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History is everywhere in popular culture. But the truth is harder to find. On the Record is a podcast by The National Archives of the UK that takes a closer look at the stories you think you know. At The National Archives, we are the guardians of more than 11 million historical government and public records spanning a thousand years of British history. These original documents hold thousands of incredible stories...if you know where to look. Follow us on Twitter @UkNatArchives
 
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show series
 
There are over 900 years of immigration records available for research here at The National Archives. Over the next three episodes, we’re exploring the rich history of migration in the 20th century. In 1962, the Commonwealth Immigrants Act limited the freedom of movement for citizens born outside of the UK. In our final episode, we explore the rise…
 
There are over 900 years of immigration records available for research here at The National Archives. Over the next three episodes, we’re exploring the rich history of migration in the 20th century. In this episode, we’re looking at two different migration experiences shaped by the British Nationality Act of 1948. For our first story, we explore th…
 
There are over 900 years of immigration records available for research here at The National Archives. Over the next three episodes, we’re exploring the rich history of migration in the 20th century. This first episode begins with the story of an English woman who loses her citizenship because of who she chooses to marry, and a British citizen arres…
 
There are over 900 years of immigration records available for research here at The National Archives. In our latest three-part podcast series, we’re exploring the rich history of migration in the 20th century. This series focuses on three major Acts that highlight shifts in policy around migration and citizenship over the past 100 years. We feature…
 
In the aftermath of war and pandemic, approximately 8.5 million householders in England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man completed the 1921 census. In this episode, we’re exploring the enormous digitisation project undertaken by Findmypast and asking our family history specialists what to expect when we get to see the census in early…
 
In June 1921, approximately 8.5 million householders in England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man completed the census. For just about 100 years the records have been closed to the public and securely stored but in early 2022 they will be available on Findmypast. A window into the lives of nearly 38 million people will be opened. In t…
 
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’re silencing our phones, dimming the lights, and digging into 65 years of informative, odd, sad, scary, an…
 
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 years of informative, odd, sad, scary, and funny public information films.…
 
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 this special podcast episode we explore how nearly 100 years later five core archival partners are collabor…
 
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 special podcast episode explores how nearly 100 years later five core archival partners are collaborating…
 
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 the calling card that led to Oscar Wilde’s downfall. Then, we explore how our trial records preserve evidence…
 
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 high seas. Then a barrister and historian explains the origins of trial by jury, how juries have evolved ove…
 
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 landowners fighting to the death in a castle, and some facts about duels. Tune in to hear stories and hist…
 
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 well as legal evidence preserved in our archives which reveal LGBTQ+ spaces otherwise lost to history. You…
 
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/AIDS epidemic. Hear unique insights and stories from our records and learn about the long history of publi…
 
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 special bonus episode to investigate four stories of epidemics and outbreaks from 600 years of British histor…
 
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 St. Bart’s hospital in London would survive for another 600 years. Brave young Nellie Spindler lied about …
 
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 this episode, we’re sharing three stories of individuals whose bravery and heroic deeds made a big impact o…
 
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-war period and Du Bois’ interest in London as a site for Black leaders from around the world to gather. The…
 
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 national documents, so in these episodes, you’ll hear about spies parachuting into enemy territories and knight…
 
“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 episode, we’ve joined forces with the Royal Air Force and the Royal Air Force Museum to commemorate the fe…
 
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 the documents, as two of our records specialists interview their own parents about their refugee experienc…
 
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 his wife faced a terrible choice: enter the workhouse and be separated after 49 years of marriage or try t…
 
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 after the Race Riots. Faced with the prospect of returning to Jamaica without his wife and child, he wrote…
 
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 the characters you’ll meet in this episode, which features three stories of disappointed and forbidden love…
 
In 1965, Britain passed the Race Relations Act, which made it illegal to refuse service on the basis of race. To some, it looked like progress, while some anti-racist activists were critical. In this episode, we’re going to examine two stories of Black people in 1960s and 70s Britain using the legal system to fight racism and discrimination. Lorne …
 
The campaign for women’s suffrage is often characterised by its militant factions and leaders like Emmeline Pankhurst who used bombs and destruction of property to get their message across. That characterisation is accurate, but it’s not the whole story. In fact, militant suffrage actions didn’t begin with the Women’s Social and Political Union...o…
 
In 1990, a march in protest of the government’s poll tax turned violent as police and marchers clashed. The Poll Tax Riots became one of the most infamous protests in recent British history. But this wasn’t the first time protesters rioted and set fires in London to show their anger at a poll tax. In fact, 600 years earlier, the first mass uprising…
 
The Cambridge Five are perhaps the most infamous spy ring of the 20th century. They worked their way into the upper ranks of British Intelligence in order to spy for the Soviets, betraying their country and causing the deaths of dozens of British agents. So why were none of them ever prosecuted? How did they get away with it? In this episode, we us…
 
The exploits of T.E. Lawrence are legendary. Thanks to the famous film Lawrence of Arabia, millions around the world know about his time spying and fighting in the Middle East during the First World War...or at least they think they do. In this episode, we use the records in our collection to debunk the mythology around Lawrence. We also share the …
 
Right now, as you read this description, a spy is gathering intelligence, reading classified information, and hiding in plain sight. But what do spies actually look like? What do they do? What motivates them to enter such a secretive profession? In this episode, we use the documents in our collection and expert insight to go beyond the popular imag…
 
History is everywhere in our popular culture. But the truth is harder to find. On the Record is a podcast by The National Archives that takes a closer look at the stories you think you know. At The National Archives, we are the guardians of more than 11 million historical government and public records spanning a thousand years of British history. T…
 
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