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

Sort by: Date (Newest first) | Title A-Z
  • The Versailles Peace Settlement

    Article

    This classic pamphlet takes you through the Paris Peace Conference and the 'German Question', Peacemaking and the Treaty of Versailles, Europe and the German question after Versailles.

    Click to view
  • The Enlightenment

    Article

    Can a movement as varied and diffuse as the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century be contained within the covers of a short pamphlet? The problem would certainly have appealed to the intellectuals of that time. Generalists rather than specialists, citizens of the whole world of knowledge, they relished the challenge...

    Click to view
  • Remember Peterloo!

    Article

    The BBC News at 10 on Saturday 5 July included an announcement that Manchester's campaign to have a memorial erected to the victims of the Peterloo Massacre had ‘got under way'. That afternoon, a workshop organised by the Peterloo Memorial  campaign had encouraged members of the public to express their...

    Click to view
  • Dean Mahomet: Travel writer, curry entrepreneur and shampooer to the King

    Article

    The National Portrait Gallery in London is home to many thousands of portraits, photographs and sculptures of the great and the good, as well as those who travelled on the darker side of history. In 2007 it hosted a small exhibition in the Porter Gallery entitled Between Worlds: Voyagers to...

    Click to view
  • Anorexia Nervosa in the nineteenth century

    Article

    First referred to by Richard Morton (1637-98) in his Phthisiologia under the denomination phthisis nervosa as long ago as 1689, anorexia nervosa was given its name in a note by Sir William Gull (1816-90) in 1874. Gull had earlier described a disorder he termed apepsia hysterica, involving extreme emaciation without...

    Click to view
  • Why the OBE survived the Empire

    Article

    An anomaly of the British honours system is the name of the award most frequently given - the Order of the British Empire created in 1917. Each medal carries the words: ‘For God and the Empire'. When the connection between the person honoured and the church is often very tenuous...

    Click to view
  • My grandfather's recollections of the invasion of Normandy

    Article

    16 year old Daisy Black of Newcastle-under-Lyme School in Staffordshire was the Senior Award winner in the Spirit of Normandy Trust Young Historian competition in 2007. Having been judged the winner by the Young Historian panel, the Spirit of Normandy Trsutees were so taken with her entry that they gave...

    Click to view
  • Britain's Olympic visionary

    Article

    Forty-six years before the modern Olympics began, the small Shropshire market town of Much Wenlock was the seemingly unlikely setting for the establishment of an ‘Olympian Games'. Commencing in 1850, they were to become an annual festival in the town. The architect of this sporting enterprise was a local surgeon...

    Click to view
  • Bigamy

    Article

    Though people are still sometimes prosecuted for repeatedly marrying immigrants to rescue them from the attentions of the Home Office, while forgetting to get divorced between times, one uncovenanted result of the now common practice of living together without matrimony is the decline of that celebrated Victorian institution: bigamy.In the...

    Click to view
  • Wellington's Soldiers in the Napoleonic Wars

    Article

    Wellington's Soldiers in the Napoleonic WarsThe war with France, which began in 1793, had moved to the Iberian Peninsula by 1808. This year is therefore the two-hundredth anniversary of the commencement of the Peninsular War campaigns. War on the Peninsula demanded huge resources of manpower in order to defeat Napoleon....

    Click to view
  • History's big picture in three dimensions

    Article

    More and more historians, from diverse political viewpoints, are now expressing concern at the fragmentation of history, especially in the schools curriculum. The fragmentation of the subject has followed upon the collapse of sundry Grand Narratives, such as the ‘March of Progress', which once swept all of history into a...

    Click to view
  • The death of Lord Londonderry

    Article

    Robert Stewart, 2nd Marquess of Londonderry, better known to his contemporaries and to history as Viscount Castlereagh, committed suicide on 12 August 1822, at the age of fifty-three, when Foreign Secretary and Leader of the House of Commons. He was one of the great statesmen of his age: as Chief...

    Click to view
  • The Pensylvanian Origins of British Abolitionism

    Article

    It can have escaped the attention of very few people in the United Kingdom that 2007 marks the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in British ships. Slavery itself continued to be legal in Britain and its colonies until the 1830s, while other nations continued both to...

    Click to view
  • A Victorian deserter's family story: surviving a clash of loyalties

    Article

    More people than ever are seeking to trace their family histories. People can now sit at home and tap out in seconds from the  internet many of their family's previously unknown genealogical details. But what if a century or more ago one of your family had tried to cover his...

    Click to view
  • Buffalo Bill and his Wild West show opens London's Earl Court in 1887

    Article

    ‘It is often said on the other side of the water that none of the exhibitions which we send to England are purely and distinctively American', exhorted Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) in an unsolicited letter of September 1884 to ‘Colonel' William Frederick Cody (1846-1917). ‘If you will take the Wild...

    Click to view
  • Disraeli, Peel and the Corn Laws: the making of a conservative reputation

    Article

    125 years after his death, Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield, still provides the political lode-star for generations of Conservatives. Lately, for the first time in 30 years, Disraeli's name and example has been enthusiastically evoked by the party leadership and David Cameron has projected himself as a Disraeli for the...

    Click to view
  • Landowners and their motives for change at the Suffolk village of Culford between 1793 and 1903

    Article

    Isabel Jones from Thomas Mills High School at Framlingham was the winner of the Young Historian Award for Local History [16-19] in 2006. The Director of the Young Historian Project, Trevor James, has edited her winning essay. It has been shortened and the footnotes removed, to enable it to fit...

    Click to view
  • Attitudes to Liberty and Enslavement: the career of James Irving, a Liverpool slave ship surgeon and captain?

    Article

    Prior to abolition in 1807, Britain was the world’s leading slave trading nation. Of an estimated six million individuals forcibly transported from Africa in the transatlantic slave trade in the eighteenth century, almost 2.5 million (40 per cent) were carried in British vessels.2 The contemporary attitudes and assumptions which underpinned...

    Click to view
  • The Slave trade and British Abolition, 1787-1807

    Article

    In the 1780’s the British slave trade thrived. In that decade alone more than one thousand British and British colonial slave ships sailed for the slave coasts of Africa and transported more than 300,000 Africans. There was little evidence that here was a system uncertain about its economic future. If...

    Click to view
  • After the Uprising of 1956: Hungarian Students in Britain

    Article

    Much has been written during the last 50 years about the events leading up to and during the Hungarian Uprising of 1956. Less consideration has been given to the students who arrived in Britain as refugees. During the weeks following the Soviet intervention in Hungary around 25,000 people were killed...

    Click to view