Nineteen Years | In Times Gone By…

A picture of one of 1999 Russian apartment bombings.

A picture of one of 1999 Russian apartment bombings.

Today is the nineteenth anniversary of the start of the Russian apartment bombings, when Vladimir Putin orchestrated a series of attacks that killed hundreds of citizens across Russia in order to boost his popularity and win…

via Nineteen Years | In Times Gone By…

The ‘Black Mozart’ Was So Much More – Atlas Obscura

The inscription roughly translated reads: ‘Knight of St. George, a pupil of La Bössiere’s father, both in London and in Paris, the reputation of the greatest practitioner of fencing was equally appreciated as a musician.’ PORTRAIT BY MATHER BROWN (C. 1753)/PUBLIC DOMAIN

The 40 years between the American Revolution and the defeat of Napoleon gifted the world some wonderful music. From Haydn’s string quartets, through Mozart’s symphonies, to Beethoven’s dazzling works for piano—a music lover could paddle around the period forever. But one great figure of the age is often ignored: Joseph Bologne, also known by his noble title the Chevalier de Saint-Georges. This is a pity. A person of…

Source: The ‘Black Mozart’ Was So Much More – Atlas Obscura

Nye: The Political Life of Aneurin Bevan review – lucid account of a flawed hero | Books | The Guardian

In the pantheon of Labour heroes, indeed among 20th-century politicians as a whole, Aneurin Bevan enjoys one of the foremost places. His towering achievement was the creation of the National Health Service, which he drove through in the teeth of bitter opposition from both the medical profession and the Tories. To this day his legacy – a health service available to all, free at the point of use – is the one part of the postwar consensus that has survived more or less intact the ravages of Thatcherism and the global market.

But all great men have their flaws and, as this lucid, well-researched biography concedes, Bevan’s were…

Source: Nye: The Political Life of Aneurin Bevan review – lucid account of a flawed hero | Books | The Guardian

The Victorian Demagogue: 19th Century Words on a Modern Day Danger – Mimi Matthews

John Bright, Vanity Fair, 1869.

John Bright, Vanity Fair, 1869.

“No organist can manipulate the stops and keys of his instrument with more dexterity than the demagogue exhibits in playing upon the different weaknesses, errors, and absurdities of the untutored m…

Source: The Victorian Demagogue: 19th Century Words on a Modern Day Danger – Mimi Matthews

Death of the Cider Industry

Our ancestors had a lot of processions and when a community wanted to make a statement they often did it with great drama. Lord Bute brought in a tax on cider in 1763 to help fund the ongoing Seven Years’ War. This was a potential disaster for the apple growing regions of the west country and the south east. This is from the Leeds Intelligencer, regarding Ledbury Gloucestershire:

“A procession was made through the principal parts of this town by the servants of he Cyder Merchants Coopers, Farmers, and some…

Source: Death of the Cider Industry

Seriously, though, was the American Revolution a Civil War? « The Junto

On February 18, 2014, Tom Cutterham asked, “Was the American Revolution a Civil War?” According to Cutterham, understanding the Revolution that way might be useful. If we did, he suggested, “we’d better understand the way the modern world—the nexus of state, citizen, and property—was born in and determined by violence.”[1]

Understanding the American Revolution as a civil war is an accepted concept. In 1975, John Shy argued that the Revolution was a civil war. Since then, a number of historians have made similar propositions. More recently, in 2012, Alan Taylor delivered a talk, in New Mexico, titled “The First American Civil War: The Revolution.” There are other instances, too, and they are not hard to find or engage with. I don’t think historians will jettison the civil war framework, either. Indeed, we will be understanding the Revolution as a civil war indefinitely.[2]

Was the American Revolution a “civil war,” though? I mean, seriously? Or, is framing the Revolution as a…

Source: Seriously, though, was the American Revolution a Civil War? « The Junto.

Regency History: Ackermann’s Repository

Source: Regency History: Ackermann’s Repository.

The Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashions, and Politics was a monthly periodical that was published from 1809 to 1829 by Rudolph Ackermann. It is often referred to as Ackermann’s Repository of Arts or simply Ackermann’s Repository.

As its full name suggests, Ackermann’s Repository was not just a fashion periodical but covered a wide range of subjects within its pages. The magazine included travel writing and poetry, comments on the arts and details of new publications, society reports, forthcoming lectures and musical reviews. It also included more serious material – a ‘retrospect of politics’, reports on law, medicine and agriculture, a meteorological journal and details of the London markets.

The Repository was quite an expensive magazine – in 1817 its cover price was 4s which is equivalent to about £11 in 2010 (1).

Cultivating a taste for the arts

In the first issue, published for January 1809, Ackermann included an ‘introduction to…

Source: Regency History: Ackermann’s Repository.

Goebbels, Reich and Art


Magda and Joseph Goebbels with children, Photo Credit: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1987-0724-503 / CC-BY-SA

On the 29th of October 1897,  Joseph Goebbels was born in Rheydt, Germany. He was one of the closest associates of Adolf Hitler and a zealously devoted propagandist of National Socialism in Nazi Germany. Between 1933 and 1945 he held the position of Reich Minister of Propaganda and contributed significantly to the initial success of the Nazi Party. 

Goebbels was a weak and frail child. Suffering from many illnesses he eventually ended up with one of his feet paralyzed. This experience had a big impact on young Joseph and contributed to developing a rather introverted nature. In his diaries he recalls his childhood as painful and solitary. His inner need to be heard and seen would later manifest itself in great speeches, which in their oratorical skill and theatricality were not far from those of…

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Alice in Cartoonland

London Historians' Blog

2015 is the Year of the Big Anniversary, it seems. They just keep coming. Here’s another one for you: this year is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll. It was published in London by Macmillan & Co on 26 November 1865 with 42 illustrations by John Tenniel. This is key, because immediately the words and the pictures formed a symbiotic relationship which informed everything to do with Alice from that day hence, influencing how other illustrators, film-makers, producers etc visualised and presented and re-presented Alice to this day.

Alice in Blunderland by John Tenniel, 1880 Alice in Blunderland by John Tenniel, 1880

No where is this better demonstrated than at a new exhibition which opened this week at the Cartoon Museum: Alice in Cartoonland. 

As it happens, Charles Dodgson (i.e. Carroll) fancied himself as something of an illustrator and despite being turned down by various journals (“not up to…

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