Japan’s Castles

Dr Oleg Benesch, University of York oleg.benesch@york.ac.uk In spring 2014, the Social History Society Conference at Northumbria University provided a welcome opportunity to visit Newcastle for the first time in some years, and I extended my stay to explore the city, including the various museums, galleries, and the waterfront. I was most interested, however, in … Continued

Wages Fit For Heroes: The GFTU in the First World War

Edda Nicolson, Wolverhampton University @Edda_Nicolson   The General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU) was created at the 1899 Trades Union Congress in Manchester, with a view to collecting and administrating a strike fund that could be accessed by affiliates at times of industrial unrest. Within 5 years, they had a membership of over 500,000; by … Continued

The Holocaust, Refugee Children, and Canada’s National Narrative

In April 1947, the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) was authorized to bring 1000 young Holocaust survivors to Canada through the War Orphans Project. The Canadian federal government required all young newcomers to be placed in foster families. This led the CJC to set up a campaign to find potential foster parents. Bringing together scholarship on … Continued

Venice’s Secret Service: Organizing Intelligence in the Renaissance

Dr Ionanna Iordanou, Oxford Brookes University @IoannaIordanou   According to conventional wisdom, systematised intelligence and espionage are ‘modern’ phenomena, spanning  from the eve of the First World War to the present. Venice’s Secret Service overturns this academic orthodoxy, recounting the arresting story of one of the world’s earliest centrally organised state intelligence organisations. Headquartered in … Continued

Women and the formation of transatlantic Quakerism

Dr Naomi Pullin, University of Warwick naomi.pullin@warwick.ac.uk     In Female Friends and the Making of Transatlantic Quakerism, 1650-1750 I provide the first in-depth exploration of British and colonial Quaker women over the movement’s first century. The central question informing my research is how Quakerism’s transition from a radical sect to a settled church altered … Continued

Public Secrets: Race and colour in colonial and independent Jamaica

Prof Henrice Altink, Department of History, University of York henrice.altink@york.ac.uk @HenriceAltink   It was on my first visit to Jamaica as a PhD student in the 1990s that I noticed the importance of race and colour in Jamaican society. When I went to the bank to cash some travellers’ cheques, I noticed that the doorman … Continued

The Cinema as an Emotional Space

Dr James Jones, University of Sussex @JamesTJones   We all have experiences of visiting the cinema: memories of going as a child; a first independent visit with friends; visiting today to catch the latest superhero blockbuster or to make a pilgrimage to an independent screening. That cinema-going is still a popular past-time in an age … Continued

First World War Memorials Come in All Sizes

The house was a miracle of miniature technology, from the pair of Purdy shotguns that actually broke even if they didn’t fire, to the electric lift and working plumbing. It was also packed with beautiful and very tiny works of art and literature that represented a major shift from their creators’ wartime output. C.R.W. Nevinson’s “Paths of Glory” had been banned in 1918 because of its shockingly unpatriotic content of faceless British corpses lying in the trench mud, but his contribution to the dolls’ house was a pretty watercolour of a mountain town.

Cheap Street: markets and cabbages

Dr Victoria Kelley, University for the Creative Arts vkelley@uca.ac.uk   Cheap Street tells the story of London’s street markets: Petticoat Lane, Berwick Street, Lambeth Walk and many others. From the 1850s, anything that could be bought in a shop could also be bought in the street markets – they were the butcher, baker, greengrocer, provision … Continued