History

It's crazy to give up on cash

28 January 2017 9:00 am

Banknotes and coins are at the heart of British life. In these dreary contactless times, we’d be mad to lose them for ever

1917, and Britain doesn’t quite rule the waves

21 January 2017 9:00 am

From ‘Raiders, submarines and some naval problems’, The Spectator, 20 January 1917: At the moment the enemy’s fleet is compelled to…

Why does America inaugurate its presidents in January?

21 January 2017 9:00 am

Starting cold Why is US Presidential Inauguration Day always on 20 January? — The date was moved from 4 March…

What physicists understand that economists don’t

21 January 2017 9:00 am

Particle of faith Sir: Fraser Nelson draws our attention to the most worrying aspect of economists getting it wrong, which…

The Stonehenge tunnel is monumental folly

21 January 2017 9:00 am

The Stonehenge tunnel is a ruinously expensive plan that will deprive millions of a small but important pleasure

The Spectator on the killing of Rasputin

7 January 2017 9:00 am

From ‘News of the Week’, The Spectator, 6 January 1917: The war has been crowded with romantic adventures by sea…

Why Putin’s Russia will be keeping quiet about 1917

7 January 2017 9:00 am

The 100th anniversary of the Russian revolution presents today’s Russian autocrats with an embarrassing dilemma

Infantrymen, circa 1915

The first world war’s Christian soldiers

10 December 2016 9:00 am

From a letter published under the heading ‘The religion of the ordinary soldier’, The Spectator, 23 December 1916: During a discharge…

America’s first great cultural export

How Santa Claus ate Father Christmas

10 December 2016 9:00 am

Presents, stockings, the flying sleigh? It all began as a New York practical joke

Red dawn: Lenin demands revolution, April 1917

The centenary of the Russian revolution should be mourned, not celebrated

10 December 2016 9:00 am

As its centenary looms, never forget the brutal oppression ushered in by the Russian Revolution

The consolations of sports geekery

10 December 2016 9:00 am

Sports geekery is a comfort in dark times – like, say, now

‘Snow scene in the Garden of a Daimyo’. Triptych by Hiroshige and Uagawa Kunisada

The terrible beauty of snow

10 December 2016 9:00 am

Here is William Diaper in 1722, translating Oppian’s Halieuticks (a Greek epic poem on the loves of the fishes): As…

Let food prices rise! The Spectator’s answer to shortages, 1916

3 December 2016 9:00 am

From ‘The food shortage and how to meet it’, The Spectator, 2 December 1916: A rise in prices, if properly understood…

What past Buckingham Palace renovations cost (and who paid)

26 November 2016 9:00 am

Bucks for Bucks Buckingham Palace is to be renovated at a cost of £369m, funded through an increase in the…

What Thucydides would have thought of Donald Trump

19 November 2016 9:00 am

‘America’s journey into the great unknown’, screamed a headline greeting Donald Trump’s election as next President of the United States.…

Why the City must let German bankers back, 1916

19 November 2016 9:00 am

From ‘English versus German banking’, The Spectator, 18 November 1916: At the present moment a good many of us are in…

Mike Pence

Could vice-president Mike Pence be the most powerful man in America?

19 November 2016 9:00 am

Veep Mike Pence is the new president’s link to his party

Ideas for shortening the war, 1916

12 November 2016 9:00 am

From ‘How to Shorten the War. I. Prisoners’, The Spectator, 11 November 1916: Unless we altogether mistake the mental character of…

The library photographed in 1958

The north London library that helped create the Russian Revolution

12 November 2016 9:00 am

There’s a small corner of Clerkenwell where the communist dream never died. The Marx Memorial Library has been in its…

The glamour and pathos of death in war

5 November 2016 9:00 am

From ‘Romance’, The Spectator, 4 November 1916: There is indeed a glamour and a pathos about the private soldier, especially when, as so…

George V’s greatest gift to his ministers: silence

22 October 2016 9:00 am

From ‘A Royal contribution’, The Spectator, 7 October 1916: His Majesty has passed through troublous times, in the constitutional controversy, in…

‘Y’all just follow me…’

Hospitality and historic horror in Mississippi

15 October 2016 9:00 am

Driving into Greenwood after dark, we pull into a gas station and ask directions to a late-night grocery store. ‘Sir……

Looking for hope on the Somme, 1916

24 September 2016 9:00 am

From ‘The Battle of the Somme’, The Spectator, 23 September 1916: It may prove to be the fact that the battle…

My eerie visit to Buckingham Palace in the 1830s

17 September 2016 9:00 am

The borderline between fact and fiction becomes ever hazier, I find. Last February, Daisy Goodwin — the author of the…

The bullet-ridden plaque to Nelson in Napoleon’s Corsica

3 September 2016 9:00 am

European unions come and go. Back in 1794, one of the more improbable ones was founded when Corsica joined Britain…