Search results

The BBC and the empire, 1939–53
Thomas Hajkowski

2 From the war to ­Westminster Abbey: the BBC and the ­empire, 1939–53 F or the historian, examining the BBC’s representation of empire during the Second World War is both challenging and particularly revealing. C ­ onsistent with its policies from the 1930s, the BBC broadcast a considerable number of empire programs. As Chapter 1 made clear, these pre-war programs carried a significant amount of ideological content. But during the war, the empire and Commonwealth had to be constructed with even greater deliberation and precision. Although the BBC had resolved

in The BBC and national identity in Britain, 1922–53
A royal city in a time of revolution
Author: J. F. Merritt

This book examines the varied and fascinating ways in which the series of non-monarchical regimes of England’s civil wars and interregnum interacted with the unique locality and community of Westminster. Westminster (as opposed to London) was traditionally viewed as the ‘royal’ city – the site of Whitehall Palace and the royal courts of justice, its Abbey reputed to be the ‘house of kings’, and its inhabitants assumed to be instinctive followers of the monarch and the royal court. Westminster emerges in this study as a site of extraordinary ambiguities and juxtapositions. The promoters of vigorous moral reformation and a sustained and often intrusive military presence coexisted uneasily with the area’s distinctive forms of elite sociability and luxury. The state’s foremost godly preachers performed in close proximity to royalist churchmen. More generally, the forces of political, religious and cultural conservatism can be observed on the very doorstep of parliament and non-monarchical regimes. Yet for Westminster as a whole, this was the time when the locality became tied to the state more tightly than ever before, while at key moments the town’s distinctive geography and local government played a significant role in shaping the political crises of the period. Chapters analyse the crisis of 1640-42, the use of Westminster’s iconic buildings and spaces by the non-monarchical regimes, the sustained military occupation of the locality, the problems of political allegiance and local government, the religious divisions and practices of the period, and the problematic revival of fashionable society in a time of political tension.

Abstract only
Rediscovering early modern Westminster
J. F. Merritt

modern Westminster: it has been ‘insensible’ in the eyes of historians too. This is all the more surprising because the medieval town and its abbey 2 have received significant attention from historians in recent years. Indeed the groundbreaking work of Gervase Rosser has used the complex medieval community surrounding Westminster Abbey as a springboard for rethinking urban identity in the country as a whole. For the early modern period, however, Westminster as a subject of study has remained virtually untouched. This has left a peculiar void in the urban history 3 of

in The social world of early modern Westminster
Corporate life in a time of change 1525–47
J. F. Merritt

undeveloped land in the surrounding area. The 1530s were also, of course, a time of Reformation. This meant not only significant reforms of local religious culture but also the eclipse of an institution that stood at the heart of medieval Westminster. As the Crown dissolved religious houses across the nation, the once great and powerful Abbey at Westminster could not escape a similar fate. The dissolution of Westminster Abbey led to the disappearance of a pilgrimage centre and threatened its raison d’être as a source of prayers for the royal dead, while the institution

in The social world of early modern Westminster
Sites and rites, 1642–60
J. F. Merritt

, not least Westminster Abbey itself. And in the hectic weeks of October 1659, when the country’s government seemed to be in abeyance, it was in the very streets of Westminster that rivals for power confronted each other. Given that the distinctiveness of Westminster largely related to the institutions in its midst, one of the most fruitful ways of exploring these changes in the state’s role in the locality is by examining the fortunes and changing use of its chief buildings. This also enables us to chart the changing meanings attached to buildings, and the symbolic

in Westminster 1640–60
J. F. Merritt

Chapter 2 The Impact of the Reformation in Westminster 1547–62 N Easter day 1555, a priest of Westminster Abbey, John Cheltham, was prepar ing to administer communion to parishioners at St Margaret’s church. Suddenly, at the elevation of the host, a man with a knife rushed forward and stabbed the priest. Blood fell on the consecrated host. Chaos ensued among the packed congregation: women shrieked, and commented one contemporary, ‘ther was sych a cry and choutt as has not byn’. Richard Dod, a former churchwarden, managed to wrest the knife away from the

in The social world of early modern Westminster
J. F. Merritt

particularly so since, at the level of both town and parish, local authority in Westminster was tied to religious institutions – the monastery of St Peter’s and the powerful lay fraternities of St Margaret’s. Successive Tudor ‘reformations’ saw Westminster Abbey dissolved under Henry VIII and reconstituted as a collegiate church only to be refounded as an abbey 2 under Mary and re-established yet again as a collegiate church by Elizabeth. Such large-scale changes also found their parallel on the parish level. St Margaret’s parish fraternities had provided an ad hoc form of

in The social world of early modern Westminster
Abstract only
Lamenting Livingstone
Justin D. Livingstone

the weeks that follow, an incredulous British public struggles to disbelieve and discredit the account. Months later and after an agonising delay, the Peninsular and Oriental Company’s steamship Malwa arrives, bearing a broken and wizened body to port in Southampton. Waiting is a public throng, in mourning for its hero. Later he is laid to rest in a teeming Westminster Abbey, the resting place of

in Livingstone’s ‘Lives’
Representations and celebrations in Liverpool, 1886–1953
Murray Steele

was much more of an imperial, or more accurately Commonwealth (no longer British Commonwealth), occasion, reflecting the character of the ceremony itself in Westminster Abbey. Liverpool marked the occasion with a service for schoolchildren at Liverpool Cathedral, ending with the singing of the ‘peace’ version of the national anthem to signify the new postwar era. This was followed on 6 June by a

in The empire in one city?
Robert Aldrich and Cindy McCreery

London from around the British Empire (singling out the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, ‘fine figures in scarlet tunics’, and the ‘dark-skinned officers and men of Indian regiments, in the many uniforms and sometimes strange headdresses’) and the indigenous maharajahs and sultans sitting in Westminster Abbey alongside European royals from Belgium, Norway, Sweden and Denmark

in Crowns and colonies