Flinging off her heels under shellfire in Civil War Spain. Taking tea with Hitler after a Nuremberg rally. Gossipping with Churchill by his goldfish pond. The pioneering 1930s female war correspondent Virginia Cowles did all of these things.

In this special episode, we’re joined by not one, but two experts to discuss the life of the trailblazing Virginia Cowles.

The first is the author Judith Mackrell, whose most recent book, Going with the Boys, follows six women journalists, including Virginia, who reported on the Second World War. The second is multi-award winning journalist and senior foreign correspondent for the Sunday Times, Christina Lamb, who has written the foreword to the re-issue of Virginia’s memoir. 

We join Virginia in 1938 as she reports from a Europe on the brink of the Second World War. 

As ever, maps, images and much more about this episode is to be found at our website tttpodcast.com.

Click here to order Virginia Cowles' and Judith Mackrell's book from John Sandoe’s who, we are delighted to say, are supplying books for the podcast.

Show notes

Scene One: September, Nuremberg. Virginia attends a Nuremberg Rally and afterwards has a mind boggling conversation with Unity Mitford, a close friend of Hitler’s.

Scene Two: August, Prague. Virginia speaks to Czech citizens who fear imminent German aggression. 

Scene Three: October, London. Virginia has a conversation with Neville Chamberlain in the aftermath of the Munich Agreement. 

Memento: Christina chooses Virginia’s high heels, and Judith chooses one of the Nazi government’s traditional new year posters depicting an image of a helmeted German soldier with the caption “1939”.

People/Social

Presenter: Artemis Irvine

Guest: Christina Lamb and Judith Mackrell

Production: Maria Nolan

Podcast partner: Unseen Histories

Follow us on Twitter: @tttpodcast_

Or on Facebook

See where 1938 fits on our Timeline 

 

Historians often refer to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I as being England’s Golden Age. And of all the forty-five years in which she was the monarch, the year 1588 stands out as the most dramatic. It was a year of peril, a year of valour and a year of heartbreak.

In this episode bestselling historian and novelist Tracy Borman takes us back to the anxiety-ridden days of 1588. We watch on as the queen makes a speech that will pass into legend. We hover close by as one of her most famous portraits is painted. And we see the end of a tragic tale, as Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, dies.

While various events compete for attention throughout that summer – the arrival of the Armada, Leicester’s health - Elizabeth remains at the heart of everything. As Tracy Borman argues (and Violet Moller agrees), she was a queen to outrank all of the others.

As ever, maps, images and much more about this episode is to be found at our website tttpodcast.com.

Click here to order Tracy Borman’s book from John Sandoe’s who, we are delighted to say, are supplying books for the podcast.

Show notes

Scene One: 9 August, 1588. Tilbury. As Philip II’s Armada is blown up the English Channel by a decidedly Protestant wind, Elizabeth rallies her troops at Tilbury, dressed in a breastplate and plumed helmet.

Scene Two: August/September, 1588. The painting of the Armada portrait. Elizabeth celebrates victory over Philip of Spain by ordering a pearl-spangled dress to wear for a glittering new portrait, filled with symbolism and hidden meaning.

Scene Three: 4 September, 1588, Oxfordshire. Elizabeth’s closest friend and love of her life Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, dies in Oxfordshire leaving her heartbroken.

Memento: The plumed helmet that Elizabeth wore when she delivered her Tilbury Speech.

People/Social

Presenter: Violet Moller

Guest: Tracy Borman

Production: Maria Nolan

Podcast partner: Unseen Histories

Follow us on Twitter: @tttpodcast_

Or on Facebook

See where 1588 fits on our Timeline 

On this Remembrance Day the eminent historian Robert Lyman takes us to Burma, a country that was the crucible of action for a range of competing powers in the Second World War. In Burma the invading Japanese confronted the British, India, Chinese and Americans in a story that really became, as Lyman makes plain, ‘a war of empires.’

*

For thirty years Robert Lyman has been studying the war in the Far East. While not as well-known as the conflict with the Nazis in Europe, events in south east Asia were crucial. The fortunes of the allied armies there did not only lead to VJ Day in 1945, they also had a powerful effect in shaping the post-war world that followed.

In this episode Lyman takes us back to the Indian/Burman border on the cusp of 1944. He explains how a revitalised Indian army and an incredibly talented British general, Bill Slim, were about to combine to tremendous effect.

As ever, much, much more about this episode is to be found at our website tttpodcast.com.

Robert Lyman is the author of the new book, A War of Empires: Japan, India, Burma and Britain. Click here to order Robert’s book from John Sandoe’s who, we are delighted to say, are supplying books for the podcast.

This episode is supported by Osprey Publishing.

Show notes

Scene One: The Chindwin River, December 1943, on the border between India and Burma. Men of the Madras Regiment, Indian Army

Scene Two: 1st June 1944, Chief of Imperial General Staff’s office (General Sir Alan Brooke), War Office, Whitehall, London

Scene Three: 10 September 1944, Sittaung, Chindwin River. Men of the 11th East African Brigade, 14th Army.

Memento: A katana (a Japanese samurai sword)

People/Social

Presenter: Peter Moore

Guest: Robert Lyman

Production: Maria Nolan

Podcast partner: Unseen Histories

Follow us on Twitter: @tttpodcast_

Or on Facebook

See where 1944 fits on our Timeline 

The Armistice in 1918 might have brought an end to the violence. But for many families it did not mean the end of the story. In 1918 the whereabouts of more than half a million British soldiers alone remained unknown. These were often very young people, drawn from all walks of life, right across Britain.

They were people who had simply vanished into the battlefields.

In this episode Robert Sackville-West takes us back to the desperate days of the First World War a century ago. He shows us how Britons – from Rudyard Kipling to E.M. Forster – confronted the distressing situations they found themselves in, and how the bereaved attempted to come to terms with their loss.

As ever, much, much more about this episode is to be found at our website tttpodcast.com.

Robert Sackville-West is a writer and he runs the Sackville family’s interests at Knole, the house in Kent where his family have lived for the past 400 years.

Click here to order Robert’s book from John Sandoe’s who, we are delighted to say, are supplying books for the podcast.

Show notes

Scene One: 2 October 1915, a distressing telegram arrives at Bateman’s, the home of Rudyard Kipling.

Scene Two: 15 September 1915, Sir Oliver Lodge is playing golf at Gullane, on the east coast of Scotland.

Scene Three: November 1915, The novelist E.M. Forster arrives in Egypt as a Red Cross ‘searcher’.

Memento: An identity tag.

People/Social

Presenter: Peter Moore

Guest: Robert Sackville-West

Production: Maria Nolan

Podcast partner: Unseen Histories

Follow us on Twitter: @tttpodcast_

Or on Facebook

See where 1915 fits on our Timeline 

Long into the sixteenth century monasteries remained a familiar and vital part of English society. Wherever you were in the kingdom – Yorkshire, Cornwall, London, the Lakes – it was almost certain that there was a monastery just a short walk away. 

And yet within a few short years in the 1530s, 850 of these institutions vanished for good. The dissolution of the monasteries really was, today's guest, James Clark argues, ‘the great drama of Henry VIII’s Reformation’. It was the process that had 'the most immediate impact on the largest number of people.'

In this episode Clark takes us back to 1540, a year at the very heart of this dramatic, contentious, violent story.

As ever, much, much more about this episode is to be found at our website tttpodcast.com.

James Clark is Professor of History at the University of Exeter. He is the author of the recently published book, The Dissolution of the Monasteries: A New History.

Click here to order Clark’s book from John Sandoe’s who, we are delighted to say, are supplying books for the podcast.

Show notes

Scene One: Just before Easter. Canterbury Cathedral

Scene Two: 7 May, 1540 Clerkenwell Priory.

Scene Three: 4 August, 1540. Newgate Gaol, London

Memento: Epsam’s habit

People/Social

Presenter: Violet Moller

Guest: James Clark

Production: Maria Nolan

Podcast partner: Unseen Histories

Follow us on Twitter: @tttpodcast_

Or on Facebook

See where 1540 fits on our Timeline 

On a cold midwinter’s day in 1649, King Charles I stepped onto a platform in Whitehall. He knelt down and said a prayer. Then he stretched his arms forward to signal that he was ready to die. As the axe swung down, the crowd that had gathered emitted a sound that was later recalled as a ‘collective groan.’

The killing of a king, an unheard of act, brought a shocking end to a destructive decade of civil war in England. In this episode of the historian Malcolm Gaskill explains how that act was seen in its own time and what fears it generated for the future.

London might have been the centre of people’s interest in 1649, but elsewhere other tantalising events were taking place. Gaskill takes us from Whitehall to Surrey, where we see the founding of a radical new movement called The Diggers. Then we travel across the Atlantic Ocean to see the frontier community of Springfield in Massachusetts. This is the setting, as Gaskill explains, for a curious case of witchcraft.

Malcolm Gaskill is Emeritus Professor of Early Modern History at the University of East Anglia. He is one of Britain’s leading experts in the history of witchcraft, and he is the author of the captivating new micro-history, The Ruin of all Witches: life and death in the New World.

As ever, much, much more about this episode is to be found at our website tttpodcast.com.

Click here to order Malcolm’s book from John Sandoe’s who, we are delighted to say, are supplying books for the podcast.

Show notes

Scene One: Tuesday 30 January: Whitehall, London. The execution of King Charles I.

Scene Two: Sunday 1 April: St George’s Hill, Walton, Surrey. The Start of the Diggers

Scene Three: Wednesday 30 May: Springfield, Massachusetts. The Slander Trial of Mary Parsons

Memento: The top of King Charles I’s silver cane

People/Social

Presenter: Peter Moore

Guest: Malcolm Gaskill

Production: Maria Nolan

Podcast partner: Colorgraph

Follow us on Twitter: @tttpodcast_

Or on Facebook

See where 1649 fits on our Timeline

Writer and journalist Justine Picardie takes us back to 1947 to meet resistance fighter Catherine Dior. The youngest sister of the renowned French designer, Catherine’s story of survival during World War 2 is one of great courage and it is being told at last.

*

In 1947, Christian Dior launched his debut collection in Paris and became a sensation. His designs were characterised by enormous, fairy-tale-like skirts and hyper-feminine silhouettes. It was christened the ‘New Look’ by the editor of Harper’s Bazaar, Carmel Snow, because it stood in such stark contrast to the sober women’s fashion of recent years.

Yet what makes the glamour of Dior’s collection even more compelling to us today is the dark backdrop it was set against. Few knew then that just eighteen months before, Dior’s youngest sister, Catherine, had been liberated from the German concentration camp at Ravensbrück.

Justine Picardie explores Catherine’s story in 1947 – the year that her brother made his break in a Paris still haunted by the war.

As ever, much, much more about this episode is to be found at our website tttpodcast.com.

Click here to order Justine’s book from John Sandoe’s who, we are delighted to say, are supplying books for the podcast.

Show notes

Scene One: 3 February, 1947, the War Crimes Court in Hamburg, Germany: the last day of the trial of 16 defendants (nine men and seven women) accused of crimes committed at Ravensbrück concentration camp. 

Scene Two: 12 February, 1947, 30 Avenue Montaigne, Paris: in his newly established couture house, Christian Dior is making his debut, with a collection that will revolutionise the world of fashion.

Scene Three: Late May, Provence, 1947: at the family farm that Catherine Dior inherited from her father, she is undertaking the annual harvest of rose de Mai, that will be used as a vital ingredient in her brother’s perfumes.

Memento: A very small bottle of the original Miss Dior.

People/Social

Presenter: Artemis Irvine

Guest: Justine Picardie

Production: Maria Nolan

Podcast partner: Unseen Histories

Follow us on Twitter: @tttpodcast_

Or on Facebook

See where 1947 fits on our Timeline 

Tutankhamun. That one word is enough to conjure up enticing images of Ancient Egypt: dashing chariots, mighty temples, little skiffs sailing on the Nile and, most of all, the king's own transfixing Golden Mask.

But who really was Tutankhamun, this figure who has come to represent so much?

In this episode we are joined by the Egyptologist Garry J. Shaw who takes us back to the age of Tutankhamun in the second millennium BC. This was, Shaw explains, an exhilarating time to be alive. Great temples were being built. Money was flowing into the kingdom in tribute. Egypt was recognised as a strong regional power.

This was the world that Tutankhamun was born into. He became king, Shaw explains, at about the age of nine. His short reign was significant and the manner of his death was mysterious. Did he die in a chariot accident? Was he bludgeoned about the head?

And did this king really, Shaw ponders, really use a walking stick?

As ever, much, much more about this episode is to be found at our website tttpodcast.com.

Garry J Shaw is the author of Egyptian Mythology: A Traveller’s Guide.

Show Notes

Scene One: c. 1343 BC. Tutankhamun is in Memphis, in the old palace of Tuthmosis I.

Scene Two: c. 1333 BC. Tutankhamun dies and is buried in the Valley of the Kings on the west bank of the Nile at Thebes.

Scene Three: c. 1328 BC. The coronation of Horemheb in Thebes

Memento: Tutankhamun’s walking stick

People/Social

Presenter: Violet Moller

Guest: Garry J Shaw

Production: Maria Nolan

Podcast partner: Unseen Histories

Follow us on Twitter: @tttpodcast_

Or on Facebook

See where 1335 BC fits on our Timeline 

Today we speak to the archeologist and broadcaster Neil Oliver, a figure familiar to millions in the UK. While Oliver's television work has taken him around the world, he retains a special connection to his Scottish homeland. One historical site, in particular, continues to enchant him: Skara Brae.

Skara Brae on the wind scoured Orkney Islands is the best-preserved Neolithic settlement in all of western Europe. Embedded inside its stone houses and in the surviving monuments are tantalising clues to how our ancient ancestors lived and how they died.

In this episode Oliver takes us back four and a half millennia to around 2,500BC to see Skara Brae as a dynamic, living community. He then explains the mysteries that surround its abandoment and considers the significance of the settlement to us today.

As ever, much, much more about this episode is to be found at our website tttpodcast.com.

Neil Oliver's new book, A History of the World in 100 Moments is available now.

Show notes

Scene One: A day in the life of Skara Brae

Scene Two: The great mystery of the settlement's abandonment

Scene Three: Where did the people go?

Memento: A sharp stone knife

People/Social

Presenter: Peter Moore

Guest: Neil Oliver

Production: Maria Nolan

Podcast partner: Unseen Histories

Follow us on Twitter: @tttpodcast_

Or on Facebook

See where 2,500 BC fits on our Timeline 

In the sixteenth-century there was nowhere quite like Antwerp. Tolerant, energetic, independent, vibrant; Antwerp sat at the heart of a busy and growing trading network. After the Portuguese moved the spice trade to Antwerp it became a fierce rival to Venice.

It was a place that many came to call. 'the city at the hub of the world.'

Today’s guest is the historian, columnist and broadcaster Michael Pye. For many years Pye has been investigating Antwerp’s distinctive culture and unique place in European history. In this episode he guides us back into the rowdy streets of Europe’s busiest port.

Antwerp was, he points out, a haven for Jews and hard-line Protestants, and a playground for just about everyone else.

As ever, much, much more about this episode is to be found at our website tttpodcast.com.

Click here to order Michael Pye’s book from our friends at John Sandoe’s who, we are delighted to say, are supplying books for the podcast.

Show notes

Scene One: September, Charles V’s ceremonial entry into Antwerp with his son Philip.

Scene Two: The King of Sweden sends Jacob Binck to Antwerp to check on the progress of a tomb he had commissioned.

Scene Three: Italian merchant and conman Simone Turchi’s luck begins to run out as his past catches up with him, ending with his public execution.

Memento: A baboon

People/Social

Presenter: Violet Moller

Guest: Michael Pye

Production: Maria Nolan

Podcast partner: Unseen Histories

Follow us on Twitter: @tttpodcast_

Or on Facebook

See where 1549 fits on our Timeline 

Today’s exhilarating episode takes us on a trip to the fifteenth-century, to see one of the greatest of all technological inventions at the moment of its creation: the Gutenberg Press.

Until the mid-fifteenth century European society had had a predominantly oral culture. The books that did exist were expensive manuscripts, produced by scribes in scriptoriums, each of them taking weeks or months to complete.

At the Frankfurt Trade Fair in 1454 something appeared that would change this. Among the English wool and French wine, one tradesman was selling a new kind of regularly printed manuscript, produced by a mysterious machine in the nearby town of Mainz.

The flutter of interest these pages generated was more than warranted. In fact, fair-goers were the first people to get a glimpse of Johannes Gutenberg’s magnificent Bible.

This was a book that would catalyse the shift from script to print, changing the world as it went.

Guiding us through this enchanting historical story is the author Susan Denham Wade. The author of A History of Seeing in Eleven Inventions, Denham Wade explains the brilliance of Gutenberg’s invention and why it appeared at the time it did.

This episode of Travels Through Time is supported by The History Press. To read a beautifully illustrated, exclusive extract from A History of Seeing, head over to the newly launched Unseen Histories.

As ever, much, much more about this episode is to be found at our own website tttpodcast.com.

Show notes

Scene One: Mainz, Spring 1454. A middle-aged man delivers a parcel to an office in the Church of St Martin, wrapped in cloth. Inside are 200 printed indulgences. The man making the delivery is Johann Gutenberg.

Scene Two: Summer 1454.  A workshop near a riverbank in Mainz, Germany.  Gutenberg’s printing presses are working frantically on producing the monumental Bible project.

Scene Three: October 1454. Frankfurt’s famous trade fair. The Italian cardinal Piccolomini – future Pope Pius II, but at this point Bishop of Siena – catches a first glimpse of Gutenberg’s Bible. He is amazed at the beauty, accuracy and clarity.

Memento: A handful of original Gutenberg type.

People/Social

Presenter: Peter Moore

Guest: Susan Denham Wade

Production: Maria Nolan

Podcast partner: Unseen Histories

Follow us on Twitter: @tttpodcast_

Or on Facebook

See where 1454 fits on our Timeline 

One of the world’s great historical novelists takes us back to one of the most dramatic and consequential moments in European history. Bernard Cornwell is our guide to the Battle of Waterloo.

Waterloo. That single word is enough to conjure up images of Napoleon with his great bicorn hat and the daring emperor’s nemesis, the Duke of Wellington. Over the course of twelve or so hours on a Sunday at the start of summer, these two commanders met on a battle in modern-day Belgium, to settle the future of Europe.

For a battle so vast is size and significance, it still has some elusive elements. Historians cannot agree on when it started. The movement of the troops is still subject to debate. Wellington, who might have been best qualified to answer these riddles, preferred not to speak of Waterloo. His famously laconic verdict was simply that it was ‘the nearest-run thing you ever saw in your life.’

Few people are as qualified to analyse this tangled history as Bernard Cornwall. For forty years he has been writing about this period of history through his ‘Sharpe’ series of books.

As Cornwall publishes his first new Sharpe novel for fifteen years, we take the opportunity to ask him about the battle that was central to all. Over a brilliantly analytical hour, he walks us through the battlefield, in three telling scenes.

*

Click here to order Bernard Cornwell’s book from John Sandoe’s who, we are delighted to say, are supplying books for the podcast.

Show Notes

Scene One: Sunday June 18th, 11.10 am.  Napoleon orders his grand battery to start firing

Scene Two: Sunday June 18th, 8.00 pm. Napoleon sends the Imperial Guard to save the battle.

Scene Three: Sunday June 18th, 10.00 pm.  Wellington weeps over the casualties.

Memento: A heavy cavalry sword, carried in an attack at Waterloo

People/Social

Presenter: Peter Moore

Guest: Bernard Cornwell

Production: Maria Nolan

Podcast partner: Colorgraph

Follow us on Twitter: @tttpodcast_

Or on Facebook

See where 1815 fits on our Timeline 

Load more

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App