THE history of the world has already been told in 100 objects. There was that 100-part BBC Radio 4 series in 2010, written and presented by British Museum director Neil MacGregor, who also wrote a book to accompany the broadcasts.

But so far no one has thought of writing a history of Britain in 100 objects.

Until now, that is. Prolific York historian Paul Chrystal has jumped right in, and his latest book - titled simply 'A History of Britain in 100 Objects' - is out now.

Given that Paul is a local man - and since, as King George VI once remarked, 'The history of York is the history of England' - it is little surprise that a number of York objects feature prominently.

They include a hairpiece of thick auburn hair once worn by a wealthy young Roman woman, now in the Yorkshire Museum; gladiator skeletons unearthed in York; the Viking models (based on real Vikings who once lived here) in Jorvik; and a wonderful medieval stained glass window at All Saints Church in North Street - the recently-restored 'Pricke of Conscience' window - which tells the story of the end of the world.

This, however, is very much NOT a history of York itself, Paul stresses. It is a history of Britain. The York objects chosen simply play their part in telling that story.

It's a story which begins, in Paul's book, more than 200 million years ago - that's how old the fossilised skeleton of an extinct early crocodile now preserved in Whitby Museum is.

Paul includes among his 100 'objects' footprints left behind (on the Norfolk coast) by early ancestors of modern man 900,000 years ago, and later prehistoric stone age and bronze age tools and grave goods.

His book covers the Roman, Viking and medieval periods - when York really comes into its own - and continues on through the Stuart and Georgian periods to the Industrial Revolution (objects include, naturally, Stephenson's rocket, a replica of which is kept at the National Railway Museum) and into modern times.

Paul has unashamedly concentrated more on more recent times - and his quirky selection of objects from the Victorian age and the twentieth century include Big Ben, the penguin paperback, the NHS ambulance, the barbie doll, the Daleks, ladybird books and, most recently, the coronavirus vaccine.

It is very much not a book that sets out to tell a comprehensive history of Britain, Paul stresses. "I wanted to make it a book that people could dip into and think 'I didn't realise that!'" he says.

But each of the objects he has chosen serve as a symbol or representation of specific events or trends in Britain's history - whether that be the hairstyle of well-off women in Roman York or the inventive genius of engineers like George Stephenson.

A History of Britain in 100 Objects by Paul Chrystal is published by DestinWorld, priced £14.99.