Jonathan Durrant

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Titus Oates and the Popish Plot

The Popish Plot panic of 1679 exploded in response to allegations of a Jesuit conspiracy to murder Charles II, restore the Roman Catholic faith as …

The history of student life: 7 things you didn’t know

From revelries to riots, British student life is filled with remarkable traditions and characters. Here, our own Ellie Cawthorne, who presented a BBC …

A brief history of how we fell in love with caffeine and chocolate

Cups of coffee, tea, and hot chocolate have become mainstays of the modern British diet, dispensed in outlets in every high street and enjoyed in the …

Nordic Model key to beating exploitation of sex workers

<b>(CNN) —</b> With a decisive 64-12 vote in parliament this month, France asserted its determination to put an end to the exploitation of women and girls through prostitution. The United States and the rest of the world should follow suit.<p>France's new law codifies what is known as the Nordic Model for …

Human Rights

Circumcision choice should be left until children are old enough to decide for themselves, judge suggests

Young children should not be circumcised until they are old enough to decide for themselves, a judge has suggested as she prevented a Muslim father from forcing his sons to have the procedure.<p>A father failed in his High Court bid to have his two young sons circumcised in accordance with his strict …

Circumcision

The astronomer and the witch: Johannes Kepler’s fight to save his mother from execution

He is famed for discovering the three major laws of planetary motion, which described how planets orbit the sun. Less well known is that in 1615, …

Not such a prude after all: the secrets of Henry VIII’s love life

Despite having married six women and seduced countless more, Henry VIII is often depicted as something of a prude. But, as historian and author Amy …

Jane Fonda: 'It took me 30 years to get feminism'

Actor, who is a prominent women’s rights campaigner, says she once saw women’s issues as a distraction from other problems<p>The actor and activist Jane Fonda has admitted that she was “a late bloomer” when it came to feminism, and it was not until she was in her 60s that she really understood the …

Feminism

Sara Pascoe: ‘Boob jobs are viewed as a decorative tweak, but these women are self-harming’

From the age of 14 to 31, the comedian wore a padded bra every day. In an exclusive extract from her new book Animal, she talks about the normalisation of cosmetic surgery – and why she felt the pressure to ‘fake it’<p>In Essex, where I’m from, breast enlargement is relatively common. I reckon one in …

Breast Cancer

5 Historic Codes Yet to Be Cracked

Edgar Allan Poe, in a July 1841 article for <i>Graham's Magazine</i>, wrote that while people tend to think it's a relatively simple thing to create an …

Comic Books

How Shakespeare’s ‘second best bed’ bequest was an act of love

Ever since William Shakespeare bequeathed his ‘second best bed’ to his wife Anne, the barely-veiled snub has been viewed as one of history’s greatest slights.<p>But a new study suggests that the playwright was more thoughtful than his will implies.<p>Using x-ray and infra-red technology, scientists at …

William Shakespeare

7 facts about the history of medicine

From ancient enemas to tapeworm doctors, Caroline Rance shares seven remarkable moments from medicine’s unpredictable, shocking and frequently gory …

20,000 lesbians in the desert: welcome to the Dinah, a world without men

For five days in Palm Springs, Arwa Mahdawi entered an alternate reality where gay women celebrate each other with pool parties, dancing and debauchery<p>Every year at the end of March, 20,000 lesbians from around the world fly into the Californian desert for five days of debauchery, and I’m one of …

Palm Springs

'Biology not always destiny', says Ian McEwan after transgender row

After a backlash over his remarks about transgenderism last week, award-winning author Ian McEwan has written a letter to the Guardian saying “biology is not always destiny” and that one’s right to change gender “should be respected and celebrated”.<p>In a speech to the Royal Institution on Saturday …

LGBTQI

France passes law making it illegal to pay for sex

French MPs finally approve divisive legislation that will criminalise customers rather than sex workers<p>France is to make it illegal to pay for sex after MPs finally approved new legislation on prostitution following more than two years of rows and opposition by senators.<p>Under the new law, anyone …

Nicolas Sarkozy

Homophobia in sport to be studied by Commons committee inquiry

Culture, media and sport committee chair says the issue remains a serious one across a wide range of British sports<p>A Commons culture, media and sport committee inquiry is to explore homophobia in sport.<p>Four years ago the committee’s inquiry into racism in football found that homophobia was emerging …

Homophobia

The feminist cupcake sale that led to death and rape threats

It started with male students upset they’d have to pay the full $1 for a cake … and ended with the realisation we still desperately need feminism in the 21st century<p>If someone had told me, one week ago today, that a simple bake sale aiming to educate students about wage disparity in Australia would …

Feminism

Iranian Women Still Denied Fundamental Rights

There is a large disparity when comparing women's rights in Iran and in the West: Iranian women are still denied their basic fundamental rights. Iranian women are treated as second-class citizens, but authorities choose to ignore that women cannot enter stadiums and that there are gender barriers …

Air France Crew Refuse to Cover Up on Flights to Iran

Air France is hitting some turbulence as it restarts flights to Iran, with female flight attendants taking action against new uniform …

Air France

Anne Boleyn, Guy Fawkes and the princes: a brief history of the Tower of London

One of the most iconic historic sites in the world, the Tower of London was not just the backdrop but the lead actor in some of the most momentous …

10 things you (probably) didn’t know about the Black Death

It is one of the worst catastrophes in recorded history – a deadly plague that ravaged communities across Europe, changing forever their social and …

Isaac Newton Was the World’s Original Counterfeiter Cop

Sir Isaac Newton may be a renowned scientist whose name, like Einstein’s, works as a synonym for “genius.” But reducing him to a guy who sat under an …

Has history been unfair to Charles I?

For all Charles I's undoubted flaws, we should recognise that the much-maligned monarch was handicapped by his father's failings and chronic bad …

These Are The Queer Women Who Should Be In History Books

LGBT history is severely lacking from the lessons we learn in school, and so are many incredible women who deserve their rightful place in the books that claim to teach us about the people and events that have shaped the world we live in today. This week’s Huddle is dedicated to those queer women, …