What Makes People Love History

What makes People love history?
So that it becomes a passion,
Not a subject, nor hobby, nor interest,
Not a diversion, nor a pastime,
But a consuming passion instead.

I started to read the virtual edition
Of the History Workshop Journal,
A compendium of contributors
And historians, who recounted
The reasons, recollections, emotions,
And afternoon madeleine moments,
That all conspired, to conjure forth
A love of the study of the past:
A Passion for History.

I’ve added my own, too;
I wonder which of these apply to you?

For example …

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Stroud Library: Use it or Lose it – Ex Libris Ad Amazonia

It’s odd to think that the Chartist mass meeting up on Selsley Hill
Contributed to the formation and spread of public libraries.
But it’s true, after a fashion.

The Chartist decade of 1838 to 1848,
The ruling class fear of revolution,
The threat to private property and profit,
The association of freethinking with ‘intemperance’,
All helped lead to the 1850 Public Library Act,
The cult of municipal museums too,
And the Victorian emphasis on private study,
Within a public or familial space:
The familiar trope of the Victorian working class male autodidact.

‘We must educate our masters’,
Said Home Secretary, Robert Lowe,
After the urban working class gained the vote in 1867,
But self-help, the 3 R’s, libraries, museums and schools
Didn’t necessarily mean universal conformist thinking:
Fiction fostered the imagination, and non-fiction the frown:
Reading could lead to questioning, and such questioning,
Coupled with the study of a book’s bibliography
Could lead to the polite request that the local library
Might order a required book –
Not on the shelves –
Either as new stock,
Or from another library,
Out of town or county:
This was a public, national service,
Not just a municipal one.

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Laceys of Wotton-under-Edge and Chartism

This posting, about Chartism in Wotton-under Edge, was kindly shared by Richard Barton, after our Weavers and Workhouse Walk during the Stroud Fringe: the original focus was upon the family history of the Lacey family, and this section has been taken from that overall...

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For John Summerbee

I knew of Mick and I knew of Nick, But I didn’t know of your existence, Until early one morning on the number 46 bus, When I was reading a Swindon Town programme. It was back in 1992, And you told me that Nicky was your nephew, And I looked at you, someone I had never...

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Come Back Dad (Again)

Come Back Dad And hide “British History For Boys” Underneath my pillow while I’m asleep, As a surprise coming home present; Come Back Dad And bring home Mars Bars and eucalyptus sweets On Thursday pay nights For our weekly treat; Come Back Dad And tap the beer barrel...

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The Anniversary of the NHS: Parity not Charity

Tucked between the Trinity Rooms and the Hospital we celebrated the NHS’s 65th birthday this week in the Pocket Park. Built and given to the people in the 1880s, the Trinity Rooms acted as a ward in the First World War for troops, many, almost certainly, wounded on...

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