A TATTOO historian whose niche podcast has become a fan favourite has been recognised with a national award. 

Dr Matt Lodder, a lecturer at Essex University, launched the podcast Beneath the Skin with Thomas O’Mahony last year.

The pair produce two episodes of around an hour each a week, one of them being an exclusive to the subscriber platform Patreon.

The podcast has now been recognised by the Independent Podcast Awards’. 

Dr Lodder said he had been fascinated by tattoos for as long as he can remember.

Judges were impressed with how the series, called ‘Beneath the Skin’ was able to take something very niche and make it accessible to those not normally interested in tattoos.

Dr Lodder said this is possible due to the podcast covering many periods and areas of history, from Ancient Egypt and Greece to a conspiracy theory about a tattoo within the Cold War.

He said: "It’s not just about tattoos, it’s about the history of everything told through tattooing”.

Dr Lodder as a historian, used primary source material for research including art collections and oral histories.

The podcast also interviewed a wide range of guests including an evolutionary psychologist’, offering more perspective to the topic which Dr Lodder describes as the “call of his research career”.

Dr Lodder said the podcast has an average of around 13 to 14 thousand downloads per episode.

He added: “We are completely self-done, a bit of advertising and patrons, we don’t make much money”.

Dr Lodder said military towns, including Colchester as a garrison town, have a long-storied history with tattoos.

He refers to a heavily tattooed body of a young sailor in July, 1914 washed up in Southend being documented in great detail in the ‘Essex County Chronicle”, demonstrating the country’s centuries-old obsession with tattooing.  

Further, Dr Lodder said though tattoos have never been more popular than today, the press “cliché” of tattoos becoming more worryingly popular was widely seen in the 19th century.

“It’s interesting how frequently newspapers write about tattoos.”

To listen search Beneath The Skin Podcast.