Commemorating the archetypal History Man

The sub-title of a 1995 TV documentary said it all: he was an unusual kind of star. In his heyday he was capable of emptying pubs on a Friday night, simply by going on television and speaking his mind and explaining things clearly in plain, uncomplicated English. And how did this man make waves? By studying, writing and debating history. Alan John Percivale Taylor was born exactly 110 years ago. Amid the various anniversaries being marked throughout this year, that …

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When the English thought the Welsh were Irish

There are times in life when the randomness of the calendar can prove really eerie. Such was the case with today, when, on the one day I’m not performing in a musical at my local theatre, I decided to mark the day off by checking out the National Civil War Centre in Newark. The Nottinghamshire museum, the first in Britain to be devoted entirely to the conflict of the 1640s, has been open for six weeks now. The exhibits inside …

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The Role of History & Historians in Dealing with the Past after the Stormont House Agreement #ImagineBelfast15

Today’s lunchtime debate in the UU’s Belfast campus was the best attended of the week – so far – and also the most fractious. Grainne Kelly chaired a panel of Adrian Grant (historian), Cillian McGrattan (politics) and Susan McKay (journalist and writer) who discussed the Role of History and Historians in Dealing with the Past after the Stormont House Agreement. Adrian Grant started by looking at definitions of history (objective truth? or an artform based on narratives of the past?) …

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