Friends’ Events in 2021

New articles and podcasts are available in the Members’ area and we have more talks planned with a mini series of themed talks around climate change and weather related records in the archives, the Cold War, Spies in the Archives and research methods and evidence gathering.

Friends’ Event – AGM and talk on 23 March 2021 – Dr Alexander Hall

Who speaks for the flood? Exploring changing expectations in response to flooding and extreme weather in the UK

In this talk, historian Dr Alexander Hall will explore how across the twentieth-century, institutional, community and individual responses to flooding and other extreme weather events have changed. Using a range of different historical records, he will demonstrate how we can build a more in-depth picture of such fleeting, but often devastating disasters. By juxtaposing and incorporating views from national, regional, and scientific records, along with personal accounts, he will show how different historical events can look when viewed from a range of perspectives.

Dr Alexander Hall is a historian of science and an environmental historian who researches the history of science in popular media; exploring how scientists have gained positions of expertise in society, used the media to communicate complex theories to the public, and how non-scientific understandings of the natural environment have interacted with scientific knowledge. He is a Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham working on the project ‘Science and Religion: Exploring the Spectrum’, the co-project lead for the International Research Network for the Study of Science and Belief in Society, President of the International Commission for the History of Meteorology, and the History of Science Section Recorder for the British Science Association.

He has published works on a wide range of subjects from the history of flooding in the UK to the relationship between science and religion as depicted on broadcast media, and is currently working on a book titled, The story of evolution on British television and radio: Transmissions & Transmutations, which is under contract with Palgrave.


Friends’ Event – Talk on 1 December 2020 – Dr Caroline Sharples

Documenting the Death of Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler died in his Berlin Führerbunker on 30 April 1945. The conventional historical narrative, established by British Military Intelligence in November 1945 holds that the Nazi leader shot himself in the head once it became apparent that the Russian advance on the German capital was unstoppable. What evidence was there to support this conclusion – and what traces of this enquiry remain in the National Archives? This talk explores the scope of post-war Allied investigations, the political impact of Hitler’s passing and the challenges of finding clear-cut proof of death. Following the archival trail, it takes us beyond the usual scholarly focus on Hitler’s final movements to also consider public encounters with key documents and eyewitnesses and the meaning that Hitler’s death held for different audiences.

Dr Caroline Sharples is Senior Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Roehampton. Her research interests encompass memories of National Socialism, representations of the Holocaust, war crimes trials and perpetrator burials and commemorations. She is the author of West Germany and the Nazi Legacy (Routledge, 2012) and Postwar Germany and the Holocaust (Bloomsbury, 2016), and co-editor, with Olaf Jensen, of Britain and the Holocaust: Remembering and Representing War and Genocide. She is currently completing a monograph on the cultural history of the death of Adolf Hitler.