Latest from the H for History blog

Our love of The White Queen

Posted on: 01/08/2013 with tags: Philippa Gregory, strong women, Television, the white queen

  All of us at H for History are completely gripped by the BBC television series The White Queen, which is based on Philippa Gregory’s Cousins’ War series of novels, and delighted that another historical drama is proving so successful. It is a particularly lavish production (rumoured to have cost £25 million), with wonderful costumes and sets, though not even that amount of money can ensure the avoidance of certain anachronisms! What we love most, however, are the really meaty female roles…

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Historical fiction on the Booker longlist

Posted on: 31/07/2013 with tags: booker longlist, Booker Prize

Last Tuesday, 23rd July, the longlist for the Man Booker Prize 2013 was announced: Five Star Billionaire, Tash Aw (Fourth Estate) We Need New Names, NoViolet Bulawayo (Chatto & Windus) The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton (Granta)* Harvest, Jim Crace (Picador)* The Marrying of Chani Kaufman, Eve Harris (Sandstone Press) The Kills, Richard House (Picador) The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri (Bloomsbury)* Unexploded, Alison MacLeod (Hamish Hamilton)* TransAtlantic, Colum McCann (Bloomsbury)* Almost English,…

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Jane Austen will appear on £10 notes

Posted on: 31/07/2013 with tags: janes austen, pride and prejudice, Victorian

At a press conference last week, the new Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, confirmed that Jane Austen will appear on £10 notes (though not until 2017). The announcement followed a high-profile campaign earlier this year against the prospect of having no women – apart from the Queen – on British currency (Winston Churchill will replace Elizabeth Fry on the £5 note from 2016). Carney said of Austen: ‘Her novels have an enduring and universal appeal and she is recognised as one of the greatest…

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S D Sykes explores medieval toilets

Posted on: 29/07/2013 with tags: medieval toilet, s d sykes, weald and downland open air museum, Medieval

I love history. Of course I do, having just spent the last year writing a historical crime novel. But if I had to pick out one area which particularly appealed to me it would be the study of everyday life. The houses people lived in. The beds they slept in. The food they ate. And yes, where they went to the toilet. And it seems I’m not alone in this fascination. Last weekend I spent the day at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum near Chichester, an amazing place where buildings have been save…

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Paris, Bastille Day and the French Revolution

Posted on: 15/07/2013 with tags: bastille day, edward rutherfurd, french revolution, paris, European, World History

The French are well-known for their stubborn attitude towards anything that may threaten their liberté, égalité or fraternité, the mantra which arose from the French Revolution and which has stuck firmly ever since. Bastille Day, celebrated every year on the 14th July, commemorates the storming of the massive Bastille fortress-prison on the same day in 1789, an act which was seen to represent the uprising of the modern nation. Held there were many would-be revolutionaries, arbitrarily imprisoned…

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Royal births, christenings and scandals

Posted on: 12/07/2013 with tags: Royal family, Steve Berry, The King's Deception

With the next royal to be added to the line of succession expected to make his or her way into the world any day now, and with the buzz of expectation reaching fever pitch, we decided to explore other royal births, christenings and scandals. Here are some of the interesting facts we discovered: The last baby to be born in a royal palace was Lady Sarah Chatto, daughter of Princess Margaret. She was born in Kensington Palace on 1st May, 1964. Queen Victoria was the first royal to give birth under…

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