‘Roman road’ uncovered beneath York Minster


Archaeologists have found what is believed to be a section of Roman road beneath York Minster. The street, unearthed by York Archaeological Trust during work on new visitor displays in the cathedral’s undercroft, is thought to have run behind the Roman basilica that stood on the site.

The renovations are part of the York Minster Revealed project, which aims to uncover more about the area around the cathedral and improve the experience of visitors to the building. Analysis of the Archaeological Trust’s findings, including the recently discovered road, is set to be published in February 2013.



Nelson seasickness letter goes on display

A letter written by Admiral Lord Nelson on board HMS Victory, in which he writes of his struggle with seasickness, has gone on display for the first time. The document was sent to the 2nd Earl of Camden in October 1804 to explain the reasons that his nephew had left service on the ship, and can now be seen at Tunbridge Wells Museum.


Artefacts missing from former museum’s collections

More than 140 artefacts on loan to a museum that has now closed are missing, according to a BBC investigation. Among the items thought to be absent from the former collections of the British and Empire Commonwealth Museum in Bristol, which shut in 2008, are a painting of a 19th-century trading ship which was sold at auction without the owner’s knowledge.


Pankhurst autograph book goes up for auction

An autograph album collating the thoughts of dozens of 20th-century women’s rights campaigners has fetched £3,000 at auction. The book, sold by Dominic Winter Auctioneers of South Cerney, Gloucestershire, includes autographs from writers and artists including Sylvia Pankhurst, Constance Bryer and the Redfern sisters, who auctioneers believe may have compiled the album. 

Radio Times digitisation project completed


The BBC has completed an initiative to digitise programme listings featured in the Radio Times between 1923 and 2009. The BBC Genome project, which has involved scanning pages from around 4,500 copies of the magazine, will be used to provide the public with an online database of material including photographs, scripts and, in some cases, the original programme.


Bomb map visited by six people a second



A website charting the impact of the German bombing of London during the Blitz has been visited by more than 300,000 people since its launch at the end of November. Coverage of the Bomb Sight project on social media networks and news sites during the past week led to more than 380 people a minute, or six a second, visiting the site at the peak of its popularity on Friday, 7 December.
The JISC-funded project, created by Dr Kate Jones and a team from the University of Portsmouth using data from The National Archives, allows users to explore a map documenting the locations and types of ordnance that fell on the city between 7 October 1940 and 6 June 1941.


Raphael drawing fetches £29.7m at auction

A 16th-century chalk drawing by Raphael has fetched £29.7m at auction in London, setting the highest price for a drawing in history. The Head of an Apostle sketch, which was a study for the artist’s Transfiguration, measures 15×11 inches and was part of a private collection held at Chatsworth House.


England and Wales population shows largest growth since 1801

The results of the 2011 census reveal that the population of England and Wales increased by 3.7m in the decade since the survey’s previous iteration, representing the largest growth in any ten-year period since it began in 1801. The statistics also show that 12 per cent fewer people identified themselves as being ‘Christian’, that the number of people born overseas rose by almost three million and that 6,242 people regarded their faith as ‘heavy metal’.


Image credits: Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery (Nelson); courtesy Dominic Winter Auctioneers (autograph book); www.bombsight.org v1.0, 12/12/12 (bomb map)