History at Home


Step into England’s story with our new weekly podcast. Join presenter Charles Rowe as we bring the history of our sites to life with news, views and expert interviews.

You can listen to our latest episodes below or scroll down for details of how to subscribe.

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Latest Episodes

Episode 60 - Operation Dynamo and ‘the miracle of Dunkirk’

On the 80th anniversary of Operation Dynamo during the Second World War, we’re joined by Senior Properties Historian Paul Pattison to discover how the rescue of 338,000 allied soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk was masterminded by Vice Admiral Bertram Ramsay from deep inside Dover Castle’s top-secret tunnels. Learn about the events leading up to it, how it was accomplished and why it was such an important turning point in the war.

Plus, listen to an interview with former Army Signalman and Operation Dynamo veteran, Richard Sheen, to understand what life was like at Dover Castle at the time. Sadly, Richard passed away in 2019 at the age of 99. This episode is dedicated to him and his family.

To discover more about Dover Castle and Operation Dynamo, click here.

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Episode 59 - What was life like at our castles?

One of the questions that English Heritage staff and volunteers get asked all the time is what life would have been like inside a castle. We’re joined by head historic properties curator, Dr Jeremy Ashbee, to find out what constitutes a true castle, who would have lived and worked at them and what the typical sounds, sights and smells would have been. We also reveal what life would have been like for the soldiers who defended them and for the prisoners held in their dungeons.

To discover more about English Heritage’s castles, click here

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Episode 58 - Voyage of discovery: Charles Darwin and the bicentenary of the launch of HMS Beagle

On the 200th anniversary of the launch of HMS Beagle and Charles Darwin’s famous voyage that helped him formulate his theories on natural selection, we’re joined by Senior Properties Historian Dr Steven Brindle to find out more. Discover where Darwin travelled, what he found and what happened to the ship after Darwin disembarked.

We’re also joined by Anthony O’Rourke, head gardener at Down House, Darwin’s former home in Kent, to find out about the key experiments the naturalist conducted in his own garden and how these are replicated today. 

Click here to discover more about Down House and Darwin’s story.

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Episode 57 - Belsay awakes: Recreating history in Belsay Hall’s gardens

This week we’re combining history and horticulture as we’re joined in the studio by the head of English Heritage’s gardens and landscape team, John Watkins, and acclaimed landscape designer Dan Pearson, to find out about the planned transformation of the gardens at Belsay Hall in Northumberland. Discover the history of the gardens, the plans to bring them back to their blooming best, and the wider project to transform the visitor experience at this spectacular site. 

To discover more about Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens click here.


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