250 episodes

Histories of the Unexpected explores the past in ways that you never dreamt possible. Surely there’s nothing unexpected about the past? About History? Aha, well Histories of the Unexpected adopts a new approach to exploring our past. Gone is the traditional linear plotting of battles, monarchs and political movements. Histories of the Unexpected argues that everything has a history, even the most unexpected of subjects. Like SLIME. Or COURAGE. or APPLAUSE.... Presented by Dr Sam Willis and Professor James Daybell.

Histories of the Unexpecte‪d‬ Sam Willis & James Daybell

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.4 • 111 Ratings

Histories of the Unexpected explores the past in ways that you never dreamt possible. Surely there’s nothing unexpected about the past? About History? Aha, well Histories of the Unexpected adopts a new approach to exploring our past. Gone is the traditional linear plotting of battles, monarchs and political movements. Histories of the Unexpected argues that everything has a history, even the most unexpected of subjects. Like SLIME. Or COURAGE. or APPLAUSE.... Presented by Dr Sam Willis and Professor James Daybell.

    Snails!

    Snails!

    In this fantastic episode Dr Sam Willis and Professor James Daybell explore the history of snails....who knew they were so interesting! From snails as symbols of resistance in occupied France in the Second World War, to the history of snail collecting, and snails in underwear and handbags and fighting giant snails...you'll never think about snails the same way ever again. Guaranteed!
     
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    • 33 min
    Leather!

    Leather!

    In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, James and Sam, discuss the fascinating and completely unexpected history of LEATHER! Which is all about the history of medieval birthing girdles (and 'bio-codicology!' - yes that is a term; the fabulous National Leather Collection and the quest to buy as many interesting items as you can for £5; it's about glove-making and William Shakespeare's father; and it's also all about Benjamin Franklin and the leather apron man and Samurai warriors! Who knew!
     
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    • 31 min
    Rhyming!

    Rhyming!

    In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, James and Sam, clear their throats to pontificate about the unexpected history of RHYMING! Which is all about the history of the singing game and the transmission of dance songs across the centuries to children's playgrounds; it's about Renaissance verse, Petrarchan sonnets, Thomas Wyatt, the court of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and WWI; it's also all about Edward Lear and nonsense, Limericks and professional writing for a living! Who knew!
     
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    • 44 min
    Bad Habits!

    Bad Habits!

    In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, James and Sam, cast their beady historical eyes on the unexpected history of BAD HABITS! Which is all about the history of intoxication, alcohol, tobacco and drugs, as well as the material culture of early modern women's consumption of tobacco (think the hidden political meanings of snuff boxes) and female agency; it's also all about gambling, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's addicted detective, Sherlock Holmes, cocaine, heroine and the Vietnam War. Who knew!
     
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    • 37 min
    Puddles!

    Puddles!

    In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, James and Sam, don their wellies and splash around in the past to jump into the unexpected history of PUDDLES! Which is all about the history of child the play, the historical derivation of nursery rhymes, Sir Walter Ralegh (the romantic puddle-coverer), and the famous children's author and illustrator Shirley Hughes; it's also all about the Cornish mining landscape, pumping water out of mines to avoid puddles connected to the Cornish engineer Richard Trevithick, and of course the Taj Mahal. Who knew!
     
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    • 39 min
    Posing!

    Posing!

    In this latest episode, the Unexpected duo, James and Sam, strut their stuff on the catwalk of the past to strike a pose at the unexpected history of POSING! Which is all about seventeenth-century sartorial elegance and cutting a dash around town, as well as family paintings, photographs, and the history of the selfie. It's also all about Michelanglo's David and native Americans in the pictorial press. It's also all about the history of consumption and owning far too many pairs of gloves! Who knew!
     
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    • 40 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
111 Ratings

111 Ratings

PhelineCat ,

Love the subjects

Certainly have to get to the show notes to appreciate everything. I imagine that's still challenging- no, impossible, on the native player but is another reason I love Overcast. Navigating to the show notes isn't a problem for me anymore so I get much more out of podcasts.

Love their enthusiasm and I listen to more of these than I expected.

hairytummy ,

My kids love the homeschooling episodes

Thoroughly enjoy the episodes.

Chess fan1234 ,

Off key discussion of Hitler

What a strange podcast. The hosts nattered on about Hitler. They’re fascinated they said. They shared an anecdote about Hitler in which they refer to him as a “great” and “famous” man. I’m listening to this podcast one short week after Trump tried to overturn an election in the United States, after we’ve suffered through four years of Trump’s wannabe totalitarian regime. Not cool at all, at any time. And not cool now.

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