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 From government records to true crime tales, these authoritative talks bring history to life, placing historical documents in societal context.

  • Audio contentLocation of the theft of the Jules Rimet Trophy (the World Cup), from Central Hall, Westminster. 1966. Catalogue reference: DPP2-4167

    England ’66: The best of times?

    It was a year when England won the World Cup and led the world in all aspects of popular culture, including pop music, fashion, and film. But it was also a time of sterling crises, wage and price freezes, and industrial strife. Contemporary specialist Mark Dunton looks […]

  • Video contentPathe: incensed patriots besiege pacifists in a London church.

    Pacifists besieged in a London church, First World War

    This footage shows a meeting of pacifists in a London church, which is interrupted by patriots. We see a large crowd outside the church, some trying to get in and then dragging people out, or throwing things through window. A chair […]

  • Audio contentPatella fracture. 1868. Catalogue reference: ADM101-139 (36)

    Writer of the Month: Richard Barnett on Crucial Interventions

    In this talk medical historian Richard Barnett explores surgery during the 19th century, from the application of antisepsis to experiments with hypnosis. What happened in the early operations that used anaesthesia, and why were patients initially reluctant to agree to it? Richard Barnett is a […]

  • Audio contentCHE activist Jackie Forster at Speakers Corner, Hyde Park, 1974

    Amiable Warriors: A History of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality

    The Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE) is the oldest surviving LGBT organisation in the UK. With more than 150 local branches and over 6,000 members, it has grown from a small regional committee lobbying for law reform with local MPs, […]

  • Video contentCivil rights march, 1966, Mississippi.

    Freedom march in Mississippi

    On June 29 1966, Civil rights campaigners gathered in Jackson, Mississippi, US, and marched into the centre of Jackson, a snapshot of which is captured in this British Pathe film. Fifty years on, The National Archives has launched an educational workshop for students […]

  • Audio contentThe Midwife and the Health Visitor. 1939-1946. Catalogue reference: INF3-1714

    Heidi Thomas: Researching Call the Midwife

    Screenwriter Heidi Thomas shares the process of transforming Jennifer Worth’s memoirs into the BBC period drama  ‘Call the Midwife’, a TV series about midwives working in the East End of London in the late 1950s.

  • Video contentPathe: German Children Paint Berlin Wall 1963

    German children paint the Berlin Wall

    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. This curious film shows the haunting paintings of children growing up […]

  • 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 […]

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