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 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 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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  • 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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  • The ripple effect: reaching new readers

    Article

    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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  • Gaming the medieval past

    Article

    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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  • Sparta and war: myths and realities

    Article

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

    Article

    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

    Article

    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

    Article

    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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  • My Favourite History Place: Gladstone’s Library at Hawarden

    Article

    When I first visited Gladstone’s residential library in 1977 for a pre-university History degree reading week, I barely knew who Gladstone was. I had just come back from a holiday in Italy and the contrast between Florence and Hawarden, a Welsh border town, was startling. I came from the sunny remains...

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  • Real Lives: Alice Daye: mother of the English book trade

    Article

    Our series ‘Real Lives’ seeks to put the story of the ordinary person into our great historical narrative. We are all part of the rich fabric of the communities in which we live and we are affected to greater and lesser degrees by the big events that happen on a daily...

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  • Exploring local sources

    Article

    Tim Lomas was correct when he said, in his article in the Summer 2019 edition of The Historian, that historians can see much more in medieval documents than the scribes intended.  Lay manors in Bedfordshire are a good example. Eggington manor, in the south-west, was part of a larger estate and held...

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  • Gone with the Wind: a great book?

    Article

    HA President Tony Badger examines the historical context which shapes our understanding of Margaret Mitchell’s enduring novel. I had been a historian of the American South for 50 years and like Ringbaum, I had a secret. I had never read Gone with the Wind. As I came up to retirement...

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  • Linking Law: Viking and medieval Scandinavian law in literature and history

    Article

    Ongoing interdisciplinary developments have cast light on the surprisingly sophisticated world of Viking-age and medieval Scandinavian law and its wide-ranging influence in these societies. In many ways, the Viking Age and its inhabitants are more familiar than ever before. From video games to television and films, new narrative frontiers and bigger...

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  • History Abridged: Publishing

    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). For centuries the only way the written word could be...

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