Ministers have been accused of “social engineering” over their plans to mark the centenary of the First World War, by downplaying the role of Australian and New Zealand soldiers in favour of the contribution from New Commonwealth nations. Critics claim the government is focusing on black and Asian servicemen from other parts of the British Empire, such as India, as well as Caribbean and West African nations, at the expense of the Anzac forces, along with those from Canada and South Africa.
Mary Shelley letters discovered in Essex archive
A professor has discovered previously unpublished letters by the author of Frankenstein. The letters date between 1831, nine years after the death of her poet husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, and 1849, when Mary Shelley was already unwell with the brain tumour that would kill her two years later.
Solving the mystery of the Elephant Man?
Tests are being carried out to establish the genetic condition suffered by Joseph Carey Merrick, better known as the Elephant Man. A team at Queen Mary University of London is using new techniques to extract DNA from Merrick’s bones.
Baldrick calls Gove’s Blackadder remarks ‘silly’
A row has erupted between Sir Tony Robinson and Michael Gove, after the education secretary claimed “left-wing academics” were using Blackadder “to feed myths” about the First World War. Sir Tony, who played Baldrick in the BBC series, insisted the programme is used merely as a teaching tool, much like the poems of Wilfred Owen or class visits to Flanders.
To read more about the debate, click here.
Revealed: the wills of William Shakespeare and Jane Austen
The wills of some of history’s most famous names, including William Pitt the Elder and Sir Francis Bacon, have been published online for the first time. The collection of more than one million probate records details how much these individuals owned, and who they left it to.