Why Society Needs Historians

‘Society doesn’t need a 21-year-old who is a sixth century historian. It needs a 21-year-old who really understands how to analyse things, understands the tenets of leadership and contributing to society, who is a thinker and someone who has the potential to help society drive forward.’ Thus spake Patrick Johnston, Vice Chancellor of Queen’s University…

Rubbish Rebellions!

Like many of my fellow social historians, I love a good rebellion. Who wouldn’t? Most of history is about the rich and the powerful screwing the rest of us. Rebellions are the moments when ordinary people get to fight back. And let’s be honest about this: all of us, if we found ourselves in a…

Sex, Whipping and Pottage in Stepney

One day, probably in 1618, William Wilton returned to his house in Artillery Lane, Spitalfields to find a piece of paper under his door. It was folded, ‘in manner and fashion of a letter’, and addressed ‘To his friend William Wilton give thee’. Unfolding it, William found it contained a verse. William Wilton in the…

Pisspoor Parliaments

Tomorrow, we in the UK will vote in a new parliament, taking part in a process that in England dates back – in one form or another – seven and a half centuries. Sometimes, this has gone well. Sometimes we’ve even produced parliaments full of fantastic MPs that are dedicated, honourable, and not Nigel Farage….