Category: history

A Fine Blue Day – WH ‘Dizzy’ Allen

A Fine Blue Day – WH ‘Dizzy’ Allen:

We had Peirs Plowright on today’s show, and he is a legend to us in Radio land. Sadly, not much of his content in the archive has yet to be digitised (seriously, that needs to be done), but I did manage to find this gem for you lovely Digihuman fans. Enjoy some great radio storytelling done by a true master.

Wing Commander Allen speaks openly about how he feels the battle was managed. In this unedited interview for ‘A Fine Blue Day’, he has high praise for his fellow pilots and the ground staff (‘marvellous chaps’), but is less impressed by the top brass. He also paints a vivid portrait of daily life in the squadron and reveals how pilots spent their spare time, as well as giving details about handling oneself in a dogfight. The inflatable life jackets worn by pilots (as pictured above) were nicknamed ‘Mae Wests’ after the voluptuous American stage and film actress of that name. She was famous for portraying women of dubious virtue and quick wit, ‘I used to be Snow White, but I drifted’ being one noted example of her repartee.

Originally broadcast circa August 1978.


Digital Human, Series 17, Ep 2: The Analogue Human

Consider this a lunctime lecture… so lo…

Consider this a lunctime lecture… so long as you aren’t squeamish. Caroline Rance was a great guest to have – I’d love to do a podcast with her all about the fascinating stories and products she’s unearthed in her research. Listen to her talk, and dive into her blog if you like a bit of weird medical history (and really, who doesn’t?).

https://thequackdoctor.com/ 

Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 2, Snake Oil

Going viral in the online anti-vaccine wars

Going viral in the online anti-vaccine wars:

The Wellcome is one of the best places to go for a geek in London (if you’re a Digihuman listener I just assume you’ve the geek is strong within you), and they always have brilliant, well researched and vibrant collections on display.

The digital age may be amplifying anti-vaccination sentiment more than ever before, but fear has turned people away from medical progression for a long, long time.

Contemporary anti-vaccination campaigning started in earnest after the publication of Andrew Wakefield’s now infamous study suggesting that the combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine caused autism. The MMR scare snowballed to become the biggest science story of 2002, leading to demands in the British press for Tony Blair to disclose whether his son Leo had been given the vaccine.

In 2010 the study was retracted by its publisher, the Lancet, after an investigation discovered multiple conflicts of interest and manipulation of research data. Wakefield lost the right to practise medicine in the UK, but that didn’t stop him continuing his campaign against vaccines. In 2016 Wakefield released the documentary Vaxxed, which followed other anti-vaccination documentaries such as Trace Amounts and Calling the Shots. Vaxxed was pulled from the Tribeca Film Festival before its screening, following a public outcry about its message.

It’s pretty unlikely you’ll be seeing anti-vaccination documentaries at your local cinema. But anti-vaxxers are adept at using digital technology to sidestep what they see as official censorship, reaching new converts through ‘news’ articles, self-produced documentaries and memes. Despite this, anti-vaxxers aren’t a new digital phenomenon, but rather the latest incarnation of a social and political movement with a long history of resistance to large-scale vaccination programmes.

Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 2, Snake Oil

The Quack Doctor

The Quack Doctor:

Pictured above – an advert for, and illustration of, Sequah, the travelling snake oil salemen Caroline Rance talked about in today’s podcast. It pained me to cut so much of Caroline’s interview out when editing the show (which is usually the case for DigiHuman guests) because she had so many stories of age old quackery. Check out her blog, some is funny, some tragic, some downright icky… but all fascinating.

Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 2, Snake Oil

To be fair, for a long time there wasn’t much …

To be fair, for a long time there wasn’t much difference between quacks and doctors.

Leeches are handy for improving blood flow in certain circumstances, but don’t powder them and don’t use in cases of plague… 

Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 2, Snake Oil

Consider this a lunchtime lecture, it’s really…

Consider this a lunchtime lecture, it’s really fascinating to go back into the archives and hear they keynote panels. A lot of the Roflcon panels were archived, so well worth checking out.

Mainstreaming The Web – ROFLCon II
The very final keynote panel of ROFLCon II, featuring:
* moot, 4chan
* Ben Huh, I Can Has Cheezburger
* Kenyatta Cheese, Know Your Meme
* Jamie Wilkinson, internetfamo.us
* Greg Rutter, You Should Have Seen This
As web culture increasingly flows into the mainstream, it becomes enmeshed in a crowded world of businesses and commentators. In turn, it becomes more easily digestible and accessible to broad audiences. What are the ethics of being a part of that space? As this process continues, what is gained? What is left behind?

Digital Human: Series 16, Episode 1: Gentrification

The Life of Domestic Servants in Victorian Eng…

The Life of Domestic Servants in Victorian England:

It was quite common to have a certain name associated with a certain job. The scullery maid is called Mary. If you hire Gwyneth, you call her Mary because she is the scullery maid. You couldn’t even depend on maintaining your own name for the purposes of your working life.

Digital Human: Series 15, Ep 5 – Subservience

The Domesday Book Online – Home

The Domesday Book Online – Home:

The Domesday Book was commissioned in December 1085 by William the Conqueror, who invaded England in 1066. The first draft was completed in August 1086 and contained records for 13,418 settlements in the English counties south of the rivers Ribble and Tees (the border with Scotland at the time).

The original Domesday Book has survived over 900 years of English history and is currently housed in a specially made chest at The National Archives in Kew, London. This site has been set up to enable visitors to discover the history of the Domesday Book, to give an insight into life at the time of its compilation, and provide information and links on related topics.

Digital Human: Series 15, Ep 1 – Jigsaw

Domesday: on the record and on the road

Domesday: on the record and on the road:

Although Domesday had a permanent home at Westminster, it did still travel occasionally. Medieval kings travelled a great deal around the kingdom, and there is evidence that, on occasion, Domesday (and other treasured documents) went with them. During the plague years in the reign of Elizabeth I, Domesday accompanied Exchequer officials who relocated temporarily to Hertford. And in September 1666 it was taken to Nonsuch to escape the Great Fire of London. Fire was again a menace in 1834, when much of the Palace of Westminster was engulfed in flames. The fire was caused by the burning of wooden tallies, notched pieces of wood that had been used in historical accounting procedures. Domesday was being kept in the Chapter House, and the keeper of the Chapter House, the historian and scholar Sir Francis Palgrave, asked the Dean of Westminster to be allowed to move Domesday and other historical records to the Abbey for safekeeping. Astonishingly, the Dean refused, saying that he first needed a warrant from the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne. Fortunately the fire did not spread to the Chapter House and Domesday survived.

An accounting roll for the removal of the ‘Receipt of the Exchequer’ to Nonsuch because of the ‘late dreadful fire’ (AO 1/865/1).

This appalling fire was one of the factors used to promote the foundation of a new Public Record Office – an institution where government records could be brought together from the various places where they were stored, and kept safely and securely, with their conditions carefully monitored. This was certainly necessary for Domesday: a report to the Royal Commission on Public Records in the early 19th century states that Domesday had to be rebound as the wooden boards which protected it were being attacked by woodworm. The Public Record Office (PRO) was eventually founded in 1838, and Domesday moved in in 1859. (We can also note that the tallies which survived the Westminster conflagration were later also transferred to the new PRO where they could cause no further harm!)

Report on the rebinding of Domesday in 1819 due to danger from worms (PRO 36/7, p.237).

One might think that its arrival at the PRO would have put an end to Domesday’s peregrinations. But this was not quite the case. In the late 1850s the head of the Ordnance Survey Department, Sir Henry James, had developed a new photographic technique called photozincography and was determined to prove its worth by reproducing medieval documents. In 1861 he was able to convince the various officials with responsibility for Domesday, including the aforementioned Sir Francis Palgrave (by now Deputy Keeper of the PRO) to allow him to reproduce it using his new technique. This involved disbinding Domesday and taking it, a few counties at a time, to Southampton, where the folios were photozincographed in the open air on the South Downs. By 1863, the whole of Great and Little Domesday had been reproduced in this way. The whole enterprise was extremely expensive, and documents held at The National Archives include all sorts of wrangling about which government departments should pay for what. The project was supported throughout by the raising of subscriptions and by the sale of the bound volumes of the reproductions. Although taking this ancient record onto the South Downs for this escapade sounds rather reckless to us, the resulting photozincograph edition was a great achievement, and did much to bring Domesday to wider public attention. 4

Digital Human: Series 15, Ep 1 – Jigsaw

The Delphic Oracle, In Our Time – BBC Radio 4

The Delphic Oracle, In Our Time – BBC Radio 4:

Not a lunchtime lecture, but a very cool listen. Dive deep into the history of the Delphic Oracle.

The Digital Human, Series 13, Episode 6 – Oracle