Welcome to InfoBritain, for historical visiting information in the UK. InfoBritain tells you what happened and where it happened. We have articles and visits relating to all historical periods from prehistoric Britain to recent times, and to the lives of major British authors, artists, musicians, scientists, politicians, military and royal figures. You can use our site search, or our various menus to find suggested visits relating to times or people. Alternatively go to the regions menu, find a place to visit in a particular area, and then link back to the history relating to it. We also have a full accommodation booking service for all parts of the mainland UK. We specialise in historic accommodation, but we also have comprehensive lists of hotels of all types and price ranges. See the regional menus on the right. Enjoy!
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A Personal Note (Archive)
June 15, 2013
It is time for the 2013 Birthday honours which always get people arguing about who is worthy of these awards and who isn't. The Daily Mail had a front page suggesting a number of people honoured this year were actually villains rather then heroes. Historically it has always been this way. Go back to 1580 and you would have seen Queen Elizabeth I's government debating what to do with Francis Drake. He had just returned from his circumnavigation of the world, bringing a lot of pirated Spanish treasure with him. The government had to decide which was more valuable - the treasure Drake had brought home with him, or good relations with the superpower that was Spain. Was Drake a pirate to be punished, or a national hero to be celebrated? There was much debate before "national hero" finally got the nod. Queen Elizabeth duly knighted Drake on board his ship, the Golden Hinde. But the sword gently touching each shoulder could easily have done different work. There is something of a symbolic beheading in this strange tradition. Perhaps the symbolism of knighting reflects on the fact that successful people are a potential threat to those already in authority. They are dealt with by being taken into the royal circle, congratulated, given a bit of hospitality, and then obliged to take part in a ritual which contains a veiled suggestion about what could happen if they get carried away. Perhaps the knighting ceremony also reflects on the ambiguous nature of achievement itself. High achievement, as Francis Drake discovered, is the walking of a thin line between hero and villain.
Historical news for June
Sports history provides a fascinating and intimate insight into the evolution of modern life. On 6th June there is an opportunity to attend a talk on traditional sports at St Fagans Museum in Cardiff. Telephone 020 2057 3500.
The History of Music is a story that very much parallels the history of the Industrial Revolution. Modern musical instruments were made possible by advances in machine tools which allowed accurate mass production of items to very precise tolerances. However, the ideal of individual craftsmanship hangs on strongly in music. This is seen most clearly in the veneration of Stradivarius string instruments, built by members of the Stradivari family during the 17th and 18th centuries. An exhibition of twenty of these prized and hugely expensive instruments is being staged at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford this month. Why not go along and see if the fuss is justified. The exhibition runs 13th June - 11th August. Telephone 01865 278002.
Castles have symbolised the human desire for security over millennia. Cardiff Castle is staging an exhibition of art related to castles, with pictures by a number of artists working between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. The exhibition runs 25th May - 29th September. Telephone 029 2039 7951.
Anniversaries for June
4th June 1938: Virginia Woolf publishes Three Guineas, a series of three feminist essays, which included an argument for pacifism as war in Europe loomed.
2nd June 1953: The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II takes place at Westminster Abbey. The television coverage of the event represents a significant milestone in the history of television. This was the first time a television audience outnumbered a radio audience for an occasion of this kind.
14th June 1987: In his diary entry for 14th June 1987, politician Woodrow Wyatt reveals the close relationship between Rupert Murdoch's newspapers, and the government of the day, headed by Margaret Thatcher. Wyatt wanted Murdoch to be able to take over Today, which would provide the government with another sympathetic newspaper. He suggested using a trick employed when Murdoch had purchased both The Times and The Sunday Times. To avoid a referral to the Monopolies Commission on that occasion, it had been claimed The Times and Sunday Times were losing money, which was untrue. Wyatt suggested using the same gambit once again. Murdoch successfully purchased Today later that year.
21st June 1837:The Times newspaper publishes its obituary of William IV, rather unkindly saying that William provided "no fit material for the biographer". According to The Times William "met with no adventures on a grand scale; he displayed no gross, nor great, nor memorable attributes. There was little guile in his nature or obliquity in his course".
30th June 1934: Over a three day period Hitler's Nazi party tightens its grip on Germany through a series of political assassinations, known later as the Night Of The Long Knives.
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Thank you to photo contributors Danielle Davis, Jean Edwards, Vicky Eagle of Portsmouth Dockyard, Kevin Edwards, Julian Jones, Richard Jones, Jackie Lewis, Debbie Lowless, Judy Mills of the Corinium Museum, and Susan Stuart of Old Spitalfields Market.