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.

Open University

The Open University at 50

Prior to the OU, there had long been a belief that university education was the province of the rich. It was considered beyond the remit of the poorer classes – not to mention being too expensive.

The Death of Julius Caesar

“Beware the Ides of March”

Only two years after his appointment as Emperor, in 46BC, Caesar was to become a victim of the very political unrest he’d used to elevate himself to power.

Guglielmo Marconi

Marconi’s First Wireless Transmission

“…looking back and thinking of those early instruments, we cannot but marvel that the experiment turned out so successfully…” – Guglielmo Marconi on his first transatlantic radio transmission.


The study of mythology can help understand early geology and geography.

The Tragedy of Oscar Wilde

His plays, Lady Windermere’s Fan, A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest, all society comedies, were rapturously received on the West End stage.

The Burial of Pompeii and Herculaneum

“Broad sheets of flame were lighting up many parts of Vesuvius; their light and brightness were the more vivid for the darkness of the night… it was daylight now elsewhere in the world, but there the darkness was darker and thicker than any night.” – Pliny the Younger

Philosophical Transactions – The Importance of the Scientific Journal

Unlike scientific books, which are written as fact, often detailing an individual’s ideas and personal convictions, a journal opens scientific discoveries and new techniques to scrutiny and comment.

The Leakey Family and Revelations under the Sun

In recent weeks, one of the effects of the intense heat that has swept Europe has been to sear away some of the camouflage of history, to the extent that archaeologists have found themselves uncovering more fascinating evidence of early life.

NHS 70

Within a day of the NHS opening, thanks to a massive administration programme, 94% of the British public were already enrolled in the system.

A History of Tennis

The traditionally shaped wooden frame racquet was strung with sheep gut and was in common use by the 15th century, as was a cork-cored ball.

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