History in the fifties?

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sejintenej
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History in the fifties?

Post by sejintenej »

After a long lesson in British history from someone educated abroad (who pointed out that Britain's first queen of negroid appearance -Phillipa of Hainault - was queen in the 14th Century) I suddenly realised that apart from an arrow in the eye in 1066 and Elizabeth I and her waterborne menfriends I seem to have had absolutely no history lessons whatsoever at CH.

Yes, some learned Latin stories of the Punic Wars but England? Britain? the Boyne?

It seems that illigetimacy was the order of the day over the centuries; was CH trying to avoid the issue or otherwise why was the geology of the Downs more important than our background?
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Re: History in the fifties?

Post by Oliver »

I too was at CH and studied history there in the 1950s, not as a speciality, for I ‘majored’ in science. My most impressive history teacher was the superb Mr Edward Malins, so I suspect I was unusually fortunate. With him teaching me in the GE I studied the French Revolution, the Chartist and other political movements in Britain during the nineteenth century and more. I retain much of what I learned then. sejintenej was presumably less lucky than me. However in my other years whatever history I was taught at CH has been forgotten, together with the teachers’ names.
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Re: History in the fifties?

Post by J.R. »

I only very vaguely remember history lessons at CH apart from the last couple of years when I became absorbed with WWII.

Partly because one of my Mums younger brothers died in France after 'D' Day.

I have continued reading and watching documentaries on the war.

It now amazes how much history has "changed" in 51 odd years .
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Re: History in the fifties?

Post by LongGone »

My memories are limited. I do remember being confused by the 100 years war: England destroys the French at Crecy: England massacres the French at Poitiers: England annihilates the French at Agincourt: England is out of France. Years later I read a French textbook that assured me that, apart from a few minor setbacks, the glorious French armies rightfully steamrolled over the perfidious English and rightfully regained the stolen territory.
It was sometime about there that I began to suspect we might not have been told the full story.
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Re: History in the fifties?

Post by postwarblue »

My first four years in the Upper (as a Dep history disappeared) went roughly as follows:

LF - Mrs Hurst - can't remember. Quite a canter to cover from Romans to Bosworth I should think. Acted out Richard III in puppet theatre.

LE - Gad Malins - Elizabethans, explorers, Drake etc

UF - C O Healey - Captain Cook, explorers etc

GE - Gad Malins - Victorians, majoring on the centenary of the Great Exhibition, walked the course in Hyde Park and then the exhibits in the V&A. History stopped in 1851.

Major omission, the American rebellion and us thrashing the French.
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Re: History in the fifties?

Post by jhopgood »

I remember Mrs Hurst, only for 2nd form, and am pretty sure we must have done history in 3rd form, although no idea with whom.
My Housemaster was Cherniasky, so history was taught, and a contemporary, Chris White, became a History Grecian.
I also remember a book, "1066 and all that", which seemed to cover most of my historical needs.
Having been around one or two historical events, (ETA attacks in Madrid, US invasion of Panama), I am well aware that most historians have their own point of view, which does not necessarily coincide with mine.
My favourite concerns the visit of my sister in law to Amsterdam. She was studying in Russia at the time.
She saw a tram set light in front of the Concertgebouw related to protests against ejection of squatters from a house, in front of which I used to park my car. So I was very clear about the reason for the riot.
The Russian press reported it as riots against Cruise missiles.
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Re: History in the fifties?

Post by Foureyes »

I, too, remember Mrs Hurst and one lesson in particular. I cannot remember what the lesson should have been, but she broke off from the syllabus to devote the whole session to the invasion of South Korea by the North, which had just taken place (25 June 1950). She had one of those huge roll-up maps of Asia and explained what had happened and what she thought was likely to happen as a result. I cannot speak for swots such as Hopgood, but I had never heard of Korea so it was all fascinating stuff.

My other history memory is of a holiday task to write an essay about the French invasion of the Low Countries in 1794 (or thereabouts) led by a general named Carnot. I still have the essay somewhere in the loft.

David :shock:
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Re: History in the fifties?

Post by sejintenej »

LongGone wrote: Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:42 pm My memories are limited. I do remember being confused by the 100 years war: England destroys the French at Crecy: England massacres the French at Poitiers: England annihilates the French at Agincourt: England is out of France. Years later I read a French textbook that assured me that, apart from a few minor setbacks, the glorious French armies rightfully steamrolled over the perfidious English and rightfully regained the stolen territory.
It was sometime about there that I began to suspect we might not have been told the full story.
John Hopgood writes "
Having been around one or two historical events, (ETA attacks in Madrid, US invasion of Panama), I am well aware that most historians have their own point of view, which does not necessarily coincide with mine".
Most definitely so. IMHO most disturbances are put on for show and how often do they achieve their aim?

---When Smith declared UDI in Rhodesia Africa rose up in violent protest condemning anything British to hell and beyond. I was in the Accra head office of a UK bank where it was negotiated through which windows bricks would be thrown - to ensure that there were good TV pictures and no injuries inside. At closing time we (whites) simply walked out the door, through the crowd and home. No sweat - it was for TV.
---I've been through a large demonstration in Milan where one of the demonstrators took me through the crowd, round the back and let me in to carry out the arranged meeting. Again, noise but no threat against the person
---Latins love their demonstrations and in Sao Paulo, coming back from lunch, I found a major march and demonstration against my employers; again no problem walking straight through the crowd and in the door, I was not even nervous but the whistles and other noise in my ears made that an unpleasant experience.
---Apartheit (?sp). The UK TV was full of violent demonstrations at SOWETO but I had to phone our office in Joburg and, talking to the telephonist I asked her if she had problems getting out of SOWETO to get to work; she did not even know that there were riots!!!

Those four examples were all on TV made to look full of hate and violence but the truth? somewhat different. Looking back I am glad I could see the reality.

LongGone refers to French accounts of England versus France battles; if he hasn't already he should go to Bayeux and see the story of the tapestry - (Not really) King Harold was actually a vassal of the French King who had got above himself and implicitly declared independence.

Agincourt (from memory). An English army defeated a much larger French army. True, but was it really the skill of the English archers as some claimed? Another story is that the armies were separated by a muddy stream; the French knights charged, their horses fell in the mud and the fallen French knights, weighed down by heavy armour, drowned. Foot soldiers were also slowed down and blocked by the mud, hence an English victory. Of course historians have to sell stories/ write books to get paid so ............
It was sometime about there that I began to suspect we might not have been told the full story
change full to true and he has it dead right; thank the journalists, newspaper erks and worse for deceiving you and listen to Amin Toufani (see below)
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Re: History in the fifties?

Post by Phil »

The following advice is good, for surely a visit to Bayeux will be a delight,
LongGone refers to French accounts of England versus France battles; if he hasn't already he should go to Bayeux and see the story of the tapestry
But LongGone need not go so far. The only full sized copy (the only copy of any size, I think) of the Bayeux Tapestry is in the Reading (Berks) Museum, a short walk from the railway station and there is no admission fee. It was made by the Royal School of Needlework at the end of the nineteenth century and bought for the town of Reading by an enterprising mayor of that period. However there is one (significant?) difference from the original. In the original an unfortunate male is shown falling overboard during the Channel crossing. He is naked. In the Victorian copy he is wearing underpants.
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Re: History in the fifties?

Post by sejintenej »

Phil wrote: Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:20 pm The following advice is good, for surely a visit to Bayeux will be a delight,
LongGone refers to French accounts of England versus France battles; if he hasn't already he should go to Bayeux and see the story of the tapestry
But LongGone need not go so far. The only full sized copy (the only copy of any size, I think) of the Bayeux Tapestry is in the Reading (Berks) Museum, a short walk from the railway station and there is no admission fee. It was made by the Royal School of Needlework at the end of the nineteenth century and bought for the town of Reading by an enterprising mayor of that period. However there is one (significant?) difference from the original. In the original an unfortunate male is shown falling overboard during the Channel crossing. He is naked. In the Victorian copy he is wearing underpants.
Accompanying the version in France there is a detailed history c l a i m i n g that France already owned England and that the expedition was simply to bring it back under Norman rule. Yet another example of where different historians put different slants onto events.
I have no idea what Reading indicates as the background history though I suspect that it is a bit different to what the French claim

And yes, Bayeux, the tapestry and cathedral are well worth visiting in any case.
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Re: History in the fifties?

Post by Katharine »

As a very new British Council wife, the first buffet dinner I hosted was for the cast of a touring production of A Man for All Seasons. This was in Ghana, 1970. I was teaching at Wesley Girls’ High School and some of the students went to see the play. I remember one getting very indignant with me saying had she known all that, she’d never have become an Anglican. I asked her to consider histories of Ghana since independence written by Nkrumah supporters or Busia supporters, would they be the same? She saw my point very quickly. I remember wondering at the time whether a British teenager would have cottoned on so quickly. Having said that, I think things would be very different now, if we consider UK history since the Referendum written by a remainer or a leaver!
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Re: History in the fifties?

Post by Richard »

Although Gad Malins clearly was an excellent teacher, he was also imaginative and did more than instruct the subject he was paid to teach. I remember in his GE history class we devoted a few periods to learning how to control a meeting and then demonstrating this knowledge. We were divided into groups. Each group chose an organisation whose meeting we presented to the class. Mine decided to be a Trades Union. Using the proper procedures we opened the meeting, presented Reports from the Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary, etc and continued with other relevant business, finally closing in the approved manner. I have used this knowledge often in my subsequent career (which incidentally was not in a Trades Union).
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Re: History in the fifties?

Post by sejintenej »

Richard wrote: Thu Oct 17, 2019 5:47 pm I remember in his GE history class we devoted a few periods to learning how to control a meeting and then demonstrating this knowledge..
Excellent concept; that is what private schools can do which is lacking in state schools
Running a scout troop I was able to teach all sorts of everyday ideas which people never learn like how to wire a common three pin plug and decide on what fuse to use Another one was how to say things in a manner people would understand and remember I've forgotten the other dozen or so other "skills" that I used to push
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Re: History in the fifties?

Post by Ajarn Philip »

Today's kids are undoubtedly being taught about the history of the fifties... :mrgreen:
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Re: History in the fifties?

Post by loringa »

Ajarn Philip wrote: Thu Oct 17, 2019 8:33 pm Today's kids are undoubtedly being taught about the history of the fifties... :mrgreen:
This has not been my experience but maybe a history teacher could confirm one way or another. Despite its importance: Cold War, Hot War (Korea and French Indo-China), US Civil Rights movement, Apartheid in South Africa, McCarthyism in the US; Suez conflict etc, the 195-s seems largely to have been overlooked with, for most, history seeming to stop at the end of World War 2. The National Curriculum for Key Stages 3 and 4 has this to say:

Pupils should be taught about challenges for Britain, Europe and the wider world 1901 to the present day. In addition to studying the Holocaust, this could include:
Examples (non-statutory)
 women’s suffrage
 the First World War and the Peace Settlement
 the inter-war years: the Great Depression and the rise of dictators
 the Second World War and the wartime leadership of Winston Churchill
 the creation of the Welfare State
 Indian independence and end of Empire
 social, cultural and technological change in post-war British society
 Britain’s place in the world since 1945

The first 4 seem to be covered reasonably well; the last 4 less so.
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