There is something about history here in Britain that is more than a little interesting. I suppose it is because for the past few centuries a lot happened very quickly on these shores, a lot of growth, a lot of wealth amassed and fancy buildings constructed. A lot of developments in technology and industry. A change form an agricultural way of life to a life on the ocean waves. A lot of social developments, the rise of manufacture in the form of factories to the rising up from the workforce against industrial leaders, the abolition of the slave trade, the political developments.
Of course, there is a vast deal of awfulness in the pages of history with regards to the way this weeny little island arrogantly treated others. It is quite horrid really when you realize the wealth that came along with the abuse of peoples on this soil, and even more so overseas.
But growing up on a council house in an industrial part of the north of England, and having had the chance to travel and work all over the UK, and to live in the heart of the southern countryside, before moving to London, I have always been fascinated with how much history is easily accessible to learn about. There are so many castles, palaces, estates that are full of the records of the people who lived and worked in and around those buildings.
I think many people here do have a natural fascination with the line of Kings and the political developments in this country over the centuries. There are so many iconic names in the history books – King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I, Oliver Cromwell, The Duke Of Wellington, Queen Victoria – as well as all of the engineers, scientists, reformers and visionaries who made their mark on this land and in some ways, on the rest of the world.
Many of us ponder the notion of being able to travel back in time and see the days of yesteryear for ourselves. Period dramas and history documentaries have been popular on television.
One show, which I have to admit I have not often had chance to view is called, “Who Do You Think You Are?” A familiar figure (yes, celebrity) has the chance to explore their family tree with the support of historians who are digging into the archives.
My sister told me the other day to make sure I watched the latest episode of the show, featuring the family tree of a comedian named Josh Widdicombe. I am not going to tell you anything about it….not a word….but if you are interested in history….this episode is well worth a watch: