Voices of the Powerless

13 books in series
4 out of 5 stars 73 ratings

Voices of the Powerless: The Complete Series Summary

Melvyn Bragg follows his long historical exploration of the Routes of English with ‘Voices of the Powerless’, the BBC Radio 4 series in which he explores the lives of the ordinary working men and women of Britain at critical moments across the last 1,000 years.

The Norman Conquest is his starting point, a time when William the Conqueror’s ‘harrying of the North’ affected the poor apprentice, the lowly ploughman and the humble shepherd. He goes on to look at the Peasants’ Revolt in 1381 (inspired by a hated Poll Tax) and the religious changes brought about by Henry VIII’s Reformation. The so-called ‘Plantation’ of Ulster, the Siege of Chester, and the plague which ravaged Salisbury in 1627 are later stopping-off points in Bragg’s journey, which also finds him traversing the country and speaking to historians and experts about the life of the ordinary citizen in each period.

First broadcast in 2002, this Complete First Series contains all six episodes of Series One: ‘Castles and Cruelty’, ‘The Peasants' Revolt’, ‘The Reformation’, ‘The Plantation of Ireland in the Counties of Armagh and Tyrone’, ‘The English Civil War and the Siege of Chester’ and ‘Boils and Buboes’.

Guidance: due to the archive nature of the recording the sound quality may vary.

©2003 AudioGO Ltd (P)2011 AudioGo Ltd
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    • Voices of the Powerless: The Complete Series

    • By: Melvyn Bragg
    • Narrated by: Melvyn Bragg
    • Length: 6 hrs and 24 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 40
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 22
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 21

    Melvyn Bragg follows his long historical exploration of the Routes of English with ‘Voices of the Powerless’, the BBC Radio 4 series in which he explores the lives of the ordinary working men and women of Britain at critical moments across the last 1,000 years. The Norman Conquest is his starting point, a time when William the Conqueror’s ‘harrying of the North’ affected the poor apprentice, the lowly ploughman and the humble shepherd.

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • Whispers from history

    • By Nigel on 09-07-11

    Regular price: £20.00

    • Voices of the Powerless: Below Decks and Boney

    • The Royal Naval Dockyards, Chatham, Nelson and the Napoleonic Wars
    • By: Melvyn Bragg
    • Narrated by: Melvyn Bragg
    • Length: 30 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      3.5 out of 5 stars 5
    • Performance
      3.5 out of 5 stars 2
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 2

    In this episode taken from the BBC Radio 4 series, Melvyn Bragg travels to the historic dockyard of Chatham to explore the life of a seaman in Nelson’s navy. Our popular image of the 18th century sailor below decks is one of a downtrodden, press-ganged man who was a victim of regular beatings. While Bragg finds some evidence to support this view, he also discovers that for many working-class men a career on board ship was an opportunity for a better life.

    Regular price: £8.00

    • Voices of the Powerless: Plantation and the Seeds of Discord

    • Portadown, County Armagh and the Ulster Plantation
    • By: Melvyn Bragg
    • Narrated by: uncredited
    • Length: 31 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      0 out of 5 stars 0
    • Performance
      0 out of 5 stars 0
    • Story
      0 out of 5 stars 0

    Melvyn Bragg follows his long historical exploration of the Routes of English with Voices of the Powerless, the BBC Radio 4 series in which he explores the lives of the ordinary working men and women of Britain at critical moments across the last 1,000 years. Ulster, one of the four ancient provinces of Ireland, remained largely independent of English rule until the end of the 16th century. The plantation period the programme looks at is the half century between the Tudor conquest of Ulster in the 1590s and the rebellion of the Ulster Irish in 1641.

    Regular price: £8.00

    • Voices of the Powerless: A Journey Beyond the Seas

    • McQuarrie Harbour, Tasmania, Transportation and the Colonisation of Australia
    • By: Melvyn Bragg
    • Narrated by: Melvyn Bragg
    • Length: 33 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 2
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 2
    • Story
      3.5 out of 5 stars 2

    In this episode taken from the BBC Radio 4 series, Melvyn Bragg voyages to Tasmania to find out what a sentence of transportation to Van Diemen’s Land really meant to those who survived the journey ‘beyond the seas’. We hear the forgotten voices of people such as Joseph Lingard, a respectable Derbyshire man who was wrongfully convicted of the theft of a door-latch, and explore the destinies of the many thousands of British convicts whose forced labour shaped the first 80 years of the Australian colony.

    Regular price: £8.00

    • Voices of the Powerless: Boils and Buboes

    • Salisbury and the Great Plague
    • By: Melvyn Bragg
    • Narrated by: Melvyn Bragg
    • Length: 30 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 4
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 3
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 3

    Melvyn Bragg follows his long historical exploration of the Routes of English with ‘Voices of the Powerless’, the BBC Radio 4 series in which he explores the lives of the ordinary working men and women of Britain at critical moments across the last 1,000 years. We are extremely lucky to have an exceptional eyewitness account of a plague outbreak in the city of Salisbury in 1627 - related by John Ivie, a Salisbury alderman.

    Regular price: £8.00

    • Voices of the Powerless: Castles and Cruelty

    • York, William the Conqueror and the Harrying of the North
    • By: Melvyn Bragg
    • Narrated by: Melvyn Bragg
    • Length: 32 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 4
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 2
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 2

    Melvyn Bragg follows his long historical exploration of the Routes of English with ‘Voices of the Powerless’, the BBC Radio 4 series in which he explores the lives of the ordinary working men and women of Britain at critical moments across the last 1,000 years. In the decade following the conquest, the north of England was one of the main focuses of rebellion. As a result, northerners suffered the retribution which William's men inflicted - the so-called ‘harrying of the North’, which began in 1069.

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • Good, but not really what I was looking for.

    • By Amazon Customer on 25-09-15

    Regular price: £8.00

    • Voices of the Powerless: Civil War: The Siege of Chester

    • Chester, Charles I and Oliver Cromwell
    • By: Melvyn Bragg
    • Narrated by: Melvyn Bragg
    • Length: 30 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 3
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 1
    • Story
      5 out of 5 stars 1

    Melvyn Bragg follows his long historical exploration of the Routes of English with ‘Voices of the Powerless’, the BBC Radio 4 series in which he explores the lives of the ordinary working men and women of Britain at critical moments across the last 1,000 years. At the beginning of his reign, King Charles I faced a perennial problem for English monarchs, how to raise the money and resources needed to wage war.

    Regular price: £8.00

    • Voices of the Powerless: Man and Manufacture

    • Quarry Bank Mill, Cheshire, and the Industrial Revolution
    • By: Melvyn Bragg
    • Narrated by: Melvyn Bragg
    • Length: 32 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      3 out of 5 stars 1
    • Performance
      2 out of 5 stars 1
    • Story
      3 out of 5 stars 1

    In this episode taken from the BBC Radio 4 series, Melvyn Bragg is in urban Lancashire to explore the warp and weft of the Industrial Revolution - how the upheavals of the new mechanisation affected workers who found their traditional trades, like hand-loom weaving, superseded and marginalised by the growth of industrialisation and mechanisation. He looks in particular at the way children were used in both the new trades and in the traditional world of agriculture.

    Regular price: £8.00

    • Voices of the Powerless: Our Father, Who Art in Heaven

    • Chelmsford Cathedral, the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation
    • By: Melvyn Bragg
    • Narrated by: Melvyn Bragg
    • Length: 31 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 2
    • Performance
      0 out of 5 stars 0
    • Story
      0 out of 5 stars 0

    Melvyn Bragg follows his long historical exploration of the Routes of English with ‘Voices of the Powerless’, the BBC Radio 4 series in which he explores the lives of the ordinary working men and women of Britain at critical moments across the last 1,000 years. The upheavals and turmoil of the sixteenth century transformed many aspects of religious life. As the great monasteries and religious houses disappeared, the Reformation transformed the landscape of both the countryside and the towns.

    Regular price: £8.00

    • Voices of the Powerless: Who was then the Gentleman?

    • Blackheath, Wat Tyler and the Peasants' Revolt
    • By: Melvyn Bragg
    • Narrated by: Melvyn Bragg
    • Length: 31 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      5 out of 5 stars 3
    • Performance
      5 out of 5 stars 1
    • Story
      5 out of 5 stars 1

    Melvyn Bragg follows his long historical exploration of the Routes of English with Voices of the Powerless, the BBC Radio 4 series in which he explores the lives of the ordinary working men and women of Britain at critical moments across the last 1,000 years. The Peasants' Revolt began in the Essex village of Fobbing in May 1381. It started with the arrival of a royal tax commissioner, John Bampton, enquiring into evasion of the new poll-tax.

    Regular price: £8.00

    • Voices of the Powerless: The Wagoners at War

    • Sledmere, East Yorkshire and the First World War
    • By: Melvyn Bragg
    • Narrated by: Melvyn Bragg
    • Length: 32 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 2
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 1
    • Story
      5 out of 5 stars 1

    The story of British Tommies sent 'over the top' to fight the Germans in the trenches of the First World War is a vivid emblem of powerlessness in the face of military discipline - and social pressures - that required young men to join up and do their duty.

    Regular price: £8.00

    • Voices of the Powerless: The Crofters' Farewell

    • Northern Scotland, the Western Isles and the Highland Clearances
    • By: Melvyn Bragg
    • Narrated by: Melvyn Bragg
    • Length: 31 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      5 out of 5 stars 4
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 2
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 2

    Visiting the Hebridean island of Mull today, it's not long before someone mentions the steep decline in population that the Scottish highlands and islands suffered 150 to 200 years ago. And it was a depopulation that the crofters were powerless to do anything about - in a phrase that sounds a knell almost as chilling as today's 'ethnic cleansing', the Highland Clearances are still talked of as one of the most harsh pieces of social manipulation in Britain's history. A long-drawn-out lament mourned in song and poetry ever since.

    Regular price: £8.00

    • Voices of the Powerless: Coal and Dole

    • Merthyr Tydfil, Coal Mining and the Depression
    • By: Melvyn Bragg
    • Narrated by: Melvyn Bragg
    • Length: 33 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      3.5 out of 5 stars 3
    • Performance
      2 out of 5 stars 1
    • Story
      3 out of 5 stars 1

    In this episode taken from the BBC Radio 4 series, Melvyn Bragg visits Merthyr Tydfil to look at the plight of the miners in the Depression. The industrial communities of South Wales, built first on iron smelting in the 18th century, and coal in the 19th, had known great prosperity. Merthyr Tydfil was once the largest town in Wales, and in 1914, 250,000 men worked on the South Wales coalfield. But the disastrous effects of the Wall Street Crash, combined with industrial unrest, left towns like Merthyr Tydfil a mere shadow of its former self.

    Regular price: £8.00