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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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Why is Emily Wilding Davison remembered as the first suffragette martyr?

By Elizabeth Crawford
“She paid ‘the price of freedom’. Glad to pay it – glad though it brought her to death (..) the first woman martyr who has gone to death for this cause.” In the context of the women’s suffrage campaign who do you think was the subject of this eulogy? Was it Emily Wilding Davison, the centenary of whose death is being honoured this June?

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Coronation Music

Sunday 2 June marks the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey in London. It also therefore follows that it is the anniversary of the works which were first performed at the coronation, including William Walton’s Orb and Sceptre March and Coronation Te Deum, and Ralph Vaughan Williams’s O taste and see and Old Hundredth Psalm Tune (All people that on earth do dwell).

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Hay hopes

By Caroline Shenton
Writing a book also means talking about it. A lot. Over the last nine months since publication, I have given around thirty talks about #parliamentburns, as the book is known on Twitter, to groups large and small, here and abroad, and in huge lecture theatres as well as at a pub, an art gallery, and in someone’s front room with a greedy labrador in attendance (actually one of my favourite venues).

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60th anniversary of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

On 2 June 1953 Queen Elizabeth II took her coronation oath at Westminster Abbey. Since her accession on 6 February 1952 aged 25, following the death of her father King George VI, the day had been planned in great detail. Our Who’s Who editors take a look at the people who helped to create that historical day.

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Who wants to be a Cabinet minister?

By Gill Bennett
Who would want to be a Cabinet minister? Clearly, all ambitious politicians entertain some hope of high, if not the highest office. But I am asking the question in a more rhetorical sense. For in the almost universal cynicism, if not downright hostility, to politicians generally and government ministers in particular that pervades the media and much of the general public, I think that too few people stop to consider what a difficult job it is.

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People of computing

According to Oxford Reference the Internet is “[a] global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols.” Today the Internet industry is booming, with billions of people logging on read the news, find a recipe, talk with friends, read a blog article (!), and much more.

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The missing children of early modern religion

By Alec Ryrie
I’ve been working on the ‘lived experience’ of early modern religion: what it was actually like to be a Protestant in 16th or 17th-century Britain. And I’ve become more and more convinced there’s a crucial element of the story almost completely missing from the standard accounts: children.

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Musings on the Eurovision Song Contest

By Alyn Shipton
When the first Eurovision Song Contest was broadcast in 1956, the BBC was so late in entering that it missed the competition deadline, so it was first shown in my native England in 1957. Nonetheless, it seems as if this curious example of pan-European co-operation, which started with seven countries and is now up to 40, has been around forever.

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The History of the World: Israel becomes a state

From the beginning of the Nazi persecution the numbers of Jews who wished to settle in Palestine rose. As the extermination policies began to unroll in the war years, they made nonsense of British attempts to restrict immigration, which was the side of British policy unacceptable to the Jews; the other side – the partitioning of Palestine – was rejected by the Arabs.

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John Snow and cholera: how myth helped secure his place in history

By Sandra Hempel
The high-profile marking of John Snow’s bicentenary on March 15th would have surprised the great man. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the WellcomeTrust, and The Lancet were among the august UK organisations to honour him, with events including an exhibition, three days of seminars, and a gala dinner. The physician was also celebrated in the United States where he has a large fan base.

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The Oi! movement and British punk

By Matthew Worley
According to the Daily Mail, Oi! records were ‘evil’. According to the Socialist Worker, Oi! was a conduit for Nazism. According to the NME, Oi! was a means to inject ‘violent-racist-sexist-fascist’ attitudes into popular music. The year is 1981, and on 3 July the Harmbrough Tavern is set ablaze in the London borough of Southall.

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Remembering Jack the Ripper

By John Randolph Fuller
From April 1888 to February 1891, history’s most infamous cold case emerged when a series of 11 murders ripped through London’s working-class Whitechapel district. All of the murdered were women, and most were prostitutes. Whitechapel was one of the poorest areas in London and by the 1880s some of England’s grimiest industries, such as tanneries and breweries, had become established there.

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Unearthing Viking jewellery

By Jane Kershaw
There’s a lot we still don’t know about the Vikings who raided and then settled in England. The main documentary source for the period, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, simply tells us that Viking armies raided Britain’s coastline from the late eighth century. Raiding was followed by settlement, and by the 870s, the Vikings had established a territory in the north and east of the country which later became known as the ‘Danelaw’.

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20 years since the Bishopsgate bombing

By John Horgan
On 24 April 1993, the city of London was brought to a standstill. A massive terrorist bomb exploded at the NatWest tower, killing one person and injuring at least 40 more. The truck bomb, planted by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was designed to strike at the financial heartland of London, and it succeeded. In addition to the human casualties, what has since become known as the Bishopsgate bomb caused $1 billion in financial damages.

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A vegetable wonder!

By Tatiana Holway
With headlines and taglines and raves such as these fanning out from Fleet Street in the autumn of 1837, it would be hard to overestimate the sensation surrounding the immense water lily found earlier that year in the remote South American colony of British Guiana and subsequently named Victoria regia in honor of the empire’s newly crowned queen.

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Discovering the hermit in the garden

By Gordon Campbell
For many years, answering polite enquiries about my current book project was relatively easy: I could explain that it was about Milton, or the Bible, or Renaissance art and architecture, or the decorative arts, or whatever might be the topic, and the conversation could happily proceed to more interesting subjects. For the past few years, however, I have had to say that I was writing a book about ornamental hermits in eighteenth-century gardens.

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