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On the Record at The National Archives

A weekly History, TV and Film podcast
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Episodes of On the Record at The National Archives

In the 1940s, the British government discovered the power of film to inform, promote, and persuade the public, and they created the Central Office of Information to create strategic media campaigns on all kinds of subjects. In this episode, we’
In the 1940s, the British government discovered the power of film to inform, promote, and persuade the public, and created the Central Office of Information. In this episode, we’re silencing our phones, dimming the lights, and digging into 65 y
On 30 June 1922 the Public Record Office of Ireland was destroyed by fire in the opening engagement of the Irish Civil War. Historians have long considered the 700 years of records that the building contained as tragically lost to history. In t
On 30 June 1922 the Public Record Office of Ireland was destroyed by fire in the opening engagement of the Irish Civil War. Historians have long considered the 700 years of records that the building contained as tragically lost to history. This
In the final episode of this series on our most intriguing and significant trial records, we’re taking a closer look at the evidence. First, we examine pieces of courtroom evidence like a red suit seized from a LGBTQ+ space in the 1930s and th
In the second episode in our mini-series on trial records, we look at the long and colourful history of trial by jury. First, we hear about the sensational Victorian case of two sailors who resorted to cannibalism after being stranded on the h
In the first installment of a three-part series on our trial records, we’re examining the history of trials by ordeal and combat. This episode has witch trials, defamation lawsuits from accused witches, myth-busting, strong-men for hire, Irish
In our latest three-part podcast series, we are exploring stories from our collection which tell the history of trials, from witch trials and trial by combat to today’s legal system. In the series you’ll hear about a famous cannibalism case as
Over the last 600 years, Britain has faced its fair share of public health crises. In this episode, we are investigating four deadly pandemics and epidemics that changed life in the UK: the Black Death, cholera, the 1918 influenza, and the HIV
Over the centuries, Britain has faced its fair share of public health crises and recently we have seen an increase in interest in our records about them. As we near the one year mark since the first UK lockdown due to COVID-19, we’ve made a sp
Illustrator Louis Wain changed the way we think about cats and dedicated his life to improving their welfare. Richard Whittington is the real man behind the story of Dick Whittington and his Cat, and his 15th century charity helped ensure that
A British spy named Pearl jumps from a plane under cover of night. A Thai shopkeeper named Boonpong decides to risk everything for strangers from the other side of the world. A knight named George defies a Roman Emperor and kills a dragon. In t
In 1921, W.E.B. Du Bois (the African American thinker and NAACP co-founder) sent a letter to Winston Churchill with a rather interesting request. A closer look at this letter illuminates the Pan-African and anti-colonial activism of the inter-w
In this three-part series we’re exploring stories in our collection with the theme of heroic deeds. As our long-time listeners will know, we like to go off the beaten path when it comes to telling the thousands of stories preserved in our natio
“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” That iconic Churchill line has framed our remembrance of the Battle of Britain for 80 years. But it’s also been said that the few were supported by the many. In this
To mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain we have joined forces with the Royal Air Force and the Royal Air Force Museum to share some lesser-known stories of Britain’s great defence of our skies.
Refugee Week is an annual event that celebrates the contributions of refugees to Britain. Many refugee stories have found their way onto our repository shelves. In this special episode, we’re sharing just a few of them. We’re also going beyond
To mark Refugee Week we are sharing just a few refugee stories from our vast collection. In a special episode we will also be going beyond the documents, as two of our records specialists interview their own parents about their refugee experien
In 1936, Edward VIII abdicated the throne of England to be with the woman he loved. It’s widely considered to be one of the greatest love stories of the 20th century. But is it really? A century earlier, an elderly pauper named Daniel Rush and
In 1936, Edward VIII abdicated the throne of England to be with the woman he loved. It’s widely considered to be one of the greatest love stories of the 20th century. But is it really? A century earlier, an elderly pauper named Daniel Rush and
In 1588, Queen Elizabeth received a letter from her friend the Earl of Leicester just a few days before he died. She kept the letter by her bed for the next 15 years. In 1919, a Jamaican sailor named James Gillespie was forced to leave Cardiff
A love struck medieval clerk writing out romantic lyrics as he daydreams, a gay man in the 1930s who tears up a letter to his lover to hide it from the police, two women who defy 18th century conventions to marry in secret...these are some of t
With Love. In our latest mini-series we’re re-reading famous love letters preserved in our archives and reading between the lines of less obviously romantic records to discover the love-stories of everyday people from the last 500 years.
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