Launching Paper Trails: Second-hand book to living book (with sandwiches in between)

This story started with a second-hand book I had ordered from a bookseller in Toulouse. Exploring its uncut pages and recontextualising its material history led me to reflect on the idea of research stories and sparked creative ideas about our affective relationship with archives and collections. Later, in the classroom, the story continued as students reacted creatively to items from Special Collections, challenging my own … Continue reading Launching Paper Trails: Second-hand book to living book (with sandwiches in between)

Postcards of the Past: Gilets Jaunes on Trial

The opening of the trial against people accused of damaging the Arc de Triomphe during Gilets Jaunes protests represents an emotive and symbolic process, as noted in recent press coverage of the event. But does the COVID context rewrite the echoes of the past which pervaded the protests? At the time, in December 2018, national and international news focussed intently on the destruction of national … Continue reading Postcards of the Past: Gilets Jaunes on Trial

My daughter's drawing of me

Message in a Bottle

I wrote a blog about my experience of trying to ‘do history’ under lockdown (with a little help from a toddler). It’s up as a guest-post on my friend Jerry DeGroot’s excellent blog, which is tracking his own reactions to the current crisis and inviting others to contribute. Head on over to see what it’s all about: Continue reading Message in a Bottle

Le Chant des Partisans: 75 years since a song took flight

When Andre Malraux eulogised Jean Moulin and the ‘army of shadows’ on the steps of the Panthéon in December 1964, he reached for the words of one of France’s national hymns. The Chant des Partisans was an anthem of the Liberation that had hung upon the lips of resisters even during the Nazi Occupation. First broadcast as a whistled tune on the BBC, the stirring … Continue reading Le Chant des Partisans: 75 years since a song took flight

Macron’s Appeal: Resistance and Myths

In March 1942, the trade-unionist Christian Pineau secretly flew to London from Nazi Occupied France, seeking to connect his resistance network with the broader efforts of the Free French based in London. Upon arriving, he was granted an audience with General Charles De Gaulle, and they dined at the Connaught hotel in Mayfair. There he discovered the difference between the internal resistance being carried out … Continue reading Macron’s Appeal: Resistance and Myths

How a Ladies’ College Played a Vital Role in Operation Overlord

On 16 August 1940, the Stuka raid on Tangmere was one of the most serious yet to have struck England. This surgical strike against the station destroyed 13 aircraft and resulted in the tragic death of 10 RAF servicemen and three civilians. On top of this, almost all of the pre-war hangars, the station workshops, stores and the water pumping station were destroyed, with widespread … Continue reading How a Ladies’ College Played a Vital Role in Operation Overlord

Paper Trails: Workshop Roundup

I’ve never been happier to be asked, “What does ‘privy’ mean?” Along with five schoolchildren, I pored over reports on sanitation (or lack thereof) in nineteenth century London, before we then compared maps of drains in Whitechapel to get a sense of how they fitted into the rhythms of daily life (ahem). On that map, we noted the Public House on nearly every corner, the … Continue reading Paper Trails: Workshop Roundup

Paper Trails: Conference Roundup

Paper is tied up with so much of what we do as historians that it’s sometimes easy to forget about it. Likewise, our research stories are some of the first things we reach for when talking with colleagues, but they seldom make it into our published work. What happens, then, when we put these things at the heart of our history? This conference, which I … Continue reading Paper Trails: Conference Roundup

Future Imperfect? New book!

UCL Press has just released the edited volume that I prepared along with Chris Jeppesen, Britain, France and the Decolonization of Africa: Future Imperfect? (London: UCL Press, 2017). It is an open access collection, which means that you can read the book for free and download a PDF to keep. You can find the book on the UCL Press website by clicking HERE or on the cover … Continue reading Future Imperfect? New book!