British empire

Shameless and corny: ITV’s Beecham House reviewed

29 June 2019 9:00 am

ITV’s new drama Beecham House is set in late 18th-century India where the British and French were still battling it…

Maisie Williams as Caroline in the breathtaking new play 'I and You' at Hampstead Theatre. Photo: Manuel Harlan

One of the best plays I’ve ever seen: I and You at the Hampstead Theatre reviewed

10 November 2018 9:00 am

Lauren Gunderson’s play I and You opens in the scruffy bedroom of 17-year-old Caroline. Lonely, beautiful and furious, she’s unable…

The dumbing down of the Reith Lectures

30 June 2018 9:00 am

It’s been a heavyweight week on Radio 4 with the start of the annual series of Reith Lectures and a…

BBC1's The Last Post is not for those who like their TV fearless and innovative

7 October 2017 9:00 am

BBC1’s latest Sunday-night drama The Last Post, about a British military base in Aden in 1965, feels like a programme…

Indians are getting post-truth history about Winston Churchill

4 February 2017 9:00 am

Did Winston Churchill, like Donald Trump, also like to ‘grab them by the pussy?’ Last week at the Jaipur Literary…

Jan Morris — ‘the greatest descriptive writer of her time’

29 October 2016 9:00 am

Married as I am to an antiquarian book dealer, and living in a house infested with books and manuscripts, I’m…

Catherine Tate’s talents are wasted on this meandering musical about nuclear fallout

26 March 2016 9:00 am

Miss Atomic Bomb celebrates the sub-culture that grew up around nuclear tests in 1950s America. The citizens of Nevada would…

Flying from Donald Trump to the beautiful ruins of another empire

5 March 2016 9:00 am

Just as the presidential race in America started to get really crazy, I left for India. On the morning of…

What to do about Syria – the view from 1916

6 February 2016 9:00 am

From ‘The future of Syria’, The Spectator, 5 February 1916: We say with all the emphasis at our command, and…

‘Lady at the Virginal with a Gentleman’ or ‘The Music Lesson’, 1662–5, by Vermeer

Artistic taste is inversely proportional to political nous

28 November 2015 9:00 am

‘Wherever the British settle, wherever they colonize,’ observed the painter Benjamin Robert Haydon, ‘they carry and will ever carry trial…

The students tearing down Cecil Rhodes’s statue are still upholding his legacy

25 April 2015 9:00 am

Protesting students in Cape Town may disdain the statue of Cecil Rhodes, yet they do not reject his legacy

Shipping out: Harrow led the charge, opening a school in Bangkok in 1998

Britain’s educational empire

14 March 2015 9:00 am

British satellite schools are everywhere, writes Will Heaven

Gymkhana is morally disgusting – and fortunately the food’s disgusting too

18 October 2014 9:00 am

Gymkhana is a fashionable Indian restaurant in Albemarle Street. It was, according to its natty website, ‘inspired by Colonial Indian…

English tea-chests are thrown into Boston harbour, 16 December 1773

A Labour MP defends the Empire – and only quotes Lenin twice

14 June 2014 8:00 am

In a grand history of the British empire — because that is what this book really is —  you might…

When Britain Burned the White House, by Peter Snow - review

28 September 2013 9:00 am

Peter Snow explains that he decided to look into this extraordinary story when he realised how few people knew about…

Beyond the Malachite Hills, by Jonathan Lawley; Last Man In, by John Hare - review

11 May 2013 9:00 am

In post when the curtain came down on Britain’s African empire, there survives today a generation of colonial officers whose…

Hasty exit strategy

2 March 2013 9:00 am

For years after the rug was pulled from under it, the British Empire — with a quarter of the globe,…

Gunboat diplomacy

28 January 2012 10:00 am

Philip Mansel on the brief period in British history when Mare Nostrum became our sea

Voyages of discovery

10 December 2011 10:00 am

Roger Louis is an American professor from the University of Texas at Austin who knows more about the history of…

The empire strikes back

19 February 2011 12:00 am

Britain recovered from the humiliating loss of her American colonies surprisingly swiftly. But a harsh fate awaited many of her loyalist supporters, according to John Preston