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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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