Rudolf Hess's grave is exhumed
The remains of Adolf Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess, have been exhumed from a graveyard in the German town of Wunsiedel to stop neo-Nazi rallies from being held at the site. Hess, who was captured after flying to Britain in 1941, was buried at the site according to his wishes, but local people are concerned at the numbers of far-right groups making pilgrimages to the grave on the anniversary of Hess’s death. A court order in 2005 banning such gatherings had little effect and the church has made the decision to terminate the family’s lease on the grave from October 2011. Hess’s bones have already been cremated and will be scattered at sea; the grave itself has been destroyed.
Volunteers wearing 15th-century replica armour have been running and walking on treadmills to assess the impact medieval suits of armour could have had on battle outcomes. Scientists monitoring the volunteers found that the subjects used high levels of energy, bore immense weight on their legs and suffered from restricted breathing. The effects of the armour were so great that researchers believe they could have had a profound impact on the outcome of the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 after French soldiers trekked through a muddy field before fighting their enemy. Medieval suits of armour weighed between 30 and 50 kg with between seven and eight kilograms carried on the legs alone.
Historic photography from the National Museum Wales collections is to be curated and digitised thanks to a £600,000 donation from the Esmée Farbain Foundation. Around 500,000 photographs and historic items spanning several disciplines, including geology and botany, social and industrial history and art, will be transferred into accessible digital formats. Among the items to be digitised are 1,500 images and objects associated with Dillwyn Llewelyn, which include original prints from the 1850s and examples of his pioneering work. The project, Natural Images, is due to begin in Autumn 2011.
The names and details of 1.5 million Post Office workers dating back to 1737 have been published online for the first time by The British Postal Museum & Archive. The records include details of pay, dismissals, transfers and resignations, and also list some 3,000 men called Pat who have worked for Royal Mail over the years. The list, which is published on family history website Ancestry.co.uk, also reveals the stories of the women who ran the Royal Mail during both world wars, including one woman who trekked a nine-mile route in the Cotswolds at the age of 65.
You can see some of the remarkable images of women postal workers during the war in our online slideshow.
Four elderly Kenyans have been told by the High Court that they can sue the Foreign Office for their alleged torture by British colonial authorities during the 1950s and 1960s. The claimants will levy accusations of torture, murder, sexual assault and other alleged abuses against the government at a full damages trial in 2012. The trial is expected to include critical material from some 17,000 previously lost documents discovered earlier this year in the Foreign Office's archives. Researchers say that the names of a further 600 apparent victims have also been found in the papers.
Seminal historical text now online
The University of Sheffield has published an interactive version of The Acts and Monuments by John Foxe, a work of ecclesiastical history claimed by some to be second only to the Bible as a resource for researchers of English history, religion and literature. The book details the history of the Protestants who were executed for heresy in the 16th century, and helped create the anti-Catholic sentiments that informed the public policy of English government between 1560 and 1835. The interactive version is the culmination of a project 20 years in the making and can be viewed on the John Foxe’s The Acts and Monuments Online website
Staff at Birmingham’s Central Library have discovered musical scores from the silent film era during preparations for a move to the new city library in 2013. Within the collection is the score for the music used as a theme tune for a Charlie Chaplin film dating to 1916. According to the council, the collection of 500 scores and parts represented silent movie music from between 1915 and 1929 and mostly belonged to movie theatre musical directors Louis Benson and HT Saunders.
A multi-national team of archeologists is investigating three Neolithic sites in Herefordshire. The sites, located at Dorstone Hill and Brewardine, have so far yielded flints and pottery, as well as traces of a dry stone wall and a line of timbers. The team is looking for settlements that archaeologists first suspected to be there in the 1960s.