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This year is the 800th anniversary of the granting of Magna Carta – King John’s Great Charter. This charter guaranteed a number of vital rights and privileges and is still seen as being the foundation of many modern liberties. To mark this important anniversary, we are holding a range of events and exhibitions.
In this discussion chaired by Dr Sophie Ambler world experts come together to debate the importance of Magna Carta.
Nicholas Vincent, Professor of Medieval History at University of East Anglia, is an expert on 12th and 13th century English and European political and administrative history, and author of Magna Carta: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2012). He is the Honorary Secretary of the Pipe Roll Society.
Louise Wilkinson, Professor of Medieval History, Christ Church College Canterbury, is an expert on women in the age of Magna Carta, and 13th-century political and administrative history. She is the honorary General Editor of the Pipe Roll Society.
Paul Brand, Professor of English Legal History and Emeritus Fellow at All Souls Oxford, is an expert on English and Irish legal history, specialising in 13th-century law. He is the Honorary Treasurer of the Pipe Roll Society.
David Crook, formerly of The National Archives, is one of the leading experts on medieval records and forest law.
David Carpenter, Professor of Medieval History at King’s College London, is an expert on the reign of Henry III (1216-72) and author of Magna Carta (Penguin, 2015).
The preparations had been made well in advance. Now Britain was at war, and as the uniformed army prepared to face the enemy, a civilian army was mobilised at home. National Registration Officers, registrars, and 65,000 enumerators set about the huge task of registering every man, woman and child in a single weekend. It all went remarkably smoothly. This is the story of the 1939 Register for England and Wales, how it was taken, and what happened next.
Over a million Indian soldiers fought in the First World War, many travelling from remote villages in India to the muddy trenches of France and Flanders.
In her book For King and Another Country, writer and journalist, Shrabani Basu, delves into archives in Britain and narratives buried in villages in India and Pakistan. She recreates the War through the eyes of the Indians who fought it, and examines how the war led, ultimately, to the call for independence.
'Battle is not a game to plug into a computer but a piece of living history: messy, bloody and real.'
Richard Overy, Professor of History at the University of Exeter, Fellow of the British Academy and Member of the European Academy for Science and Arts, will discuss his latest book that distils the history of warfare into 100 momentous battles, recording epic moments that have shaped our world.
This presentation introduces the concept of Freedom of Memory, which Elizabeth is currently developing. The talk proposes a possible definition for this potential new human right and explain why such a Freedom is necessary at this point in time. The presentation identifies both the benefits and responsibilities arising from Freedom of Memory. This session will also encourage discussion with attendees to consider whether such a freedom is necessary, how it could be improved and in what fora this concept could fruitfully be developed.
Elizabeth Oxborrow-Cowan is a professional Archivist and qualified Management Consultant. She has run her own consultancy since 2003, working right across the archives sector throughout the UK as well as with policy bodies and professional organisations.
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 October 2015.
Stephen Twigge head of modern collections at The National Archives in conversation with Professor Christoper Andrew former official historian of MI5 and author of 'The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5', and Gill Bennett former chief historian of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, discussing one of the most famous spy cases in history along with some other highlights from the release of Security Service files to The National Archives in October 2015.
Barbara Hepworth’s life and work examined through records held by selected archives, including The National Archives and the Tate archives, marking the 40th anniversary of her death
Inga Fraser is Assistant Curator of Modern British Art 1890-1945 at Tate Britain and assistant to curators of the exhibition, Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World at Tate Britain. Briony Paxman is a modern records specialist at The National Archives.
Morwenna Roche and Bianca Rossmann from Tate Archives discuss their project to catalogue Barbara Hepworth’s personal and professional papers, which provide a fascinating and rich insight into her life and work.
This podcast was recorded live in July 2015, as part of an afternoon of events at The National Archives, Kew.
We apologise for the variable sound quality of this podcast.
When Britain's Empire went to war in August 1914, rugby players were among the first men to volunteer. Leading from the front, they paid a high price. After four long years, Armistice came and it was time to play rugby again. In 1919, Twickenham saw the crowning of the first ever rugby world champions.
Hear award-winning author, Stephen Cooper, tell the story behind his new book, After the Final Whistle: The First Rugby World Cup and The First World War. Stephen is also the winner of Rugby Book of the Year 2013 with his previous First World War sporting work, The Final Whistle: The Great War in Fifteen Players
Our collection of First World War records is one of the largest in the world. It includes, among many other documents, service records, letters, diaries, maps and photographs. Part of Britain's folk memory of the First World War is of long lines of Tommies bravely going over the top, resolutely kicking and passing a football as they walked into a hail of machine gun fire.
Iain Adams, of the International Football Institute, looks at what really happened when the London Irish Rifles performed the first football charge at the Battle of Loos on 25 September 1915.
The International Football Institute is a research partnership between the University of Central Lancashire and the National Football Museum.
In 1939, on the eve of the Second World War, the British government introduced an Act that would allow them to gather vital information about the country's population. This information would inform their decisions on identity cards, rationing and conscription.
The night of 29 September 1939 was National Registration Night, and that evening, at 6:30pm, the Registrar General broadcast this message to the nation.
In our collection we have the script (catalogue reference RG 28/164) of the Registrar General's broadcast, read here by Gary Thorpe.
Emily Ward-Willis explains how to research the local history of an area, using the Mortlake Terrace shops in Kew as a case study.
The talk will show how you can use records held by The National Archives, and other archives and local studies centres, to research local history.
This talk was recorded live as part of the Know Your Place festival, a celebration of the heritage of Richmond upon Thames. We apologise for any intermittent reduction in sound quality.
Peter Doggett argues that from the birth of recording in the 19th century to the digital age, popular music has transformed the world in which we live. It has influenced our morals and social mores; it has transformed our attitudes towards race and gender, religion and politics.
Peter Doggett has been writing about popular music and cultural history for more than 30 years. He is the author of Electric shock: From the gramophone to the iPhone – 125 years of pop music, his history of popular music and its impact on everyday life from 1890 to the present day.
This podcast was recorded live as part of the Writer of the month series, which broadens awareness of historical records and their uses for writers.
The 1930s saw a resurgence of interest in local knowledge and traditions, and intense debate about how it might be possible to ‘go modern’ while honouring the past. Alexandra Harris looks back on her research for Romantic Moderns, remembering how she followed modern British artists and writers as they went ‘on pilgrimage in England’. She also shows how that pilgrimage led her far back into Roman and Anglo-Saxon history in a quest to find out how the English weather has been differently imagined across the centuries.
Alexandra Harris is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Liverpool, a BBC New Generation Thinker, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She won the Guardian First Book Award and a Somerset Maugham Award for her first book, Romantic Moderns: English writers, artists and the imagination, from Virginia Woolf to John Piper. Her literary history of English weather will be published this autumn.
Ross Mahoney’s talk is based on sources ranging from operational records held by The National Archives to some of the personal recollections found at other archival institutions and in the memoirs of retired officers. By bringing these together he highlights the difficulties faced by the RAF as it sought to innovate and adapt to the strategic, operational and tactical challenges that it confronted during the inter-war years.
Ross Mahoney is the resident Aviation Historian at Royal Air Force Museum. His research interests include air power history, theory and doctrine, military leadership, military culture, military innovation, and the history of professional military education. In 2011, he was made a West Point Fellow in Military History at the United States Military Academy.
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 August 2015.
Ruth Sillers talks about, and performs extracts, from her audio book compilation, War Girls. The study is a commemoration of the remarkable and largely unsung experiences of women in the First World War told in their own words. Some are writings of well-known poets and novelists, but many more are the stories of ordinary women living in extraordinary times. These are stories not just of hardship and suffering but joy and excitement at the new opportunities opening up for women.
Ruth Sillers has performed in theatre and on television and radio. She has recorded numerous audio books for BBC Audiobooks and many other publishers. Recent recordings include classic short stories by Jane Austen, Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf and Rosie Alison's The Very Thought of You, nominated for the Orange Prize.
By taking two men who fought at Waterloo and exploring how different records bring their careers to life, Carole Divall demonstrates the hidden stories that can be found within army records.
Carole Divall is a former teacher and now researches, writes and lectures on the Revolutionary Wars.
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.
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