Editor’s pick: 6 favourite articles from the BBC History Revealed archive to read right now

From the history of our toilet habits to the lost tombs of ancient Egyptian pharaohs, HistoryExtra hosts a wealth of fantastic history articles which first appeared in BBC History Revealed magazine. With all subscriber areas of the site currently open to all readers, the title's editor Charlotte Hodgman selects six articles from our archive that you can read for free, right now…

Roman toilet
1

Bound for Britain: your guide to the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush

From issue 77

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This fascinating feature by Colin Grant explores how the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush in June 1948 marked the beginning of an immigration boom that would change the face of Britain forever. Colin, whose Jamaican parents joined the thousands of people who left the West Indies in search of new lives in ‘the Motherland’, explores the experiences of the new arrivals, sharing some of their incredible stories and memories. Read the full article here, and Colin also discussed the stories of postwar immigrants to Britain from the Caribbean on the HistoryExtra podcast


2

Tales of the toilet: An A–Z

From issue 56

Our basic needs may remain the same, but our toilet habits have certainly changed over the centuries – thankfully for the better. In this feature from 2018, Julian Humphrys charts the history of the toilet ­– from Grooms of the Stool, responsible for attending to and assisting with the Royal Bottom, to xylospongium (sponges on sticks used by the Romans for… well, you can probably guess the rest…)

Plus, when was toilet paper invented and what did people use before?

c1955: A child pulls toilet paper from a roll. But what did humans do before toilet paper was invented? (Photo by Mac Gramlich/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
c1955: A child pulls toilet paper from a roll. But what did humans do before toilet paper was invented? (Photo by Mac Gramlich/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

 

3

Who killed JFK? The case that can never be closed

From issue 53

Everyone ‘knows’ who shot JFK, but is the story really that simple? In this feature from 2018, Nige Tassell examines the classified files released by the US in 2017 for clues that might identify whether anyone was pulling the strings in the shadows.

Photo of Lee Harvey Oswald
JFK’s murderer Lee Harvey Oswald during a press conference after his arrest in Dallas. (Photo by STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)

 

4

Percy Fawcett and the search for the ‘Lost City Of Z’

From issue 41

In 1925, gentleman explorer Lieutenant Colonel Percy Fawcett embarked on an expedition to find the fabled city of gold: El Dorado. As he set off, in the glare of the media spotlight, he was unaware that his mission would conclude with a very unexpected headline. Don your walking boots and follow in Fawcett’s footsteps in this feature from 2017, by Pat Kinsella.

 

5

Where are all of Ancient Egypt’s missing pharaohs?

From issue 65

Back in 2019, egyptologist Chris Naunton gave BBC History Revealed a primer on the hunt for the lost mummies of Ancient Egypt’s pyramid-building rulers – from the earliest French expeditions in the late 18th century, onto Howard Carter’s dazzling discovery of Tutankhamun in 1922 and through to the present day.

Also, Chris joined the HistoryExtra podcast to discuss the search for the resting places of famous Egyptians such as Nefertiti and Cleopatra:

 

6

Who were the gladiators of ancient Rome? Plus Spartacus, Crixus and 8 more fighters you should know

Exotic animals, such as lions, were transported from Rome’s faraway provinces. (Photo By DEA / G. DAGLI ORTI/De Agostini via Getty Images)
Exotic animals, such as lions, were transported from Rome’s faraway provinces to fight against gladiators. (Photo By DEA / G. DAGLI ORTI/De Agostini via Getty Images)

From issue 39

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How much do you know about the most famous gladiators of ancient Rome? Most gladiators were purchased from slave markets, being chosen for their strength, stamina and good looks, says Dr Miles Russell. Here, BBC History Revealed rounds up 10 of the most famous, from Spartacus, to two female gladiators who earned their freedom…

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