7 podcasts about Queen Victoria and the Victorians to listen to right now

What have you always wanted to know about Victorian Britain? We've hosted many historians of the Victorian era on the HistoryExtra podcast, with discussions from the notorious crimes of the era to the dishes that graced the Victorians' dinner tables. BBC History Magazine section editor Ellie Cawthorne selects 7 podcasts from the archive that you can listen to for free right now…

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Learn more about Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, the women killed by Jack the Ripper, the Victorian freak show, and more – with the HistoryExtra podcast…

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1

Queen Victoria with Lucy Worsley

Author, historian and broadcaster Lucy Worsley takes a look at the life and times of the woman who gave her name to the Victorian era. In this episode from September 2018, we headed to Kensington Palace, once home to the young Victoria, to talk to Lucy about Victoria’s personality, family life, and the challenges of sitting on the throne.

You can also read more from Lucy on Queen Victoria, in this feature from BBC History Magazine on the young Victoria’s childhood.


2

The women killed by Jack the Ripper

Hallie Rubenhold. (Photo by Fran Monks)

Moving from the very pinnacle of Victorian society to those who found themselves on the bottom of the heap, this episode delves into the little-known life stories of Jack the Ripper’s victims. Historian Hallie Rubenhold discusses her award-winning book The Five, which uses the untold stories of the five working-class women killed by the notorious murderer to reveal what life was like for those on the breadline in Victorian London.


3

Victorian medicine

What were your chances of survival on the Victorian surgical slab? In this episode from 2017, Dr Lindsey Fitzharris, author of The Butchering Art, delves into the terrifying world of 19th-century hospitals and shows how scientific advances eventually led to dramatic improvements in medical treatment.


4

Victorian freak shows

Diminutive circus performer George Sherwood Stratton, better known as General Tom Thumb poses in Highland dress for the appreciation of two young ladies. (Photo by London Stereoscopic Company/Getty Images)

From giants and dwarves to bearded ladies, historian and author Dr John Woolf explores the extraordinary and complex stories of the 19th-century ‘freak’ performers who became stars of their age. Were these performers exploited by canny circus pioneers, or did taking to the stage offer them more freedoms and economic independence?

You can read more about the myths of the Victorian freak show in a recent feature from BBC History Revealed.


5

Queen Victoria behind closed doors

In a talk she delivered at our Victorians Day event in 2017, historian and biographer Professor Jane Ridley presents some lesser-known aspects of the 19th-century monarch’s life. She reveals that, behind palace doors, the queen’s family life didn’t quite match up to the picture-perfect image she presented to the public.


6

A Victorian murder scandal

Author and biographer Claire Harman talks to us about the murder of Lord William Russell in 1840, a sensationalised killing that shocked 19th-century society and sparked a moral panic about the degeneration of literary culture.


7

Eating with Dickens

In this podcast from 2017, Pen Vogler explores Victorian food, diet and recipes through the life and works of 19th-century Britain’s best-known writer. She reveals how Dickens used food as a way to highlight social issues in his novels and discusses some of the era’s most spectacular (and revolting) dishes.

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You can also try your hand at some Dickensian recipes here.

Want to learn even more about the Victorians? Read more about Queen Victoria and her life and reign, or you can browse our articles on Victorian Britain. For more episodes, head to our podcast page where you can find more than 700 episodes of our award-winning podcast.