History

German reserves wait to commence battle with the pursuing enemy, after the German retreat at the Somme (Photo: Getty)

Looking for hope on the Somme, 1916

24 September 2016 9:00 am

From ‘The Battle of the Somme’, The Spectator, 23 September 1916: It may prove to be the fact that the battle…

Jenna Coleman as Victoria and Tom Hughes as Albert in Victoria (Photo: Getty)

My eerie visit to Buckingham Palace in the 1830s

17 September 2016 9:00 am

The borderline between fact and fiction becomes ever hazier, I find. Last February, Daisy Goodwin — the author of the…

(Photo: Tom Holland)

The bullet-ridden plaque to Nelson in Napoleon’s Corsica

3 September 2016 9:00 am

European unions come and go. Back in 1794, one of the more improbable ones was founded when Corsica joined Britain…

(Photo: Getty)

Churchill: no motive 'except that of personal advancement'

3 September 2016 9:00 am

From ‘Mr Churchill’s misfire’, The Spectator, 2 September 1916: There is nothing that democracy so much hates as unfair privilege, and Mr Churchill…

Rievaulx: only swifts and pigeons break the silence

Stay amid the stones of Rievaulx

3 September 2016 9:00 am

We’re so used to looking at the abbeys smashed up by Henry VIII — particularly Rievaulx and Byland, in north…

Melvyn Bragg (Photo: Getty)

I have no interest in hearing Melvyn bragging about the North

3 September 2016 9:00 am

The last thing we need right now, in these divisive times, is a series that spends all its time crowing…

Cricketer silhouette on Zimbabwe blurred flag background

English cricket clubs are mad to stay away from Zimbabwe

3 September 2016 9:00 am

Make sure you tell everybody about Zimbabwe,’ said the lady at our block of flats in suburban Harare as we…

Where ‘taxi’ really came from

3 September 2016 9:00 am

Old Quentin Letts was on the wireless the other day asking ‘What’s the point of the London black cab?’ Between…

Would you recognise this face? Mussolini back in 1924, on a drive with his pet lion cub, Ras

A beautiful place to die: Mussolini at Lake Como

27 August 2016 9:00 am

If your destiny is to be shot dead with your mistress, where better than Lake Como, which, in the words…

Sketch of Dr James Barry

Doctor in disguise: the secret life of James Barry

27 August 2016 9:00 am

On 25 July 1865, during a heatwave, Dr James Barry died of dysentery in his London lodgings. A charwoman came…

View over the roofs into the landscape of Provence, France

A toast to the glories of Provence

27 August 2016 9:00 am

Friends have a house in Provence, near the foot of Mont Ventoux. Even in a region so full of charm…

Mo Farah celebrates gold in 10,000m (Photo: Getty)

Team GB is a near-perfect post-Brexit ideal

20 August 2016 9:00 am

Throughout our holiday, reports from Rio rippled in — last thing at night, first thing in the morning — a…

(Photo: Getty)

How to name an aeroplane, 1916

20 August 2016 9:00 am

From ‘News of the Week’, The Spectator, 19 August 1916: The Parliamentary Air Committee having recently inhaled much ozone at…

(Photo: Getty)

The case against an early election, 1916

13 August 2016 9:00 am

From ‘Restless politicians’, The Spectator, 12 August 1916: Even those journals which a few months ago were most zealous for…

The 80s with Dominic Sandbrook

The true queen of the Eighties wasn't Thatcher – it was Delia, according to the Beeb

13 August 2016 9:00 am

Proof that someone has really made it as a TV historian comes, I would suggest, when they join the likes…

Sir Walter Scott and some of his most famous creations, by E.F. Skinner

Scottish literature’s long and splendid history

30 July 2016 9:00 am

There is an immediate problem for anyone producing a guide to places in Scotland with literary connections: as Walter Scott…

Human hand touching illuminated lightbulb on gray background

Is there no such thing as new science?

30 July 2016 9:00 am

Rupert Sheldrake had it coming. In A New Science of Life (1981), he argued that animals and plants have inherited…

Old Book With Bright Light

St Mark’s Gospel is as good as EastEnders

30 July 2016 9:00 am

More brides in Britain go down the aisle to Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’ than to any other tune, Simon…

How Britannia got her trident

23 July 2016 9:00 am

How Britannia got her trident Parliament voted to renew Trident as Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent. But what about Britannia and…

Wasps

Why all civilised people should love wasps

23 July 2016 9:00 am

All gardeners, and all readers, have reason to thank them

German infantry retreating across the desolate countryside near Chemin des Dames, 1916 (Photo: Getty)

The Spectator’s peace terms, 1916

16 July 2016 9:00 am

From ‘Terms of peace’, The Spectator, 15 July 1916: As the man in the street might say, ‘The Allies are not…

(Photo: Getty)

Joseph Chamberlain, Theresa May's new lodestar

16 July 2016 9:00 am

Joseph, not Neville

Is football now bigger than rugby in Wales?

25 June 2016 8:00 am

Big game hunt Wales beat Russia 3–0 to finish above England in their group at the European Football Championships. Which…

Capability and mustard: Gatton Park

A Capability Brown jewel hiding just outside the M25

18 June 2016 9:00 am

Gatton Park is probably Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown’s least famous landscape. It is tucked away near Reigate Hill, just beyond the…

The clock is ticking: women paint luminous dials in 1932

The Radium Girls — still glowing in their coffins

11 June 2016 9:00 am

On the morning of 15 October 1927, a dim, autumn day, a group of men foregathered at the Rosedale cemetery…