2nd March 2021 — In November, two budding historians at University College School in Hampstead decided to turn their conversations about history into a podcast.
The boys, Jonah Howe and Charlie Gordon in Year 11, had no idea how popular their initial broadcast on Spotify would be and they then decided to turn the pilot episode into a regular series.
Four months later, The Historic Present podcast has gone from strength to strength.
It has now reached an audience of over 2000 listeners and recently, they were joined by renowned historian and television broadcaster Dan Snow.
The pupils are a little surprised about how popular the podcast has become.
Charlie commented: "It just seems to have snowballed.
"We decided after the first broadcast that we wanted to use the podcast to give people of our age a platform to discuss history and politics and we have used our Instagram page to offer people the chance to appear.
"We have not been short of applicants and we have had some extremely informative interviews with a number of leading historians such as Guy Walters, Andrew Chatterton, James Holland, Ian Johnstone and James Rogers.
"They have given us a tremendous insight into events during the 20th century including the Weimar Republic, the effects of the Treaty of Versailles, the Holocaust and appeasement."
Jonah also has a strong interest in politics and has enjoyed the debates which often take place during the broadcast: "Things have got quite lively at times.
"Whilst we have mainly looked at aspects of modern history, we have also discussed things going on around the world today.
"Trump, the handling of the Coronavirus pandemic, and capitalism are all things which people of our age have an opinion on.
"I am thinking about studying politics at university but let’s see.
I haven’t taken my GCSEs yet."
Dan Snow was the latest in a long line of historians to join the broadcast.
Charlie has enjoyed working with all of them but the chance to interview Dan Snow was a real boon: "I still can’t believe any of them agreed to come on the podcast!
"We have seen Dan on TV so much and it was really exciting talking to him.
"We were both a bit nervous but he was wonderful and gave a real insight into Blitzkrieg and the Battle of Britain.
It’s probably my favourite episode."
Mark Beard, Headmaster at UCS, is delighted that the boys have enjoyed such success: "Jonah and Charlie came up with the idea for the podcast during the autumn and this term it has gone from strength to strength.
At UCS, we are all so proud of what they have already achieved.
The boys have used the podcast to bring experts together with their peers to discuss aspects of modern history and the number of listeners is a testimony to the high quality of the broadcast."
Charlie concluded: "Jonah and I are both passionate about history.
"James Holland told us in Episode 5, 'History doesn’t repeat itself but patterns of human behaviour do.'
"We feel that if everyone saw these patterns and respected them, we could certainly make the world a much better place."
The Historic Present can be listened to on Spotify.