Britain & Ireland

What was it about industrialisation that led to the emergence of a woman’s movement in Victorian Britain? Why do we see so many people fighting for so many rights and liberties in this period and what are the origins of some of the issues we still campaign on today? This section includes our major series on Social and Political Change in the UK from 1800 to the present day. There are also articles and podcasts on the often violent relationship between England and Ireland during this period and England’s changing relationship with Scotland and Wales. Read more

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  • The price of reform: the people's budget and the present trauma

    Article

    When Lloyd George succeeded Asquith as Chancellor of the Exchequer in April 1908, his first task was to introduce the old age pensions Asquith had initiated. His second was to prove even more momentous. On 29 April 1909 he presented what has become known as "The People's Budget". The task...

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  • Remembering Neville Chamberlain

    Article

    Brent Dyck is a Canadian teacher and a previous contributor to The  Historian. In this short essay he offers us his objective  interpretation of the achievements of Neville Chamberlain. For some what he says may seem surprising and for others it might even be controversial. However, editorially it seemed entirely...

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  • The Advent of Decimalisation in Britain: 1971

    Article

    Decimal Day in Britain was Monday 15 February 1971. New coins and notes were circulated. There was no special issue postage stamp to commemorate the occasion, only a new series with some unfamiliar values, such as 7½p instead of 1s 6d. The fortieth anniversary of the arrival of decimal currency...

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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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  • British Women in the Nineteenth Century

    Article

    A short pamphlet surveying the historical record of rather more than half the population of Britain over a period of a hundred years must of necessity be sketchy and incomplete. The great interest in history of women which has arisen in the last few decades has produced a great deal...

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  • Stalinism

    Article

    Stalin's remarkable career raises quite fundamental questions for anyone interested in history. Marxists, whose philosophy should cause them to downgrade the role of ‘great men' as an explanation of great events, have problems in fitting Stalin into the materialist interpretation of history: did not this man ride rough-shod over the...

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  • Charles Gilpin

    Article

    Family Background and Early Life Charles Gilpin was born in Bristol in 1815, the son of James Gilpin, a Quaker draper, and Mary Gilpin nee Sturge. The Sturges were a notable Quaker Liberal family, active in the campaign against slavery. Their relatives included the Darbys of Coalbrookdale. Charles Gilpin was...

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  • Gladstone and the London May Day Demonstrators, 1890

    Article

    One hundred and twenty years ago the advent of the first red May Days caused major concern across Europe. To general surprise, in 1890 and the next few years some of the largest rallies occurred in London. In Britain the main demonstration on the nearest Sunday to May Day passed...

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  • Hammer, House of Horror: The making of a British film company, 1934 to 1979

    Article

    The now legendary film company Hammer made such classics as The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) and Dracula (1958), plus their  numerous sequels and subsequent remakes of old Universal Gothic chillers (The Curse of the Werewolf, The Mummy, The Phantom of the Opera), as well as making international stars out of Peter...

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  • The New Imperialism

    Article

    This Classic Pamphlet first published in 1970 comes with a new introduction written by the author M. E. Chamberlain.The New Imperialism - Introduction by M. E. Chamberlain Professor Emeritus at Swansea University. May 2010.When this pamphlet was first published imperialism was a hot political topic and battle raged between Marxist and...

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  • The Industrial Revolution in England

    Article

    Revolutions of the magnitude of the industrial revolution in England provoke historical controversy: such a revolution is a major discontinuity which a profession more skilled in explaining small changes finds difficult to understand. A revolution that touches a whole society is so diffuse that its significant events are difficult to...

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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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  • Towards Reform in 1809

    Article

    Two hundred years ago it must have seemed to some as if the time for political and economic reform in Britain had arrived. A number of the necessary conditions appeared to be in place:recent examples from America and France showing how readily and rapidly established systems could be overturnedseveral instances...

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  • The National Memorial to William Ewart Gladstone

    Article

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  • The 'Penny Dreadful'

    Article

    "I wish I know'd as much as you, Dick. How did you manage to pick it up?""Mother taught me most, and I read all the books I can get.""So do I; sich rattling tales, too ---‘The Black Phantom; or, the White Spectre of the Pink Rock.' Its fine, it is;...

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  • The Road to Dunkirk

    Article

    Seventy years after the outbreak of the Second World War, British foreign policy in the 1930s remains as controversial as ever. While appeasement is now a byword for political failure, the reasons for its adoption and the responsibility of the statesmen concerned are constantly debated. In general, opinion looks unfavourably...

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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 League of Nations

    Article

    It is common to see the failure of the League of Nations in its inability to stand up to the crises of the inter-war years.Peter Raffo shows that the League was flawed from the start. Never more than a voluntary association of sovereign states hoping to create ‘an atmosphere capable...

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  • Fascism in Europe 1919-1945

    Article

    The importance of fascism in 20th Century Europe is beyond question. But what was - or is - fascism?It is synonymous with authoritarian rule or the totalitarian state, or with both? In political terms, is fascism ‘right-wing' or ‘left-wing', revolutionary or reactionary? Why did it develop? Was it truly only...

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