Audible, The National Archives and Bloomsbury debut In Their Own Words

Audible, The National Archives and Bloomsbury released In Their Own Words, an exclusive audio collection of largely unpublished letters from throughout history. The collection is narrated by some of Britain’s best loved performers and most famous voices, including Miriam Margolyes, Daniel Mays and Martin Shaw.
The letters included span some 500 years and mark iconic moments in history including the start of Nelson Mandela’s trial and Churchill asking Roosevelt for America’s support during WWII.

In Their Own Words: A History in Letters

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Exclusive collection of letters features writing from Churchill, Catherine Howard, ‘Jack the Ripper’, the Ford Dagenham women and more
Correspondence narrated by some of Britain’s best loved performers including Miriam Margolyes, Indira Varma, Martin Shaw and Daniel Mays amongst others
London, embargoed until 00:01am 25th August 2016 Audible, The National Archives and Bloomsbury today debut In Their Own Words, an exclusive collection of largely unpublished letters from throughout history. Covering centuries of protest, scandal, cultural revolution and technological innovation the series gives audiences an intimate window into the past, documenting momentous events through personal letters from well-known figures and ordinary citizens alike. Bringing together some of the world’s most shocking, funny and poignant writing, the collection spans some 500 years including everything from Catherine Howard’s adulterous love notes, to the letter that marked the start of Nelson Mandela’s trial.
With around 80 pieces expertly curated by Dr Hester Vaizey, the collection is grouped into six, thematic chapters: ‘Companions, Comrades, Lovers’, ‘Espionage & Deception’, ‘Allies, Diplomacy & Foreign Relations’, ‘Protest, Revolution & Rebellion’, ‘Scandals, Loopholes & Murder’ and ‘Cultural, Technological Change’. Notable highlights include (full contents in Notes to Editors):
–          A letter from Churchill to Roosevelt asking for America’s support during WWII
–          Letters from the Ford Dagenham women rallying one another to strike for equal pay
–          A letter sent to the Houses of Parliament warning MPs of the gunpowder plot
–          Letters sent to the Home Office urging for the decriminalization of homosexuality in the 1960s
–          Letters lamenting ‘class antagonism’ aboard the Titanic after its fateful maiden voyage
–          Cryptic letters sent to the police from ‘Jack The Ripper’
–          A letter from Idi Amin to Queen Elizabeth II inviting her to celebrate Ugandan independence
Working with some of Britain’s best loved performers, In Their Own Words has been beautifully brought to life by a BAFTA and Tony award winning cast including Miriam Margolyes (Harry Potter), Indira Varma (Game Of Thrones), Martin Shaw (Judge John Deed), Daniel Mays (Mrs Biggs), David Haig (Four Weddings & A Funeral), Robert Bathurst (Downton Abbey) and Rhashan Stone (Desmond’s) amongst others (full list in Notes to Editors).
Tracey Markham, UK Country Manager at Audible, said: “We’re thrilled to have worked with the National Archives and Bloomsbury to bring such a unique and compelling collection of letters to life. From Churchill to the Kray Twins, it’s packed with a weird and wonderful selection of writings, narrated by some of Britain’s finest performers. Whether you fancy a bit of history on the way home from work, or want something to make you feel inspired on your morning run, it’s a great listen for every occasion.”
Dr Hester Vaizey, Publishing Manager at The National Archives, said: “Reading old letters can feel like stepping into a time machine, taking us back to the moment when the author set down their thoughts and feelings on paper. Letters contain the full array of human emotions, from love to hate, from fear to excitement. This anthology of letters has been selected from the 126 shelf-miles of documents held in The National Archives and offers a fascinating insight into the lives of men and women who are no longer with us.”

          Companions, Comrades, Lovers
o    Medieval family politics: Letter from Isabelle of Angoulême to Henry VIII
o    A doomed queen: Catherine Howard’s letter to her lover Culpepper
o    Lean meals for the Earl of Leicester: Elizabeth I drafts a playful thank-you letter
o    ‘Slaving during master’s pleasure’: Bonded labour in eighteenth century Maryland
o    Britain versus the South Pole: Telegram sent to Captain Oates’ mother announcing his death
o    Letter from India: K B W Sharland, 26 July 1917, Pashan Camp, Kirkee, India
o    Medals into munitions: The fight at home: Funding the First World War
o    An appeal from Pioneer Baggs: A tragic attempt to keep a son from war
o    The Caravan Club: Raids on homosexual clubs in the 1930s
o    Children of the Overseas Reception Board: The sinking of the SS City of Benares
o    ‘Tell her my grief has no end’: Ken ‘Snakehips’ Johnson: a life, from Guiana to Soho
–          Espionage & Deception
o    Digging for King and Country: Leonard Woolley and T E Lawrence
o    Carl Lody, the spy in the Tower: Letter from a convicted German on the eve of his execution
o    From bank clerk to British spy: The origins of Britain’s leading Second World War spy
o    Operation Mincemeat: How a dead body deceived the Axis in the Second World War
o    Animals and the War effort: GI Joe the hero carrier pigeon
o    The Gerson Secret Writing Case: J O Peet and coded correspondence in the Second World War
o    The first female British spy: Christine Granville: a female Second World War agent
o    Double agents and the Cold War: The disappearance of Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean
–          Allies, Diplomacy & Foreign Relations
o    Reburying the hatchet: The return of Napoleon Bonaparte’s remains to France
o    Nationality and naturalisation: Karl Marx’s application to become British citizen refused
o    ‘Wonderful things’: Discovering Tutankhamun’s tomb
o    The end of ‘peace in our time’: Lord Halifax and the declaration of war
o    Operation Pied Piper: what to feed the children?: Government guidelines for caring for evacuated children
o    The most unsordid act in history: The origins of Lend-Lease
o    Nuclear weapons and the new world order: Letter from Attlee to Truman
o    An invitation to the Queen: Idi Amin invites Elizabeth II to celebrate Ugandan independence
–          Protest, Revolution & Rebellion
o    Braveheart: A letter from the King of France regarding William Wallace
o    ‘Terrible blow this Parliament’: A warning about the Gunpowder Plot
o    ‘Ye have not yet done as ye ought’: A letter from ‘Captain Swing’ – the agricultural unrest of 1830
o    ‘… we may lie and die in a land of plenty …’: Thomas Henshaw’s demand for redress in the ‘Hungry 40s’
o    Class antagonism onboard the Titanic: Did your class affect your chances of survival?
o    ‘Wrong and wicked punishment’: Sir Douglas Haig defends Field Punishment No. 1
o    A letter of farewell to his mother: Patrick Pearse: executed for being a leader of the Easter Rising
o    Animals in a cage: Women’s petitions for equal participation in Parliament
o    The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising: Dedication to the Jewish people of Poland
o    The League of Coloured Peoples: The mixed-race babies of the Second World War
o    ‘Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika’: Notes on the trial of Nelson Mandela
o    Sexual Offences Act 1967: The decriminalisation of homosexual acts
o    Shooting at the Berlin Wall: The Cold War and the fight to stop the flow of people to the West
o    For ‘all women everywhere’: Ford Dagenham women strike for equal pay
–          Scandals, Loopholes & Murder
o    Can a child be deemed an animal?: The case of James Stannard – child welfare in the 19th century
o    Copycat Rippers: Letters to the police from ‘Jack the Ripper’
o    A pattern emerges and a serial killer is uncovered: The case of the ‘Brides in the Bath’ murders
o    A storm in a whiskey tumbler: Diplomatic drinking in prohibition America
o    ‘Impassioned Obscenity’: The Cerne Abbas Giant
o    Commander of the death camps: Josef Kramer, commandant of Bergen-Belsen, writes to his wife
o    Christine Keeler and Stephen Ward: The scandal that rocked the early 1960s
o    ‘The Kray twins done it’: Murder at the Blind Beggar
o    ‘One for the pot’: The World Cup is stolen
–          Cultural, Technological Change
o    The cantankerous father of computing: Charles Babbage and street music noise
o    Electric trains: Seashore sabotage
o    ‘A flyer capable of carrying a man’: The Wright brothers’ negotiations with the British government
o    No women drivers allowed: Men from the London Trades Council threaten to strike
o    Disappointed fiancées: The right of married women to work in the civil service
o    The introduction of the contraceptive pill: Allowing ‘improper demands’ by women?
o    ‘A good thing to be laughed at’: Harold Macmillan approves of his TV satirisation
o    Aliens in the Mendip Hills: Correspondence to and from the Ministry of Defence
–          Miriam Margolyes
–          Indira Varma
–          Martin Shaw
–          Daniel Mays
–          David Haig
–          Robert Bathurst
–          Rhashan Stone
–          Arthur Smith
–          Stephen Critchlow
–          Jessica Dennis
–          Nicholas Boulton
–          Simon Kane
–          Adam Hall
About Audible Ltd.
Audible, an, Inc. subsidiary (NASDAQ:AMZN), is the leading provider of premium digital spoken audio information and entertainment, offering customers a new way to enhance and enrich their lives every day. Audible was created to unleash the emotive music in language and the habituating power and utility of verbal expression. Audible content includes more than 200,000 audio programs from leading audiobook publishers, broadcasters, entertainers, magazine and newspaper publishers, and business information providers. Audible is also the preeminent provider of spoken-word audio products for Apple’s iTunes Store.
About The National Archives
The National Archives is one of the world’s most valuable resources for research and an independent research organisation in its own right. As the official archive and publisher for the UK government, and England and Wales they are the guardians of some of the UK’s most iconic national documents, dating back over 1,000 years. Their role is to collect and secure the future of the government record, both digital and physical, to preserve it for generations to come, and to make it as accessible and available as possible. The National Archives brings together the skills and specialisms needed to conserve some of the oldest historic documents as well as leading digital archive practices to manage and preserve government information past, present and future.

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