History

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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 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…

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…

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…

Why all civilised people should love wasps

23 July 2016 9:00 am

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

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…

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…

1916: Sorry, President Wilson, but this is not a gentlemanly war

4 June 2016 9:00 am

From ‘President Wilson and the Lessons of History’, 2 June 1916: Emphatically it is not a war of what we…

Warning: there’s a plague of fake blue plaques

4 June 2016 9:00 am

One of the great distinctions and pleasures of British life has been devalued by cheap imitations

Live like a laird: Brodie Castle

The saddest, most romantic view in Britain

4 June 2016 9:00 am

Is there a more forlornly romantic spot in Britain than the moors east of Inverness where the Jacobite dream died?…

BBC1’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream seems deliberately designed to flush out purists

4 June 2016 9:00 am

Spoiler alerts aren’t normally required for reviews of Shakespeare — but perhaps I’d better issue one before saying that in…