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Some background listening for chasing criminals

4 Aug

If the recent release of the Criminal Registers 1791-1892 on Ancestry.co.uk has inspired you to start chasing after a criminal in your own family tree then you might be interested in some of the podcasts produced by The National Archives on the subjects of criminals and prisons.

These podcasts are recordings of talks given at The National Archives in Kew, and cover a varied range of subjects and historical periods (right up to only a few decades ago). Usually, but not always, the talk has some connection to the holdings of The National Archives. The show notes for each podcast contain a varying degree of background material, all have a brief description of the talk, but some also include illustrations and a transcript of the talk.

Those relevant to the subject of criminals and prisons include:

Victorian Women Prisoners by Chris Heather (published 9th October 2008)

The real Little Dorrit: Charles Dickens and the debtors’ prison by David Thomas (published 28th November 2008)

Catching Victorian and Edwardian criminals on paper by Professor Barry Godfrey and Doctor David Cox (published 8th May 2009)

Prison: five hundred years behind bars by Edward Marston (published 22nd May 2009)

If you watched last week’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? with Kate Humble then you might also want to have a listen to the podcast about The Great Escape, which tells the real story behind the events that inspired the film.

Doing the ironing with my mp3 player

2 Aug

On a Sunday afternoon you will often find me in the kitchen with an iron in one hand, a pile of washing on the table and a pair of earphones in my ears. To make the task of ironing more bearable I will usually be listening to podcasts, and usually they will be family history related. Today was no exception, so here is my “playlist” for today:

Family History Podcast: Episode 8 – News, clues and street views

Things have been a bit quiet over at the Family History Podcast in recent months, but I am pleased to say that Will Howells has just put up a new episode. There are only a few episodes in the archive so far, but they are well worth a listen (and watch in the case of the video episodes) if you have an interest in UK family history.

British Postal Museum and Archives Podcast: Tony Benn – Girobank: The 40th Anniversary of The People’s Bank

This is a new venture from the British Postal Museum and Archive, and their first podcast features Tony Benn talking about the establishment of the National Girobank (amongst other things). It was recorded on the 16th October 2008, and will probably be of more interest to social historians than genealogists. It is a very entertaining and informative talk, although sadly the questions at the end are a little tricky to hear.

Neil Innes: Works in Progress

As I still had a couple of shirts to go and had run out of podcasts, I switched over to music and started listening to Neil Innes’ most recent album Works in Progress. I have long been a fan of Neil Innes, and have seen him live several times. As well as fantastic music, it has some great lyrics as well, an example of which from the track “One of Those People” is “The last thing I need is a feeling of guilt, when I’m wading through treacle on balsa wood stilts”. It never fails to make me smile, likewise from “Eye Candy”, “At the ambassador’s reception I had to get away, so I hid behind a pyramid of Ferrero Roche”.

Taking an audio tour of Soho with Free Audio London Walks

2 Jun

This morning on the bus to work (and sitting in the sun before work) I listened to an episode of the Free Audio London Walks podcast. The particular episode I listened to was entitled Soho – Sex, Chinatown, Theatreland and covered the area of London where my 3x great grandfather Thomas KINGHORN lived.

I was a little sceptical about listening to a guided walk without actually being there and walking the walk, but I shouldn’t have been. I really enjoyed the experience and would recommend anyone with London ancestors to check out the wide range of podcasts available and give them a listen.

I briefly visited the area a few months ago and got a flavour of the area but this podcast gave me a further insight into the history and character of the area, and some ideas for places to visit as well for when I return to Soho again.

It was great to hear about some of the streets where Thomas KINGHORN and some of his children lived, liked Meard Street, Broadwick Street (formerly Broad Street), Ganton Street (formerly Cross Street) and Golden Square.

It has inspired me to try and find out more about the area and make a return visit, although perhaps summertime with lots of tourists is not such a good time to be visiting. Having said that I guess I would be a tourist as well, a genealogical tourist.

If you have London ancestors then check out this series of podcasts for a taste of modern London life, with a touch of history thrown in.

The National Archives Podcast: The Great Escape

16 May

I found time today to listen to the latest National Archives podcast today, and would recommend it to everyone. It is entitled The Great Escape: you’ve seen the film, now hear the truth, and I was captivated (no pun intended!) by the excellent presentation.

I have seen the film many times, so I have some idea of the general story, but the podcast gave me a lot more background on the prisoner of war camp and the German organisations involved, and highlighted a few of the inaccuracies in the film. It is clear that the speaker (Alan Bowgen) is a real expert on the subject and his presentation is excellent.

I wish I had been at the National Archives to see the presentation for myself because the few documents shown on the website do not do justice to what was obviously a well researched and heavily illustrated presentation.

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