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Gambling, Homelessness, Human trafficking

Helen Castor hosts the last in the series, going back to the gambling crisis of the 18th century and discussing human trafficking in the 19th century.

Helen Castor is joined in the studio by Professor Lucy Robinson from the University of Sussex.

As concerns grow about fixed-odds betting machines on our high streets, Matthew Greent takes us back to a gambling crisis over 200 years ago in London.

Dr Rachael Attwood explores the dangerous, de-humanising world of nineteenth century human trafficking and, as the numbers of rough sleepers grows on Britain's streets, we find out about homelessness in the past.

And the last in our challenge to find the place that is top for history in the UK - Top Town History.

Producer: Nick Patrick
A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

Available now

28 minutes


Helen Castor is in the chair for this edition of BBC Radio 4’s popular history magazine programme.


Joining Helen is  Professor Lucy Robinson University of Sussex

Eighteenth Century Gambling Frenzy

At a time when there is great concern about on-line and high street betting, Tom Holland takes a look at what was going on in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries when people bet and lost fortunes.


Tom is joined by the author of London: A Travel Guide Through Time  Dr Matthew Green


Brighton author Norman Miller tells the remarkable riches to rags story of Regency rake ‘'Mad Jack' Mytton


Despite the difficulties in knowing exact numbers, homelessness charities believe that rough-sleeping is on the rise throughout the UK. Look around our towns and cities at night, at the numbers of bodies in shop doorways and that impression is reinforced. Throughout history there have been those unfortunate enough to become homeless but they are rarely featured in our history books.


Helen talks to Professor Nicholas Crowson at the University of Birmingham who researches homelessness in the century from 1880.


Watch Professor Crowson’s Tramp Tales




Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Top Town History

Making History listener Jean Foster in Bury returns to defend her town against Mark Wilson’s Lichfield.


To suggest a town or a story for our team to look into email

Victorian Stand Up

Comedy stand-up Iszi Lawrence talks to Dr Bob Nicholson at Edge Hill University about the Victorian roots of her trade.


Making History is a Pier Production for BBC Radio 4