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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  • Monty’s school: the benign side of Viscount Montgomery of Alamein

    Article

    Field-Marshal Montgomery has a reputation as a strong-willed battle-hardened leader, with a touch of the impetuous. Few know of his charitable side and yet in his later years this side was just as important to his activities. In this article we find out a bit more of this often simplistically...

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  • Why was it so important to see Dunkirk as a triumph rather than a disaster in 1940?

    Article

    Karin Doull investigates the perceptions of the outcome of the Dunkirk evacuation within the contextual framework of the time at which it occurred. In May 1940 the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and a proportion of the French First Army group had withdrawn, under heavy fighting to the port of Dunkirk on the...

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  • My Favourite History Place: The Chantry Chapel of St Mary on Wakefield Bridge

    Article

    Wakefield Bridge Chapel, by the River Calder, is thought by many to be the finest of four bridge chantries, the others being Bradford-on-Avon, Derby and Rotherham. The chapel at Wakefield was originally founded and endowed by the people of Wakefield and district between 1342 and 1359. In 1397 Edmund de Langley,...

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  • This Sovereign Isle: Britain In and Out of Europe

    Article

    This Sovereign Isle: Britain In and Out of Europe, Robert Tombs, Allen Lane, 2021, 203 pp, £16.99. ISBN 978-0-241-48038-0  Robert Tombs is well-known for his works on French and English history and he has turned his hand to an admirably concise history of Britain’s relationship with its European neighbours from the...

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  • Real Lives: Harry Daley

    Article

    Hardly any documentation exists about gay police officers who served before the 1967 Sexual Offences Act partially decriminalised homosexuality. An exception is Sergeant Harry Daley’s autobiography, This Small Cloud, published posthumously in 1986. Humorous, endearing and self-deprecatory, Daley acknowledged himself as a champion of the underdog and the oppressed. His...

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  • Britain’s Greatest Prime Minister: Lord Liverpool

    Article

    Britain’s Greatest Prime Minister: Lord Liverpool, Martin Hutchinson, The Lutterworth Press, 2020, 429 pp, £50.00, ISBN 978-0-7188-9563-1  A continuous period of almost 15 years as Prime Minister suggests that Liverpool possessed a large array of talents, yet the average student of modern British history knows much less about him and his characteristics than those...

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  • Tracing Your Prisoner Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians, Stephen Wade

    Article

    Tracing Your Prisoner Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians, Stephen Wade, Pen and Sword, 2020, 176p, £14-99. ISBN 9781526778529 This is part of a very helpful series that has been produced by Pen and Sword. In this volume Stephen Wade guides us into a potentially unfamiliar area of family and...

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  • Before Windrush: West Indians in Britain

    Article

    Before Windrush: West Indians in Britain, Asher and Martin Hoyles, Hansib, 2020, 144p, £9-99. ISBN 978-1-912662-29-6. This is a very significant book, being highly relevant to the politics and attitudes of our own times. Asher and Martin Hoyles explore the presence of West Indian people in Britain before the arrival...

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  • The NHS: Britain’s National Health Service, 1948-2020

    Article

    The NHS: Britain’s National Health Service, 1948-2020, Susan Cohen, Shire Publications, 2020,64p, £8-99. ISBN 978-1-78442-482-4 For most of us in the United Kingdom, the National Health Service has been a constant feature for all of our lives. Susan Cohen offers us a brief summary of the development and achievements of...

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  • ‘The cradle of the Industrial Revolution’

    Article

    Michael Winstanley challenges assumptions about Lancashire's new industrial landscape, inviting us to re-imagine what Manchester and the country around it looked like. Lancashire, especially the cotton textile district to the east of the county, is widely regarded as the ‘cradle of the industrial evolution’. But what did this burgeoning industrial landscape actually look like in the early nineteenth century?...

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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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  • 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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  • At home with Amanda Ira Aldridge

    Article

    Stephen Bourne examines the life of Amanda Ira Aldridge, the multi-talented singer, composer and voice teacher. Amanda Ira Aldridge may have lived a quiet life but she was a trailblazer in the world of music. After a career as a concert singer, she became a composer in a male-dominated profession, for which she adopted a male pseudonym, Montague Ring. In her...

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  • Exploring Twentieth-Century History

    Article

    For a long time, history curricula on the 20th century prioritised the narrative of a slide from World War I to World War II and fascism above many other topics. But the history of the 20th century is both far more complicated and far more interesting than that. For the historians writing here, the...

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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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  • Film: Reimagining the Blitz Spirit

    24th August 2020

    Dr Jo Fox continued our virtual branch lecture series this July on the subject 'Reimagining the Blitz Spirit: the mobilisation of World War II propaganda in our own times'. Jo Fox is the Director of the Institute of Historical Research and a well-known historian specialising in the history of propaganda, rumour and truth telling.  This...

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  • How is the source base of the twentieth century different from that of earlier periods?

    Article

    Historians often debate when, exactly, the twentieth century began; that is, when the themes and trends that we have come to understand as defining this tumultuous, rapidly changing period first started, and when they ended. One place we can look to answer this question is the available primary resources that help...

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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 Man Who Was Saturday: The Extraordinary Life of Airey Neave

    Article

    The Man Who Was Saturday: The Extraordinary Life of Airey NeavePatrick Bishop; William Collins, 2019, 291 pp, £20.00ISBN 978-0-00-830904-6  Patrick Bishop has written a well-researched, judiciously fair and readable account of a man who combined wartime heroism with a political career which transformed itself from mediocrity to significance late in life.  War...

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  • Haldane: The Forgotten Statesman who Shaped Modern Britain

    Article

    Haldane: The Forgotten Statesman who Shaped Modern Britain, John Campbell; Hurst and Company, 2020, 482p, £30-00. ISBN 9781787383111 From my years in the sixth form through being a student and teacher, I have referred to what is now a very battered copy of Alan Palmer’s Penguin Dictionary of Modern History. The...

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