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
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all