A good send-off in the strange new world of Covid-19

Dr Helen Frisby, independent historian Helen.Frisby@uwe.ac.uk Just over twelve months ago, fuelled by coffee, toasted bagels and an impending deadline, I noted in the concluding chapter of my book Traditions of Death and Burial how, over the past millennium: The ideal (if not always the practice) of a ‘good’ death nonetheless has remained remarkably consistent … Continued

The Pandemic Victorian Post Office

Professor David Green and Dr Laura Newman, King’s College London @PostalHealth Much has been written in the news lately about how best to protect the health of postal workers during a pandemic. At a time when we’re all beginning to reconsider what or who constitutes a ‘vital’ worker, it’s becoming increasingly apparent just how critical … Continued

On Epidemics and Loneliness

Professor David Vincent, Open University David.Vincent@open.ac.uk Prior to the outbreak of coronavirus there was widespread discussion by campaigners and social commentators of an ‘epidemic’ of loneliness.  On the basis of an extensive literature review, Keith Snell concluded that ‘Loneliness is now widely diagnosed as a modern “epidemic” or “plague”.’ Even before the current crisis, this … Continued

We need to talk about batteries not ‘Blitz spirit’

Dr Henry Irving, Leeds Beckett University @drhenryirving Is the toilet roll shortage a chapter or a footnote? The last few days have involved a lot of discussion of what ‘future historians’ will make of the UK government’s response to Covid-19, but there has been far less of the practical decisions that those working in the … Continued

The Enduring Romance of Waterscapes

Dr Andrew McTominey, Leeds Beckett University @123McTom Water has been in the news a fair amount recently. The torrid rains of February 2020 have once again highlighted the inadequate nature of flood defences across the country. Similarly, the partial collapse of Whaley Bridge Dam, Derbyshire in December 2019 reminded us of the fallibility of Victorian … Continued

Whispers Across Continents: In Search of the Robinsons

Dr Gareth Winrow, University of Oxford gareth@garethwinrow.org I knew that my Turkish friend, Ahmet Ceylan, came from an interesting family. His great uncle, known in Turkey as Ahmet Robenson, had introduced basketball and Scouting to the Ottoman Empire and was one of the first goalkeepers to play for the Galatasaray football team. What I did … Continued

A Cultural History of Disability in the Renaissance

Dr Susan Anderson, Sheffield Hallam University @DrSusanAnderson In around 1490, Leonardo da Vinci sketched a figure in one of his notebooks that has become known as the Vitruvian Man. As Leonardo’s notes record in his characteristic mirror-writing, the sketch is drawn according to the ideal proportions of the human body, as described by the Roman … Continued

Cultural History’s Absent Audience

Dr Christine Grandy, University of Lincoln cgrandy@lincoln.ac.uk Peter Mandler’s piece, ‘The Problem with Cultural History’, published in Cultural and Social History’s inaugural issue, did what all good methodological interventions in the field should – haunt the historian for years. His use of the term ‘throw’, as an elegant analogy for the transmission of cultural knowledge, … Continued

Singing the News: Ballads in Mid-Tudor England

Dr Jenni Hyde, Lancaster University j.hyde2@lancaster.ac.uk I came to history through music.  As a child, I loved folk songs, both traditional and contemporary, about the past.  I still do.  So you can imagine my delight when I found a set of ballads, or popular songs, on the downfall of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s right-hand man … Continued