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 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 ...
27 votes
2 answers
7k views

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 ...
13 votes
2 answers
13k views

What does a leaning cross on a gravestone mean?

I found this photo I took in 2010 of a gravestone located in Fenstanton Parish Church graveyard. It is dated 1886. I've done a little research (1,2,3) but none of them were especially helpful. Why ...
3 votes
1 answer
105 views

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 ...
10 votes
1 answer
1k views

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 ...
4 votes
0 answers
107 views

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 ...
7 votes
1 answer
239 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. ...
9 votes
3 answers
637 views

What uniform is in this picture?

Believe he was in the Somerset Light Infantry based at Jellallabad camp Taunton sometime between 1890 and 1914. Any help from anyone appreciated. We cannot find his birth or death as he used ...
4 votes
1 answer
234 views

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 ...
8 votes
1 answer
337 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 ...
12 votes
4 answers
13k views

Is it correct to refer the Victorian Era outside of the UK?

Here in the UK, we refer to the "Victorians", or the era in which the "Victorians" reigned. I recently read an article on the BBC about a story set in the United States during the Victorian Era. ...
4 votes
1 answer
183 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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
112 views

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 ...
9 votes
1 answer
2k views

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.
4 votes
1 answer
220 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 ...
4 votes
2 answers
593 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 ...
205 votes
34 answers
186k views

Why did Hitler attack the Soviet Union when he was still busy fighting the United Kingdom?

During World War 2, Hitler was fighting a war with Great Britain and her colonies, but while fighting that war, he attacked the Soviet Union even though they had a non-aggression pact. Everyone knows ...
5 votes
4 answers
623 views

In the 19th century, what brought on a general election in the United Kingdom?

A quick scan of a list of British governments in the 19th century quickly reveals that, while terms of office were limited to seven years, most parliaments did not last so long. Instead the ...
5 votes
1 answer
196 views

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 - ...
17 votes
2 answers
2k views

In Britain, what was the "Junior Service" in 1913?

I read a marriage notice from 1913, which noted that the father of the groom "has four sons abroad, three having served with distinction in the junior Service". (West Sussex Gazette, Thu 13 Feb 1913, ...
29 votes
5 answers
6k views

Did Churchill and Roosevelt know about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, or the following secret pacts between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union?

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was the non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany prior to, and during WWII. It seems that the actions of the two countries after the invasion of Poland ...
5 votes
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 ...
118 votes
10 answers
25k views

Were there women who were against giving women the right to vote?

The TV show Sherlock prompted an interesting question about the historical role of women during the United Kingdom's road to women's suffrage. In the episode "The Abominable Bride" (set in ...
9 votes
7 answers
3k views

Was the Battle of Trafalgar strategically pointless?

On a tactical level, the Battle of Trafalgar is one of the most analysed naval battles in history and there are many books and papers covering the battle itself. Most of the strategic analysis covers ...
-2 votes
2 answers
170 views

Where was the operation Market Garden UK planning headquarters?

Can someone remind me of the name of the house and country estate in southern England where much of Operation Market Garden was planned. I have even been on a course there in the 1980s, but can't ...
1 vote
0 answers
67 views

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 ...
6 votes
1 answer
452 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 ...
-1 votes
1 answer
190 views

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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
144 views

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
2k views

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-...
7 votes
3 answers
2k views

Were there nurses stationed at Bude, Cornwall, UK during WW2?

I am working on a writing project and the main character is a young nurse in Bude during WW2. I'm not quite sure how to put her there or get her there -- would there have been nurses stationed at RAF ...
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 ...
31 votes
2 answers
5k views

Was a passport needed to travel between UK and France in 1972?

In Hitchcock's 1972 film Frenzy (at about the time 00:54:55) a character says: We can get a day trip to France. You don't need a passport. (He is a commoner, no diplomatic status etc, in fact a ...
1 vote
1 answer
170 views

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
0 answers
194 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
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 ...
13 votes
4 answers
4k views

What were Britain's defensive plans for a Nazi invasion?

Despite the fact that it never ended up happening, a Nazi invasion of England was kind of a common sense inevitability for a while during the beginning of World War 2. Had the Battle of Britain gone ...
2 votes
0 answers
78 views

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, ...
34 votes
1 answer
6k views

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 ...
7 votes
2 answers
816 views

What are the top 5 bloodiest battles in terms of British casualties?

I have done a bit of research and it seems the Somme, Towton and maybe Bannockburn are up there? Any more to throw into the mix? Great site by the way!
2 votes
3 answers
249 views

What is the origin of the first dynasty in Scotland?

Who gave anyone the authority to appoint themselves and hence start a royal line? I assume today's royalty come from this royal line The standard answer is Kenneth Macalpine as far as I can see with ...
7 votes
1 answer
497 views

Why are stamps put in the top-right corner of post?

I've recently been sending a few letters and one of them has not been delivered yet, and I don't think I stuck the stamp in the top-right corner of the letter. So does it matter if a stamp is not ...
3 votes
1 answer
391 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 ...
23 votes
4 answers
7k views

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 ...
7 votes
3 answers
499 views

Why and how did George V give titles to his generals over lands that he did not possess?

Edward Allenby was given the title Viscount Allenby, of Megiddo and of Felixstowe in the County of Suffolk. Megiddo lies in Israel, it was outside British possessions, although it was controlled by ...
27 votes
2 answers
7k views

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 ...
-1 votes
2 answers
159 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?
8 votes
1 answer
3k views

How historically accurate was the Queen's trip to Ghana portrayed in Episode 8 of The Crown?

OK let me be more specific. In episode 8 of The Crown (Netflix), it is implied that Queen Elizabeth II went to Ghana (because she heard a sly comment from JFK's wife) to prevent the country from going ...
7 votes
0 answers
187 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 ...
30 votes
6 answers
142k views

Is there a reason for a Queen's husband not to be referred to as King?

While watching the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II events going on recently, I noticed that the Queen's husband is referred to as 'Prince'-- not 'King'. Upon researching further, I found that ...

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