Cranborne Chase : Field Diary Day 1

Today was my first day I was on site at Down Farm. The initial hour was spent mostly getting to grips with the site and talking over the logistics of the excavation. My lecturer Tim Sly was our guide and explained where Wessex Archaeology had excavated before. We looked through some of the previous discovery’s at the site including some fabulous pottery and flint work. It was really interesting to have a look at how excavated sites degrade, the previous pits having been left exposed.

The place on the farm that we are excavating over the next too weeks is called  Home Field –  thus our site code is HF17. In terms of Archaeological work it was fairly limited. I spent a few hours cleaning the surface of the trench by removing the top soil to expose the underlying chalk and making features visible. The majority of the top soil had been striped by machine the previous day but as predicted the stratigraphy is incredibly shallow.

For example post holes are very visible on the chalk and are displayed as dark circular features. We encovered a range of features other then post holes including tree fells, pits and and trenches. 

In the afternoon the owner of the farm and an almost legendary archeologist  Martin Green toured us around the site. We began by visiting his on site museum that displayed an amazing range of artifacts found on the farm and land that surround it. If you ever get the chance it is well worth a visit ! After this we walked around the perimeter of the farm and discovered the wealth of Archeology Martin had descovered. The most spectacular of which was known as the gateway to hell by everyone on site. The hole stretched 15-20 feet into the ground and was carved into the solid chalk. This mysterious feature was utterly astounding and rather took my breath away. 

All in all it was a wonderful start to our excavations.  


Cranborne Chase excavations

Sadly I am missing out on the first day of excavations at this site due a snazzy exam about Alexander the Great, but I thought I would introduce you to the area I will be excavating with the University of Southampton for the best bit of the next two weeks (06/06/17 -14/06/17).

Geographically, Cranborne is a chalk plateau that straddles the counties of Wiltshire, Dorset and Hampshire. The chalk landscape typically has very shallow stratigraphy therefore excavations here are not deep. Having taken a module in landscape archaeology I now have a newfound appreciation of the importance of underlying geology and the topography of the area in relation to its land use and habitation.

The location has long been of archaeological importance. It was here that Augustus Pitt Rivers developed what is now regarded as modern archaeological fieldwork during the 19th century. It boasts a wealth of archaeological sites from over 3000 years of human habitation. Neolithic and Bronze age monuments litter the landscape however what we are excavating is an Iron age settlement. Another notable example of excavation of the site was that carried out in  2004 by the television show Time Team (anyone who knows me knows my obsession with this show and my dedicated twitter following of @TheHardingHat)  who uncovered a Roman fort – the show is well worth a watch!

For Southampton this is their 5th season working here, and as a first year Archaeology and History student I am joining them to gain experience and be trained in the practical aspects of land based excavation. Teams from Bournemouth University and from Wessex archaeology have used similar locations at Cranborne as training.

The Site we are excavating is by Down Farm on lands owned by Dr Martin Green. I point out this land owner because of his notability as an expert on the prehistoric archaeology of the area. Dr Green has played a significant part in our understanding of Cranborne chase as a prehistoric landscape. Some notable publications of his, that I shall be reading during the course of our excavation include …

Barrett, John, Richard J. Bradley, and Martin T. Green. Landscape, monuments and society: the prehistory of Cranborne Chase. Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Green, Martin. A Landscape Revealed: 10,000 years on a chalkland farm. Tempus Pub Limited, 2000.


So for the final few weeks of my first year at university I am traveling back and forth from this fantastic site hopefully all the wiser and better skilled in the art of  excavation. It should be allot of fun despite the rain predicted to fall over the rest of this week at least. My aim is to complete a day by day field diary for the days I join the team.

was the cold war inevitable ?

It’s often been discussed in many a history class. But as a shortened answer – yes. why? can i give such a conclusive but brief answer … well it happened so at one point or another there must have been a point of no return where conflict between the USA and the USSR was inevitable. So the real question here is at what point could either side no longer back down if at all.

The question is still a valid one. Today we are still living through the effects of the war where “there is no shooting … only bleeding” and to some extent we are still bleeding – some would argue we are still shooting.

I was given this chirpy question as part of an A-level history assignment. Bearing in mind I will only have 40 minutes in the actual exam to write a similar essay I went on the write 3000 words on the topic. so instead of letting them go to waste I thought I would share them with you.

It’s only a small part of at least 50,000 words I have written  for my history studies this year! as it occurred to me that this is my last year of school studies it would seem a shame if all my efforts were not share hopefully this will aid someone else’s studies of the period …. by please no cheating and read only. As a rule history should be”by the book” only – believe me i have enough of them!

on to the essay …

To what extent was the cold war inevitable?

The cold war is often argued as an ideological confrontation between the political systems of the capitalists versus the communists. This battle transforms itself into several forms through the second half of the 20th century and its impact has shaped the modern world. Why this confrontation developed cannot be decisively established. With no event/ specific area of conflict to determine the exact date of its creation, this new “war” is almost undoubtedly the result of the tension within the wartime alliance. Traditionalists, however, often date this tension back to the Russian revolution of 1917. The US support of the white army instead of the Bolshevik Reds, during the civil war, is often described as a cause for political distrust by the Soviets. Whereas revisionists argue that Truman’s economically aggressive foreign policy forced the USSR to take hostile action against them, this usually resulted in their support of USA’S political enemies (e.g. Fidel Castro) like the US had in 1917. The Conflict between Russia and America was inevitable the rise of both world powers resulting in rivalry ; however deciphering the causes before 1945 without an exact beginning date is an unusual challenge and shows that this battle is unique to its eras conditions. The growth of American and Soviet Russia’s power during the same period would inevitably lead to conflict; this may have been political, ideological, military, within the spheres of influence, economically or culturally. The nature of the conflict is therefore directly linked to the era and the conditions of the post war world.


With the collapse of the imperialist powers in Western Europe, after demising in colonial wealth, two great world powers came to inherit the resulting political void. Russia and the US could therefore have fallen into a “’traditional’ great power rivalry” as seen in Europe in the dawn of the 19th and late 18th century’s. The collapse of the French and British empires saw the end of a Eurocentric world. The creation of over 23 separate states (1944-46) shows the imperial turmoil the post war world had created; newly independent states such as Israel were highly controversial. The decentralisation of colonies, especially within Africa, presented a new opportunity as the land was essentially “up for sale”. The Americans were especially keen for these new states to become independent of their European rulers and grow into strong democratic and economically stable countries. Policies like the Marshall plan were set in place. In turn the Russians saw this as an aggressive spread of American influence and as an investment into the development of America’s economy – growing states into reputable trading partners for its own gain. This view is held by revisionist historian William A. Williams who sees Americans as “empire building people” – something America has always denied (refusing to be seen as colonial like the 19th century European powers). They do not invade, according to his theory, by military means but economically. Secretary of state Hull attempted to replace Imperial tariff with US aid reaching out to the newly formed non colonial states. The “open door” policy of USA’s international economic policy shows their desire to retain foreign markets for US-business; something that would later cause tension between Cuba and the US. The aim of this policy? Williams believes that US economic policy makers are solely concerned in maintaining capitalism domestically. The Truman plan provided international loans to countries (mostly in Europe) at risk of communist revolution. It was Truman’s belief that a strong, developed economy within a country could settle disrest and prevent revolution. Looking back to the 1917 revolution the starvation of the workers within cities, such as St. Petersburg, was a crucial factor in the public political opinion; the battle cry of the revolution “peace, bread, work” showed the populaces economic reasons for joining in revolt. Truman saw a need to prevent the spread of communism into the European countries that had become decimated by the war. He offered economic growth as a means to confront Communism.


The end of Eurocentrism therefore gave political ‘space’ for conflict between the growing world powers. The 19th century Capitalist European powers had adopted a policy of isolation towards the Soviets. The Bolshevik exclusion from diplomacy constituted into agreements such as the treaty of Brest-Litovsk which resulted in the loss of territory to Russia. Russia in turn was suspicious of the west; unfair treaties were used as examples of “imperialist plotting for their downfall”.  The interwar years of the 1920’s saw a “pattern of oscillation between accommodation, isolation and ideological confrontation” between the Bolsheviks and the rest of Europe. The distrust of the Russians stemmed from the 1917 revolution, as one American policy maker put it “a reading of communist ideology reinforced this tendency to the see the USSR as Naturally expansionist and committed to spreading revolution”. The Americans did not formally recognise the Soviet regime until the wartime alliance; secretary of state Colby summed up the US’s reason in his August statement 1920. Formally Colby A fear of communism was spread by exiles from the civil war as well as several prominent anti-Bolsheviks. Propaganda spread the view of USSR as “a threat to domestic and international stability”. As a result the public opinion in the USA came to a turning point. The “red scare” of 1919-20 saw US law enforcement joining pro-business activists to destroy what they saw as a communist/radical threat after the ‘revolutionary party’ led strikes and sent bombs to officials in the name of radical communism. The spread of communism to china under Mao Zedong in 1948 showed Americans the global aspirations of this “revolutionary communism” – seeing this as a direct threat to domestic America. The ‘red scare’ as well as the exposition of supposed “enemies of the state” by McCarthy in the 1940/50’s, this helped to spread the sense of insecurity within the US.  At the same time that the USSR supposedly adopted a policy of ideological spread via revolution whereas the American “policies were committed to spreading USA’s dominance in world affairs” – both world powers were seeking expansion in their spheres of influence. US policy makers were “committed to spreading USA’s dominance in world affairs”. Inevitably these spheres would cross as the boundaries of influence were drawn closer. The modern world had become smaller; improved transport and communication due to rapid advances during both world wars. The military technological advance also saw the increased size of military weapons and the distance that they were able to travel. The striking range of armaments meant that international conflict could be fought within their own borders.


The new form of war was established with the end of the last. The dropping of the A-bomb on Japan brought warfare into a new era of nuclear weaponry. Revisionist historian Gar Alperovitz argues that the use of nuclear bombs on japan was not used to win the war quickly but to intimidate the Soviets. In his opinion the cold war is a result of the use of the atomic bomb. From its dropping in 1945 the war was therefore inevitable; it would ultimately lead to the space race and nuclear tension.  The “last actions of one conflict were the first major shots in another”. The end of the war saw not only technological change but political. USA had long adopted self-isolation in international politics but at the end of the war saw new diplomatic policies being put forward with the notion of ‘never again’ as their driving point. The ‘mistakes’ of 1919-1930 were seen as a result of America’s isolation. Pearl harbour was used as an example to show that the USA must take “a leading role in world affairs to encourage prosperity and stable democracies”. This was laid out in war time agreements such as the Atlantic charter and the Munich analogy; “if rejected or refused international laws they must be resisted”. The determination to take part in international agreements is the state’s willingness to act as a great power – a clause agreed by many political scientists such as George Modelski. This change in attitude was upheld using international bodies such as the UNO, Bretton Wood financial systems, IMF and the world bank.  The FDR had wanted to establish diplomatic relations with the USSR in 1930/40’s hoping that diplomatic recognition would “mellow” soviet policy reducing its revolutionary aims. However the isolationist policy had meant that public opinion was already opposed to foreign commitments over Japan and Germany. Trade remained low and the soviet spying relentless; the unresponsive Stalin during the announcement the Manhattan project’s success, proved how deep they had infiltrated into the American system.


This tension during the war inevitably lead to the breakdown of this wartime alliance one the common enemy was defeated. The alliance had been one “of convenience, not trust” as geopolitical considerations had gone ahead of ideology. The USA was forced to reluctantly recognise the Soviets in 1933, despite Stalin’s repressive policies such as the Purges and Siberian labour camps. FDR debated over the proper policy towards the USSR; “…deeply influenced both US-Soviet relations and the domestic policies of the communist issue”.  From the start, the alliance was based on mutual distrust. The soviets lagged in technological advance and saw the need for an alliance in order to uphold its borders. However throughout the war ideological mistrust as well as memories of Munich tainted their alliance. These seemed to be rightly held by the soviets as the allies push Hitler further east towards Stalin, the Russians lost more men and suffered far more than any other. During the war the aim of Russia seemed to be different than the west, as a British diplomat commented “he spoke of minimum conditions he meant that his government insisted on recovering the territory violated by Hitler”. The hope for continued co-operation came primarily from Litvinov who advocated the policy in order to maintain peace and influence within an “anti-fascist solidarity” he saw capitalism and communism working alongside each other in an alliance, not of convenience, but ideology – against fascist rule. Litvinov’s downgrading in 1946 is noted by Harriman as a sign of political movement away from co-operation. With this conflict seemed inevitable.


The change in American policy made it hard for soviet policy makers to determine their reaction. With no historic reference to the US’s actions without an isolationist foreign policy (the Russians had expected this to continue after the war) made their judgement hard to decipher. For example the American rejection of Russia’s proposal at Potsdam to be given former Axis colonies in Africa came as a surprise to the Soviets. As the Americans were pressured to “expand their definition of security needs” the USSR also sought to expand on the Anglo-American tensions that had built up in the “special relationship” and use them to their own diplomatic failure. There inability to do so showed how “out of touch” they had become in international diplomacy. There years of enforced isolation during the 1920’s had reduced their knowledge of post war diplomacy and how the great powers conducted their domestic negotiations.  However the tentative agreement (Nov 1944) shows that deals were possible with the soviets after/at the end of the war. Roosevelt in turn also misunderstood the relationship between the US and USSR. He believed he could build on the ‘mutual trust’ built up during the war – he even returned an OSS code book without copying/ recording it. At the end of the war the A-bomb also made Soviet-American relations tricky. Its development bred resentment and distrust; the high levels of espionage throughout the war, on both sides, show this.


USSR planned for peace on the assumption of a secure western border with a weakened Germany. Poland was one of the most volatile areas at the end of the war, with competing exile governments its fate was debated between western allies, “never again policies” and soviet ambitions.  The most significant act of war time distrust came to light as Russia was accused of the massacres of polish officers during the war, they denied this until the 1990’s. Fears and suspicions still circulated however about Russian behaviour in Eastern Europe. Stalin’s suspicious nature led to these cover ups and allegations. The collective security adopted by the west became a key point of anxiety; Stalin wanted control of the USSR’s own destiny and boarders knowing the west would not head decisions that would directly benefit due to their ideological differentiation.   USSR had ambitious internal affairs “As Stalin has said, we must proceed step by step and before taking any new step we should consolidate positions already acquired” and showed little intention for global expansion at the end of the war. Russia’s historic sense of vulnerability, fuelled by unsecure borders in 1812, 1914, 1919 and 1941, was dealt with by capturing surrounding land as a buffer zone during tsarist rule. It is argued that Russia was still looking eurocentricity in the 1940’s. The division of Germany at Potsdam was a way of dealing with the indecision and conflicting aims of the allies. All agreed that Germany was to be de-Nazified, demilitarised, deindustrialised and for democratic power to be re-established, however it was the interpretation and execution of these aims that lead to debate. Each power looked after their own needs – France for instance was reluctant to accept German control of the Saar which delayed co-operation until the autumn of 1945 meaning that the German people suffered the harsh winter of 1943. Britain on the other hand wanted to reduce its economic burden placed on them – their economy heavily reliant on several American loans. The soviets aim of revenge and reparation conflicted with the American notion of “never again”. Seeing how harsh treaties had led to the start of the second war the west was keen not to repeat the cycle. Stalin meanwhile had set up his own reparations commission headed by Maisky and Litvinov. There demands for German reparation in order to pay for war-time destruction, dismantlement of all factories regardless of whether they were war making or not and forcing experts to work for the USSR was deemed as the “complete violation of all efforts to maintain ‘non war’ potential industries in Germany” as it eradicated the east German economy.


Most historians persist that the cold war was not inevitable but brought on by the opposing leaders. John Lewis Gaddis demarked six main reasons for the outbreak of the cold war. Firstly, the confusion over US and USSR’s foreign, on both sides, blamed mostly on Molotov for exacerbating the mistrust. Gaddis then goes on to blame the change in policy by the Americans – becoming involved in world affairs rather than isolationist as Stalin had expected them to remain. The misread soviet intention at this time is also made liable, the propaganda spread by anti-Bolsheviks helped to develop this interpretation. Gaddis also remarks that the US was politically, economically and militarily stronger than any other state at that time.  This gave it freedom to act; its natural counterpart was the USSR the world power that had developed alongside America, they became rival blocks as each’s influence spread. He also stresses that the US only acted as it chose to see the soviets as aggressive expansionists.  This post revisionist view also dictates that the incompatible ideology did not lead to conflict between both countries.


Following Gaddis opinions as a model the cold war was not as inevitable as some suggest. Without ideology as the catalyst but using the conditions of the post war world the antagonism between the USA and USSR is clearly frictional towards the end of the war and evident in post war discussions. The high levels of espionage undertaken by both countries in the last year of the war showed an increase in distrust. The dropping of the bomb is just as pointed as its secret conception and shows the political distrust of not only Russia but the rest of the Allies at the end of the war. The different aim of the allies during post war discussions suggests that the cold war was ultimately inevitable. The difference in political systems and interpretation of terms was bound to cause further mistrust and tension.

If you actually read this I am impressed and very pleased ! Thank you for taking time. If you are reading this as part of your studies here is a list of source material that i used to write this essay and may aid you.

Thank you again for reading please like and comment on what you would like to find next time !

Japanese Woodblock prints

These amazing traditional woodblock print from 19th century Japan illustrate the extent to which Japan westernised after the Meiji Restoration of 1968.

writing A-level history coursework, on Japan’s transition between the 19th and 20th century and its rise to world power, these woodblock prints became a welcome relief to pages of intense historical debate.

Woodblock prints were originated in the early 8th century to disseminate texts Buddhist scriptures. These printed designs on paper and silk became a convenient method of reproducing written texts. In the 18th century Polychrome prints were made using a separate carved block for each color, these could be up to twenty. To print with precision a system of placing two cuts on the edge of each block to serve as alignment guides was employed. Paper made from the inner bark of mulberry trees was favored, as it was strong enough to withstand numerous rubbings on the various woodblocks and sufficiently absorbent to take up the ink and pigments. Reproductions, sometimes numbering in the thousands, could be made until the carvings on the woodblocks became worn.

Japan orientated itself with the west as a way of defending its independence and this became the primary content of late 18th century prints. “Throwing off Asia” in a policy Datsu-A Ron they followed a course of westernisation in order for its international status to be orientated with the west. These images depict how Japan westernised on such a rapid and impressive scale.

"Complete Picture of a Steamship: Scenery of Uraga from the Sea" by Sadahide, 1863 [Y0070] Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

“Complete Picture of a Steamship: Scenery of Uraga from the Sea” by Sadahide, 1863

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

"Steam train between Tokyo and Yokohama" by Utagawa Hiroshige III, 1875 [2000.549] Sharf Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

“Steam train between Tokyo and Yokohama” by Utagawa Hiroshige III, 1875

Sharf Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

“Famous Places in Tokyo: True View of the Post Office at Edobashi” by Kobayashi Ikuhide, 1889 [2000.509] Sharf Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

“Famous Places in Tokyo: True View of the Post Office at Edobashi” by Kobayashi Ikuhide, 1889
Sharf Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Bosto

“Famous Places in Tokyo: Picture of Azuma Bridge and a Distant View of a Torpedo Explosion” by Inoue Tankei, July 1888 [2000.395] Sharf Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

“Famous Places in Tokyo: Picture of Azuma Bridge and a Distant View of a Torpedo Explosion” by Inoue Tankei, July 1888

Sharf Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

“Illustration of Singing by the Plum Garden” by Toyohara Chikanobu, 1887 [res_53_82] Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Illustration of Singing by the Plum Garden” by Toyohara Chikanobu, 1887

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

“Illustration of the Imperial Diet of Japan” by Gotō Yoshikage, 1890

Sharf Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


Reference –


Today in History / Google …

So anyone who logged onto Google today will have seen this wonderful design by Artist Kevin Laughlin-

41st Anniversary of the Discovery of the Mountain of the Butterflies

celebrating the 41st anniversary of the Discovery of “the mountain of butterflies” on the 9th of January 1975 this is a piece of recent biological history when a Canadian team, lead by Red Urquhart, ended a decades search for the conglomeration of Butterflies in southern mexico’s  Sierra Madre Oriental mountains .


Following tagged individuals they found over 3 million butterflies in less than  56,000 hectares. This site has now become the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve and a world heritage site as of 1980.

The event still reminds us that there a places on the earth we do not know about and that i am very happy about – unspoilt places are becoming rare and even this sanctuary is now a major tourist attraction.

To find out more here are some great videos …


when Time Team came to town !

who can’t forget the iconic channel 4 Tv show? Hosted by Baldrick – or tony robinson as anyone who hasn’t watched blackadder will know him is was one of my favorite shows growing up (I had a fun childhood I promise). But it was his eccentric band of historians and archeologists that made me so engaged with each project; Mick Aston, Carenza Lewis, Francis Pryor and Phil Harding to name a few.

so when the team came down to my local town, you could tell I was very excited! They actually dug on the local  Grammar’s Junior school playing field. I had played rounders there a few months before and could not believe what I was actually running on top of when i heard what Phil had dug up. This excavation occurred 6 years ago i had just turned 11 at the time, but old enough for it to leave an impression on me over the tree days of there dig.

History of the site –

In 1212 Peter de Rupibus founded the Domus Dei, as a combined hospital, poor house and traveller’s rest. The site continued in the role of hospice for around 300 years until the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII.

After a visit from Elizabeth I in 1561 a residence for the governor was erected. To this end Government House and its associated buildings were constructed on the site of Governors Green alongside the Domus Dei. Government House was the focal point for many significant events including the marriage of Charles II in 1662.

Tony Robinson’s opening line of the show aired in 2010 – “in an area so rich in history our aim is to characterise the remaining archaeology, compare any surviving remains of the hospital with known maps and ideas to identify the dimensions of Government house and its associated outbuildings….. and as usual we have just 3 days to do it.”

Mary rose rebuilt 

Today, walking around the most amazing discoveries of marine archeology I realised one thing. I live with all This incredible history around me everyday and just because I see it everyday for t make it less special. 

Portsmouth has be a hub of naval activity for over 500 years. This odd mix of defensive and obviously offensive architecture (let’s never talk about the tricorn centre ever!) that makes Portsmouth what it is has been built on its defensive position. 

It is odd to think that today’s city’s, mainly on the coast or on rivers, were picked by our ancient ancestors for there strategical or trading positioning. Since the birth of the navy and its growth under Henry Tudor small villages sprouted into large ports. 

So as I stand here looking over the Mary rose, like Henry did on that fateful day, I think to myself the reason this whole city is here, the reason all these people are here is because a couple of centuries ago the king of England made it so. This half hull of a ship is far more then a record of Tudor life it is a legacy of what Portsmouth used to be like. Every single object onboard was mored at Portsmouth harbour. Every single man boarded the ship at Portsmouth harbour and every supply on board was stocked at Portsmouth or sourced locally. This time capsule show what life was like in Tudor Portsmouth. 
For more on this keep an eye out in October ! I’m going to the museum for work experience so drop in and take a look as I talk you through this amazing Tudor time capsule. 

Explaining why the new commonwealth immigration posed a problem for the British government in 1962

The 60’s was a volatile time for Britain, enjoying prosperity after the war as austerity measures were finally removed. After years of rationing lasting long after the war people enjoyed a new consumer economy as products were introduced on mass, produced cheaply and bought with growing pay. this new prosperity attracted not only rural families into the city but brought migrants from across the empire to relish in this golden age of consumerism.

Pressures on Housing, jobs and education in England from the growing numbers of immigrants from ‘new’ commonwealth nations; people from India and Pakistan, Caribbean islands as well as southern Africa took advantage of the ‘open door’ immigration policy after the 1948 nationality act . The 1962 New Commonwealth Immigration Act restricted the number of immigrants entering form the ex-colonies, by introducing a voucher scheme, to reduce the number of immigrants. Violent culture clashes often as the Notting Hill riots in 1958 placed huge pressure on the government to introduce immigration and racial acts.

The volume of immigrant’s pre 1955 were mainly selected by active recruitment for British railway, transport and health; employed as skilled labourers they became an inexhaustible supply of cheap labour and essential to the British economy. The deficit in work force, mainly due to the loss of men in WW2 and the increase in further education, by the late 50’s 36,000 immigrants a year were needed to fill the demand for low-skilled and low-paid work. This increase in population resulted in a black and Asian community of over 337,000 in 1961. The new of the Commonwealth Immigration Act created a steep increase in immigration, the families of those who already emigrated and new low-skilled labourer’s desperate for work, with more immigrants entering then in the previous five years with 66,000 from the Caribbean alone.

The increase (especially of families) put large pressure on housing. Settling mainly in major cities such as Manchester, Birmingham and London; often in small closed communities, the original residence sometimes met them with resentment. There are reports of White tenements being evicted to make room for new commonwealth immigrants who were prepared to pay higher rates. The shortage of housing had become one of the biggest issues in Britain, especially in large cities where large areas of the city were destroyed in the Blitz. The majority of housing in these areas had become slums – these were mainly areas of early Victorian development in industrial areas with tightly packed terrace housing without plumbing or electricity.

There became areas of unofficial ‘ghettos’ within urban areas as new immigrants stayed together. This often led to racial tension within cities.  One of the most violent demonstrations against the growing number of foreign ethnic groups was the 1958 Notting Hill riots. Tensions within this London suburb had been growing becoming an area known for high concentration drug users and sellers. The riot started as an argument over the relationship of a white girl and her black husband, this sparked a series of incidences resolution in the death of around 100. There were signs saying “no blacks, no Irish, no dogs” on several rental properties, open racism was acceptable and common. The government released a leaflet to all immigrants warning of this.

The culture clash also affected the educational system. Children from immigrant families rarely spoke English; systems had to be put in place within schools ensuring that they had the same quality of education. Many white parents saw this as a hindrance to their own children as teacher’s attention was divided between their education and the young immigrants (often not seeing them as British or with the same rights). This caused further racial tension and divide.

The pressure placed on the government to change their ‘open door’ policy came from 70% of the British population who saw the act necessary. The number of Immigrants entering the country were seen as a strain on the economy, especially as the skill level of the immigrants decreased and many found themselves without work.  Strikes and riots against the ethnic communities in urban areas showed the troubles and often racist nature of the locals. Unable to house and no longer needed to support the economy the number of immigrants had to be cut.  The start of Britain as a Multi-cultural country had begun but not everybody relished in the new found acceptance that brought the 70’s and the hippy movement.

Women after war 

“I don’t know whether to be glad or sad. I had made some good friends in the ATS. I returned home in February 1946 and took up my old job as a hairdresser – older and wiser.”

A recent BBC article highlighted the inequality of women after ww2. After such gallant service to ling and country  these women were tossed aside. The female workforce was well below the prewar level. Arguments saying the war liberated women do not often take this into account. Sure in the long run women became empowered but it was not until 1970, with the equal pay act, that legislation and political change took place.
Women after the war were treated as if there jobs were just a war time necessary. Expected to move aside for the working men arriving back – even the trade unions still upheld a defence towards equal pay and for women’s place in the home.

By 1951 the number of working no wommen had returned to pre-war levels – it could be said that as much as the war liberated women from the home it’s end herald their return. Married women were not permitted to work.

But this has all changed right – the equal pay act and several more anti discriminatory laws have been passed since then. But have attitudes changed ? Can we really say this kind of sexism has disappeared?

In my view the issue has become more intellectual- that is to say the ladies of Dagenham may see in peace knowing there jobs are secure and of equal worth but scientists, engineers, mathematicians, PHD students when we think of these finely educated people our tendency is to image them as men. Only 8% of these jobs are held by women worldwide. Does that sound equal to you ?
Also up yours Tim Hunt


Meet the Women Taking the Battle to ISIS

An Amazing story truly inspirational


A colorful scarf is all that is left of Cicek Derek, who was 17 when she died a few months ago in the besieged city of Kobani, Syria, where her compatriots were unable to retrieve her body.

Cicek was one of hundreds of young Kurdish female soldiers who have taken up the fight against ISIS. They’re part of the YPJ, or Women’s Protection Unit, an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Kurdish nationalist movement that has long fought a war of independence against Turkey.


Now the PKK and other Kurdish groups are at the forefront of the battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, a militant group that would severely curtail the rights of women. It’s fitting that ISIS will be facing off against female fighters like 18-year-old Zilan Orkesh, who left her small village on the Turkish-Syrian border to join YPJ in 2011…

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