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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  • Child Health & School meals: Nottingham 1906-1945

    Article

    Following Jamie Oliver’s devastating television series on the inadequacy of school meals the present government has been quick to be seen to address the situation. In September 2005, Ruth Kelly, the then Education Secretary, announced a war on junk food in schools.1 This was nothing new, because the history of...

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  • Child labour in eighteenth century London

    Article

    On 1 March 1771, thirteen year-old John Davies, a London charity school boy, left his home in Half MoonAlley and made his way to Bishopsgate Street. There he joined thirteen other boys of similar age who, like him, were new recruits of the Marine Society, a charity that sent poor...

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  • Cholera and the Fight for Public Health Reform in Mid-Victorian England

    Article

    Of the many social changes that occurred during the Victorian age, public health reform is widely agreed to be one of the most significant. In the early Victorian era the vast majority of Britons drank water from murky ponds and rivers, carried to their dwellings in buckets; and their excrement...

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  • Christopher Hill: Marxism and Methodism

    Article

    Christopher Hill, the eminent historian of seventeenth century England, was a convinced Marxist throughout most of his long and productive life (1912-2003). He embraced this secular world-view when he was a young History student at Oxford in the polemical 1930s and never lost his ideological commitment, even though he resigned...

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  • Cooling Memories? Why We Still Remember Scott And Shackleton

    Article

    Just along from the grand lobby of the new British Library, on the left up a broad staircase, there is a half concealed doorway. Walk through the doors and you enter a low gallery, dimly lit and filled with expansive display cases. There is always a hush in this room...

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  • D-Day, Commemorations - the last big year to remember?

    Article

    This year it was the 70th anniversary of D-Day. The world's politicians and media went into overdrive about it. The BBC dedicated a whole day to the coverage, mainly live from Normandy while small events took place around the UK. For a whole day the upcoming centenary of the First...

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  • David Cannadine Interview about his book: The Right Kind of History

    Multipage Article

    Sir David Cannadine has done the unthinkable he has traced the teaching of history in state schools since the beginning. In his book The Right Kind of History: Teaching the Past in Twentieth-Century England he explores the real history of history education the truth is discovered to that age old...

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  • 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...

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  • 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...

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  • Driver Ben Cobey 8th Royal Field Artillery

    Article

    Alf Wilkinson asks why three men were awarded the Victoria Cross during the retreat from Mons in August 1914 and the fourth involved in the action wasn’t. What does that tell us about Britain during the arly days of the Great War?In August 1914, when war broke out, the 75,000...

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  • Each man's life was worth 1sh 1d 1/2d!

    Article

    Alf Wilkinson explores Britain's biggest coal mining disaster, at Senghenydd Colliery, in South Wales, in October 1913.At ten past eight in the morning of Tuesday 14 October 1913, just after 900 men had started work underground, an explosion ripped through Senghenydd Colliery, near Caerphilly, killing 439 miners and, later in...

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  • Earth in vision: Enviromental Broadcasting

    Article

    Joe Smith, Kim Hammond and George Revill share some of the findings of their work examining what digital broadcast archives are available and which could be made available in future.  The BBC’s archives hold over a million hours of programmes, dating back to the 1930s (radio) and 1940s (television). It...

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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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  • Eighteenth-century Britain and its Empire

    Article

    The concept of an ‘English’ or even of a ‘British’ empire has been in use at least from the sixteenth century. What the term then conveyed was of course very different from what it was to convey in modern times. By the mid-eighteenth century, however, contemporaries were beginning to envisage...

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  • Elementary Education in the Nineteenth Century

    Article

    All schemes for education involve some consideration of the surrounding society, its existing structure and how it will-and should-develop. Thus the interaction of educational provision and institutions with patterns of employment, social mobility and political behaviour are fascinatingly complex. The spate of valuable local studies emphasizes this complexity and makes...

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  • England Arise! The General Election of 1945

    Article

    ‘The past week will live in history for two things’, announced the Sunday Times of 29 July 1945, ‘first the return of a Labour majority to Parliament and the end of Churchill's great war Premiership.’ Most other newspapers concurred. The Daily Mirror, of 27 July, proclaimed that the 1945 general election...

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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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  • Fascist behind barbed wire: political internment without trial in wartime Britain

    Article

    In the spring and early summer of 1940, the British government carried out a programme of mass internment without trial. On 11 May, the first of thousands of ‘enemy aliens' were interned. Many of these internees were refugees from Nazi Germany, often Jews who had fled Germany in fear of...

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  • Faster, Higher, Stronger: The Birth of the Modern Olympics

    Article

    As the leading athletes of all nations prepare to come together this summer in Atlanta, the global communications media of the late twentieth century are constantly reminding us that 1996 marks the first centenary of the modern Olympic Games. The worldwide impact now made by these sporting festivals is all...

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  • Film: An Interview with Margaret MacMillan

    Multipage Article

    The HA are delighted to announce that the Medlicott Medal for 2015 has been awarded to Professor Margaret MacMillan. The Medlicott Medal is for outstanding contributions to the study and enjoyment of history. The award will be presented on Wednesday 8 July 2015 in central London, where she will also...

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