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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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Football arrives in Brazil

By Matthew Brown
Charles Miller claimed to have brought the first footballs to Brazil, stepping off the boat in the port of Santos with a serious expression, his boots, balls and a copy of the FA regulations, ready to change the course of Brazilian history. There are no documents to record the event, only Miller’s own account of a conversation, in which historians have picked numerous holes.

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Ricky Swallow, Grove Art Online

Ricky Swallow from Grove Art Online. Australian conceptual artist, active also in the USA. Swallow came to prominence only a few years after completing his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, by winning the prestigious Contempora 5 art prize in 1999

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Monuments Men and the Frick

By Stephen Bury
At rare moments in time a library can have a singular impact on history. The recent release of George Clooney’s film Monuments Men (2014) has triggered an interest in the role that the Frick Art Reference Library played in the preparation of maps identifying works of art at risk in Nazi-occupied Europe. For the first time in history a belligerent was taking care of cultural treasures in a war zone.

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Who shapes the history of the British Isles?

From politicians to psychiatrists, novelists to biologists, and actors to entrepreneurs, the January 2014 update of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography adds a further 219 biographies of men and women who’ve made their mark on British history.

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A Nelson Mandela reading list

Here we celebrate the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. From his early days as an activist, to his trial and imprisonment, to his presidency, this reading list covers all aspects of his life, and looks beyond the work he did to see how he influenced South Africa and the world.

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Doctor Who at fifty

Doctor Who was first broadcast by BBC Television at 5.16pm on Saturday 23 November 1963. This weekend the BBC marks the fiftieth anniversary with several commemorative programmes on television, radio, and online—as well as a ‘global simulcast’ of the anniversary adventure, which places the two actors who’ve most recently played ‘the Doctor’…

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Benjamin Britten’s centenary

The 22nd of November is the feast day of St Cecilia, patron saint of musicians and church music, and the 22nd of November 1913 was the birthdate, in Lowestoft, Suffolk, of Benjamin Britten (1913-1976). The young Britten displayed an extraordinary musical talent and his mother had high hopes for her son: young Benjamin, it was said, was to be the fourth ‘B’ after Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms.

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Detective’s Casebook: Unearthing the Piltdown Man

By Ellie Gregory
It is regarded as one of the most baffling scientific hoaxes of the past few hundred years. The mystery of the Piltdown Man, a skull believed to be an ancient ‘missing link’ in human evolution, blindsided the expert eyes of some of the greatest scientists of the 20th century.

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Shanghai rising

By Kandice Rawlings
The port city of Shanghai is poised to become another major center of the global art world, possibly even displacing Beijing as China’s artistic capital. Since founding a biennial and art fair in 1996 and 1997, respectively, major institutions supporting the visual arts have sprung up or expanded.

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A medieval saint in modern times

By Kandice Rawlings
Saint Francis of Assisi died on this day in 1226, and when he was canonized just two years later, the fourth of October became his feast day. Even before his sainthood was official, St Francis was a popular figure among the faithful, and the religious order he had founded already had chapters throughout Europe.

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Oh, I say! Brits win Wimbledon

By Philip Carter
It’s 1 July 1977: the Jacksons are Number 1 in the UK charts; a pint of beer costs 40 pence, milk per pint is 11p; Elvis has just given what will be his final concert; Virginia Wade becomes the last British player to win the women’s singles tennis championship at Wimbledon. – See more at: http://blog.oup.com/?p=45004&preview=true#sthash.r1cxNYqs.dpuf

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