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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  • 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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  • ‘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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  • Exploring the witch craze

    30th October 2020

    This weekend the spectre of Halloween has been in the air; traditionally a celebration of the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day. Whilst we're all used to the macabre symbols of ghouls and witches, particularly at this time of year, what is the history of these supernatural figures? We've drawn...

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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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  • What difference has the opening (and closing) of archives after 1991 made to the historiography of the Cold War?

    Article

    Prior to the East European revolutions of 1989, and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, commentators outside the region were largely reliant on printed material collected by specialist research libraries, informal rrangements with contacts ‘behind the iron curtain’, information that could be gleaned from visits to the region, and...

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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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  • Anything but enlightened: child slavery in the Roman world

    Article

    Through evidence and models, Ulrike Roth explores the role of child slavery in ancient Rome. Ancient Rome has been a source of inspiration throughout the ages. Some of the most remarkable thinkers in human history have drawn on one or other of Roman society’s great achievements. The profound reflection on,...

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  • Enduring Civilisation: cities and citizens in the ‘Aztec Empire’

    Article

    Katherine Bellamy explores the cities and citizens at the heart of the so-called ‘Aztec Empire’, a vast and complex network of distinct indigenous communities who endured despite Spanish colonisation. The term ‘civilisation’ is derived from the Latin, civilis (civil), and closely connected to civitas (city) and civis (citizen). The cities...

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  • Sacred waters: Bath in the Roman Empire

    Article

    Eleri Cousins explores the dynamics of Romano-British religion at the sanctuary at Bath. What do you think of when you think of Roman Bath?  Most of us probably think of, well, the Baths – in particular the iconic image of the Great Bath, with its Roman swimming basin and its...

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  • Out and About in Paestum

    Article

    Trevor James introduces the extraordinary archaeological remains from Greek and Roman occupation to be found at Paestum. Paestum is the more recent name of a location originally known as Poseidonia, named in honour of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. Poseidonia was a Greek settlement or colony on the west...

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  • Space and behaviour at the court of Alexander the Great

    Article

    Why do we behave in the way that we do? In this article, Stephen Harrison shows how our behaviour is intrinsically linked to the spaces we inhabit and he argues that Alexander the Great adopted spatial features from Persian architecture which altered the nature of his relationship with his subjects....

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  • The many queens of Ancient Egypt

    Article

    Joyce Tyldesley explains the significant but often hidden roles played by queens in Ancient Egypt.   For almost 3,000 years – from the unification of the land in 3100 BC to the arrival of Alexander the Great in 332 BC – the king (or pharaoh) of Egypt served as an essential...

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  • The emergence of the first civilisations

    Article

    Paul Bracey – The emergence of civilisations provided fundamental changes in the capacity for human development. This said, they exhibited similarities, differences, frailties, negative and positive attributes and should be related to a broadly based appreciation of the past. During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the assumption was that...

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  • History Abridged: Migration – the Potato

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

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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 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

    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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