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Who Was Gertrude Bell?

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Via Flickr Everybody has heard of T.E. Lawrence or Lawrence of Arabia but what about his incredibly influential female companion Gertrude Bell? As an explorer, archaeologist, diplomat, writer and spy Gertrude Bell established what we now today as modern Iraq. So who was Gertrude Bell? What did she do and why was she so important? The Early Life of Gertrude Bell Young Gertrude was born in 1868 in County Durham in the North East of England. Her Father was an industrialist and her Mother sadly died when giving birth to Gertrude's younger brother. Gertrude received an insight into politics from a young age since her Grandfather was the MP Sir Isaac Lowthian Bell who worked alongside Benjamin Disraeli . When she was 17, Gertrude Bell attended Oxford University to study history, one of the few subjects on offer to women at the time.  In 1892, following her graduation, she travelled to Tehran, Persia (modern day Iran) where her Uncle, Sir France Lacelle was based as a British Minister. S

Spooky Stories of Rossendale, Lancashire

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As Halloween approaches, I thought it would be appropriate to dig some spooky stories out of the archives where I'm currently volunteering. All stories are said to have happened in my local valley of Rossendale, a little borough tucked away in Lancashire.  Rossendale Wizard  One year, local farmers had suffered loss of cattle and sheep had become unproductive.  Creamed soured in its churn, horses mysterious escaped their locked stables and cows seemed bewitched. The farmers tried hanging lucky horseshoes and hanging sickles across beams to counteract the bad luck yet nothing seemed to work.   Suspicion fell on a local astrologer and fortune teller who resided in Newchurch, Rossendale. It was decided that enough was enough and the farmers wanted to put an end to their ill-fortune so performed the ceremonials for ‘killing a witch’.   One November evening as the thick fog covered the valley and the winds whistled across the moors, the farmers met at one of their houses whose cows had

Black History Month & The Importance of Teaching Black British History

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It's October so that means it's Black History Month , an annual event to promote and celebrate Black history. The origins of Black History Month lay in the development of 'Negro History Week' in 1926 in the United States, created by Carter G Woodson and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History in 1926. By the 1970s this later evolved into what we now know as Black History Month and was celebrated in the US every February. By the 1980s, as a result of campaigning by activists who wanted to challenge racism and the teaching of a Eurocentric version of history in schools, Black History Month was exported to the UK, starting mainly in London.  Black History Month's founder Woodson said,  “If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated,” - Via Time When I first saw this quote it really hit a chord with me and echoed some of the th

My UK Museum & Historical Places Bucket List

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 After spending 18 months travelling in New Zealand, I am back on British soil and raring to explore my home country. One thing I have realised whilst I've been away is that I have barely explored my hometown of Lancashire never mind the rest of the UK and that includes museums and heritage places. I started compiling a list of such places that I want to visit once I'm back even though it's unlikely I will get to visit them any time soon due to Covid. What places are on your UK museum and historic places bucket list? North West Pendle Heritage Centre , Lancashire  Helmshore Textile Museum , Lancashire Imperial War Museum North , Manchester The Beatles Story, Liverpool International Slavery Museum, Liverpool British Music Experience , Liverpool The Pankhurst Centre, Manchester Quarry Bank, Cheshire Helmshore Textile Museum North East Eden Camp , Yorkshire National Science & Media Museum , Bradford South East Bletchley Park , Milton Keynes Portsmouth Historic Dockyard , P

Rock Against Racism

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The Clash and Steel Pulse outside National Front Leader's House in 1977 via Metro In the late 1970's racist attacks were prominent in the UK, particularly against West Indian and Asian immigrants. In response to racist comments by various musicians, a group of punk musicians banded together to start the Rock Against Racism campaign to unite black and white fans in their common love for music and in an attempt to discourage youth from embracing racist rhetoric.  Racism & Violence in the Late 1970s Throughout the 1960s and 1970s racism and anti-immigrant sentiment were at an all time high as reflected by Enoch Powell's 'Rivers of Blood' which condemned the rates of immigration. A poll suggested that 74% of the British population agreed with sentiments of Powell's speech which is often attributed for the rise in racially motivated violence.  In the late 1970s there was a wave of racial violence in Britain which coincided with an increase in police aggression.

Spotlight On: Sophia Duleep Singh, the Princess Suffragette

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Sophia selling copies of The Suffragette outside Hampton Court Palace Catalogue ref: ASSI52/212/17 Today, the spotlight is being cast on Sophia Duleep Singh whose heritage was from the ruling elite of India but this was taken from her family due to the rise of British Imperialism. Born and raised in England, Sophia became prominent in British aristocracy before finding her political voice and fighting against the oppression inflicted by the British Government in various realms.  From top and left to right: Catherine Hilda, Bamba Sutherland, and Sophia. via Wikipedia Early Life in Aristocracy Sophia was born in Belgravia (an affluent district in London) in 1876. Her Father was Maharaja Duleep Singh, the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire whilst her mother was the illegitimate daughter of a German merchant and Abyssinian slave. The Maharaja was deposed from his throne aged 11 when Britain annexed the Punjab state and he was removed from his kingdom by the British East India Company. He was

32 Resources to Help You Learn About British Imperialism

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In the past few weeks it has been brought to many people's attention that British Imperialism isn't something we are taught at school. Looking at my own experience, I didn't learn about the British Empire in any depth until university. This seems very strange to me since the topics that schools do teach are often deeply intertwined with the Empire but this aspect is often missed out. If, like me, you're on a journey of self-education and are looking to learn more about the history of the British Empire, here's 32 resources to get you started. This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a list of some ideas to help you get started.  In the past few weeks it has been brought to many people's attention that British Imperialism isn't something we are taught at school. Looking at my own experience, I didn't learn about the British Empire in any depth until university. This seems very strange to me since the topics that schools do teach are often deeply inter