Category Archives: British history

Secret Heroism: Remembering the ‘listeners’ of Bletchley Park

As we recall the end of the war in Europe 75 years ago, in May, 1945, and remember the eventual end of full hostilities in the Far East a few months later in August, 1945, it is also worth reminding … Continue reading

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Under a ‘Rain of Bombs’: How the Dunkirk evacuation was reported in Kingston-on-Thames

Britain has just marked the 80th anniversary of what one war correspondent called at the time the ‘miracle’ of Dunkirk, the dramatic rescue of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) from the beaches of the small Belgian seaside town, which took … Continue reading

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Fifth Column Fears in Kingston, 1939-1940: A Brief Survey

Eighty years ago this month, some of the first signs of serious fear about a possible German invasion of the country began to grip the British public. Although such concern had been building for a few months beforehand, the news … Continue reading

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Early reactions to Mussolini in Britain: The case of Kingston

The dramatic rise of Benito Mussolini to the leadership of Italy, and his destruction of liberal democracy, engendered a variety of reactions at local level in Britain in the 1920s, some of them (in hindsight) surprisingly supportive of the new … Continue reading

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A Nazi in Guildford: The activities of Arnold Leese in Surrey in the 1930s

Not many people in Surrey know that the town of Guildford in the heart of the county was home to one of Britain’s most notorious anti-Semites of the interwar period. During the 1930s, the fascist ideologue and racist activist Arnold Spencer … Continue reading

Posted in British history, Conspiracy theory, Fascism, Local History, London history, Public History, Research, Surrey, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Subverting the Subversives: Did MI5 infiltrate the British entertainment industry?

In 2018 some revealing new claims were put forward that the British domestic Security Service, MI5, was not just involved with monitoring and collecting intelligence on political movements and individuals deemed as potential threats to the state in the post-war … Continue reading

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Fighting Franco: Commemorating the British volunteers in the Spanish Civil War

Eighty two years ago, on 28th October, 1938, the volunteers of the ‘British Battalion’ joined the other volunteer Battalions of the International Brigades (IB) in Spain and held a poignant farewell parade, which included the transfer of their flags and … Continue reading

Posted in Archives, British history, European History, Fascism, Kingston, Local History, London history, Media history, Public History, Research, Richmond history, Surrey, The National Archives, Uncategorized, World History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A ‘bond of mutual help’: The Comrades of the Great War organisation in Kingston and Surbiton

Christmas arrived early for some former soldiers in the suburbs of south-west London in late 1918. Just over one hundred years ago, on Christmas Day, 1918, the Surrey Comet newspaper carried a report about the opening of a new clubhouse … Continue reading

Posted in Archives, British Empire, British history, Disability History, European History, Kingston, Local History, London history, Media history, Public History, Research, Surbiton, Surrey, Teaching, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment