Category Archives: Books

Britain 1780-1945: Reforming Society

NOW PUBLISHED Britain 1780-1945: Reforming Society develops the ideas and chronological scope that I put forward in my earlier studies of Britain’s social and economic development during the late-eighteenth, nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. The result is a new history of … Continue reading

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Fragments from an Unexceptional Life

We all, in one way or another, live unexceptional lives. We are born, we go to school and increasingly university, we start work, enter relationships that may or may not lead to children who we watch grow into adults and, … Continue reading

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From Peace to Victory: Amiens to Waterloo 1802-1815

The Peace of Amiens, negotiated by Hawkesbury (later Lord Liverpool) and Cornwallis and ratified by Parliament in May 1802, received a poor press from contemporaries and subsequently from historians. The surren­der of Austria deprived Britain of any leverage in Europe … Continue reading

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Why did Britain not win the war with France 1793 and 1802?

The outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789 was initially welcomed by most politicians. The Whigs saw it as the dawn of liberty. For Pitt, the revolution would be a useful distraction for Britain’s major rival. Edmund Burke found in … Continue reading

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Ireland in the decade before Union

Ireland posed three problems in the period between the 1780s and the famines in the mid-1840s. First, there was the question of how Ireland should be governed. There was also the highly emotive question of the rights of the Catholic … Continue reading

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Why did Corn Law repeal lead to the end of Peel’s government?

Relations between Peel and his backbenchers were strained from the early days of his ministry. Peel was insensitive to their interests of many Conservative MPs and made little attempt to court backbench opinion. He took the loyalty of Conservatives in … Continue reading

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Peel’s ministry 1841-45

Peel is credited with the Conservative victory in 1841: without his leadership, many contemporaries believed that the Tories could have been assigned to permanent opposition. Peel’s parliamentary performance during the 1830s was an important element in this revival. His grasp … Continue reading

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Peel in the 1830s

Peel is generally recognised as the founder of modern Conservatism. He saw the need for the Tory party to adapt itself after its disastrous showing in the 1832 General Election when 175 Tory MPs were elected out of the 658 … Continue reading

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Treating the disabled

Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the policy of segregating severely disabled people into institutions slowly increased and was subsequently extended to other disadvantaged groups.[1] The term ‘institution’ can refer to a variety of social organisations but refers here to … Continue reading

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Posted in Books, Health and Housing, Nineteenth century society

How ‘liberal’ were the Tory governments of 1822-1830?

In the early 1820s, Liverpool made important changes in his Cabinet. Canning became Foreign Secretary after Castlereagh’s suicide and Peel replaced Sidmouth at the Home Office in 1822. Robinson took the place of Vansittart at the Exchequer and Huskisson became … Continue reading

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How did Pitt face the French Revolution between 1789 and 1801?

In 1789, the fall of the Bastille[1] foreshadowed revolution in France. Reactions were mixed in Britain but many people were initially well disposed towards the revolution. Pitt saw political advantages for Britain because it weakened France’s colonial ambitions. Some thought … Continue reading

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Why did Pitt dominate politics between 1783 and 1793?

Pitt was a cautious reformer. In 1785, he unsuccessfully attempted to abolish thirty-six rotten boroughs and transfer their seats to London and the counties, failed to achieve economic union with Ireland and dropped the idea of economic union with America. … Continue reading

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New review

Richard Brown, Famine, Fenians and Freedom, 1830-1882, Authoring History, second edition, 2017, £20.37, paperback, ISBN 978-1540352231; Richard Brown, Three Rebellions: Canada, South Wales and Australia, Authoring History, second edition, 2016, £19.72, paperback, ISBN 978-1539455707 The opportunity to revise and update … Continue reading

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Famine, Fenians and Freedom, 1830-1882

First book for 2017   Famine, Fenians and Freedom, 1830-1882 is the second book in the Rebellion Quartet, a series looking at resistance and rebellion in the British Empire.  It examines the Irish dimension in Britain’s Empire, evident in Three … Continue reading

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Three Rebellions…a second edition

There have been important change in the Rebellion Trilogy, a series of books that were written between 2004 and 2010 and published in 2010, 2011 and 2013.  The series will become a Quartet with the addition of a fourth volume … Continue reading

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