Episode 23: Holes

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

‘I almost wish I hadn’t gone down that rabbit-hole – and yet – and yet – it’s rather curious this sort of life!’ (Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland). For this episode let us join the devil of diaries, Professor James Daybell and the heavyweight of histories, Dr Sam Willis, as they travel down the history worm-hole to discover the unexpected history of holes. Our hardworking navvies will dig a route from the church depositions of nosey neighbours in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England to South African diamond mines, from Andrea De Jorio’s map of Hades dating from 1825 to medieval bookworm damage, and from America’s first oil drilling exploits in 1815 to the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig disaster in 2010.

Like a super massive black hole, James and Sam will pull the links in to discover that this unexpected history is actually all about: shaming, clandestine sex, voyeurism, diamonds, fear of death, destruction and restoration, adventure and discoveries, human courage and inventiveness, disaster and uncertainty. Know of any other holes in history? If you do let us know … potholes, manholes, hole in one, …

‘Fire in the hole!’

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