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December 19 2014

00:09

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.

December 14 2014

12:00

December 12 2014

00:09

Big Ideas: The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Cultural Value Project

The Arts and Humanities Research Council's Cultural Value Project was set up late in 2012 to address the dissatisfaction with the ways in which we understand and articulate the benefits of arts and culture. These tended to concentrate on the publicly-funded arts and, for that reason, were shaped by the demands of advocacy.

For the same reason they increasingly came to focus on the economic benefits because it was believed that that was what governments wished to hear. Professor Geoffrey Crossick presents an overview of the project. His talk indicates the range of research that it has funded and, in doing so, identifies the projects that have focused on archives, heritage and history.

Professor Geoffrey Crossick is Director of the AHRC's Cultural Value Project and Distinguished Professor of Humanities in the School of Advanced Study at the University of London. He is a historian and his main area of research has been the urban social history of 19th and 20th century Britain and continental Europe.

December 07 2014

12:00

December 05 2014

00:09

Writer of the month: Stories from behind the Berlin Wall

Hester Vaizey discusses her latest book, Born in the GDR: Living in the Shadow of the Wall, which reveals the everyday lives of citizens of the former German Democratic Republic.

The National Archives is again hosting a series of monthly talks to broaden awareness of historical records and their uses for writers. Each month, a high-profile author will talk about using original records in their writing.

Hester Vaizey is a University Lecturer in Modern German History and a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge. Her book Surviving Hitler's War: Family Life in Germany 1939-1948, was shortlisted for the Women's History Network Prize and won the Fraenkel Prize for Contemporary History.
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November 30 2014

12:00

November 28 2014

00:09

Paddy Ashdown: The Cruel Victory

Paddy Ashdown discusses his new book, The Cruel Victory, which tells the long-neglected D-Day story of the Resistance uprising and subsequent massacre on the Vercors massif – the largest action by the French Resistance during the Second World War.

Overlooked by English language histories, Ashdown sets the story in the context of D-Day, the muddle of politics and the many misjudgements of D-Day planners in both London and Algiers. Most importantly it also gives voice to the many fighters who fought to gain a stake in their country’s future.

Lord Paddy Ashdown served as a Royal Marine and as an intelligence officer for the UK security services before becoming a Member of Parliament for Yeovil from 1983 to 2001, and leader of the Liberal Democrats from 1988 until 1999. He was the international High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2002 to 2006 and was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George in 2006.

November 23 2014

12:00

November 21 2014

00:09

The Chevalier d'Eon: Transgender Diplomat at the Court of George III, 1763-1777

In 1763 peace broke out between France and Britain, ending the Seven Years War. The defeated superpower France was left nursing its wounds, as well as thoughts of revenge. While King Louis XV’s foreign minister sought to maintain the peace, the King’s spy network, ‘the King’s Secret’ (Secret du Roi) developed plans to invade England. These conflicting agendas were embodied in the Chevalier d’Eon, France’s minister in London. A Georgian Edward Snowden. Shortly after his arrival the Chevalier began publishing confidential diplomatic despatches and blackmailing his King. The Chevalier escaped assassination and imprisonment by becoming a woman in 1777.

Dr Jonathan Conlin teaches modern British history at the University of Southampton. Currently he is researching a biography of the Anglo-Armenian oil magnate Calouste Gulbenkian. His books include Tales of Two Cities: Paris, London and the Making of the Modern City.

November 18 2014

00:09

Putting it all together: using archives to discover your community’s involvement in the First World War

The names of the First World War dead are there for all to see, on war memorials all over the country. Many individuals and groups are researching the stories behind the names, but what about delving even deeper? There is even more to be learned about the men and women who also served, and survived the War, as well as the families and communities left behind.

Drawing on a wide variety of documents, in record offices, libraries and online, Audrey Collins shows how you can discover how a whole community was affected by the First World War. She uses as a case study the market town of Chesham in Buckinghamshire, but the techniques used are equally applicable to any locality.

Audrey Collins is family history specialist at The National Archives and she is a regular speaker at genealogical events and conferences in the UK and worldwide.

November 16 2014

12:00

November 14 2014

00:09

The civil service in the First World War

The First World War affected every sector of society, as the nation’s resources were harnessed for the war effort. Like other employers, the civil service lost staff to the armed forces and had to replace them while they were away. It also had to deal with a greatly increased workload during wartime. Records in The National Archives describe how civil servants coped with these conditions: an eye-witness account of a Zeppelin raid, sugar ration coupons, and details of a scheme for gathering conkers are just some of the documents used to build a picture of the role of the civil service in wartime.

Audrey Collins is family history specialist at The National Archives and she has been researching the history and development of the General Register Office for several years, which led to an interest in the wider civil service during the First World War. She is a regular speaker at genealogical events and conferences in the UK and worldwide.

November 09 2014

12:00

November 02 2014

12:00

October 31 2014

00:09

1974: forty years on

Mark Dunton looks back at UK National events in 1974 in this illustrated podcast. Drawing on the public records he highlights some unusual or little known aspects about the events of that year. 1974 was a difficult year in modern British history – the two general elections, the economic situation, the collapse of the Court Line air travel business for package holidays, the disaster at the Flixborough chemical plant, and IRA bombings – but some popular culture references remind us of lighter moments.

Mark Dunton specialises in researching the records of post-1945 Britain, including political, social and economic history and the policies of the Heath government in the early 1970s.

October 26 2014

12:00

October 24 2014

00:09

Writer of the month: Philippa Gregory

Philippa Gregory in conversation with Caroline Kimbell, discussing how she uses original records and introducing her new novel, The King’s Curse.

Philippa Gregory was already an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the novel The Other Boleyn Girl which was made into a TV drama, and a film. Six novels later, she looks at the family that preceded the Tudors: the Plantagenets, a family of complex rivalries, loves, and hatreds. Find out more about Philippa Gregory’s work.

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. We apologise for any reduction in sound quality.

00:09

Security Service file release October 2014

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 2014.

October 19 2014

12:00

October 17 2014

00:12

Maps: their untold stories

Drawn from seven centuries of maps of places around the globe held in The National Archives, Maps: their untold stories offers a fascinating and unusual journey through the world of maps.

Hear from the authors as they explain who made these maps, why they were made and what they tell us about the politics of the time. Mapmakers range from a native American and a Maori priest to Captain Cook and George Washington. Subject matter includes London before the Great Fire, a map of Czechoslovakia that Hitler gave to Neville Chamberlain, beautifully hand-drawn estate maps, battle plans from the First World War and earlier conflicts, and perhaps the earliest depiction of Santa Claus on a map. After the talk the authors will be signing copies of their book at our onsite bookshop.

Rose Mitchell and Andrew Janes are specialist map archivists at The National Archives and have many years of experience in advising the public on maps and related records. They have written and spoken about a broad range of map-related topics based on the rich holdings at The National Archives, from the use of maps in sixteenth century law courts to the Second World bomb census survey.

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