History@Portsmouth

University of Portsmouth's History Blog

Fantine from Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, by Margaret Bernadine Hall (1863-1910)

The morality of state intervention in sexually-transmitted disease

Is it appropriate for governments to restrict personal liberty in an effort to control disease? This issue has come very much to the fore in the wake of the current worldwide Coronavirus epidemic.  In this post, Darcy Mckinlay, a second year history student, writes about nineteenth-century arguments against forcible methods of controlling venereal diseases. During […]

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Could Churchill have done more to prevent the holocaust? The evidence of a personal letter

Callum Chinn, now in his final year studying history at Portsmouth, wrote this blog piece for the second-year Introduction to Historical Research module last year.  In it, he examines a letter written by Winston Churchill in July 1944, and what it reveals about the allies’ knowledge of and response to the holocaust. The twentieth century […]

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Poisonous Reading – James Greenwood attacks the Victorian ‘penny dreadful’

In this piece, written for the Fear and Fun module, taught by Dr Rob James and Dr Karl Bell, second year UoP student Amber Braddick discusses journalist James Greenwood’s exaggerated denouncement of the Victorian ‘penny dreadful’.  Despite such middle-class anxietes over the corrupting influence of cheap print on working class youth, many of their stories […]

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The ‘Whitechapel Horrors’ – Victorian newspapers report Jack the Ripper as gothic fiction

The ‘Jack the Ripper’ murders in East London in the late Victorian period have become infamous. In this piece, first year UoP history student Seamus McLoughlin looks at how an article in a Victorian newspaper was of its time in choosing to ignore known facts about the case, or any compassion towards the victims, in […]

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The Fitzroy Report, 1904: How the poor physical condition of Boer War army recruits prompted social change

Following the end of the second Boer War in 1902, the government appointed an Inter-Departmental Committee to investigate why so many would-be recruits had been in poor physical condition. The Committee, chaired by civil servant Almeric FitzRoy, has become known as the Fitzroy Report.  Second-year UoP history student Ben Hessey discusses the report, what it […]

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The Forty Elephants – a forgotten female gang of South London

Last year Emily Burgess produced an outstanding dissertation on the all-female working-class gang from South London known as the Forty elephants.  Here she writes about how she came up with the idea and carried out the research, with Rob James as supervisor.  Emily concludes with some useful advice for all our students currently writing proposals […]

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