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MARCH 2019

WELCOME

Anyone familiar with the works of Charles Dickens will have some concept of the Victorian underworld – the seamy underside of 19th-century British cities, populated by a criminal class, enveloped in soot and grime. It was as familiar a picture then as it is to us today, but is this construction based on truth? In this month’s cover feature, on page 20, Professor Heather Shore seeks out the inhabitants of the ‘underworld’ to see how far they accord with the legend.

Our Victorian theme continues on page 28 where we go back to school in the 19th-century. The curriculum, discipline and attendance are frequent subjects of debate today, but how did they di er 150 years ago? Susannah Wright and Ellie Cawthorne have the answers.

Of course, many Victorian Britons spent their lives far beyond these shores, administering the country’s ever-expanding empire. In the popular imagination, imperial work represented an exciting opportunity for travel and adventure, but the reality could be rather more prosaic. On page 58 Je rey Auerbach explains how, for many Britons, the years spent in India, Australia and Africa were monotonous in the extreme. (The story was, of course, very di erent for those living under British rule.)

Finally, some dates for your diaries. Our History Weekend events in 2019 will be taking place in Chester from 25 27 October and then Winchester from 1 3 November. We’ll be including more details in subsequent issues and hope to see many of you there.

Rob Attar Editor

THIS ISSUE’S CONTRIBUTORS

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/A L A M Y/ D R E A M S T

I D G E M A N

B R

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I T S

C O V E R C R E D

I N O T T

: J E N

PA G E

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Catherine Hanley Matilda should have become England’s rst queen regnant. She was an in uential gure whose legacy stretched far beyond her own lifetime. P Catherine discusses her new book about the 12th-century claimant to the English throne on page 65

Lauren Johnson Henry VI is an unfairly overlooked monarch. Without “the shadow on the wall”, as one contemporary called him, there would be no Wars of the Roses and no Tudors. His reign was disastrous, but completely compelling. P Lauren analyses the character flaws that scuppered Henry VI’s reign on page 34

Jeffrey Auerbach The Victorian empire was full of excitement, but it could also be dull and disappointing. Happily for me as a researcher, boredom turned out to be a fascinating topic, one that sheds new light on the imperial experience. P Jeffrey describes the ennui that gripped British imperialists in the 19th century on page 58

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