Visual arts: You don't have to be mad to work here... but it helps

The Bethlehem Royal Hospital not only gave the world a new word for lunatic asylum, it even advertised its wares with a pair of matching stone madmen outside. Not exactly PC. But then, says Tom Lubbock, earlier centuries were under fewer delusions about the human condition than we are today.

Letter: 20th century voices

Sir: I was surprised to read Paul McCann's article "BBC to tape the people's 20th century" (12 December).

Museums which charge lose a third of visitors

Visitor figures at national museums which charge admission have fallen, a survey shows. David Lister, Arts News Editor, reveals the decrease in visitor numbers as the Government prepares to drop its commitment to free admission.

Are we nearly there?

Are we nearly there?

LEADING ARTICLE : Free museums display Britain at its best

The true case for abandoning admissions charges for the national museums is not socialist, it is patriotic. Let Mark Fisher, Labour's junior National Heritage Minister, carry out his review. But when he decides, as he must, that entry to the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert should be free, let's not hear too much about doing it for the sake of people on low incomes. That is a consideration, but a small one. The case for open admission rests on a Victorian value Lady Thatcher and the Tories never had much time for: institutions created in the public interest and for the celebration of public culture must be open and inclusive.

Days Out: Bringing history up to date

Deborah Jackson's second look at fun days out with the school curriculum in mind

Thatcher toasts Dame Vera's 80th birthday

The belle of the Allied Forces in the Second World War, Dame Vera Lynn, celebrated her 80th birthday last night.

Visual Arts: The art of war Full marks for war effort

Stanley Spencer: Bosnian Landscapes and Shipbuilding on the Clyde Imperial War Museum, London

The Look that shocked the world

Christian Dior's brave challenge to post-war austerity, when he grabbed the news pages of the world with his nipped-in waists and generous, mid-calf skirts, is 50 years old tomorrow. Ian Phillips traces the history of the fashion house that is still famous for the New Look of 1947

A nose for a bargain

Cayte Williams hunts for post-war compacts

Lottery cash for museum

The Imperial War Museum has been offered a lottery grant of pounds 12.6m towards the final stage of its long-term redevelopment, including galleries for a permanent exhibition about the Holocaust - study of which is on the National Curriculum.

Midnight in the fields of war: Books

Peter Parker celebrates the centenary of Edmund Blunden's birth

Oh, what a civil war!

THE FABER BOOK OF WAR POETRY ed Kenneth Baker, Faber pounds 20

Museums and galleries admission charges

Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow

Biggles factor propels wartime aircraft back into the skies

Danger in the air: Airline incidents and crash of historic warplane highlight pressures on maintaining safety in the air
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

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He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
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Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

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11 best anti-ageing day creams

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Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power