Friday, 26 February 2010

Lego Roundheads and Boye the Dog

Thanks to everyone for their help during Stuart Week. We've had historians and costumes, a debate a film and a battle! Tying up a few loose ends, Boye the dog wasn't really given the attention he deserved this afternoon. This giant hunting poodle was Prince Rupert's loyal accomplice across several battles, and people thought he had magical powers because of his ability to survive the fighting - he was even promoted to Sergeant-Major General! Sadly Boye's luck ran out during Marston Moor. He was tied up a safe distance from the battle but managed to escape and went looking for his master, but was killed whilst doing so, as depicted in the picture below. Prince Rupert's career after the battle is equally fascinating, and deserves its own blog post at a later date.

Meanwhile, some of you may have seen this picture of Thomas Fairfax depicted in Lego. To see further creations, including Charlemagne, Abraham Lincoln and Gandhi - click here (but sadly this doesn't work at school)

Thursday, 25 February 2010

To Kill a King

"To Kill a King" was shown in Stuart Week and it was interesting to see a different take on the Civil War compared to the familiar scenes from "Cromwell". It focused on the increasingly strained relationship between Thomas Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell, the principal Parliamentary generals, as well as giving plenty of time to Fairfax's relationship with his royalist-inclined wife, Lady Anne. Here is a review of the film, and here is some insight into the problems made making it - basicly they ran out of money twice!

We would like to repeat the "History Film Club" experience in the future. What other films would you like to see shown?

Marston Moor

The Battle of Marston Moor will take place on Friday lunchtime! This was the bloodiest battle of the war, where Prince Rupert's Royalist troops, having successfully relieved the Siege of York, tried to wipe out Cromwell and Fairfax's Parliamentary army. Did they succeed? What role did Prince Rupert's dog have in all of this? You'll have to come along to find out! (Or click here if you're a bit impatient)

PS: There will also be a brief Stuart Quiz so get revising!


Should the Monarchy have been restored in 1660? Join the debate today in the library at 1.20. There is more information about the English Restoration here and some of the arguments for and against the monarchy here. There is also a chance to show your opinion in our poll!

PS: Don't forget the film after school: "To Kill a King" at 3.20 in the Sixth Form Common Room. Coming up tomorrow: The Stuart Quiz and the Battle of Naseby (1.20 in Room 104)

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Stuart Costume

As part of Stuart Week, there will be a talk on Stuart Costume in the library today at 1.15 in the library. Come along and see the fashions of the 1600s! Coming up on Thursday - at lunchtime there will be a debate on whether the monarchy should have been restored in 1660 and the film "To Kill a King" will be shown in the Sixth Form Common Room after school.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Professor Eric Evans

Professor Eric Evans of Lancaster University is visiting Nonsuch tomorrow (Tuesday 23 February) at lunchtime in the Library from 1.15-2.15pm.
His talk is to discuss the question 'What's so great about the Great Reform Act?' and is essential for those who are studying Liberal Democracies currently or who studied it last year. Professor Evans is an expert on this period in Britain, having written numerous books and pamphlets. He is also interested in the more recent periods of history, specifically Thatcherism. Here is his site at Lancaster University.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Gordon Brown and Piers Morgan

What did you think about Piers Morgan's interview of Gordon Brown on Sunday night? The Prime Minister was certainly very candid about his personal life, particularly the death of his daughter Jennifer. He was rather more reticent when discussing his relationship with Tony Blair. Do you think this interview will be of benefit to him, or will people dismiss the programme as a cynical part of the election campaign? Are there any subjects you would have liked him to discuss? Do you think Piers Morgan did a good job? Comments below, please!

If you missed the programme, you can catch it here for the next month. There are also further clips here.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Michael Cockerell

Michael Cockerell has done it again! Another excellent political programme, this time it is a series that analyses the three great offices of state on BBC4. Last night's programme was on the Home Office and looked at past Secretaries of State, key Home Office issues and the relationship between ministers and civil servants. The next two are on the Treasury and the Foreign Office. They are well worth watching. Here is the link.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Twentieth Anniversary of Mandela's Release

20 years ago today, Nelson Mandela was released from prison. This was of course a hugely significant moment in South African history, symbolically marking a break with the country's policies of apartheid. Mandela would go on to become President of South Africa and encourage reconciliation between the country's racial communities. More information here and here. This page is from Nelson Mandela's official website and here is comment from the South African press.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Polls and Searches

Two new features have been added to the blog today. We now have the ability to have polls so please get voting! They will usually be up for a week and then the results will be published. If you have any ideas for future polls, please make a comment below.

We also now have a Google search box - this does a couple of useful things. It will initially search through all the blog articles for specific words or phrases. However, it then gives you an option to search through all of the sites we are linked to or recommend - ie the specialist history or politics sites on the right hand side. This may give you a more useful result than using a regular search engine. Let us know how you get on with this.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

African American Artwork

9 Mercury, 9 Jupiter and Mrs Moncrieff have created this fantastic artwork commemorating African American history. How many details can you spot? You can see a higher resolution image of it here. Many thanks to all who helped to create it!

Monday, 8 February 2010

Nick Barratt

Nick Barratt has very kindly agreed to come and visit the school on Tuesday lunchtime at 1.20pm in the Library.
He was the genealogical consultant for the BBC programmes 'Who do you think you are?' and is coming to talk to History and Politics Society about family trees. Look at his background on his website here as well as the websites for the magazine 'Who do you think you are?' here and the BBC's family history site here. Everyone welcome and bring lots of questions about how to research your family or about Nick's experiences on the numerous TV programmes he has been involved with.

Virtual Revolution - Enemy of the State

This series is a fascinating analysis of the effect of the Internet on our society. It looks at the history of the Internet as well as how it might affect the future. The programme on Saturday night concentrated on its effect on global politics both negatively and positively and that between citizens and between citizens and the state. Great examples are used from China, Iran and Estonia. Famous and more obscure experts are used to inform the debate including Bill Gates, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Al Gore. Well worth watching. Here is their website and you can catch the episodes here on iplayer.

PS: The website is pretty impressive! There is all sorts of content on there. You may also find the easiest way to watch the programme is through the 3D Documentary Explorer which allows you to flick through content in the way you can browse album covers on iTunes. Clever stuff.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Stuart Week

Stuart Week will take place at Nonsuch between 23 and 26 February. There are plenty of exciting events lined up including a debate, a costume demonstration, a film and a battle. More information below.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Does the AV System have the X Factor?

Here's a handy Q&A from the BBC on the Alternative Vote system, as proposed by Gordon Brown this week. They then follow this up with an interesting comparison between the system and the models used by reality shows such as the X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing, concluding that the closest reflection of these in the political world are the French Presidential elections. Do you think the public would warm to the system if it were presented this way, or would it need the political version of Simon Cowell or Len Goodman to supplement it?

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

GCSE History Presentation

Here is a powerpoint that gives more details about studying GCSE History at Nonsuch. If you have any further questions, please get in touch with a member of the department.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Updates: Haiti and Relics

Two interesting recent articles provide further information on topics discussed recently on Nonsuch HP. This quite provocative article in the Times argues that many of Haiti's troubles stem from the legacy of French imperialism. Haiti declared independence in 1804 (it is the second oldest republic in the Western Hemisphere) but was forced to pay a massive fine for the next 122 years. This crippled the economy and left the country vulnerable to weak governments and despotic regimes. In 2004 Jacques Chirac set up a Commission of Reflection to examine France’s historical relations with Haiti. It concluded blandly that the demand for restitution was “non-pertinent in both legal and historical terms".

This article by Simon Jenkins in the Guardian explores the current obsession with historical relics, as seen in the Radio 4 series and David Dimbleby's programme on BBC1. There is even a CBBC programme called Relic where children from Hounslow have to unlock the secrets of historical objects to avoid getting trapped inside the British Museum (has anyone seen this?). Jenkins says, "We once derived mental comfort, uplift and local pride from worshipping saintly relics in church. Now we are supposed to find them in a museum. (Museums) have made the relic more important than themselves, yet requiring their priestly interpretation." What are your thoughts?

Brown Proposes Electoral Reform

It has emerged that MPs will vote next week on whether a referendum should take place to consider reform of the electoral system. The first past the post system would be replaced with the alternative vote system (currently used in Australia),allowing voters to rank candidates in order of preference. If no candidate gained 50% of the vote the first time round, votes for the least successful candidates would be redistributed until a winner emerged. There is no possibility of the system being used in the current election, and one could argue that this is a purely political move designed to show the Conservatives as resistant to change. More news here and comment from Nick Robinson here.

PS: Here is the Electoral Reform Society's website (They recommend the Single Transferable Vote system).

PPS: Newsnight's programme on Tuesday night (2 Feb) had an amusing report linking Brown's reforms proposals to Groundhog Day. Catch it here. (The Groundhog says there's going to be 6 more weeks of winter, by the way.)

Monday, 1 February 2010

Mussolini on iPhone

Der Spiegel reports that an iPhone app has been created that has 100 of Benito Mussolini's speeches. This has caused controversy in Italy where people feel it could promote the fascist dictator's views. Its creator says he didn't intend to glorify Mussolini, but believed it was another useful way to access evidence from the past. What do you think? If you find any other useful historical mobile apps, let us know!