Society

How people group together, organise their rules and systems are all part of what create a society. In this section articles examine the nature of society how it interacts with other themes of culture, power, etc. and how societies have developed and changed over time. The structures of the ancient world are explored as are the complex feudal systems and the varied societies of Empire and modernity.

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  • The 1620 Mayflower voyage and the English settlement of North America

    Article

    On the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Pilgrims in New England on the Mayflower, Martyn Whittock explores the reasons for migration to the New World in 1620 and later, and the significance of those migrants, both at the time and their impact on the evolution of the USA...

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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

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    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

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    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

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    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 changing convict experience: forced migration to Australia

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    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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  • Immigration and the making of British food

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    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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  • History Abridged: Migration – the Potato

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    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). The gradual move of humans from being solely hunter gatherers...

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  • When was the post-war?

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    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?

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    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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  • The ripple effect: reaching new readers

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    Philip Browne tells the story of his continuing journey with an eighteenth-century sea captain. My book had been published and for the first time I held a copy in my hand. A warm sense of achievement and relief washed over me. My work was done. Now with a little encouragement from...

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  • Sparta and war: myths and realities

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    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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  • Gaming the medieval past

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    Matthew Bennett and Ryan Lavelle explore how the devising, playing and discussion of war games can contribute to historical understanding. Games as tools for learning are engaging for teachers and students alike. Whether computer-driven, board games, miniatures, role-play or re-enactment, they all provide scenarios within which learners can use a...

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  • The last battle: Bomber Command’s veterans and the fight for remembrance

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    Frances Houghton examines how and why the popular memory of the Second World War continues to be contested. Early on the morning of Monday 21 January 2019, still-wet white gloss paint was discovered to have been thrown across the Bomber Command Memorial in London’s Green Park. The bronze sculpture of a...

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  • The changing shapes of Europe’s twentieth century

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    In this discussion of the twentieth century, Martin Conway considers the implications of linking notions of military conflict and division with the emergence of modernity. The idea of World War II as the distinct dividing line between the present and past, and the ways in which it began a time...

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  • Churchyards

    Article

    Churchyards (Britain's Heritage series), Roger Bowdler, Amberley Publishing, 2019, 64p, £8-99. ISBN 9781445691114 This book is dedicated to the memory of Frederick Burgess, the author of English Churchyard Memorials (1963), from whom many of us learned to study and understand what we find in churchyards. This carefully developed study by...

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  • Willington and the Mowbrays: After the Peasants Revolt

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    Willington and the Mowbrays: After the Peasants Revolt, Dorothy Jamieson, Bedford Historical Record Society Vol 95, Boydell Press, 2019, 241p, £25-00, ISSN 0067-4826. At one level this scholarly and meticulous study introduces us to the Willington neighbourhood in Bedfordshire. Based on Dorothy Jamieson’s careful transcription of its manorial court rolls,...

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  • Tracing Your Ancestors in Lunatic Asylums: a Guide for Family Historians

    Article

    Tracing Your Ancestors in Lunatic Asylums: a Guide for Family Historians, Michelle Higgs, Pen and Sword, 2019,  196p, £14-99. ISBN 978 1 52674 485 2 My great-great-grandmother Emma Wood’s brother, Theophilus Wood, died in the Warwickshire Lunatic Asylum in 1871. It was his extraordinary fore-name that initially attracted my attention...

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