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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • What is interesting about the Cold War?

    Article

    Almost 30 years after the end of the Cold War, diversity is suddenly galvanising the field of scholarly research into the Cold War. As the historian Federico Romero has argued, older, simpler interpretations ‘seem to be giving way to a looser understanding of the Cold War as an era that encompassed...

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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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