Questions tagged [united-kingdom]

Formally known as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland these questions relate to the history of events that have happened in the countries that make up the United Kingdom; such as England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and various territories; or the United Kingdom's dealings with other sovereign nations around the world.

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4 votes
0 answers
112 views

What is the royal cypher printed on the UK budget box?

The dispatch box used by the Chancellor of the Exchequer bears a royal cypher for Elizabeth II on it: This differs from the usual cypher used in that the numerals " II " appear below the ...
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3 answers
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How long has British women royals' solemn ceremonial dress included a sword?

In this photograph: from the recent funeral service of Queen Elizabeth II in London, England, in the row of attendees nearest to the queen's coffin, three attendees are wearing blue sashes. According ...
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What role did Elizabeth II play in actions of the British Empire during her reign? [closed]

Much of the critical commentary on Elizabeth II's legacy following her death has concerned actions of the British state in its colonies during her reign. An historically significant number of these ...
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At the time of her death, were there any surviving witnesses to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II?

Title says it all. My guess is that some of the page boys maybe? or perhaps some members of the choir? Even someone in their early teens at the time would have had to make it through to their mid-...
3 votes
1 answer
247 views

When in 1885 did Stafford Northcote cease to be Commons leader of the Conservatives?

Northcote was leader in the Commons until 1885. Wikipedia says: On Benjamin Disraeli's elevation to the House of Lords as Earl of Beaconsfield in 1876, Northcote became Leader of the Conservatives in ...
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Can anyone identify this UK Victorian uniform?

I wondered if anyone could identify this uniform. I know little about it other than it is a friend's ancestor. It looks late 19th century to me.
3 votes
2 answers
403 views

How did British people cope with damp/mould without central heating in the past?

Having read a bit about damp and mould issues in poorly heated homes, I was wondering whether this was an issue for Britain in the past, where few houses have central heating systems. Presumably the ...
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1 answer
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What was the Kanturk Massacre/Thernagree Affray?

I found brief mention of 5 people killed in Kanturk, Ireland in this 22 March 1833 edition of the Brookville Inquirer and wanted to know more, and now that I do, I thought I'd share an interesting ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Was Jerome K Jerome Vice President of the Oxford University Labour party?

In his autobiography, My Life and Times (page 102), Jerome said I was a die-hard Tory at twenty-five... Now I am a Vice-President, I believe, of the Oxford University Labour Party. He says 'I ...
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10 votes
1 answer
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What was the "high Commissioner of the Police in Scotland" in 1777?

I was reading old newspapers, and I came across this mention of what I believe to be "high Commissioner of the Police in Scotland". I am sure of all of the words but "high", it ...
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What was Northern Ireland electoral law pre-1972?

I have seen claims that the voting system used in Northern Ireland pre-1972 was discriminatory. In particular, I've seen the claim that voting was allocated per household and not per person; I have ...
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What was the process to join the army in WW2 England?

I'm currently (at the beginning of) researching the process people would go through for joining the British army (including the RAF and navy) during WW2 in England for a story I'm writing. ...
4 votes
1 answer
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Where and why did the colourful houses of Bristol start?

Bristol has a reputation for rows of colourful terraced houses, like those on Clifton Terrace: Nobody seems to know where and why is started: Nobody’s entirely sure when or why houses in the ...
1 vote
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Public acceptance of posthumous beheading of Oliver Cromwell? [closed]

It is quite well documented that Oliver Cromwell's body was exhumed from Westminster Abbey in 1661. The Act of Indemnity, Pardon, and Oblivion was passed on August 29, 1660 and Cromwell's body was ...
4 votes
1 answer
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Why did Lord Mountbatten shrink the timeline for the withdrawal of British troops from India?

Britain's exit from India and a peaceful transition of power was supposed to take place gradually over a period of 5 years but it was shrunk to 4 months by Lord Mountbatten. It was his negotiations ...
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1 answer
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What's the date of this army uniform?

I have two photos of man and women. Guessing sweethearts. I’m thinking 1800s, there is writing on the back but I can’t read it.
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1 answer
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Why did the Balfour Declaration of 1926 and Statute of Westminster (1931) only deal with Dominions?

I have been reading about the abdication of Edward VIII. I understand that due to recent changes brought about by the Statute of Westminster, changes to crown succession - including abdication - ...
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1 answer
207 views

What uniform is General Redvers Henry Buller VC GCB GCMG wearing in this colored photo?

Colored studio photograph circa 1900 of General Redvers Henry Buller VC GCB GCMG in uniform with decorations. Is it that of a General in the Kings Royal Rifle Corps? Confirmation or other ...
8 votes
1 answer
338 views

What did 'bookseller' cover as an occupation on British census documents during Victorian times?

I have been researching some of my husband's ancestors who lived in the poorest parts of Liverpool during the second part of the 19th century. Two of his female relatives who had been widowed turned ...
4 votes
2 answers
618 views

Which superior officer did Princess Elizabeth II report to during her service as a junior officer in WW2?

Prior to her reign, Queen Elizabeth II served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service of the British Army during World War 2. She held the rank of a junior officer (with a promotion to a Junior Commander ...
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Do the Chadwyck-Healey baronets have a coat of arms?

The Chadwyck-Healey baronets are one of the more obscure British dynasties. The title is extant - at the time of writing, we're on the fifth baronet - but only the first baronet was notable enough to ...
27 votes
2 answers
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Who said "If I want the opinion of the middle classes, I'll ask Her Majesty"?

The notion that the British royal family are not necessarily at the apex of British society in terms of good breeding, sophistication or taste, is an old one. I'm sure that I once read a piece that ...
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1 answer
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Is the former adviser to the prime minister Dominic Cummings related by marriage to Andrew Wakefield? [closed]

Is Dominic Cummings, the British prime minister's former chief adviser, related by marriage to Andrew Wakefield, director of the 2016 film "Vaxxed"? Dominic Cummings, the former adviser to ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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Was there a tax advantage for ex-pats to stay out of the UK, even for brief visits?

The question Was there a British tax for British citizens staying abroad in the fifties reminded me of a plot point in the play-within-a-play in Noises Off. The play was written in the 1970's, and the ...
10 votes
1 answer
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What was the error in 1790, if any, of the lat. and long. of Greenwich Observatory of 1783?

A YouTube video by Brady Haran, Mapping the Meridians - Objectivity 97, ended in a cliff hanger (the answer not found by Brady, and Keith Moore of The Royal Society). It's with regard to the Anglo-...
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1 answer
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Does anyone know the names of schools in 1870/71 London (potentially near Brixton) where wealthy Americans traveling abroad would enroll their sons?

I am looking for schools in the London area operating in the years 1870/71 at a minimum where Americans traveling at length abroad might have placed their teenage sons to further their education. ...
6 votes
1 answer
455 views

Has this rock been engineered by humans and, if so, what was its use?

I found this rock in my garden (Cheshire, UK) and wondered whether it had been fashioned by humans for some use. If so what was it used for and what is its history? The two largest holes on either ...
6 votes
0 answers
197 views

What is this decorative metal object with overlapping squares?

Can anyone identify this object? Found in a rockpool, exposed at low tide, just East of the entrance to Plymouth Sound, South West UK. It feels like it's made of metal. There's a square in the centre ...
2 votes
0 answers
176 views

Why exactly eight days of mourning for Prince Philip’s death?

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh opted out for his state funeral. Thus, an 8-day mourning period was issued instead in the United Kingdom. I can’t figure out why that period was determined exactly in ...
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2 votes
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What's a major 19th Century history of the American Revolution from a British perspective?

I recently read McCaulay's History of England, which he initially projected to cover in detail events up to the reign of Queen Victoria. I was excited to see his take on the American revolution, ...
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34 votes
1 answer
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Why did life expectancy decline sharply in 16th century England?

I was checking historical life expectancy and found the chart shown below in Roser, Ortiz-Ospina, Ritchie, 2013. What was the reason for such a dramatic decline in life expectancy in England in the ...
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23 votes
7 answers
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How confusing was British currency compared to decimal currency circa 1850?

This question quotes Terry Pratchett's claim: The British resisted decimalized currency for a long time because they thought it was too complicated. Is this a fair comparison with its inference that ...
27 votes
2 answers
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How likely it is that a nobleman of the eighteenth century would give written instructions to his maids?

This question is about a detail in the biography of one of the greatest scientists who ever lived, Henry Cavendish. The Wikipedia article about him states that He communicated with his female ...
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2 answers
160 views

Why does the Edwardian era imply king Edward VII? [closed]

Victorian era is easy, because there were one and only Queen Victoria. But out of eight kings named Edward, why the short reign of Edward VII gave simple name of the era?
7 votes
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What prevented Southern Rhodesia from acquiring Dominion status?

Southern Rhodesia established responsible government in 1923. The next step, in general, was for a colony to be granted Dominion status (e.g., Newfoundland). What prevented Southern Rhodesia from ...
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5 votes
1 answer
353 views

How were newspapers delivered to flats in post-War Britain?

I am writing a story set in the winter in 1940's London. The first chapter features one main character receiving a newspaper. The building is not very grand; in fact, it's a rather dirty and slightly ...
3 votes
1 answer
253 views

Why are there laws that are used to limit how long a house can be in a family?

Wikipedia on the "Rule against Perpetuities" says that it was sometimes used to restrict how long one family could hold onto a, possibly aristocratic, estate. Lastly, the rule against ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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Did anybody expect that Edward VIII would abdicate?

King Edward VIII abdicated in December of 1936, less than a year after he ascended in January, to marry divorcee (and still-married) Wallis Simpson. But before his ascension (i.e. during the reign of ...
35 votes
1 answer
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When and why did the use of the lifespans of royalty to limit clauses in contracts come about?

I am in the process of attempting to buy a house in the UK; as it has stood for about a hundred years, the deeds feature some unusual clauses. For example, this conveyance from 1921: (Subject to any ...
17 votes
2 answers
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Can it be justified that an economic contraction of 11.3% is "the largest fall for more than 300 years"?

Today the UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak said "The OBR forecast the economy will contract this year by 11.3%, the largest fall in output for more than 300 years." This seems to me to be a very ...
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23 votes
2 answers
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Was the title "Prince of Wales" originally claimed for the English crown prince via a trick?

As the son of a proud Welsh woman, as a child I was told the origin story of the title "Prince of Wales" was that after Edward I beat Llywelyn ap Gruffudd at the Battle of Orewin Bridge, as ...
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1 answer
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What degree of relations did the different Hawaiian islands have between themselves before Kamehameha's unification?

I am trying to figure out if there were actual cultural, commercial and political links among the islands, and especially if there was an actual Hawaiian unified identity or this is constructed after ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Was it illegal to express sympathy for Nazi Germany during WW2 in Great Britain?

Was it illegal to express sympathy for Nazi Germany during WW2 in Great Britain? Say you are a citizen and you want your goverment to make peace with Hitler. You even want GB to become a puppet state ...
3 votes
3 answers
461 views

Were the Japanese "Kongo" class battlewagons advanced for their time?

Built in the early 1910s, Japan's Kongo class battlecruisers had eight 14-inch guns, a speed of about 30 knots, and a displacement of about 26,000 tons. This gave them advantages over British ...
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12 votes
2 answers
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When was the last promotion in the British Peerage?

I suspect that I ought to say "elevation", rather than promotion, but I think that the question is clear. According to Debrett's : The five titles of the peerage, in descending order of ...
5 votes
1 answer
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Did the French violate the Washington Naval ConferenceTreaty limitations?

I was surprised to read in connection with Mers el Kebir that in 1940, France had the second largest navy in Europe, with seven battleships. The reason was France's participation in the 1922 ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Why does the Canadian Air Force name its ranks like its Army, whilst the Australian and New Zealand Air Forces use the Royal Air Force's?

Like the US's, the Canadian Air Force's ranks are named identically to its Army's. But Australia's and New Zealand's rank names follow the RAF's. Why?
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6 votes
1 answer
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Was the "anti-suffragist Beresford Hope" related to Alexander Beresford Hope?

From a bit of UK suffragette history/fight: The election of Lady Sandhurst was instantly challenged by the anti-suffragist Beresford Hope, whom Lady Sandhurst had defeated. Beresford Hope v. ...
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1 vote
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How many times has inclement weather foiled attempts to navally invade the UK? [closed]

Inclusive of situations where inclement or unseasonable weather delayed the ability to set sail long enough that British ships/fleets were able to foil the plan by direct actions, how many times has ...
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3 votes
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Which Soviet submarine was HMS Splendid tracking on 30th March 1982?

In 'Vulcan 607', R. White describes the background of the submarines that headed to the Falkland Islands. For the HMS Splendid, he notes that the submarine, under CO Lane-Nott was engaged in a mission ...
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