Innovation: The History of England Volume VI
This was a birthday gift from Susan’s daughter, Tracy, almost a month late. Nevertheless, Peter Ackroyd is my favourite English historian, so I didn’t mind the belated birthday present. (I also have Volume II, which is entitled “Tudors: The History of England from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I”.) A simple reading of the first few chapters has answered a life-long question of: Whatever happened to England?
In reality, the farmers and their labourers moved into the main cities, expanding those centres into urban sprawls of millions of council houses for the poor (especially after WWI), when public housing became popular. Terraced houses became the norm. (I bought one when I lived there in 1986: essentially a ‘two up, two down’ building connected to its neighbours on both sides.)
Mostly these were run by the local council. Only in the beginning of the 21st century were these council houses available for purchase by the tenants. Meanwhile, the industrial ‘rich’ decided to move out of the cities and back into the countryside as gentlemen farmers, effectively swapping with the former owners.
Politically, the Second Boer War knocked England from its lofty perch as a world power. It never recovered. The Great War and World War II nailed the lid of the coffin shut. Without the Empire (WWI), now the Commonwealth of Nations, and the Americans (WWII), England would have become a German occupied territory. Which makes it ironical that the United Kingdom, later, voluntarily entered into the European Union (led from the front by a newly reunited Germany), only to choose to Brexit in 2016. Some things should never have happened.
I will write more later should the mood strike, as I read further into this book. Meanwhile: