History

Articles about British history, or historical events, from prehistoric times to the modern period. Part of the history of Britain.

The Christmas Truce of 1914

Christmas Truce, 1914, German and British troops mingle

In the dying moments of 1914 and the opening days of 1915, remarkable stories began to circulate in Britain’s newspapers.  The stories came from France and Belgium, where great armies were locked in mighty conflict, and told of a truce between British and German soldiers.  At this time of peace and goodwill, it was said […]

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The Empire on which the sun never set

Fleet at Spithead in 1897

Britain, the global superpower On 22 June 1897, Queen Victoria returned from her Diamond Jubilee parade in London having had a wonderful day.  Loyal crowds lined the streets to see their monarch, a tiny plump old lady clad in black, pass from Buckingham Palace, through Trafalgar Square, The Strand, Fleet Street and up Ludgate Hill to

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Poor Britain

Rookeries of London

The squalor of industrial society Britain experienced the massive socio-economic upheaval that comes with industrialisation before anywhere else in the world.  A wealthier Britain was emerging, with expanding middle and urban working classes: it was the birth of the consumer society; but there was also widespread and, in places, abject, poverty.  It is in fact

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How Britain got the vote

Reform Bill! King William IV

How we got to exercise our franchise People can be hopelessly optimistic, but are perhaps increasingly fairly cynical, about Parliament and politicians.  However, things could be a lot worse – and of course there’s nothing new about incompetent, or even dodgy, politicians.  In 18th and early 19th century Britain, Parliament was particularly corrupt and unrepresentative. 

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Revolting Britain

Peterloo Massacre

Change makes people restless The radical thinkers of the 18th century offered tantalising visions of a more just society.  Their ideas greatly influenced the French and American revolutions, which produced two of the world’s great republican democracies.  In Britain, the loss of the American colonies was largely accepted with a sense of detached interest, and

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