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 end of all existence is debarred me': Disraeli's depression 1826-30

    Article

    During the years from 1826 to 1830 Benjamin Disraeli went through the slough of despond. His first major biographer,William Flavelle Monypenny, observed the ‘clouds of despondency which were now settling upon Disraeli's mind'. In his magisterial life of the great tory leader Robert Blake commented that ‘after completing Part II...

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  • 'Wanted, The Elusive Charlie Peace': A Sheffield Killer Of The 1870s As Popular Hero

    Article

    On 28 November 1876, William and John Habron, Irish brothers habitually in trouble with the police, were tried at Manchester Assizes for the murder three months before of Police Constable Nicholas Cock (on the basis of ‘scientific’ footprint evidence at the scene of the crime). The jury found 19 year-old...

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  • 'Women and Children first!' a lost tale of Empire and Heroism

    Article

    In January 1852, under the command of Captain Robert Salmond, HMS Birkenhead left Portsmouth carrying troops and officers' wives and families from ten different regiments. Most were from the 73rd Regiment of Foot, and were on their way to South Africa to fight the Xhosa in the 8th Kaffir War (1850-1853),...

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  • 1851 by Asa Briggs

    Article

    This classic pamphlet is being re-published in digital form to coincide with the special edition of The Historian devoted to the memory of Asa Briggs. He was one of the most illustrious members of the Historical Association and a devotedly loyal member all his life. One Historian has said that...

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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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  • 1939 After Sixty Years

    Article

    Historians view major anniversaries with a measure of ambivalence. We know that they are artificial, that it is merely a convenient fiction to think that the passage of a round number of years provides a privileged vantage point from which to review the significance of a given event. Yet we...

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  • A Social History of the Welsh Language

    Article

    When the historian Peter Burke wrote in 1987 ‘It is high time for a social history of language’, he could scarcely have imagined that the first to meet the challenge would be the Welsh. In November 2000 the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, a research...

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  • A Story in Stone: the Tirah War Memorial in Dorchester

    Article

    The Tirah memorial stands in a corner of Borough Gardens, a Victorian park in Dorchester, county town of Dorset. It is a granite obelisk decorated with a motif of honeysuckle and laurel wreaths standing 4.5 metres high on a square granite plinth. This in turn stands upon a circular concrete...

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  • 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...

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  • A Zeppelin VC remembered

    Article

    Ronan Thomas introduces the bravery of Rex Warneford who was the first pilot successfully to bring down a Zeppelin in 1915. Rex Warneford was one of Britain’s ‘bravest of the brave’. A Royal Navy fighter pilot during the First World War, he was awarded the Victoria Cross by King George...

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  • A sense of occasion

    Article

    It is appropriate, in this bicentenary year of Mendelssohn's birth, to remember a great day in Birmingham's musical and social calendar. A day when the composer's Oratorio, Elijah, especially commissioned for the city's 1846 Triennial Festival to raise money for the Children's Hospital, was first performed in the newly refurbished Town...

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  • Admiral Lord Mountbatten: man of science and royal role model

    Article

    Mountbatten was a controversial figure who died in tragic circumstances but Adrian Smith demonstrates that, behind his aristocratic facade, he was a very adept, talented and formative personality. Four years have passed since the re-opening of Broadlands, the Hampshire home of Lord and Lady Brabourne. The house was subject to...

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  • 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...

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  • Amphibious Warfare in British History

    Article

    The term "Amphibious Warfare" was adopted a few years ago to indicate a form of a strategy of which the characteristic was the descent of the sea-borne armies upon the coasts and ports of an enemy. It is not a method peculiar to Great Britain, for all maritime nations from...

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  • An Interview with Jackie

    Multipage Article

    An au revoir but not goodbye from outgoing HA President Professor Jackie Eales  Jackie Eales has been an enthusiastic President for the last three years who has been very happy to visit many of the branches to give lectures and to assist in key HA events.Jackie's lectures at the HA annual...

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  • An Interview with Linda Colley

    Multipage Article

    Professor Linda Colley CBE, FBA, FRSL, FRHistS is a British Historian and a Fellow of the Historical Association. At the start of 2014 she wrote and presented a BBC Radio 4 series about the Acts of Union and Disunion, now a book. Over the summer she came into the HA...

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  • An Intimate History of Your Home - Lucy Worsley

    Article

    ‘You've gone over to The Dark Side'. These were the words of a well-respected historian to whom I'd been enthusing about the pleasures and perils of Dressing Up. During 2009-10 I spent several months in historic costume, recreating the habits and rituals of domestic life in the past. It was...

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  • 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...

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  • Antarctica 100 years on from Captain Scott

    Article

    No longer "A Pole Apart": Antarctica 100 years on from Captain ScottAt last on 12 November 1912 the search party found the tent almost totally buried in snow. According to Thomas Williamson: ‘Mr Wright came towards us, and said it was the Polar Party ... it was a great blow to...

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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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