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Saint Valentine receives a rosary from the Virgin, by David Teniers III

By Rachel Moss

A letter from the teenager Margery Brews to her suitor John Paston contains the oldest surviving Valentine greeting in English. It is an extraordinary window on love and marriage in the late Middle Ages.

Spirit Mask, c.1928

By Annebella Pollen

The Boy Scout movement produced a little-known offshoot of ‘intellectual Barbarians’, whose charismatic leader had dreams of overcoming the existential crises of the 20th century.

By David McDermott

Though he was king for just 222 days, the life and legacy of Edmund II, who ascended to the English throne 1,000 years ago this year, remain impressive, claims David McDermott.

By History Today

In the second episode, Sophie Hay and Kate Wiles discuss The Downfall of Pompeii, a strategy game inspired by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD.

The cast of Dad's Army

By David Nash

The classic BBC comedy owes much of its appeal to its acute observation of the realities of life on Britain’s Home Front.

A practitioner of Mesmerism using animal magnetism

By Simone Natale

Many assumptions and values separate us from the Victorians, but belief in the supernatural is not one of them, argues Simone Natale. 

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The unexploded shell, fired by HMS Malaya, in the nave of Genoa Cathedral

By Philip Weir

On its 75th anniversary, Philip Weir remembers Britain’s first attempt to smash a major hydroelectric dam: the bombardment of Genoa in 1941.

Street sign in Quebec, Canada

By Stan Carey

The way we spell words seems integral to our identity. But spelling is neither fixed nor permanent, and we have a long history of attempts to reform it – some more successful than others.

By History Today

A history of French involvement in southeast Asia.
Westbound platform in the Mount Pleasant sorting office station

By Dean Nicholas

The little-known subterranean railway will open as part of the new Postal Museum. 

Engraving from a self-portrait, published in two of her works.

By Yvonne Seale

In the 18th century, when women in scholarship were not encouraged and medieval languages were little-studied even by men, Elizabeth Elstob become a pioneer in Anglo-Saxon studies, her work even finding its way into the hands of Thomas Jefferson.

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