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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  • 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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  • Out and About in Cairo

    Article

    Nicolas Kinloch guides us round the fascinating city of Cairo. Cairo has always been a traveller’s destination. That indefatigable explorer, ibn Battuta, arrived there in 1326, and declared that it was ‘boundless in its multitude of buildings, peerless in beauty and splendour...extending a friendly welcome to strangers’. Most of this is...

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  • Out and About in Haworth

    Article

    Kimberley Braxton takes a tour of Brontë country, through Haworth and onto the iconic Yorkshire Moors that were central to Wuthering Heights. Haworth is a place for walkers; even before you reach the breathtaking moors it is likely your legs will already be burning from climbing the steep Yorkshire terrain....

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  • Out and About in Stockholm

    Article

    When Désirée Clary – wife of French Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte – arrived in Stockholm in 1811, she was appalled. It was true that she would eventually become Queen Desideria of Sweden and Norway, her husband having been elected heir-presumptive to the throne the previous year. But she left her new capital...

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  • Petit’s Tours of Old Staffordshire

    Article

    Petit’s Tours of Old Staffordshire, Philip Modiano, RPS Publications, 2019, 180p [with 185 images], £14-00. ISBN 978-1-9164931-0-0 Occasionally a remarkable book appears on a most unexpected topic. Philip Modiano’s research into the life and creative output of the Reverend John Louis Petit is just one such work. Modiano presents this...

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  • Petit’s impact on our understanding of Victorian life and culture

    Article

    Tiffany Igharoro, a Young Historian Award-winner, introduces us to the artwork of Revd John Louis Petit, showing that art not only reflects the times in which it is created, but can also be used to shape opinions. The Revd John Louis Petit (1801–68) created thousands of paintings in his lifetime, many of which...

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  • Podcast: Defacing the Past or Resisting Oppression?

    Article

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  • Podcast: End of the World Cults

    Article

    In this podcast Professor Penelope Corfield looks at the history of 'End of the World Cults'.  1. Why do people at times become urgently convinced that 'the End of the World is Nigh?' HA Members can listen to the full podcast here Short Reading list for End-of-the-World Cults: Two wide-ranging introductions:...

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  • Protestantism and art in early modern England

    Article

    I am greatly honoured to receive the Medlicott medal and I thank the President for his much-too-kind remarks. It is fifty years since I attended my first meeting of the Historical Association and heard a lecture by Professor Medlicott himself, no less. The Association does a wonderful job in encouraging...

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  • Puritan attitudes towards plays and pleasure in the Age of Shakespeare

    Article

    In Twelfth Night Shakespeare gently mocked the Puritans, who objected to stage plays and other entertainments. Yet within four decades, the Puritans had closed the London theatres and were about to seize power from Charles I. Among their many reforms were the banning of Christmas celebrations and of Twelfth Night itself....

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  • Real Lives: Harry Daley

    Article

    Our series ‘Real Lives’ seeks to put the story of the ordinary person into our great historical narrative. We are all part of the rich fabric of the communities in which we live and we are affected to greater and lesser degrees by the big events that happen on a daily...

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  • Real Lives: Rebecca West

    Article

    Our series ‘Real Lives’ seeks to put the story of the ordinary person into our great historical narrative. We are all part of the rich fabric of the communities in which we live and we are affected to greater and lesser degrees by the big events that happen on a daily...

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  • Real Lives: Robert and Thomas Gayer-Anderson

    Article

    Wendy Barnes describes the real lives of identical twins, Robert and Thomas Gayer-Anderson, who collected a vast quantity of paintings and art objects, much of which was donated to museums around the world. The twins’ final home, Little Hall, Lavenham is now a museum and the headquarters of The Suffolk...

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  • Show and Tell: three Branch book events

    Article

    When members of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Branch were invited to share their views on ‘Books that Changed History’, not all the contributions were as overtly revolutionary as Thomas Paine’s Common Sense nor as familiar as the King James Bible. Marie Davidson and Richard Binns tell us more....

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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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  • The Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms and Europe

    Article

    The riches of surviving Anglo-Saxon manuscripts showcased in a fabulous new exhibition at the British Library emphasises the essential interconnections between England and the Continent.

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  • The Borgia: from fact to fiction

    Article

    For their meeting in September 2017 the Bolton Branch requested a talk on Renaissance Italy. What they heard dealt with the Italian portion of the Borgia family, led by Pope Alexander VI, though the topicality of Catalan nationalism meant that the principal figures were introduced with comment on the Italian,...

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  • The British Empire on trial

    Article

    In the light of present-day concerns about the place, in a modern world, of statues commemorating figures whose roles in history are of debatable merit, Dr Gregory Gifford puts the British Empire on trial, presenting a balanced case both for and against. In June 2020 when the statue of slave-trader Edward Colston...

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  • The Christian Kingdoms of Nubia and Ethiopia

    Article

    Adam Simmons draws our attention to the need for further research into the relationship between the medieval Kingdoms of Ethiopia and Nubia – a fascinating time and place in African history which is neglected in the historical archive and about which, so far, there are only limited sources. The kingdoms of Ethiopia...

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  • The Great Spa Towns of Europe: a UNESCO World Heritage Site

    Article

    Catherine Lloyd introduces us to an international heritage initiative to celebrate ‘spa’ culture. From ancient times, people believed that gods and spirits brought the means of natural healing. Step back in time to imagine an eerie wilderness, a glade in a wood, or a pool by a river, where the snow...

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