Culture

The definitions of what is culture may change but the practice of understanding, and unpicking cultural history is an important dimension to understanding any historical period. In this section articles explore the way that definitions of culture have changed and how those changes have affected values and attitudes.  The impact of the written word on fashions and ideas and the role of historic movements such as the renaissance are all addressed in this section.

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  • My Favourite History Place - Barnard Castle

    Article

    Paula Kitching invites us to look at Barnard Castle with new eyes. Over the summer there was a lot of talk about Barnard Castle – I won’t go into the politics, but it did make me reflect on the actual town of Barnard Castle. Growing up, it was one of...

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  • Paxton Chadwick

    Article

    Geoff Smith shares the fascinating story of a local politician, artist and illustrator who lived and worked in the small Suffolk town of Leiston from 1933 to his death in 1961. Paxton Chadwick Close is a modern residential road in the Suffolk town of Leiston which is not far from...

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  • A (non-Western) history of versatility

    Article

    Waqās Ahmed broadens our perspective on where in history we might find polymaths, those who embody versatility of thought and action. While Western scholars might identify the likes of Leonardo da Vinci or Benjamin Franklin as the archetype of the polymath, they have in reality existed throughout history and across...

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  • Architecture within the reach of all

    Article

    Roisin Inglesby introduces us to the life and work of a lesser known member of the Arts and Crafts movement, Arthur Heygate  Mackmurdo, who helped to change the face of European architecture and interior design. Arthur Heygate Mackmurdo (1851–1942) may not be a household name, but he is arguably one of the most significant figures in British design...

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  • Grave matters

    Article

    Diana Laffin considers what study of the styles, planning and planting of Brookwood cemetery reveals about nineteenth century mindsets. Graves are serious sources for historians. There is nothing casual about the choices made at death: the size and design of the monument, the text on the stone, even the location...

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  • On Black Lives Matter

    Article

    2020 has been an interesting year in many ways – both as a year to make history and one that has sought to tackle many representations of the past. The Black Lives Matter campaign that has taken on new energy across the globe in response to the killing of a...

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  • My Favourite History Place: The Red House

    Article

    Tim Brasier tempts others to visit the iconic Arts and Crafts Red House, home to William and Jane Morris in Bexleyheath, London.  This is a favourite historical venue of mine because it is so accessible. We literally live around the corner from the Red House in its location of the London...

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  • The amazing adventures of Pytheas the Greek

    Article

    Alf Wilkinson explores the achievements of Pytheas, the first person, as far as we know, to sail completely around the British Isles in around 325 BC. When we think of the Ancient Greeks we tend to think of warfare, drama, myths and legends, perhaps mathematics, medicine and science. What we...

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  • History Abridged: the Acropolis

    Article

    History Abridged: This feature seeks to take a person, event or period and abridge, or focus on, an important event or detail that can get lost in the big picture. Think Horrible Histories for grownups (without the songs and music). The Acropolis of Athens is one of the landmarks of...

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  • The emergence of the first civilisations

    Article

    Paul Bracey – The emergence of civilisations provided fundamental changes in the capacity for human development. This said, they exhibited similarities, differences, frailties, negative and positive attributes and should be related to a broadly based appreciation of the past. During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the assumption was that...

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  • Immigration and the making of British food

    Article

    Panikos Panayi explores the way in which immigration has transformed British eating habits over the last two centuries, whether through the rise of the restaurant and the development of eating out, or the culinary revolution at home. Those people who voted to leave the European Union in 2016 because of...

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  • The Mother of the Brontës: When Maria met Patrick

    Article

    The Mother of the Brontës, Sharon Wright, Pen and Sword, 2019, 182p, £19-99. ISBN 978-1-52673-848-6 With the three Brontë sisters having an international reputation for their creativity and with the parsonage at Haworth having become a literary shrine to their success, the question arises as to what were the ingredients...

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  • Podcast: Defacing the Past or Resisting Oppression?

    Article

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  • When was the post-war?

    Article

    There is a peculiar tension at the heart of scholarship about the years and decades after the Second World War. On the one hand, the political developments following the breakdown of the war-time alliance between the United States and the Soviet Union have spawned an enormous literature, in parts as old...

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  • What is interesting about the interwar period?

    Article

    The years between the Armistice of November 1918 and the German attack on Poland in September 1939 were undoubtedly a period of massive transformations. Public appetite to learn about specific aspects of this era remains strong. The making of communist rule in revolutionary Russia, the tribulations of Weimar Germany, the rise...

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  • Sparta and war: myths and realities

    Article

    Stephen Hodkinson explains how images of ancient Sparta have been distorted and misused. On 15 April 2017, at a violent right-wing rally in Berkeley, California, some striking ancient Greek symbols were visible amidst the swastikas and ‘Make America Great Again’ hats. Several demonstrators wore replica ‘Corinthian’ helmets, as worn by...

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  • Britain and Brittany: contact, myth and history in the early Middle Ages

    Article

    Fiona Edmonds evidences the enduring links between Brittany and Britain throughout the early Middle Ages. Every year many thousands of British holidaymakers travel to Brittany in search of beaches, bisque and bonhomie. As they board the ferry, they may notice that they are travelling from one Bretagne to another. The names...

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  • Fair Seed-Time: Robert Evans, Francis Newdigate and the Making of George Eliot

    Article

    Fair Seed-Time: Robert Evans, Francis Newdigate and the Making of George Eliot, David Paterson, Troubadour, 2019, 306p, £12-00. ISBN 978-1-83859-146-5 ‘Fair seed-time’ is a phrase used by William Wordsworth and echoed in a comment by George Eliot when she wrote ‘these hours were seed to all my after good’. Co-incidental...

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  • Linking Law: Viking and medieval Scandinavian law in literature and history

    Article

    Ongoing interdisciplinary developments have cast light on the surprisingly sophisticated world of Viking-age and medieval Scandinavian law and its wide-ranging influence in these societies. In many ways, the Viking Age and its inhabitants are more familiar than ever before. From video games to television and films, new narrative frontiers and bigger...

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  • The Memory of a Saint: Managing the legacy of St Bernard of Clairvaux

    Article

    When Bernard of Clairvaux died in 1153, the Cistercian Order was faced with a problem. The self-proclaimed ‘chimera of his age’ had enjoyed an unusual and varied monastic career, as abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Clairvaux and papal confidante, making him remarkably well-known for a monk. At the funeral the...

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