92 posts tagged with UK and history.
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"..the Glaswegian origin story is definitively a crock of shit."

Who Owns Chicken Tikka Masala? Complicating a popular origin story.
posted by Miko on Oct 16, 2015 - 31 comments

From 2 Tone to grime, youth cults showcase a vibrant history of Britain

Something about this country – the divisions, the class system, the general sense of distrust and dissatisfaction – seems to breed youth subcultures like no other place on Earth. The strange, stylish clans that this island incubates have been exported across the world, influencing everything from high street fashion to high art. From teddy boys to 2 Tone rudeboys, soulboys to Slipknot fans, grunge bands to grime crews, mods to mod revivalists, the history of these groups shows us a version of modern Britain that goes way beyond Diana and Blair.
[more inside] posted by ellieBOA on May 28, 2015 - 8 comments

Amelia is an intrepid name

The biting cold of a March morning did little to dissuade fans of Amelia Edwards, founder of the Egypt Exploration Society, from turning out in force to watch the unveiling of her blue plaque at 19 Wharton Street in London this week. Edwards joins a small list of women writers including Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Shelley and Agatha Christie, chosen to be celebrated by the scheme as its first female Egyptologist.
As one dives deeper into Amelia Edwards' contributions to Egyptology, one begins to wonder*, was it she who was the real Amelia Peabody, so well known to us through the words of Elizabeth Peters? [more inside]
posted by infini on Mar 28, 2015 - 5 comments

"Hobsbawm was a marked man, and he knew it"

The two sides in the Cold War, finding each other irresistible, ended up in a contrapuntal relationship where, as George Urban put it, ‘they marched in negative step, but in step all the same.’ They had their spies, we had ours. They had their files, we had ours. True, we didn’t have gulags. But what kind of democracy is it that congratulates itself on not having gulags? Never mind the dragnet surveillance, the burglaries, the smearing of reputations, the bugging of public telephone boxes, cafés, hotels, banks, trade unions, private homes, all this legitimised by the thesis that everyone is a potential subversive until proven otherwise – the problem is that the defenders of the realm took on the symptoms of the disease they were meant to cure.
– In the essay Stuck on the Flypaper historian and journalist Frances Stonor Saunders goes through the recently released MI5 file on Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm [previously] to explain how the British secret service surveilled and interfered with the lives of British citizens during World War II and the early part of the Cold War.
posted by Kattullus on Mar 27, 2015 - 11 comments

"I asked him a very old Jewish question: Do you have a bag packed?"

Is It Time for the Jews to Leave Europe? [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 17, 2015 - 181 comments

Love Tokens from the Thames

Love Tokens from the Thames, dug up by the Mud God (aka Steve Brooker of Thames and Field).
posted by gamera on Feb 14, 2015 - 17 comments

"Frankly, I had enjoyed the war."

Adrian Carton de Wiart: The unkillable soldier
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 6, 2015 - 13 comments

From Churchill to Doctor Who

Royal Mail 'special stamps' have been produced in the UK for fifty years since 1965, when the new postmaster general, Tony Benn, expanded the criteria for commemorative stamps to include representations of British life and culture.
posted by carter on Jan 4, 2015 - 12 comments

The Legend of the Free Labour Market

The Legend of the Free Labour Market. From the excellent HR/Economics blog Flip Chart Fairy Tales.
posted by TheophileEscargot on Dec 21, 2014 - 8 comments

Cut square and stamped with a proper stamp of the happy union and baked

"Nowadays, we tend to eat biscuits with beverages like tea and coffee. But in the past they were an important element of the dessert course and were dipped into sweet wine." - Food History Jottings (previously) on the strange world of Regency biscuits. (Cookies to you US types.)
posted by The Whelk on Sep 9, 2014 - 25 comments

to end all wars

First world war – a century on, time to hail the peacemakers
"On the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, we should remember those who tried to stop a catastrophe" [more inside]
posted by flex on Aug 4, 2014 - 27 comments

Lord Cobham was burnt alive, but I forget what for

15 year old Jane Austen wrote a satrical history of English monarchs and now you can read it.
posted by The Whelk on Feb 25, 2014 - 19 comments

Con Men! Artistocrats! Nancy Boys! Radiothearpy and More!

The Trickster Prince is academic and historian Matt Houlbrook's blog about the ephemera and little-known stories of the English inter-war period (and before) with a focus on class-jumping, queer narratives, "faking it", and urban society in the 20s and 30s.
posted by The Whelk on Feb 5, 2014 - 13 comments

Double Deuce | April 1917| Woodhouse discharged | That's a lot of scalps

Operation War Diary is the newest crowdsourced science effort from Zooniverse, cataloging WWI British soldiers' war diaries from the Western Front. Participants can help tag dates, locations, people, and events from 1.5 million pages of war diaries from the Western Front. Entries range from the uneventful (October 24 | PONT DU HEM | 5:30 am | Occupied same position. Did not fire all day) to the eventful (A & B cleared the village and the regiment eventually captured the convoy in the wood about a mile on after it had been headed back by a returning movement of 12th Lancers. In all 200 prisoners). [more inside]
posted by univac on Jan 14, 2014 - 11 comments

“Hold a live Puppy constantly on the Belly.”

In the late 1740s, John Wesley—a British evangelist and the co-founder of Methodism—published Primitive Physick, or, An Easy and Natural Method of Curing Most Diseases. The tome gave regular people ways to cure themselves, using items they could find in their own homes. - Here are some of his suggested home remedies.
posted by The Whelk on Oct 29, 2013 - 56 comments

The Old Ways

A History of British Folk Horror
posted by Artw on Oct 22, 2013 - 62 comments


In 2011, the CIA declassified documents admitting its involvement in the 1953 coup that overthrew Iran's elected government and installed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, details of which were first first disclosed by the New York Times in 2000. Timeline. However, they refused to release them to the public. Today, the National Security Archive research institute has (after a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit) obtained and made the 21 documents public. "Marking the sixtieth anniversary of the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, the National Security Archive is today posting recently declassified CIA documents on the United States' role in the controversial operation. American and British involvement in Mosaddeq's ouster has long been public knowledge, but today's posting includes what is believed to be the CIA's first formal acknowledgement that the agency helped to plan and execute the coup. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 19, 2013 - 33 comments

Rupert Everett, Really Into Dead Victorian Dreamboats

In 2008 the actor Rupert Everett hosted (seemingly from his apartment) a rather strange documentary: The Victorian Sex Explorer ( 2 3 4 5 ), an attempt to follow in the footsteps of famed Explorer, translator, and author Sir Richard Burton and convince us of Sir Burton's passion for sexual experimentation while laying in lots of bathhouses and visiting brothels. [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Jul 4, 2013 - 52 comments

The Underpants Revolution and other stories from the past...

"Whereas yesterday's Cora Pearl was eccentric, charming and a little cold-hearted, today's Victorian courtesan, La Païva, is straight-up eerie. Like, so eerie that a lot of people thought she was a vampire. My hand to Baby Jesus, people actually believed she was a supernatural being. " Bizarre Victoria shares (what else) bizarre, scandalous, and noteworthy stories form the Victorian era (and more). What do you serve at a country club for fat men? Devil's footprints! Lola Montez: servant whipper, de facto ruler of Bavaria. Empress Sissi and her No Good Very Bad Life. Aristocratic marriage at gunpoint. Public pubic hair trimming. Specialties of the Victorian Brothel. Curing hiccups by setting your shirt on fire. Gilded Age Arranged Marriages.
posted by The Whelk on Jul 3, 2013 - 8 comments

Pop History

The People's Songs: The Story of Modern Britain in 50 Records is a radio series on BBC written and narrated by Stuart Maconie. Each episode focuses on one particular pop song and tells the story of the song as well as what social trends it mirrored, for instance the episode on Telstar by The Tornadoes focuses on the technological progress, especially in space travel and music, and the story of songwriter and record producer Joe Meek. 25 episodes have been broadcast, including ones on Dizzee Rascal's Bonkers and 21st Century Britain, Cornershop's Brimful of Asha and the British-Asian experience , and Serge Gainsbourg's Je T'aime and sex. There are 25 more to come. There is also a blog and profiles of the songs already discussed. [Previously on MeFi]
posted by Kattullus on Jun 25, 2013 - 14 comments

Hellfire, Damnation and Benjamin Franklin

Dead men tell some tales - a visit to the Hellfire Caves, home of one of the most infamous Hellfire Clubs.
posted by Artw on Jun 17, 2013 - 9 comments

"You might very well think that; I couldn't possibly comment."

The recent Netflix House of Cards series starring Kevin Spacey was a remake of a very popular British political thriller of the same name that aired during the 90's. The show begins by tracking the dark political machinations and skullduggery of an urbane Chief Whip of the Conservative Party, who is conspiring to become Prime Minister after Margaret Thatcher's resignation. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 11, 2013 - 91 comments

jittery UK government reveals itself before potential claims of former v

Mau Mau to Midnapore: Confronting the brutality of empire There are certainly some Britons, including academics, journalists and human rights lawyers, who are aware of the realities of colonialism. However, in the society as a whole and in the media in the UK there are still far too many who seem strangely reluctant, even after so many decades after the end of the British empire, to come to terms with the true nature of colonialism or learn from the perspective of former subjects who had rebelled against it.
posted by infini on May 6, 2013 - 17 comments

FOOD FLASH - There's spud in your eye!

The Ministry Of Food was a British government ministerial posts separated from that of the Minister of Agriculture. A major task of the latter office was to oversee rationing in the United Kingdom arising out of World War II. They made many newsreels and PSAs to inform the citizenry how to use the food rationing system: Rationing is introduced in 1939 The new ration books are coming! Cod Liver Oil Here's spud in your eye Don't cut that bread! DON'T WASTE FOOD! Dig For Victory! Milk is here! In addition, some short films instructed people in how to best use the new rationing system : Two Cooks And A Cabbage How To Make Tea Rabbit Pie Buying black market meat: a Partner in CRIME A US view explaining UK rationing to the States.
posted by The Whelk on Apr 30, 2013 - 15 comments

Meet The Edwardians

"This video has been dramatically enhanced in quality, using modern video editing tools. The film has been motion stabilized and the speed has been slowed down to correct speed (from 18 fps to 24 fps) using special frame interpolation software that re-creates missing frames." Watch corrected and cleaned footage of circa 1900s London and Cork (5 min 35 sec). (via)
posted by The Whelk on Apr 18, 2013 - 112 comments

Operation Overlord

PhotosNormandie is a collaborative collection of more than 3,000 royalty-free photos from World War II's Battle of Normandy and its aftermath. (Photos date from June 6 to late August 1944). The main link goes to the photostream. You can also peruse sets, which include 2700+ images from the US and Canadian National Archives.
posted by zarq on Mar 19, 2013 - 12 comments

Observing the 80s

Joe Moran reflects on the 1980s: "We like to give decades a uniform character as they retreat into history, safely burying the past by turning it into retro kitsch. The Observing the 1980s project is valuable because it does not treat the decade like this, as a story we already know the ending to. Instead it becomes an era of still-to-be-decided tensions and possibilities - one in which people sincerely people that David Steel might be prime minister (“my pin-up!” says one Mass Observer), that Margaret Thatcher might lose an election, or that the neo-liberal economic revolution might still be reversed. How I miss that sense of earnestness – and I mean that without a trace of irony." [more inside]
posted by Gilgongo on Feb 27, 2013 - 7 comments

Fortress UK

The Last Stand - the remains of the Britain's coastal defences photographed by Marc Wilson.
posted by Artw on Feb 5, 2013 - 24 comments

Henry the VIII's Wine Cellar

Who knew that Henry the VIII's wine cellar was preserved inside the Ministry of Defense building? [more inside]
posted by zzazazz on Feb 2, 2013 - 15 comments

Food History Jottings

Ivan Day has a food history blog. So does India Mandelkern. [more inside]
posted by zamboni on Dec 12, 2012 - 5 comments

Tea should be hot.

A Guide to Writing Sherlockian-Tea Habits. In which EnigmaticPenguin (of death) schools fanfiction authors in correct English tea theory and practice. Follow up: Biscuits.
posted by The Whelk on Jul 29, 2012 - 158 comments

If only he would listen to their advice on how things should be run! It was such good advice.

A history of the English monarchy and how listening to "bad" advisors has gotten it in trouble.
posted by Cash4Lead on Jun 27, 2012 - 20 comments

South London Gay Community Centre

The Brixton Fairies and the South London Gay Community Centre, Brixton 1974-6 "This fascinating story about Brixton’s legendary gay community of the 1970s was posted up on the urban75 bulletin boards, and thanks to the author Ian Townson, I’m now able to repost an illustrated version, giving a wonderful insight into a long lost part of Brixton life."
posted by Abiezer on Mar 12, 2012 - 6 comments

Railway termini are our gates to the glorious and the unknown. Through them we pass out into adventure and sunshine, to them, alas! we return.

Network Rail virtual archive Original drawings and plans of Britain's railway infrastructure from Network Rail, including the Forth Bridge, Bristol Temple Meads station, the Tay Bridge and lots more.
posted by Helga-woo on Mar 4, 2012 - 6 comments

The Victorian Kitchen Garden & a metric butt-ton of historical reconstruction series

The Victorian Kitchen Garden is a 13-part TV series that aired in 1987 on BBC2. It follows the month-by-month restoration of the Victorian walled kitchen garden at the Chilton Foliat estate in Wiltshire, England. Almost all the episodes are available to watch online. (via hark, a vagrant) It had three sequels - The Victorian Kitchen, The Victorian Flower Garden, and The Wartime Kitchen and Garden - and inspired more recent historical reconstruction programs: Tales From the Green Valley, A Tudor Feast at Christmas, Victorian Farm, Victorian Farm Christmas, Victorian Pharmacy, and Edwardian Farm. (Victorian Farm and Edwardian Farm previously.) [more inside]
posted by flex on Feb 26, 2012 - 29 comments

Burning bodices

The first sexual revolution: lust and liberty in the 18th century
posted by Artw on Jan 21, 2012 - 17 comments

The lady's not for turning?

‘History is what happened in the past’: reflections on The Iron Lady.
posted by Artw on Jan 4, 2012 - 92 comments

If 'male' and 'female' were no longer true, then what was?

Thinking critically about transgender issues, a podcast by Juliet Jacques, author of the Guardian's Transgender Journey series. [more inside]
posted by ArmyOfKittens on Oct 29, 2011 - 13 comments


A Few Popular Misconceptions And Victorians And Sex
posted by The Whelk on Oct 18, 2011 - 28 comments

Reel History of Britain

The Reel History of Britain, a BFI/BBC co-production, brings archive film into the nation’s living rooms. The footage shown in the series has been selected from the hundreds of thousands of films and programmes preserved in Britain’s film and television archives. We are complementing the series by making many of the films featured in The Reel History of Britain available online in their entirety, alongside expert commentary from the nation’s archive curators.
posted by Trurl on Oct 17, 2011 - 4 comments

BFI Film Archive

The British Film Institute has a youtube channel with rare footage going back over 100 years, covering many aspects of British life. Highlights include: 'Solarflares Burn For You' (1973) (featuring a soundtrack by Robert Wyatt); Rush Hour, Waterloo Station (1970); London Bridge (1926); Productivity Primer (1964); Today in Britain (1964); Snow (1963); Holiday (1957).
posted by ClanvidHorse on Jul 14, 2011 - 7 comments

Your Paintings.

Your Paintings a joint initiative between the BBC, the Public Catalogue Foundation and participating collections and museums from across the UK, is a website which aims to show the entire UK national collection of oil paintings, the stories behind the paintings, and where to see them for real. It is made up of paintings from thousands of museums and other public institutions around the country. Currently the archive contains 63,000 of the approximately 200,000 publically-owned artworks that make up the national collection. [more inside]
posted by dng on Jul 10, 2011 - 12 comments

Westminster Abbey

How is abbey formed?
How is abbey formed?
How girl get regnant?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Apr 27, 2011 - 255 comments

Grown men cried

The 1906 fire that sent rivers of burning whisky flowing down the streets of Dundee
posted by Artw on Feb 12, 2011 - 31 comments

"...with God's help, we shall prevail."

A new movie, The King’s Speech, (official site / trailer / clips) depicts King George VI of England's struggle to overcome his problem with stuttering and find his voice, in time to deliver the historic radio speech that prepared London for WWII. The film is being hailed as a potential Oscar-contender, for its unique, sensitive portrayal of stuttering -- a sharp contrast to the way movies traditionally present those who suffer from the disorder.. Slate offers a slideshow of ten video clips: A History of Stuttering in the Movies [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 9, 2010 - 38 comments

A G.I.'s WWII Memoir

Robert F. Gallagher served in the United States Army's 815th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion (Third Army) in the European Theater during WWII. He has posted his memoir online: "Scratch One Messerschmitt," told from numerous photos he took during the war and the detailed notes he made shortly afterwards. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 23, 2010 - 7 comments


FREAK OUT AND BREAK THINGS A poster-maker toy for you.
posted by The Whelk on Nov 9, 2010 - 76 comments

"Toffs" and "Toughs"

In 1937, the London News Chronicle published a photograph of five boys at the gates of Lord's cricket ground; two stood aloof in top hats and tails, with their backs to a group of three working-class lads. The resulting photograph became famous as a metaphor for the class divide in Britain, appearing in newspaper stories about school reform, inequality and bourgeois guilt and on the covers of books. The photograph appeared in the Getty Images archive as "Toffs and Toughs", and even was printed on a jigsaw puzzle in 2004. The identities of the three working-class boys were unknown until a journalist tracked them down in 1998; here is an article on the history of the photograph and the lives of the five boys in it.
posted by acb on Mar 23, 2010 - 36 comments

Secrets of The Great British Sex Clubs by Tony Perrottet

(NSFW) So Much For the Stiff Upper Lip. Slate writer gets jiggy wit the history of Georgian Britain's aristocratic sex clubs.
posted by jason's_planet on Dec 14, 2009 - 38 comments

The Economist: The World in 2010

In 2010, Obama will have a miserable year, NATO may lose in Afghanistan, the UK gets a regime change, China needs to chill, India's factories will overtake its farms, Europe risks becoming an irrelevant museum, the stimulus will need an exit strategy, the G20 will see a challenge from the "G2", African football will unite Korea, conflict over natural resources will grow, Sarkozy will be unloved and unrivalled, the kids will come together to solve the world's problems (because their elders are unable), technology will grow ever more ubiquitous, we'll all charge our phones via USB, MBAs will be uncool, the Space Shuttle will be put to rest, and Somalia will be the worst country in the world. And so the Tens begin.

The Economist: The World in 2010. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Nov 14, 2009 - 60 comments

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