zero intrigue w redundant references to host and guests...most of search or attracted to subject matter covered.

iTunes Ratings

29 Ratings
Average Ratings
17
4
3
4
1

Foolish marketing; good content

By OFCV - Jan 03 2017
Read more
Enjoyable content but terrible self-promotion; each podcast summary says same boring aspects of host, etc with ZERO program differentiation. Need to check how appear on a list bc zero intrigue w redundant references to host and guests...most of search or attracted to subject matter covered.
Cover image of Making History

Making History

Updated 4 days ago

Read more

Popular history series where the past connects with the present. Helen Castor and Tom Holland with the latest research that's Making History.

Rank #1: Hadrian's Wall

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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.

Jul 18 2017

28mins

Play

Rank #2: Church Pews and the Medieval Weather Forecast

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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.

Jul 10 2018

27mins

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Rank #3: Witches, poison and why the hedgehog was unloved in history

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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.

Jun 19 2018

27mins

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Rank #4: The Stonehenge Tunnel

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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.

Jun 20 2017

27mins

Play

Rank #5: 20/09/2016

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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.

Oct 03 2016

27mins

Play

Rank #6: 13/09/2016

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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.

Sep 13 2016

27mins

Play

Rank #7: The End of Steam. St Edmund. Southall Youth Movement

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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.

Jul 24 2018

27mins

Play

Rank #8: The Charter of the Forest

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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.

Aug 01 2017

27mins

Play

Rank #9: The fight to eradicate polio

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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.

Jan 30 2018

28mins

Play

Rank #10: Gambling, Homelessness, Human trafficking

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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.

Feb 06 2018

27mins

Play

Rank #11: 30/08/2016

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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.

Aug 30 2016

27mins

Play

Rank #12: Rage Against The Machine

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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.

Jan 23 2018

27mins

Play

Rank #13: The Clockwork Orange Town

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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.

Jul 17 2018

27mins

Play

Rank #14: 09/08/2016

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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.

Aug 09 2016

27mins

Play

Rank #15: Helen Castor and guests discuss the stories that are Making History

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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.

Mar 15 2016

27mins

Play

Rank #16: 06/09/2016

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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.

Sep 06 2016

27mins

Play

Rank #17: 02/08/2016

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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.

Aug 02 2016

27mins

Play

Rank #18: Jack Monroe and Rationing in the First World War

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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.

Jul 11 2017

28mins

Play

Rank #19: Jazz in the Trenches, Woad, Notting Hill Carnival

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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.

Aug 23 2016

27mins

Play

Rank #20: 16/08/2016

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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.

Aug 16 2016

27mins

Play