Articles by Kath Bates

Dr Kathryn Bates is a graduate of archaeology and history. She has excavated across the world as an archaeologist, and tutored medieval history at Leicester University. She joined the administrative team at Oxford Open Learning twelve years ago. Alongside her distance learning work, Dr Bates is a bestselling novelist, and an itinerant creative writing tutor for primary school children.

Astronomer Royal

The First Astronomer Royal

John Flamsteed began his working life as the Astronomer Royal in the Tower of London, where it’s said that the ravens made his life very difficult by nesting on his telescopes…

Percy Bysshe Shelley

The Death of Shelley

His time at Oxford was cut short, as he was expelled for supporting atheism.


Parliament In need of Protection

Last year, the MPs of Britain voted in favour of a multibillion-pound programme of repairs to the iconic Houses of Parliament; to start in the mid-2020’s. The Houses of Parliament, or the Palace of Westminster to give it the official title, has stood in varies guises on its site in London since the early Middle […]

Notre Dame

The History and Tragedy of Notre Dame

This is not the first time that Notre-Dame Cathedral suffered damage. Poorly treated throughout the French Revolution, it was only saved from destruction when the Emperor Napoleon decided he wished to be crowned there in 1804.

The English Dictionary

The Future of the Dictionary

On the 15th April 1755, Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language was published for the first time. His book, which he complied with the help of six assistants, took eight years to compile. Listing 40,000 words, each of which was defined in detail, it was the most comprehensive to date. Johnson was accused of […]

Was Richard I a Great King of the English?

As well as being a lover of the battlefield and tournaments, King Richard is also known to have enjoyed poetry and the songs of balladeers. Their work, it must be imagined, helped create the often rose-tinted view of Richard…

A Galaxy

Kepler: The Planet Hunter

The analysis of the data Kepler transmitted back to Earth will take decades of work to research, but despite the mission being over, the information gathered is still being received today.

Scientific Research

Periodic Table 150

Mendeleev was forward-thinking enough to leave spaces within the table, with a mind to the chemical element discoveries of the future.

Sir Isaac Newton

At the age of 85, on 31st March 1727, Sir Isaac Newton died. He was the first scientist to be given the honour of being buried at Westminster Abbey in London. Considered to be the father of physics, Newton was born in Lincolnshire in 1642, coincidentally the same year that Galileo – the scientist who […]

Robert Browning: Letters, poems and plays

The English poet and playwright Robert Browning was born on 7th May, 1812, in Camberwell, London. His father was a clerk in the Bank of England and a keen literary collector, owning more than 6000 books. His mother was an accomplished musician. By the age of twelve, Robert had written his first poetry book, and […]

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