Britain on film: thousands of pieces of archive footage go online for first time

Anyone who thought the Edwardians stuffy and polite will be relieved to hear researchers found at least four examples of young boys giving the camera V-signs. There are very serious subjects with unexpected humour. The 1970s mother who lives in one of Britain’s worse slums, in Birmingham’s Balsall Heath, being interviewed holding her baby cheerfully […]

Not fade away… how robots are preserving our old newspapers

In the dark void of the National Newspaper Building, the robots are afoot. Towering 20 metres high and stretching far into the distance is an imposing expanse of racks, heaving with trays bearing volume upon volume of newspapers, laid flat and strapped between metal sheets. Suddenly, an enormous autonomous crane zooms forwards, stops abruptly and, […]

Zandra Rhodes: weaving a new society

The country is utterly reliant on the ready-made-garment (RMG) industry, which provides 80% of the GDP. Some Western brands talk about production there as if they are NGOs, producing much-needed jobs and emancipating women. But we’re starting to see it’s more complicated than that. The fast-fashion system cannot guarantee decent conditions and fair wages. A […]

What happens to my late husband’s digital life now he’s gone?

And, these days, people die a digital death alongside their physical one, which creates a whole new world of admin that didn’t pass the radar of grieving widows 50 years ago. Those 20th-century widows would have had a box of love letters and a few hard copy photos; I have Facebook messages, professional videos on […]

Dune, 50 years on: how a science fiction novel changed the world

The prevailing publishing wisdom of the time had it that SF readers liked their stories short. Dune (400 pages in its first hardcover edition, almost 900 in the paperback on my desk) was rejected by more than 20 houses before being accepted by Chilton, a Philadelphia operation known for trade and hobby magazines such as […]