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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  • Cinderella dreams: young love in post-war Britain

    Article

    In a lecture given to the Cambridge branch, Carol Dyhouse explains changing attitudes to marriage in the 1950s and 60s. Women teachers in the 1950s and 1960s regularly complained about how hard it was to keep girls’ attention on their schoolwork. Educationist Kathleen Ollerenshaw pointed out that the prospects of marriage,...

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  • Old age care in the time of crisis: London in the sixteenth century

    Article

    In her lecture to the General Strand of the HA Conference, Christine Fox describes the successes and failures of London institutions in dealing with the sixteenth-century crisis of poverty and elderly care. In late medieval and early modern thinking, human life was divided into three stages; youth, maturity, and old age. The latter...

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  • The cultural biography of opium in China

    Article

    Zheng Yangwen shows that despite its association with trade, war and politics, opium was first of all a history of consumption. Opium has fascinated generations of scholars and generated excellent scholarship on the opium trade, Anglo-Chinese relations, the two opium wars, and Commissioner Lin. The field has diversified in the post-Mao...

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  • History Abridged: Language and the African continent

    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). Africa is a huge continent with an expansive geography and...

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  • What did it mean to be a city in early modern Germany?

    Article

    Alexander Collin examines the significance of cities within the Holy Roman Empire in early modern times. With a strong political identity of their own, cities were at the heart of the Empire’s economy and, also, centres of theological and social change. If you have ever read a description of a...

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  • The ‘workless workers’ and the Waterbury watch

    Article

    Peter Hounsell looks at the role of the Waterbury Watch Company in both the Queen’s Jubilee and the attempt to record and alleviate unemployment in London in the 1880s. In Britain generally, but for London in particular, 1887 was a year of great contrasts. On 27 June, Londoners lined the...

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  • History Abridged: The census

    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). Most of us are aware that 2021 was a census...

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  • The British Census

    Article

    The British Census, Simon Smith, Shire Publications, 2021, 64p, £8-99. ISBN 978-1-78442-457-2 This is timely and informative. Simon Smith has very carefully placed the British Census in the wider perspective of historical processes of collecting data about people’s lives over the centuries. The narrative is clear and well-organized, and there...

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  • Disease and healthcare on the Isle of Man

    Article

    Caroline Smith provides a perspective, past and present, of the experiences of epidemics on the Isle of Man.  In recent times health has been at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Epidemics and pandemics are not new, but the Covid-19 outbreak is probably the first to have such a noticeable effect...

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  • Women’s friendship in late eighteenth-century America and its relevance to lockdown

    Article

    Rowan Cookson offers us the opportunity to compare our contemporary anxieties with a stressful era in American history. Eighteenth-century women’s friendship is worth considering at this time. In my undergraduate dissertation, I concluded that white wealthy women’s friendship in eighteenth-century America equired long distance communication, involved labour and perpetuated race and class...

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  • Come Wind, Come Weather: Storm: Tempest and Other Natural Phenomena within Local Sources

    Article

    Come Wind, Come Weather: Storm: Tempest and Other Natural Phenomena within Local Sources, Trevor James, Lichfield Press, 2021, 116p. £10-00.  ISBN 978-0-905985-62-6  What a pleasure it is to review a book by that arch-reviewer, Dr Trevor James. This book follows closely on his previous one, England’s Saintly Landscapes, and confirms...

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  • Monty’s school: the benign side of Viscount Montgomery of Alamein

    Article

    Field-Marshal Montgomery has a reputation as a strong-willed battle-hardened leader, with a touch of the impetuous. Few know of his charitable side and yet in his later years this side was just as important to his activities. In this article we find out a bit more of this often simplistically...

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  • Volunteers to a man: an industrial workplace goes to war

    Article

    In this article Edward Washington explores how the Royal Mint in Sydney, Australia was affected by the First World War, through the loss of professional staff and the legacy of experiencing conflict. The Royal Mint, Sydney, which opened in 1855 in response to the Australian gold rushes, was the first...

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  • Real Lives: Harry Daley

    Article

    Hardly any documentation exists about gay police officers who served before the 1967 Sexual Offences Act partially decriminalised homosexuality. An exception is Sergeant Harry Daley’s autobiography, This Small Cloud, published posthumously in 1986. Humorous, endearing and self-deprecatory, Daley acknowledged himself as a champion of the underdog and the oppressed. His...

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  • Film: Writing Black histories, telling Black stories

    Article

    In February 2021 we were delighted to continue the HA Virtual Branch with Stephen Bourne, author of a number of books including Black Poppies: Britain’s Black Community and the Great War and Black in the British Frame: The Black Experience in British Film and Television. In 2017 South Bank University awarded Stephen an Honorary Fellowship for...

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  • Thames Mudlarking: Searching for London’s Lost Treasures

    Article

    Thames Mudlarking: Searching for London’s Lost Treasures, Jason Sandy and Nick Stevens, Shire, 2021, 96pp, £9-99. ISBN 9781784424329.  For two hours every day low tide exposes what this book calls ‘the ‘longest archaeological site in Britain’. Erosion and riverboat activity regularly reveal new artefacts. Henry Mayhew, in London Labour and...

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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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  • 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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