• Audio contentA podcast about the court case that banned Radclyffe Hall's book 'The Well of Loneliness', a 1920s lesbian novel.

    Unfolding the court case that banned a 1920s lesbian novel

    In 1928 Radclyffe Hall wrote ‘The Well of Loneliness’, a novel that featured female characters in same-sex relationships. Shortly after it was published, the Sunday Express called for the book to be suppressed and urged the Home Office to censor it. Despite…

  • Audio contentStill from 1950s film

    The last thing we need is a sequel: postwar cinema at The National Archives

    The National Archives’ exploration of the British government’s uneasy relationship with the film industry continues. From groundbreaking social dramas and Oscar-winning hits to obscure Swedish erotic documentaries, our documents shed light on four decades of cinematic history. We see what…

  • Audio contentcust-49-1057-well-of-loneliness

    Fictional obscenities: lesbianism and censorship in the early 20th century

    How was the concept of obscenity governed in the absence of specific statutes that defined what was and was not obscene? To what extent was this governance an effect of the time and place in which it emerged? Drawing on…

  • Audio contentCatalogue reference: WORK 25/2083D

    The National Archives goes to the movies

    Trace the history of cinema in Britain through the collections of The National Archives. From silent classics and lost masterpieces to the controversial cult films of the 1970s, see how politicians and civil servants grappled with the new medium and…

  • Audio contentext-5-19-7-us-comic-cited-as-an-example-of-the-need-to-prevent-the-sale-of-unsuitable-comics-to-children--1954-1955

    Kapow! Fifties Britain versus the comics menace

    In the mid 1950s Britain woke up to the threat of an invasion: “American style” comics were accused of ruining the reading habits of vulnerable children across the country and even inciting racism and violence. Could Captain Marvel cause crime?…

  • Audio contentc81-1352-59-detail-signature-of-richard-ii-26-july-1386

    Was Richard II mad?

    Terry Jones, ‘Python’, historian, broadcaster, actor, director and comedian, has called King Richard II a ‘victim of spin’. Here he sets out to rescue his reputation and lift the lid on the turbulent world of 14th century politics. Terry Jones…

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