Social history

Find podcasts relating to social history. From government records to true crime tales, these authoritative talks bring history to life, placing historical documents in societal context.

  • Video contentPathe film: the power of the atom

    The power of the atom

    The National Archives education team’s film of the month highlights a Pathé film relating to current events, anniversaries or key topics that you may be covering in the classroom. It’s sixty years since Britain opened its first nuclear power station, […]

  • Video content

    Webinar: Using the 1939 Register, recording the UK population before the war

    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 […]

  • Video content2016 Pathe film of the month

    Married men conscripted – last farewells in London

    The National Archives education team’s film of the month highlights a Pathé film relating to current events, anniversaries or key topics that you may be covering in the classroom. It’s 100 years ago this month since conscription was introduced in […]

  • Audio contentCover of Electric shock, by Peter Doggett (Bodley Head 2015)

    Writer of the month: Peter Doggett – Electric shock: From the gramophone to the iPhone

    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 […]

  • Audio contentWomen constructing part of airship, 1916 (catalogue reference AIR 1/2307/215/19)

    War Girls – poetry and prose by women in the First World War

    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 […]

  • Audio contentIn These Times: Living in Britain through Napoleon’s Wars, 1793-1815, by Jenny Uglow

    Writer of the month: Jenny Uglow

    Author, critic, and historian, Jenny Uglow, talks about her book, In These Times: Living in Britain through Napoleon’s Wars, 1793-1815. This podcast was recorded live as part of the Writer of the month series, which broadens awareness of historical records […]

  • Audio contentBlouses for Women War Workers, 1916 (catalogue reference ZPER 34/148)

    Big Ideas: The women’s war in the Middle East – women’s First World War service in Egypt, Gallipoli, Mesopotamia and Palestine

    Nadia Atia is Lecturer in World Literature at Queen Mary, University of London. Her research examines the literature and cultural history of the First World War outside Europe. Her work explores how ideologies of race and empire shaped the ways […]

  • Audio contentPolice Notice Boards Anti-Aircraft poster, 1915 (catalogue reference MEPO 2/1621)

    ‘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 […]

  • Video contentPoster: Women clerks for service in France (catalogue reference NATS 1/109 (2))

    Webinar: Tracing your ancestors – women in the military services during the First World War

    Emily Stidston hosts this webinar which introduces women’s service and other records from 1914 to 1918 and beyond. These records include Army, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, Merchant Navy, nursing services and voluntary organisations. You can download a PDF of […]

  • Audio contentFanny and Stella, by Neil McKenna

    Fanny and Stella: the young men who shocked Victorian England

    The gripping story of the trial that shook Victorian England – a tale of cross-dressing, cross-examinations and the invention of camp, shortlisted for the Stonewall Awards 2013 (Writer of the Year) and for the 2013 Green Carnation Prize. Neil McKenna, […]

  • Audio contentMusical score with secret writing, 1915 (catalogue reference KV 1/74 f34)

    Arts and Inspiration Day at The National Archives 2014: Music and lyrics

    Jo Pugh reveals the music, lyrics and poetry lurking in diverse records, from Thomas Byrd’s pupil, John Bull to songs from Second World War prisoner of war camps. Arts and Inspiration Day is a free event for students thinking of […]

  • Audio contentMusical score with secret writing, 1915 (catalogue reference KV 1/74 f34)

    Arts and Inspiration Day at The National Archives 2014: Propaganda

    Simon Demissie looks at Propaganda through the records held at The National Archives, including the wartime posters in INF 3 and the 1970s ‘Protect and Survive’ Public Information Films. Arts and Inspiration Day is a free event for students thinking […]

  • Audio contentMusical score with secret writing, 1915 (catalogue reference KV 1/74 f34)

    Arts and Inspiration Day at The National Archives 2014: Design history and material culture

    Julie Halls discusses design history and material culture as a potential area for research. Arts and Inspiration Day is a free event for students thinking of future PhD study which introduces the research potential of The National Archives’ collection. This […]

  • Audio contentCato Street conspiracy, 1820 (catalogue reference HO 44/4 (16))

    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 […]

  • Audio contentLondon railway terminus by Grace Golden (catalogue reference INF 3/1740)

    Tracing railway ancestors

    The National Archives holds a vast collection of railway related material, a legacy passed down by hundreds of railway companies which operated in all corners of the UK from 1825 to 1947. Much of this material provides opportunities for local […]

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