Episode 46: Chalk and Valleys

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

‘Don Juan now saw Albion’s earliest


Thy cliffs dear Dover! harbour and

hotel;       (Byron, Don Juan, Canto 10 LXIX, 1818)


Welcome to Histories of the Unexpected where you will discover the history of things that you did not know had a history; like the history of chickens, or the history of tears.

For this episode let us join Early Modern HisTORian, Professor James Daybell, and the survivor of Tajikistani’s Tunnel of Death, Dr Sam Willis, as they carve into the unexpected history of chalk and valleys.


So, get your chalks and horn books at the ready as, live from the Chalk Valley, James and Sam, take you from the ancient civilization of the Sogdian traders in a Tajikistani Valley to the development of ‘HOBO’ culture and language in the USA during the Great Depression of the 1930s.


In this podcast, James and Sam will reveal the secrets hidden in our lands to expose the unexpected history of nationalism, education, empowerment of children, ‘HOBO’ culture, conflict and freedom to uncover their links with the history of Chalk and Valleys.


Listen out as two well-educated and highly qualified academics struggle to work modern day technology, making us all reminiscent of the good old days of simply sharing our ideas with a piece of chalk.


‘Imagine a gentleman in mid-ocean wishing that he had brought some salt water with him for his chemical experiments. I was sitting on an immense warehouse of white chalk. The landscape was made entirely of white chalk.’ G.K. Chesterton (1874 – 1936).

More Podcasts

REVENGE! Homeschooling the Wars of the Roses and the Battle of St Albans

18, 2, 2022 - In this Homeschooling History episode, the Histories of the Unexpected duo, James and Sam, .... Read More

Episode 63: Snow

6, 4, 2018 - “A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.”  Carl Reiner .... Read More

100. Romans!

9, 6, 2019 - “Apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the .... Read More

Subscribe to our newsletter

Keep up to date with Histories of the Unexpected