History in the News: January 2021

Welcome to History in the News! It’s pretty self explanatory… but please comment if you have any suggestions! News 5 January: A set of bones has been found in the walls of a 1860s monastery. BBC News. 7 January: University College London apologises for it’s links to eugenics, including coiner of the term, Francis Galton. […]

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Primo Levi in Quotes

Wednesday 27th January 2021, was Holocaust memorial day; it has been 76 years since the liberation of Auschwitz. And every person, whether you’re a Holocaust scholar or have never even heard of Primo Levi, should learn about this loquacious man. Here I use his own quotes to (hopefully) explain why Levi is so important to […]

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Calendars: From Roman to Gregorian and Beyond

Isn’t the history of the calendar oh so very simple and… oh… no? Well, I hope I break this down for you then. Roman Calendars (509 – 45 BC) Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as saying ‘there’s a roman calendar and here are the dates when it was used’, there are many versions of Roman […]

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Coca-Cola Did Not Invent Santa

Yesterday on Instagram I saw a influencer I follow post a “fact” on her stories that the “image we know of Santa, with his red coat and rosy cheeks was invented by Coca-Cola in 1931”. While not entirely untrue it’s…mostly untrue. So let’s unpack this. St Nicholas of Myra Santa Claus originates from St Nicholas […]

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The Stephen Ward Tape

I have chosen to begin this journey into the world of archives with the subject of my first thesis: the Profumo Affair. Stephen Ward I have mixed feelings about the name ‘The Profumo Affair’ as the events that unfolded in June 1963 were about so much more than a six week affair between John Profumo, […]

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Derek Bentley: A Victim of British Justice

The story of Derek Bentley has become synonymous with the phrase ‘let him have it’, something that Bentley allegedly shouted to Christopher Craig on 2nd November 1952. This one sentence cost Bentley his life and subsequently put massive pressure on Parliament to finally abolish the death penalty in the UK. But what actually happened up […]

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Compensation for Camps

On 9th June 1964 the Federal Republic of Germany agreed to provide the British Government with £1 Million to compensate those who had suffered persecution at the hands of the Nazi regime. Although this seems like a positive idea, it posed many difficult questions: how do people apply? What is the criteria? How much will […]

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The Pimping of the Poppy

Lest We Forget. For nearly 100 years the Poppy has been the symbol of remembrance of the First World War; but has the Poppy become a status symbol, a symbol of identity instead of remembrance? The Poppy, 1921 – 2019 We, the British, have come to see the Poppy as ours, but that’s not strictly true. […]

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THE STANDARD UFO LETTER

So, here’s something I didn’t know, back in the day you could write to the MOD (Ministry of Defence) about a “unidentified flying object” and receive back a ‘Standard UFO Letter’. Unless there is evidence of a potential threat to the United Kingdom from an external source, and to date no ‘UFO’ report has revealed […]

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…Boris and Profumo

As the Tory leadership contest is coming to a close, I’ve been thinking a lot about 1963 and an incident that brought down the Harold Macmillan’s Conservative government. Scandal In 1961 John Profumo, the Minister for War, had a six week affair with dancer/model/says-she-was-never-a-call-girl, Christine Keeler. The affair didn’t last very long and was relatively […]

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