Here we are:  into the second day of the brave new world of 2020. I’m interested in how this new decade – the new “twenties” – will shape up; my theory is that this decade will be more culturally distinctive because it has a clearer identity (the “twenties”) when compared with the first two decades of the century. After all, the “noughties” has never seemed to have achieved widespread usage, whilst I never hear anyone refer to the most recent decade under any title (especially not the so-called “teens”).

So, the first post of the year is connected to the old feature of the ‘Monthly Round-Up’. Regular readers of the blog may have noticed that this monthly post wasn’t uploaded in December 2019, and this was partly due to my own nagging doubt as to whether the site needed such a regular overview of recent activity. However, I do quite enjoy the reflection element of the series, and therefore this first post of 2020 will see a relaunch and reboot as a bi-monthly series!

All of that was a rather long winded way for me to round up this blog’s posts over the past two months for the months of November 2019 and December 2019!

Family History Posts

The final couple of months of 2019 saw me return to family history related research, having not fully delved into anything since the start of the year with the Moors of Essex. Having spent a couple of years looking into my wife’s side of the family I changed tact to look at the ancestors of my surname, giving rise to the new feature of the Trail of the Wildmen. In October I charted the life of my great grandfather Sidney Levi Wildman, whilst in November I looked into his wife Alice Davis. The research into this pair has provided lots of new questions and I hope to use 2020 to start providing answers.

Classroom Debates

A couple of posts relate to debates and discussions from the classroom. The FdA module The Reluctant Handover charts the decline of the British Empire and the rise and domination of the USA, and the discussions with the students led to the creation of the post ‘How Boring was the Boar War?’ and whether or not the decline of the British Empire was inevitable. I enjoyed teaching these topics and the discussion and resultant write-ups have allowed me to consider other aspects of these debates. I hope to develop this further in 2020 with posts relating to the transformation of the British Empire into a Commonwealth, as well as the argument of America’s supposed domination after the collapse of Communism in the 1990s (relating to Fukuyama’s ‘The End of History’ debate).

boer war - rhodes
Cecil Rhodes: apex of empire?

Furthermore, the A-level module ‘Democracy & Nazism: Germany 1918-1945’ has been heating up with a deeper study into the dynamics and functions of the Nazi state. One post from November 2019 outlines the debate of the Hitler Myth: was Hitler really the all-singing all-dancing all-powerful dictator that the public seems to believe? Similar to the posts relating to The Reluctant Handover module, I hope to use 2020 to delve and reflect further, specifically on the bizarre un-sustainability of the Nazi economy and the social policies initiated against the youth of Germany.

And lastly, the post about Cornish nationalism is one linked to the debates on British devolution in the A-level Politics classroom. I have enjoyed covering devolution due to the need for students to appreciate the historical context, which obviously plays to my strengths as a History teacher. This particular post is edited from an earlier degree essay that I wrote on which I speculated about the break-up of the United Kingdom. Written in 2009, it is scary to see the development over the past decade on the signs leading to the actual destruction of this political union.

Out & About: History on our Doorstep

In November I posted about a strange, decaying shopping parade in Paignton, Devon: Crossways. It is in a sad state of neglect and decline and although the experience of walking through a row of boarded shops is a rather grim one I always take the time to do so because of the connections to other towns across the western world: especially the rise of the notion of ‘abandoned porn’ and ‘dead malls’.

Paignton’s Crossways

Whilst in December I was able to get out of the college for a day-trip to SS Great Britain. Yes, it was pretty much the same trip from a year ago, however, this time I was able to use the experience to reflect more deeply on SS Great Britain as well as the part that museum displays play in helping to maintain our sense of history.

The Other Seemingly Random Posts

Yes, the remaining posts that are unable to fit into any of the above categories, and which are seemingly random, but not quite so. In December I posted about the life of Sir William Harspur, a name that I first came across when researching into my great-grandfather Sidney Levi Wildman. I thought Harspur was an interesting person mainly due to its ability to continue to prosper during times of religious and societal dislocation in Tudor England.

December also saw the latest entry in the on-going series of the English Monarchs FA Cup. We are currently half way through the fixtures of the first round, so it may be several months yet before we actually complete the draw for Round 2. But there is nothing wrong with taking the scenic route, and I am enjoying the research and write-up of each fixture.

English Monarchs FA Cup Pic
The English Monarchs FA Cup

And finally, the very last post of 2019 was a top 5 list of my own favourite posts of the year. A yearly tradition was seemingly created last year, and as long as the blog survives I shall continue it.

So, What’s To Come?

I hope to use 2020 to catch up to speed on posts that I have started or had ideas for but have not yet developed. There are some 50 posts waiting to be finished off and I will try to pull my finger out in the early months of the new year to complete these. The topics include:

  • Another post in the English Monarchs FA Cup series!
  • The return of the War World Cup: focusing on the wars of Henry VIII!
  • The impact of the German Ruhr crisis of 1923!
  • A debate about which referencing system is better!
  • A short history of a forgotten and rather pointless micronation!

Furthermore, I am hoping that early 2020 will see the publication of the book The Entire History of One English Pub on the history of the Blue Monkey pub. Also, there is a new history conference to plan and promote. Lots for me to look forward to! And of course, I will use this site to spread the good word on all things history related.