Betwixt The Sheets: The History of Sex, Scandal & Society
It’s hard to imagine London’s gay scene before vibrant night spots like Heaven and G.A.Y, but come back with us to the 18th Century to find out about where it all began: Molly Houses.
This was when to be gay in England was a crime punishable by death, and so a network of secretive gay gatherings in the backrooms of ale and coffee houses - known in the community as Molly Houses - were the place to go and meet other gay men.
Where did this term come from? And what took place at great risk behind these closed doors? Kate is joined by the legendary gay historian and author Rictor Norton to find out.
Produced by Sophie Gee. Senior Producer Charlotte Long. Mixed by Stuart Beckwith.
Betwixt the Sheets: The History of Sex, Scandal & Society. A podcast by History Hit.
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118. The Pre-Raphaelites: Art & Sexual Liberation34:03The Pre-Raphaelites: Art & Sexual LiberationIf there’s one thing we like to embrace on this podcast, it’s a slice of controversy. Which is why today’s topic of the Pre-Raphaelites movement is such a joy to explore: this was the swinging 60s of the Victorian era. A time when a group of artists, including Dante Rossetti and John Millais, refused to conform to the artistic norms at the time, and instead embraced sexuality and nature in a style that was more luscious and medieval than modern. What exactly did they stand for? Who were the women that inspired them? And why did the establishment’s feathers become so ruffled? Today, Kate is Betwixt the Sheets with legendary art historian Jan Marsh to find out. Senior producer: Charlotte Long. Producer: Sophie Gee. Mixed by Stuart Beckwith. We’re trying to understand our audience a bit better. You can take part in our listener survey here.
117. A History of Queer Women48:26One thing’s for certain, queer people have always been a part of society. The language may not have always been there to describe them in all of their wonderful forms, and the history books may not have always told their stories, but they have always been there. To celebrate the start of Pride month, Kate is joined by author Kirsty Loehr, who’s book A Short History of Queer Women is here to shine a spotlight on some of the marvellous people and their lives. From the woman who’s thought to be the OG lesbian in Ancient Greece, to more modern intersectional gay black feminists via a runaway lesbian pirate in the 18th century, it’s important their stories are heard. Produced and edited by Stuart Beckwith. Senior Producer Charlotte Long. Lyre music provided by Michael Levy: https://www.youtube.com/@MichaelLevyMusic
116. The Rise of Celebrity Culture39:12Any of us who have happened to see a celebrity in the wild can admit to the strange thrill you get. It doesn’t matter if it’s C, D, or Z-list celebrities, even, they all count! But why are we as a society so obsessed with celebrities? From Ancient Greek Gods to Kim Kardashian, our obsession has endured. And what does it say about us, when most young people just want to be famous when they grow up? Without a thought for what they might be famous for. Kate is joined by Landon Jones, former managing editor of People Magazine and author of Celebrity Nation: How America Evolved Into A Culture Of Fans And Followers. He’s here to take us back through history to where it all began, speculate what the future of celebrity may hold, and share tales of his own, such as why Princess Diana refused to dance with him.Produced by Sophie Gee. Senior Producer Charlotte Long. Mixed by Stuart Beckwith.
115. The Giggling Granny serial killer34:10Picture a serial killer in your mind’s eye. What do you see? More often than not it will be a man.Statistically that’s accurate, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Whilst it’s perhaps not the most worthy feminist cause to jump behind, the issue of gendered narratives is a fascinating one - and what better way to look at it than through the lens of serial killers?Kate is joined by Tori Telfer, author of Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History to explore the story of one of America’s most notorious female serial killers: Nannie Doss, aka the Giggling Granny. She killed 11 people, four of which were husbands, leading to her also being known as the Lonely Hearts Killer, due to her supposed search for love.Nannie Doss interview clip courtesy of Pea Hicks. View the full interview and more on their YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/@peahixProduced by Sophie Gee. Senior Producer Charlotte Long. Mixed by Stuart Beckwith.
114. The Real Queen Charlotte45:34Queen Charlotte is back in the spotlight, thanks to the new Bridgerton spin-off series looking into her life and marriage to King George III.We know Bridgerton uses a lot of creative license when it comes to historical accuracy (just in case you didn't know, people in the Regency period did not dance to orchestral covers of Beyonce) so today Kate thought she'd get Betwixt the Sheets with historian, Catherine Curzon to find out who the real Queen Charlotte was.What was her early life like? How was her relationship like with her husband before and after his mental health problems? How did other members of high society view her?You can find out more about Catherine Curzon's work here.WARNING: There is adult content and explicit words in this episode.Senior producer: Charlotte Long. Producer: Stuart Beckwith. Mixed by Siobhan DaleBetwixt the Sheets: The History of Sex, Scandal & Society. A podcast by History Hit.For more History Hit content, subscribe to our newsletters here.
112. Murder in the Roman World42:42The Ancient Romans are often thought of as ahead of their time. They invented concrete, sophisticated road systems and even underfloor heating.But their approach to murder is starkly different to how the modern world recognises it, and frankly it’s a bit weird. These people saw 26 emperors murdered in one 50-year period, and would watch people being killed for entertainment in the Colosseum.Today Kate is Betwixt the Sheets with Emma Southon to talk murder in Ancient Rome.You can find out more about Emma's book here.WARNING: There is adult content and explicit words in this episode.Senior producer: Charlotte Long. Producer: Sophie Gee. Mixed by Stuart Beckwith.Betwixt the Sheets: The History of Sex, Scandal & Society. A podcast by History Hit.For more History Hit content, subscribe to our newsletters here.
111. Witch Hunts of Scotland42:24In 1603, James VI & I became the first king of Scotland and England. But this isn’t the only reason he was remarkable. Because he also had a big, no HUGE, fear of witches.He literally wrote a book on it in 1597. Daemonologie, which just scratched the surface of Scotland’s relationship with so-called witches.Today, Kate is Betwixt the Sheets with Allyson Shaw to find out more about the witch trials of Scotland.You can find out more about Allyson's book here.WARNING: There is adult content and explicit words in this episode.Senior producer: Charlotte Long. Producer: Sophie Gee. Mixed by Siobhan DaleBetwixt the Sheets: The History of Sex, Scandal & Society. A podcast by History Hit.For more History Hit content, subscribe to our newsletters here.
110. Perfume36:28What did Napoleon smell like? How many pairs of scented gloves did Marie Antoinette get through a month? And how did the study of perfume become the study of life itself in the 19th century?Kate is joined by Theresa Levitt for this episode to find out about the world of the Parisian perfumiers Laugier and Laurent. Theresa is the author of Elixir: A Parisian Perfume House and the Quest for the Secret of Life.Produced by Sophie Gee. Senior producer: Charlotte Long. Mixed by Stuart Beckwith.Betwixt the Sheets: The History of Sex, Scandal & Society. A podcast by History Hit.