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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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 did the "exclusive social distinction" and "superiority of the man on the horse" in the UK/Britain/England c. 1973 consist of?

Reginald Allen Brown (1973, Origins of English Feudalism) wrote: To our own day cavalry regiments have an exclusive social distinction, and the superiority of the man on the horse (for which there is ...
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7 votes
1 answer
225 views

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. ...
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4 votes
1 answer
146 views

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 ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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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 ...
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4 votes
1 answer
207 views

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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9 votes
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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5 votes
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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5 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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8 votes
1 answer
334 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 ...
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4 votes
2 answers
580 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 ...
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25 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 votes
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 ...
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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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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. ...
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6 votes
1 answer
447 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 ...
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6 votes
0 answers
191 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 ...
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2 votes
0 answers
174 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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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
4 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 ...
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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
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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?
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7 votes
0 answers
181 views

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
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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 ...
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3 votes
1 answer
252 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 ...
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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 ...
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17 votes
2 answers
3k views

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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2 votes
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
381 views

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 ...
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3 votes
3 answers
442 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
4k views

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 ...
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5 votes
1 answer
283 views

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
507 views

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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2 votes
0 answers
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Why are milk and beer the only food item that are still measured in imperial units? [closed]

Apologies if this is in the wrong stack site, I couldn't think of a more appropriate place for it. I live in the UK. We're known for having mostly switched to the metric system except for a few ...
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10 votes
2 answers
2k views

Was the name 'Valerie' used during the Regency Era (1811-1836)?

I am working on a novel that takes place in England during the Regency Era (1811-1836, the era right before the Victorian Era). I was wondering if you know if the name 'Valerie' or 'Valeria' existed ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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Where from, and in what way, did the first detailed account of the use of self-propelled torpedoes reach the RN and USN?

Three possible candidates seem to exist for the first verified (non-participant) observation of a torpedo boat assault. The options are the Russo-Turkish War, at Caldera Bay, or at Weihaiwei, all of ...
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6 votes
0 answers
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What "silly places" (according to Muggeridge) did Nikita Khrushchev go to during his visit in the United Kingdom?

According to this article, more than half of places visited by Nikita Khrushchev in the UK were "silly": When Nikita Khrushchev visited Britain, Muggeridge made up a list of the silliest ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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How was agricultural labour organised in Victorian England?

I'm asking, more specifically, three things: What might the leadership of a typical farm look like in terms of job titles and responsibilities? Within a given farm, how were workers divided into ...
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28 votes
5 answers
7k views

Why were slave owners even offered compensation via the 1837 Act if they'd lost the power in parliament to stop abolition in 1833?

The British government paid out £20 million to slave owners in 1837 as compensation for the loss of the slaves as business assets to the registered owners of the freed slaves. There seems to be plenty ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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What British WW1 uniform is depicted on this photo from Taunton?

I am trying to research my grandfather’s WW1 service record. All I have to go on is this photo, which has a Taunton photography studio on the back. I think it might be the Somerset Light Infantry, but ...
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11 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why did the British think a 99-year lease on Hong Kong's New Territories was "as good as forever"?

I still don't get why Claude MacDonald wrote down 99 years. Why not play it safe and add more 9's? Why not write down 999? I know hindsight's 20/20, but it feels stupid for the British not to pick a ...
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14 votes
4 answers
3k views

Why was the British army so short of rifles after Dunkirk?

After the battle of Dunkirk, the U.S. shipped something like 500,000 rifles to Britain. This compares to about 400,000 Allied troops at the port (counting captured French), 338,226 actually rescued, ...
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