TH 19-20 T23 Colours in History

Season 2019 / 2020 – Talk 23 – Colours in History

In the talk Colours in History Jo Watson explains many of the reasons why specific colours have their specific associations.

The talk has many illustrations therefore you will find it interesting to view the picture gallery whilst listening to the talk.


Please click here to open the gallery. When the gallery opens please click on the first image.


Jo tells us that the first recipe for purple dye goes back over 3,500 years. It requires vast quantities of sea snails. You then mix in wood ash and urine and ferment it.

Prisoner categories:

The Nazi camps used coloured triangles, sewn on to clothing, to designate between the different prisoner categories. The designations included political, criminal, homosexual, asocial and religious.

Colours in politics and national identity:

Throughout history colours have played a part in government and politics and we see an example from an election in 1754. The Tories are represented by a blue flag and the Whigs by a buff one. These colours form the basis of those in use today.

Jo tells us about other uses of colour in politics over the years. We also see the importance of colour in flags.

Colours in signals:

We learn that red lights can be seen from further away than green ones so explaining ‘red for stop’ and ‘green for go’.

You can hear about all of this and much more by listening to the full podcast.

About this podcast:

This podcast is an edited recording of a talk first given to the Farnham u3a World History Group.

The Farnham u3a site is found here.

This podcast is also available through Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Castbox , Deezer, Podchaser, Spotify, Stitcher and Vurbl and others.

AKM Music has licensed Media Magazine for use as the theme music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio and Farnham u3a World History Group 2018 – 2021

Author: Tim D

In the early 1970s Mr Timothy & his Phonograph was a popular mobile disco around Leeds University and Tim was known as MrT. Tim also spent 9 years broadcasting a weekly programme on Hospital Radio in Wakefield. He worked for more than 40 years for large industrial organisations and spent his last 15 years in global commercial management roles. Following retirement he started making podcasts in 2017.