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British Olympic lives

By Mark Curthoys
The London Games have unsurprisingly stimulated renewed interest in Britain’s Olympic heritage. The National Archives has made available online records of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Games. Chariots of Fire (1981), the film which tells the story of the sprint gold medals won in Paris in 1924 by Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell, has been re-released. English Heritage commemorative blue plaques have recently been unveiled in London at the homes of Abrahams and his coach Sam Mussabini.

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Rosalind Franklin: the not-so-dark lady of DNA

By Jenifer Glynn
If Rosalind Franklin had lived, she would have been 92 today. But she died at 37, five years after the discovery of the structure of DNA had been announced by Watson and Crick. As Crick confessed later (but never confessed to her), “the data which really helped us to obtain the structure was mainly obtained by Rosalind Franklin”.

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Was Elizabeth I Richard II?

The Kent Archives have a cache of Dering letters — begging letters, affectionate letters, letters full of gossip and news. One of them came with an enclosure that caught my attention: it was the handwritten transcript of a conversation, almost a playlet. It rang bells; I remembered reading it years back, although most of the details were beyond recall. The document recorded an encounter between Queen Elizabeth I and William Lambarde, a legal theorist and pioneering antiquarian

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Timeliness, timelessness, and the boy with no birthdays

By Geraldine McCaughrean


By Geraldine McCaughrean
As Captain Scott sat in his tent in the Antarctic in 1912, pinioned between the dead bodies of Birdie and Uncle Bill, he wrote countless valedictory notes to people he would never see again, in places half a world away.  One was to the godfather of his son, expressing his love and admiration for the man and asking him to look after the boy.  A hundred years ago that letter was lying unread in the death tent.  But eventually, of course, it was delivered – to J. M. Barrie, foremost playwright and author of his day.

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A Child of the Jago, Freud, and youth crime today

By Peter Miles
As every schoolchild knows, never give more than one explanation: rather than uncertainty, it suggests a conscious or unconscious smokescreen. In The Interpretation of Dreams (1899), Sigmund Freud demonstrated as much by reference to a “defence offered by a man who was accused by his neighbour of having returned a kettle in a damaged condition. In the first place, he said, he had returned the kettle undamaged; in the second place it already had holes in it when he borrowed it; and in the third place, he had never borrowed it at all.”

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100 years ago today: the death of Bram Stoker

By Roger Luckhurst
Bram Stoker was always a man in the shadows, the back-room boy who for thirty-years had organised the life and finances of the greatest actor of his age, Sir Henry Irving. Stoker’s death one hundred years ago today, on the 20th April 1912, conformed to type: it was utterly eclipsed by a much larger catastrophe. He died quietly at home only five days after the R. M. S. Titanic hit an iceberg and sank with the loss of 1500 lives.

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European Heart Journal

Catching up with Gemma Barratt, Marketing Manager

From time to time, we try to give you a glimpse into work in our office around the globe, so we are excited to bring you an interview with Gemma Barratt, a Marketing Manager for Clinical Medical Journals. We spoke to Gemma about her life here at Oxford University Press.

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How Georg Ludwig became George I

By Andrew C. Thompson
On 1 August 1714, Queen Anne died. Her last days were marked by political turmoil that saw Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, and Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke, struggle to assert their authority. However, on her deathbed Anne appointed the moderate Charles Talbot, duke of Shrewsbury, as the last ever lord treasurer.

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Songs for the Games

By Mark Curthoys
Behind the victory anthems to be used by the competing teams at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, which open on 23 July, lie stories both of nationality and authorship. The coronation of Edward VII in 1902 prompted the music antiquary William Hayman Cummings (1831-1915) to investigate the origin and history of ‘God Save the King’.

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English convent lives in exile, 1540-1800

By Victoria Van Hyning
In the two and a half centuries following the dissolution of the monasteries in England in the 1530s, women who wanted to become nuns first needed to become exiles. The practice of Catholicism in England was illegal, as was undertaking exile for the sake of religious freedom.

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