96. The Family

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019

‘The Whole World is my Family’       (Pope John XXIII)


Welcome to Histories of the Unexpected where we demonstrate how absolutely everything has a history and, crucially, how those histories link together in unexpected ways!


For this episode let us join the mild mannered janitor of the archives, Dr Sam Willis , and the elf who made the Christmas toy that is history, Professor James Daybell, as they take us through the blended and extended unexpected history of the family.

Hold on to kith and kin as Sam and James take you on a scramble down the family tree, from the American academic Hermann Mannheim’s 1941 article on crime statistics in wartime England to the open air class room images from the 1940’s held at the Imperial War Museum, from oral history accounts of the stigma facing unmarried mothers during WWII to the pre-fabricated homes created for the nuclear family of the 1950s, from Samuel Pepys’s Christmas Day in 1666 to Hollywood’s depiction of modern family life, and from the ticking off given to Francis Carew from his father, the courtier Sir Nicholas in 1630 to the letters sent by Elizabeth Bourne detailing the appalling treatment she received from her husband Anthony in 1582, this unexpected history is about to go nuclear!


Following the lines of descent James and Sam discover that this unexpected history is actually all about; anger and conflict, delinquency and fear, breakdowns and separation, movement and migration, opinion and constraints, propaganda and dissemination, rituals and tradition, chaos and frustration.


Listen out as James explains to Sam who Hong Kong Phooey is and gives a Netflix recommendation to rival Rotten Tomatoes!

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