Rank #1: Writer of the month: A very British murder
A Very British Murder is Lucy Worsley's account of a national obsession - a tale of dark deeds and guilty pleasures
Lucy Worsley is Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity which opens up The Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace and Kensington Palace to more than three million visitors a year. Before that, she worked for English Heritage and Glasgow Museums. As well as writing books about history, she presents history television programmes for the BBC.
This talk was part of Writer of the Month - a series of talks, in which each month a high profile author shared their experiences of using original records in their writing.
Rank #2: An Intimate History of Your Home
Rank #3: Big Ideas: Understanding patterns of behaviour for users of public records
When Google launched in 1998, a prime ingredient in their not-so-secret sauce was the question: if a user randomly clicked links where on the web might they end up?
They called the answer PageRank. This involved treating the web as a network rather than a bunch of isolated documents containing keywords. The outcome was a new verb and the near destruction of their competitors. Could repeating and refining 'the Google trick' help cultural bodies with research, collection care or digitisation?
One limitation to overcome is the assumption that all users behave in the same way. Users are individuals within fuzzy communities. So, can we personalise PageRank and treat people more like individuals than averages?
Matthew Pearce, from The National Archives, works on public sector information - in particular, its economics. His research is on the statistics and algorithms needed for personalised predictions.
Rank #4: 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.
Rank #5: Stalingrad and Berlin: researching the reality of war
Rank #6: Reformation on the Record: Suzannah Lipscomb on Henry VIII and the break with Rome
Reformation on the Record was a two-day conference which brought together research using original records of Church and State from our collection to explore this period of religious, social and economic turmoil.
In this talk, historian, broadcaster and award-winning academic Dr Suzannah Lipscomb explores one of the fundamental turning points of the 16th century Reformation: Henry VIII's separation from the Roman Catholic Church.
Rank #7: Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn: clothing, courtship and consequences
Rank #8: Tudor trials: Confessions from the Star Chamber
Medieval records specialist Euan Roger gives us a taste of the kinds of disputes dealt with by the Star Chamber, one of the highest Tudor courts.
The tens of thousands of Star Chamber records kept at The National Archives reveal a wealth of information about Tudor life. In this podcast, we uncover a few of the more unusual cases put before the King's council, including a murder cover-up, a child maintenance complaint, and a marital dispute.
Credits: this podcast uses an excerpt from 'Stabat Mater', performed by the Tudor Consort.
Rank #9: 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.
Rank #10: Jane Austen: from beginning to end
To commemorate the bicentenary of Jane Austen's death in 1817, Professor Fiona Stafford delivered a talk on Austen's life and work at the The National Archives, where Austen's original will is held.
Fiona Stafford is a professor of English Language and Literature at Somerville College, Oxford, specialising in Romantic literature from Keats and Wordsworth to Austen. She is editor of 'Emma' for Penguin and 'Pride and Prejudice' for Oxford World's Classics, and has written on many aspects of late eighteenth and early nineteenth century literature, including 'Brief Lives: Jane Austen'.
Rank #11: A tormented Tudor queen's treasonous 'love letter'
In this episode, Neil Johnston and Christopher Day discuss a letter written by Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII, to Thomas Culpeper, a groom of the King's Privy chamber. The document was part of a body of evidence collected against Catherine and Culpeper that ultimately led to their execution. It is now preserved at The National Archives.
Here Neil Johnston explains how it is crucial to examine this letter in the context of Catherine's sexual past in order to understand how the queen accused of living "an abominable, base, carnal, voluptuous, vicious life" was effectively blackmailed into a path of action that led to her untimely death.
Rank #12: Special Operations Executive (SOE) service - some alternative sources
Have you been unsuccessful in searching for a personal file for someone in SOE or perhaps you found a file containing little detail? There may be alternative or supplementary sources. This talk suggests ways to identify these sources and find further information about SOE service in records held at The National Archives.
Neil Cobbett has worked at The National Archives for 19 years, specialising in Special Operations Executive and modern (post-1688) Irish records.
Rank #13: The Children of Henry VIII
Rank #14: Dunkirk: from disaster to deliverance
Drawing on fresh new interviews with Dunkirk veterans - soldiers and sailors - plus unseen private correspondence and diaries, author Sinclair McKay delves into a pivotal historical moment and beneath the myth. The story of how a raggle-taggle flotilla of small boats and paddle steamers set out to rescue the British army from the most formidable war machine the world had ever seen is now a national legend. But what really happened during those nine days and nights in 1940?
Sinclair McKay is the bestselling author of The Secret Life of Bletchley Park and The Secret Listeners, as well as histories of Hammer films, the James Bond films, and Rambling.
Rank #15: 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.
Rank #16: Writer of the month: Tracy Borman on Thomas Cromwell
Dr Tracy Borman, author, historian and broadcaster, discusses her biography of Thomas Cromwell.
The National Archives hosts a series of monthly talks to broaden awareness of historical records and their uses for writers. Each month, a high-profile author talks about using original records in their writing.
Dr Tracy Borman's previous 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. Tracy has recently been appointed interim Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces and is also Chief Executive of the Heritage Education Trust.
Rank #17: 'The Germans are here!' London's first Zeppelin raid
Ten months into the First World War and the feared onslaught on London by Germany's fleet of airships - Zeppelins - had failed to materialise. There was sympathy for those killed or injured in air raids elsewhere, but these were far away and had little impact on Londoners. Then, shortly after 11pm on a Monday night in May 1915, all that changed…Using documents held at The National Archives, interspersed with personal stories of those who experienced that night, Ian Castle explores those terrifying 20 minutes when, for the very first time, London civilians found themselves on the front line.
Ian Castle is author of two books detailing Germany's air campaign against the capital in the First World War - London 1914-17: The Zeppelin Menace and London 1917-18: The Bomber Blitz. He also runs a website covering all of the First World War air raids.
Rank #18: Portillo's State Secrets
Researcher Tommy Norton introduces some of the 30 documents featured in the BBC 2 ten-part television series, Portillo's State Secrets. He also talks about the background to the series.
Originally a journalist on local newspapers and magazines, Tommy spent four years in The National Archives' press office. He is now an independent reesearcher.
Rank #19: The huns have got my gramophone: advertisements from the Great War
In the nineteenth century, Britain led the world in the production of illustrated books and magazines. By the 1890s, commercial artists often drew for both magazine publishers and advertisers, which gave a continuity of style. Some well-known 21st century brands were already spending heavily on advertising in the 1900s; they understood the value of advertising. And when war broke out in 1914, companies were quick to seize the opportunities which the war offered. They searched for new markets to replace their lost German trade, and invented new products. This talk outlines how the First World War changed the face of advertising.
Amanda-Jane Doran was the archivist at Punch magazine for 13 years. She is an expert in 19th century illustrated books and magazines, and she curated the exhibition Charles Stewart: Black and White Gothic, at the Royal Academy.
Andrew McCarthy directed the documentary film Toys For The Boys, which told the story of how Hew Kennedy built a full-size working replica of a medieval trebuchet (siege machine).
Andrew and Amanda co-wrote The huns have got my gramophone: Advertisements from The Great War (Bodleian Library, 2014).