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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  • 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...

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  • Battle of the Somme: the making of the 1916 propaganda film

    Article

    The versions of history on our cinema screens have an important influence upon public perceptions of the past. In his article Taylor Downing explores how the wartime Britishgovernment used the cinema for propaganda purposes and how the film Battle of the Somme contributes to portrayals of that battle to this...

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  • Bertrand Russell's Role in the Cuban Missile Crisis

    Article

    'An attack on the United States with 10,000 megatons would lead to the death of essentially all of the American people and to the destruction of the nation.’ ‘In 1960 President Kennedy mentioned 30,000 megatons as the size of the world’s stockpile of nuclear weapons.’1 In the autumn of 1962...

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  • Beware the serpent of Rome

    Article

    On 14 February 1868, the Carlisle Journal reported as follows: … two meetings were held in the Athenaeum in this city , “for the purpose of forming an auxiliary to co-operate with the Church Association in London, to uphold the principles and order of the United Church of England and...

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  • 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...

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  • Bristol and the Slave Trade

    Article

    Captain Thomas Wyndham of Marshfield Park in Somerset was on voyage to Barbary where he sailed from Kingroad, near Bristol, with three ships full of goods and slaves thus beginning the association of African Trade and Bristol. In the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Bristol was not a place of...

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  • Britain and the Formation of NATO

    Article

    Carl Watts outlines the shift in British security policy and examines the role played by the Foreign Office during the post-War period. April 1999 marks the 50th anniversary of the signature of the North Atlantic Treaty, which came into effect in August 1949. The Cold War is over, but NATO...

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  • 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...

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  • British Christians and European Integration

    Article

    Despite Britain’s longstanding membership of the European Union, the question of ‘Europe’ continues to loom large in the nation’s politics. Whilst the economic pros and cons of Britain ‘joining’ the euro might be understood by only a select few, that issue provides for the many an opportunity to debate Britain’s...

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  • British Cooperation with the Zionist Agency in Palestine 1940-42

    Article

    Nicholas Hammond provides an account of a little known Strategic Operations Executive intervention in the Middle East. In the summer of 1940, when Italy joined Germany, it was clear that attacks on the British position in the Middle East might be made from Italian bases in Africa and in Rhodes...

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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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  • British organised youth and the First World War

    Article

    This posthumously published article by John Springhall was presented to us, with recommended illustrations, shortly before his death. I t reflects his interest in popular culture and how people lived their lives in quite a remarkable manner. Adult-directed British uniformed youth movements played a  significant but often overlooked role during...

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  • 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...

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  • Cartooning King Cotton

    Article

    While cartoons have been widely used by historians of ‘High Politics’ or diplomacy, they have been used less often by social historians. Alan Fowler and Terry Wyke examine a source for the social history of the Lancashire cotton industry. Cartoons have long held a fascination for historians, though when using...

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  • Cartoons and the historian

    Article

    Many historical books contain cartoons, but in most cases these are little more than a relief from the text, and do not make any point of substance which is not made elsewhere. Political cartoons should be regarded as much more than that. They are an important historical source which often...

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  • Catch me if you can: Trevithik vs. Stephenson

    Article

    Richard Trevithick & George Stephenson: a twenty firstcentury ReassessmentTwo hundred years ago, a remarkable event took place in London. At the instigation of Richard Trevithick, engineer, polymath and inventor - who many regard as the greatest Cornishman ever - an elliptical circuit of cast iron rail was laid out on...

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  • Central and Local Government in Scotland Since 1707

    Article

    This pamphlet provides an interesting approach to a historical topic which has been too frequently covered from a single viewpoint. The pamphlet delivers a thoroughly Scottish approach to the nature of the 1707 Union and the changing nature of Scotland in the following centuries. It highlights the disparity of the...

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  • Chamberlain Day and the popular meaning of Tariff Reform

    Article

    Few Conservative institutions appealed to the Tory rank-andfile activist like the Tariff Reform League did in the opening two decades of the Twentieth Century. From its foundation in 1903, the League spearheaded Joseph Chamberlain’s crusade to grant tariffs on imported goods, acting as his grassroots organisation. This article attempts to...

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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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  • Chartism

    Article

    It is not surprising that Chartism has attracted a great deal of interest from historians and students, for at no other period in British history, with the possible exception of the second and third decades of the twentieth century, has so much excitement and activity been aroused at the working-class...

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