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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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee