- Weird and wonderful
- Kings & Queens
- TV & Radio
A set of almost a million documents recording the career of Winston Churchill is now available to explore online. The records, held in the archives of Churchill College, Cambridge and published digitally by Bloomsbury, include the future prime minister's school reports as well as drafts of wartime speeches and cigar bills. Access to the collection will be available through libraries, universities and other institutions, with an annual subscription starting from £1,120.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge have launched a new project using scientific techniques to learn more about the ways in which medieval illuminated manuscripts were created. The team, led by Dr Stella Panayotova from the Fitzwilliam Museum and Stephen Elliott from the university's department of chemistry, will use an array of imaging tests to identify the composition of pigments featured in the documents and reveal initial sketches beneath the final illustrations. The team hopes that the work will help conservators repair archive records and lead to new discoveries about the cultural and social circumstances of their production.
The government has allocated more than £50m to mark the centenary of the First World War, according to a speech given by David Cameron. The prime minister, talking at the Imperial War Museum on Thursday, said that he wanted a "truly national commemoration" and announced an advisory board, set to include culture secretary Maria Miller, to oversee events.
Records chronicling the Second World War Normandy landings can now be explored online thanks to a new website produced by the Imperial War Museum (IWM) and Google. The Cultural Institute site allows museums and other institutions to highlight collections on a particular theme or historical period, with the IWM's section featuring photographs, maps and videos charting the story of the Allied mission on 6 June 1944.
A new survey of Stonehenge provides further evidence that its use was closely connected to the solstices, according to a team from English Heritage. Analysis of a 3D laser scan of the monument suggests that it was aligned with the solstices, with stones facing north-east being larger and more uniform than those in the south-west, which are more irregular in formation. The project's researchers also believe that the stones were positioned to maximise the impact of the midwinter sunset for people approaching the circle from the Avenue, an ancient processional path to the north-east.
The owners of Pentillie Castle in Cornwall have begun a restoration project that may reveal the remains of the man who built it. Sir James Tillie constructed the castle in 1698 and demanded that, upon his death, he was dressed in his best clothes and interred, bound to a chair, with possessions including books, wine and his pipe. His staff obeyed but later buried his body in an unknown location, which project organisers believe could be in a mausoleum on the estate.
Archive material relating to the launch of the Radio Times has fetched £1,100 at an auction in Gloucestershire. The set of original designs, mock-ups and early editions of the magazine, which first went on sale in September 1923 as the "official organ of the BBC," was discovered by a women helping her parents to sort out their possessions.
A carcass discovered by an 11-year-old boy in northern Siberia in August is that of a woolly mammoth, according to experts from St Petersburg. The animal, which was preserved by the surrounding frozen permafrost, is estimated to have been around 16 years old when it died and would have weighed 500kg. Sergei Gorbunov from the International Mammoth Committee, which worked with the St Petersburg Institute to excavate the body, said: "We had to use both traditional instruments such as axes, picks, shovels as well as such devices as [a] 'steamer', which allowed us to thaw a thin layer of permafrost."
Image credits: The Fitzwilliam Museum (illuminated manuscripts); IWM/Google (online exhibition) Simon Whittam/Onshore Media/Pentille Castle (mausoleum)