Sylvia Pankhurst: suffragette, socialist and ‘scourge of the empire’

From militant suffragette at the beginning of the 20th century to campaigner against colonialism in Africa after the Second World War, Sylvia Pankhurst dedicated her life to fighting oppression and injustice. Katherine Connelly will examine Pankhurst’s role at the forefront…

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Black Power and the state

The late 1960s and early 1970s witnessed the flourishing of Black Power, a movement of major global impact. In Britain, black radical campaigns were monitored by Special Branch, MI5, the Joint Intelligence Committee and the Home Office, in an attempt to frustrate and ultimately demobilise the movement.

In this talk, Robin Bunce will use sources from our collection to reconstruct the state’s campaign against black radicals in the UK, from the trial of Malcolm X in 1967, through the prosecution of Obi Egbuna and the Mangrove Nine, to the trial of the Old Bailey Three in 1972.

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Security Service file release November 2017

Professor Christopher Andrew, formerly official historian of MI5 and author of ‘The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5’, introduces key files from the release of Security Service files to The National Archives in November 2017.

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‘Step Child’: a play about the surveillance of First World War Indian dissenters

The British Government promises that all British subjects are equal before the law. But when America begins blocking the growing number of Indian Sikhs seeking to enter the US reneging on an Anglo-American treaty, will the British step in? A British spy and his wealthy Parsi informant discuss the potential revolutionary ramifications if the British do not.

This podcast is one of five short plays produced in response to documents held at The National Archives relating to the experiences of people from South Asia at the time of the First World War. The series was created by five playwrights from the Tamasha Developing Artists (TDA) programme and funded by the Friends of The National Archives.

Written by: Amy Ng

Directed by: Anthony Simpson-Pike

Performed by: Naveed Khan, Balvinder Sopal and Peter Singh

Recorded, edited and sound designed by: Robbie MacInnes

Photo credits: Bettina Adela

With thanks to Iqbal Husain and Sara Griffiths at The National Archives; and Fin Kennedy and Mina Maisuria at Tamasha Theatre.

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‘Smile’: a play about Indian soldiers at the Brighton Pavilion Hospital during the First World War

Three Indian soldiers recover at the iconic Brighton Pavilion hospital. Every detail is provided for but something isn’t quite right. The soldiers question why the plentiful food and high quality care is served in the shadow of guards and bars across windows. Will they be honoured as heroes as the British had led them to believe, or are they merely prisoners being readied again for war?

This podcast is one of five short plays produced in response to documents held at The National Archives relating to the experiences of people from South Asia at the time of the First World War. The series was created by five playwrights from the Tamasha Developing Artists (TDA) programme and funded by the Friends of The National Archives.

Written by: Melanie Pennant

Directed by: Anthony Simpson-Pike

Performed by: Peter Singh, Naveed Khan, Jag Sanghera and Jim Conway

Recorded, edited and sound designed by: Robbie MacInnes

Photo credits: Bettina Adela

With thanks to Iqbal Husain and Sara Griffiths at The National Archives, and Fin Kennedy and Mina Maisuria at Tamasha Theatre.

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‘The Radicalisation of Vir Singh’: a play about the challenges of serving as an Indian soldier in the First World War

Arjun sits restless and scared as he prepares to enter the battlefield for the first time. Inspired by compatriot Vir’s legends of mighty Sikh warriors, Arjun becomes resolute in his determination to bring honour to his family. But with false reports of cowardice emerging, what story will history remember?

This podcast is one of five short plays produced in response to documents held at The National Archives relating to the experiences of people from South Asia at the time of the First World War. The series was created by five playwrights from the Tamasha Developing Artists (TDA) programme and funded by the Friends of The National Archives.

Written by: Amman Paul Singh Brar

Directed by: Anthony Simpson-Pike

Performed by: Peter Singh, Naveed Khan and Sid Sagar

Recorded, edited and sound designed by: Robbie MacInnes

Photo credits: Bettina Adela

With thanks to Iqbal Husain and Sara Griffiths at The National Archives, and Fin Kennedy and Mina Maisuria at Tamasha Theatre.

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‘Cama’: a play about a female Indian revolutionary at the time of the First World War

In a trench in Marseille the loyalty of three Indian soldiers is tested when the legendary Madame Cama asks them to surrender for the good of the motherland. Will carrying on the fight really prove their loyalty to the crown? Or is the battle for Indian independence the real fight that should be had?

This podcast is one of five short plays produced in response to documents held at The National Archives relating to the experiences of people from South Asia at the time of the First World War. The series was created by five playwrights from the Tamasha Developing Artists (TDA) programme and funded by the Friends of The National Archives.

Written by: Sharmila Chauhan

Directed by: Anthony Simpson-Pike

Performed by: Peter Singh, Naveed Khan, Sid Sagar, Balvinder Sopal and Jim Conway

Recorded, edited and sound designed by: Robbie MacInnes

Photo credits: Bettina Adela

With thanks to Iqbal Husain and Sara Griffiths at The National Archives; and Fin Kennedy and Mina Maisuria at Tamasha Theatre.

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‘Corner of a Foreign Field’: a play about the burial of Indian Muslim troops at the time of the First World War

It is October 1914 and Maulana Sadr Ud-Din is battling with General Barrow, the Military Secretary to the India Office, over the appropriate burial grounds for Muslim soldiers. With Turkey entering the war on the side of the Central Powers much could rest on the decision that is made.

This podcast is one of five short plays produced in response to documents held at The National Archives relating to the experiences of people from South Asia at the time of the First World War. The series was created by five playwrights from the Tamasha Developing Artists (TDA) programme and funded by the Friends of The National Archives.

Written by: Hassan Abdulrazzak

Directed by: Anthony Simpson-Pike

Performed by: Naveed Khan, Jag Sanghera, Sid Sagar and Jim Conway

Recorded, edited and sound designed by: Robbie MacInnes

Photo credits: Bettina Adela

With thanks to Iqbal Husain and Sara Griffiths at The National Archives; and Fin Kennedy and Mina Maisuria at Tamasha Theatre.

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The Sexual Offences Act 1967. Part 2: Wolfenden’s silent women

On 27 July 2017, The National Archives held a day of talks to mark the 50th anniversary of the royal assent of the Sexual Offences Act 1967, which partially decriminalised male homosexuality in England and Wales.

In this recording, Caroline Derry looks at how the Wolfenden committee (whose 1957 report laid the ground work for the passing of the Sexual Offences Act) barely mentioned women and instead focussed almost exclusively on homosexual men.

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The Sexual Offences Act 1967. Part 1: The lives of men from 1953 to the 1967 Act

On 27 July 2017, The National Archives held a day of talks to mark the 50th anniversary of the royal assent of the Sexual Offences Act 1967, which partially decriminalised male homosexuality in England and Wales.

In this recording, Sammy Sturgess discusses the lives of gay men in London in the lead up to the 1967 Act: from legal rights and social spaces, to employment and living arrangements.

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