Britain & Ireland

What was it about industrialisation that led to the emergence of a woman’s movement in Victorian Britain? Why do we see so many people fighting for so many rights and liberties in this period and what are the origins of some of the issues we still campaign on today? This section includes our major series on Social and Political Change in the UK from 1800 to the present day. There are also articles and podcasts on the often violent relationship between England and Ireland during this period and England’s changing relationship with Scotland and Wales. Read more

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  • The changing convict experience: forced migration to Australia

    Article

    Edward Washington explores the story of William Noah who was sentenced to death for burglary in 1797 at the age of 43. He, and two others, were found guilty of breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Cuthbert Hilton, on the night of the 13 February. From Newgate Prison he was...

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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 Devil’s Bridge: The German Victory at Arnhem, 1944

    Article

    The Devil’s Bridge: The German Victory at Arnhem, 1944, Anthony Tucker-Jones, Osprey Publishing, 2020, 304p, £20-00. ISBN 978-1-4728-3986-2 The British view the events surrounding the bridge across the River Rhine at Arnhem in 1944 as an heroic attempt to accelerate the defeat of Nazi Germany, a view exaggerated in popular...

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  • Out and About: exploring Black British history through headstones

    Article

    In what has become a very a topical article that was commissioned in late 2019, Jill Sudbury explores some of the known graves of the enslaved and formerly enslaved throughout Britain, and asks for help in recording others as yet unknown. Along the bleak shore of Morecambe Bay, beyond the...

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  • Migration into the UK in the early twenty-first century

    Article

    Sam Scott and Lucy Clarke explore the data covering more recent migration to the United Kingdom, most especially from the EU. They discover that since 2000 migrant destinations have changed. No longer do migrants head exclusively to the big cities and industrial areas, but to rural areas, like Boston in...

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  • Real Lives: Maria Rye’s emigration home for destitute little girls

    Article

    Alf Wilkinson explores the controversial story of Maria Rye, who founded the Female Emigration Society in 1861 in order to take ‘surplus’ young ladies to Australia and New Zealand to work as teachers and governesses. As there was insufficient demand for these, she refocused her work on taking pauper children...

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  • The great British postwar exodus

    Article

    Murray Watson uses oral history interviews to try to explain the many and varied reasaons people had for emigrating from Britain after World War II. When I was invited to write this article about postwar emigration from the UK my first action was to Google the search term ‘postwar emigration from...

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  • Black Death to global pandemic: London then and now

    Article

    Christine Merie Fox compares the impact of the Black Death on fourteenth-century London with our present-day experience. In 1347, a terrifying disease was carving a path from the East into Northern Africa and Europe. Its entry point into Europe was the south of Italy, via merchant ships from the Black Sea. The...

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  • Perfect liberty and uproar: a short case study

    Article

    Edward Washington gives us a fascinating insight into life on an emigration ship – the John Knox – taking a group of orphan girls to Sydney, through a letter written after the voyage by the man charged with improving their education during the sea voyage. After his arrival in Sydney...

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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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  • The Ever Open Door: 150 years of the Together Trust

    Article

    The Ever Open Door: 150 years of the Together Trust, Andrew Simpson, The Together Trust, 2020, 140p, £14-99. ISBN 978-1-5272-5671-2  From its earliest beginnings in Manchester 1870 as a ‘Night Refuge for Homeless Boys’, through being transformed into the ‘Manchester and Salford Boys and Girls Refuges and Homes’ and then...

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  • Lawrence of Arabia on War: The Campaign in the Desert 1916-18

    Article

    Lawrence of Arabia on War: The Campaign in the Desert 1916-18, Rob Johnson, Osprey Publishing, 2020, 368p, £25-00. ISBN 978-1-4728-3491-1 For those of us whose detailed knowledge of Lawrence of Arabia may have been drawn from Robert Graves’ classic Lawrence and the Arabs (1927), amplified by occasional textbook references, this really...

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  • What is interesting about the world wars?

    Article

    In the past, the two world wars have been mainly studied as military history, focused on armies, campaigns and battles. Historians have concentrated on wars in Europe and in particular on the Western Front in 1914–18 and on the war with Nazi Germany in the west. This has given rise...

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  • British-Army camp followers in the Peninsular War

    Article

    Charles J. Esdaile throws light on a vital part of a field army that receives little study, the ‘baggage train’. The subject of the involvement of women’s involvement in warfare is one that over the past 20 years has become increasingly fashionable, and there is, therefore, a growing literature on...

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  • History Abridged: Operation Black Buck

    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). Just as the Naval Task Force had been dispatched in...

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  • Out and About in Upper Weardale

    Article

    Tony Fox introduces us to two battlefields and the work of the Battlefields Trust. Stanhope takes its name from the ‘stony valley’ in which it sits. It is the most significant town in beautiful Upper Weardale. Like many towns in this area Stanhope’s growth accelerated in the nineteenth century as...

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  • Losing sight of the glory: five centuries of combat surgery

    Article

    Michael Crumplin traces developments in surgery that can be directly attributed to changes in the conduct of war. Little doubt exists that war accelerates and innovates medical care. Today, our armed services can rely upon sound medical treatment if they are sick or wounded, with survival rates of above 90%. This...

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