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The Gallimaufry

History Podcasts

Two lovers of the past look at the weird, the wonderful and often overlooked bits of history. Crafted lovingly in a carpet shop basement. New episodes every month.


United Kingdom


Two lovers of the past look at the weird, the wonderful and often overlooked bits of history. Crafted lovingly in a carpet shop basement. New episodes every month.




The Knights Templar

Although they've been gone over 700 years, the Knights Templar fascinate and inspire many across the globe. We take a look at the real organisation, how they began, what they got up to and their grisly downfall. Sadly the real story is less mysterious and magical as popular legends suggest, but if you love prayer and horses, you're in for a treat!


The Royal Mail

Where would the world be without the trusty post? The medium of many a crank, soppy poet and aggressive coupon chancers everywhere. We take a look at one of the longest running public mail systems, a national institution (quite literally), that enabled communications far and wide across Britain and beyond for half a century. It wasn't quite the world's first public system, but had some notable firsts including the postmark and the stamp. Not too shabby.



Wotcha saveloy? Were going to get a bit Piccadilly today aren't as we delve into the wondrous world of cockney, the people and the slang, so hold on your Alan Wickers for the Harry Lime of your fork and knife. Translation: Cockney history fun.


Caroline Norton: Author & Campaigner

Life for women in the 19th century was hard, really hard. As a married woman you basically didn't exist, everything that was yours, was actually your husbands, even your kids. Then along came Caroline Norton, a strong minded, intelligent author who challenged the laws of her day after suffering at them first hand. Hear her story and how she helped champion the first pieces of feminist legislation in the UK.


The Act of Union 1707

Come discover the birth of Great Britain and learn about the 1707 Act of Union between Scotland and England, which the Scottish totally, honestly, wanted... and launched one of the biggest empires the world has ever seen.


The Fruit Bowl

The wonderful succulent world of fruit awaits. We've been scoffing it for centuries, but how did the fruit we all come to know and admire from afar on our kitchen tables (or tv's in some cases...) get there in the first place. So prepare to go bananas and enjoy an appealing bunch of juicy facts.


Lord North: The PM who Lost America

When we think of great Prime Ministers, Lord North is probably close to the bottom of the list. A corpulent and charismatic figure, he led the British Government during the war of American Independence, a staggering defeat that finally knocked him out of office after 12 years in power (and after attempting to resign several times before he finally managed to...). Learn about the man and his motivations and whether history was right to be less than kind to his legacy.


The Pyramids

Ancient, pointy, symmetrically impressive, no this is not Keith Richards, but the Pyramids. Engineering marvels from one of the oldest and greatest nations to exist. Find out how, why and who built this majestic tombs in the episode, but honestly the short version is, if you want something built to last and built right, call an Ancient Egyptian.



Is it "fantastic?" A truly 21st century invention, although actually, plastics go back centuries and most modern plastics were actually discovered in the 19th century...however it certainly embodies the sprit of capitalist consumerism. From our soda bottles, to our clothes, plastic is everywhere, and has made our society possible. Find out the fascinating history of how it went from wonder material to villainous turtle killer (which is ironic in a way....)


The Enron Story

The story of Enron is one of greed, corruption, incompetence and toxicity, all the hallmarks of a successful American enterprise. One of the biggest financial scandals in business history kicked off the 21st century. Once described as "the smartest guys in the room", admittedly by themselves, the big brains at Enron did at least change the course of history, by showing us all how a business should never, ever be run.


The 1919 British Race Riots

The Great War has ended, thousands of citizens from across the colonies have answered the call of the Empire, but now the dust has settled, the troops are home, they are no longer welcome. Despite also existing as communities for centuries in Britain, Black and Arab people found themselves the target of racial violence and were told to "go home", as tempers flared ostensibly over jobs. Race riots that were never thought possible on Britain's shores, became a reality, erupting in major...


Alexander II: The Last Great Tsar

Often called the Russian Lincoln, we take a look at the life of Alexander the 2nd of well...Russia. Thought of as too emotional and lazy by his peers, he certainly showed them! Known for emancipating the serfs and trying desperately to reform Russia against a rising tide of violent terrorism, Alexander ultimately fell to an assassin's bomb. In his life he managed to make seismic changes to Russia, but his death would go on to have an even greater impact...


Ridiculous Reasons for War

War. War never changes, but the reasons do! And while it may sound strange anyway to start one over fancying another person's bit of land for yourself, there are even more absurd reasons! Gunning down pigs and dogs, non-vegan gun cartridges, overpriced bakeries... there are certainly some interesting stories here that go to show precisely why we have the Darwin awards.


The Centre of the Universe

Nowadays it's a given that the earth sits orbiting the sun, but not always! For centuries, in fact you could say not that long ago, we thought the earth was the centre of the universe. I mean why not? We're God's chosen or something right? So to make this a reality lots of people came up with complicated systems to explain it, that didn't really work, then thankfully Copernicus came along and said you're doing it wrong. If you like circles, you'll love this one.


Operation Mincemeat

Ah the life of a spy. Fast cars, strange gadgets, glamorous women corpses. Well one corpse to be precise. Hear the unbelievable and outrageous tale of Operation Mincemeat, the successful plan to disguise the Invasion of Sicily from Adolf and his gang, all using a phoney set of orders planted on a soldiers body. And it was basically lifted straight from a dodgy spy novel you could read in most bookshops, which apparently was all the criterion you needed to be in espionage back...



Bones, broomsticks, japes and jack o' lanterns, Halloween is a day packed with fright and fun, but where did it all come from? Is it just another phoney day ripe for corporations to profit off? Or does it in fact have a long, rich and mildly complicated history stretching back centuries in the British and Irish isles? No clues there...Anyway join us on a spooky trip to where the night originally known as All Hallow's Eve began...


Season 2 Trailer



The Printing Press

From voluminous tomes to last night's takeaway, the printing press was responsible for making the printed word accessible for everyone. It helped challenge ideas, spread knowledge and enable the fast production of everyones favourite dirty magazines. What's not to love? But where did it come from and who invented it? Was it the man from Mainz or perhaps somewhere a little further east....


The Great Stink

Hold your noses this one's going to be a whopper as we delve into the murky depths of the Victorian Thames, which handily doubled as a mass sewer for all the city's waste. This all changed on one fatefully hot summer in 1858 when boiling faeces forced Parliament to act before their nostrils exploded. They passed a bill in just 18 days to build thousands of miles of sewers, designed by Joseph Bazalgette, which are still in use today! Spare a thought for him next time you spend a penny...


The Berlin Airlift

Years before a wall went up in Germany's capital, it took centre stage at the birth of the cold war. The city was in ruins, starving and subjected to the subjugation of its conquerors, but it was about to get a lot worse. In 1948, following political squabbles gone array, the Soviet blockade of Berlin began cutting off the city from the West. What followed was one of the most ambitious aid operations ever considered, and indeed completed, as the Western Allies’ fed a city of over two...