The National Archives Podcast SeriesAuthor: The National Archives
18 Aug 2017

The National Archives Podcast Series

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Listen to talks, lectures and other events presented by The National Archives of the United Kingdom.

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    A tormented Tudor queen's treasonous 'love letter'

    In this episode, Neil Johnston and Christopher Day discuss a letter written by Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII, to Thomas Culpeper, a groom of the King's Privy chamber. The document was part of a body of evidence collected against Catherine and Culpeper that ultimately led to their execution. It is now preserved at The National Archives.

    Here Neil Johnston explains how it is crucial to examine this letter in the context of Catherine's sexual past in order to understand how the queen accused of living "an abominable, base, carnal, voluptuous, vicious life" was effectively blackmailed into a path of action that led to her untimely death.

  • Posted on 01 Aug 2017

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    Sexuality under scrutiny in 1930s Soho

    In 1934, homosexual acts between men – in public and in private – were illegal in the UK. Police surveilled a number of social spaces across London suspected of permitting what the state then considered to be 'immoral activity' and in August conducted a raid on a venue in Soho called the Caravan Club. Possessions such as cosmetics and personal correspondence were confiscated from attendees and later offered as evidence in court.

    Vicky Iglikowski, The National Archives' Diverse History Records Specialist, discusses the content and context of a love letter found in the Caravan on that evening, and considers the difficult position it occupies now as both an important piece of LGBT history and a document that wasn't intended for publication.

    This podcast was produced as part of a series where archivists talk about the documents they think you should know about. You can view the rest of the series here.


    'Sam, the Old Accordian Man' by the Williams Sisters

    'Night Latch Key Blues' by Virginia Liston

  • Posted on 18 Jul 2017

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    Oscar Wilde's trial and imprisonment – a short play

    This short play explores the trial and imprisonment of Oscar Wilde. In 1895 the celebrated author and playwright was found guilty of gross indecency and sentenced to two years imprisonment, with hard labour. The words are taken directly from records held by The National Archives, particularly the petition that Wilde made to the Home Secretary seeking early release, and letters written about him to the governor of Reading Gaol.

    This play was first performed as part of The National Archives;' Victorian Crime night in October 2016 and was subsequently performed as part of 'Museums Showoff', 'OUTing the Past Festival' and a 'Queer and the State' event. Find out here how we brought Oscar Wilde's words to life.

    By Caroline Osborne-James

    Cast (in order of appearance):

    • Narrator: Lucy Fletcher
    • Oscar Wilde: Gary Thorpe
    • John Sholto Douglas (Marquess of Queensbury): Kevin Chambers
    • Lily Wilde: Fleur Soper
    • Chaplain: Liz Bryant
    • An Irishwoman: Clarissa Angus
    • More Adey: Jon Ryder-Oliver

  • Posted on 14 Jul 2017

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    Bombs, bulls and civilian bravery

    In this podcast The National Archives' Principal Military Specialist reveals some of his favourite stories about civilian gallantry from the First and Second World Wars, from the bravery of the youngest recipient of the George medal to a bizarre tale involving a bomb and some table tennis bats.

  • Posted on 04 Jul 2017

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    'A Bit of a Scratch', a radio drama about the battle against Venereal Disease during the First World War

    'A Bit of a Scratch' explores the first recorded prosecution under the Venereal Diseases Act 1917. The legislation was introduced due to the large numbers, roughly 5%, of UK troops returning from the First World War with venereal diseases and to ensure that treatment was undertaken by qualified medical professionals. The last century has seen remarkable developments in sexual health, however with rising numbers of sexually transmitted infections and the emergence of antimicrobial resistant disease, the provision of high quality sexual health services are more important than ever.

    This podcast was produced jointly with the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH). More information on the issues contained within this podcast can be found on the BASHH website and @BASHH_UK.

    By: Debbie Manship

    Cast (in order of appearance):

    • Narrator: Stephen McGann
    • Billy: Louis Cardona
    • Edie: Lowri Amies
    • Chemist: David Jarvis
    • Doctor: Peter Wickham
    • All other parts were played by members of the cast.
    • Composer: Chris Madin
    • Studio Engineer: Holly Parris
    • Director: Paul Dawson

    Produced by Role Call and iD Audio in association with M & F Health Communications"The British Army's fight against Venereal Disease in the 'Heroic Age of Prostitution'" by Richard Marshall is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

  • Posted on 16 Jun 2017


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