History Matters

Thoughts, opinions and commentary on all things historical.

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The Abode of Madness

The long history of no man’s land, from lawlessness and desolation to hope and regrowth.

A Feather in her Cap

A global trade in feathers, with London at its heart, saw hundreds of millions of birds killed every year. Emily Williamson waged a long and furious campaign against it.

A Tyrant goes on Trial

Charges were brought against Peter von Hagenbach at the ‘first international war crimes trial’, held on 9 May 1474.

Polling in a Pandemic

The general election of 1918 was a ‘cynical muddle’ held as influenza killed thousands across a country emerging from the First World War.

The Man who Haunts America

John Brown, the abolitionist firebrand, remains a potent figure in the United States’ febrile politics of race.

Book of Remembrance

A signature in a collection of autographs reveals a story of Indigenous service that extends from Australia to Canada and Trinidad.

Sheppard’s Warning

A thief who had been dead for more than a century caused a moral panic in the theatres of Victorian London.