Britain & Ireland 1901-present

War and conflict, technology, illness and medicine and the battle for civil and national rights have all been key elements of the 20th century through to today, thus, all of those themes and many more are explored in this section. Underpinning many of these articles and included here are articles exploring pedagogical issues, managing knowledge and transferring knowledge. Read more

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  • Britain in the 1950s

    Article

    The National Archives' Education Service explores Britain in the 1950s The National Archives' Education Service's latest resource is now available online. Following on from their document collections looking at the partition of India and the swinging Sixties, Fifties Britain is an invaluable collection of dozens of documents covering a wide...

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  • Neville Chamberlain: Villain or Hero?

    Article

    Perhaps no other British figure of the twentieth century has been as vilified or as celebrated as Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister from 1937 to 1940. In 1999, a BBC Radio 4 poll of prominent historians, politicians and commentators rated Chamberlain as one of the worst Prime Ministers of...

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  • The Coming of War in 1939

    Article

    I. The Legacy of VersaillesThe Outbreak of a second world war on 1 September 1939 might have been expected to produce in due course a great controversy on ‘war guilt'. But there has been nothing comparable with the debate which took place during the 1920s on the 1914 issues. The angel...

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  • The Irish in Britain 1815-1914

    Article

    Irish migration to Britain has a long and chequered history, yet only in recent years have historians examined this subject in depth, through a growing body of local, regional and national studies which have supplemented the earlier pioneering research of J. E. Handley and J. A. Jackson. These studies have...

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  • Triumphs Show 144: Active learning to engage ‘challenging students'

    Article

    Active learning to engage and challenge ‘challenging students' Historical significance may have been the ‘forgotten element' in 2002 when Rob Phillips first offered us the acronym ‘GREAT', but it has been seized upon with enthusiasm by the history education community. Christine Counsell's now famous five ‘R's (remarkable, remembered, resonant, resulting...

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  • Polychronicon 144: Interpreting the 1930s in Britain

    Article

    For students of my generation (born in 1954) the 1930s had a very clear identity; so, when the far-left Socialist Workers Party launched a campaign against unemployment, in 1975, with the slogan: ‘No Return to the Thirties', we all knew what they meant: unemployment, economic deprivation and the political betrayal...

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  • Cunning Plan 144: promoting independent student enquiry

    Article

    Getting students to generate their own questions can seem like a formidable challenge, even for experienced teachers with extensive subject knowledge developed over years of teaching. Imagine how much more alarming it appeared to a student-teacher being encouraged to take risks by handing more responsibility to the students. Could it...

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  • The Second World War

    Article

    On 5 September 1939 the German Führer, Adolf Hitler, paid a surprise visit to the corps which was in the forefront of his army's ferocious assault upon Poland. As they passed the remains of a smashed Polish artillery regiment, the corps commander, General Guderian, astonished Hitler by telling him that...

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  • Irish Unionism 1885-1922

    Article

    It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of Irish unionism for British and Irish politics in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The movement was supported almost exclusively by Irish Protestants who were of Anglo-Irish or Scotch-Irish descent and who comprised roughly one-quarter of the population of Ireland. Its...

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  • The British General Strike 1926

    Article

    ‘The General Strike is a challenge to Parliament and is the road to anarchy and ruin.' (Stanley Baldwin, Prime Minister, 6th May 1926).‘The General Council does not challenge the Constitution ... the sole aim of the Council is to secure for the miners a decent standard of life. The Council...

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  • Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trust

    Article

    The Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trust has been established to promote the message of peace, non-violence and religious and racial harmony, the principles Noor Inayat Khan stood for. It will work to raise funds for a Memorial for Noor Inayat Khan, GC, Croix de Guerre, in London's Gordon Square to...

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  • The King's Speech online resource

    Article

    Starring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter, The King's Speech is picking up awards and acclaim across the board. Film Education have produced an online resource dedicated to The King's Speech: if you're a teacher of secondary English, Film, Media or History we think you'll find this a...

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  • Arnold Wilkins: Pioneer of British Radar

    Article

    Whenever British radar is discussed the name that usually comes to mind is that of Robert Watson Watt. Our history books and our dictionaries of biography consistently attribute the discovery of radar in Britain solely to Watson Watt, with little or no mention of the key role played by his...

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  • 1914: The Coming of the First World War

    Article

    This pamphlet argues that the outbreak of the First World War represented not so much the culmination of a long process started by Bismarck and his successors, as the relatively sudden breakdown of a system that had in fact preserved the peace and contained the dangerous Eastern Question for over...

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  • World War 2 Letters

    Article

    Lt. Richard (Dick) Kelner Williams volunteered for the Dorset Regiment in June 1940.  He trained in Wiltshire with the 6th and 70th Dorsets in 1940 and 41.  After a period in the Intelligence Section of the Dorsets he volunteered for the 1st Air Landing Squadron and the 43rd Reconnaissance Regiment before his commission...

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  • Edwardian England

    Article

    The Edwardian era is still less than a lifetime away. Yet the memoirs of surviving Edwardians, written any time between the nineteen-twenties and the nineteen sixties, have often made it sound like a remote epoch. The years between the death of Queen Victoria in 1901 and the outbreak of the...

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  • The Evolution of the British Electoral System 1832-1987

    Article

    During the last 20 years our perspective on the great Victorian question of parliamentary reform has noticeably changed. We have acquired a comprehensive picture of the organisation and political socialisation of those who won the vote; and some interesting debates have developed about the social characteristics of the electors and...

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  • The Reformed Electoral System in Great Britain, 1832-1914

    Article

    The struggle for parliamentary reform between 1830 and 1832 has long been regarded as one of the decisive battles of British political history. The Tories lamented that the passage of the Reform Bill meant the destruction of the constitution. Middle class Radicals welcomed the Reform Bill as the instrument that...

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  • Polychronicon 136: Interpreting the Beatles

    Article

    ‘The Beatles were history-makers from the start,' proclaimed the liner notes for the band's first LP in March 1963. It was a bold claim to make on behalf of a beat combo with one charttopping single, but the Beatles' subsequent impact on 1960s culture put their historical importance (if not...

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  • The Northern Ireland Question 1886-1986

    Article

    The nature of the rights of majorities and minorities is one of the most intractable of the issues raised by the Northern Ireland question, especially since much depends on definitions. Ulster Protestants are a majority in that province but a minority in both Ireland and the United Kingdom, while Catholics,...

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