The Oxford Companion to British History

By John Cannon | Go to book overview


R 101 airship. The larger of two rigid airships commissioned by the government in 1924. Designed by Barnes Wallis, it was built to carry up to 50 passengers on the longhaul route to India. It set out on its maiden voyage on 1 October 1930 with an official party on board, including the secretary of state for air. At 2 a.m. the following morning it touched the ground on its approach to Beauvais, caught fire, and exploded. Only four people survived. The disaster put an end to the use of airships in Britain.


race relations. A thorough survey of race relations in Britain would demand a history of the British Isles, since one of its persistent themes has been the interplay of the native peoples, the intervention of Romans, Saxons, Danes, and Normans, and the reception of Jews, Palatines, Huguenots, and, after the Second World War, citizens from the Commonwealth. It would also include a study of the rise and fall of the first and second British empires. Before the 20th cent., governments did not often intervene to protect newcomers or promote racial harmony. *Cnut was anxious to hold a balance between his Danish and English subjects; Henry VIII in 1535 complained that 'rude and ignorant' people were stirring up 'discord, division and murmur' between his Welsh and English subjects; and James I took the earliest opportunity to recommend 'mutual love' between his Scottish and his new English subjects. Racial questions were usually complicated by other considerations, particularly religion and employment. French Huguenots in the 17 cent., because of their religion, were on the whole welcomed: Jews and Irish catholics less so. In its modern form, race relations developed mainly through the *anti-slavery campaign in the late 18th and early 19th cents. Opponents of emancipation justified slavery on arguments of racial inferiority, offensively expressed by Thomas *Carlyle in an essay on 'The Nigger Question' in Frazer's Magazine for 1849. Immigration from the Commonwealth in the 1950s and 1960s, particularly from India and the West Indies, placed the question on the political agenda. The 1965 Race Relations Act, passed by the Wilson government, prohibited discrimination in places of public resort, such as hotels or restaurants, made the promotion of hatred on grounds of 'colour, race, or ethnic or national origins' an offence, and established a Race Relations Board to hear complaints. The measure was extended by further Acts in 1968 and 1976, the last providing for a Race Relations Commission to promote 'equality of opportunity and good relations'.


Radcot Bridge, battle of, 1387. The accession of a 10-yearold king, Richard II, in 1377 led to baronial rivalry. In 1386 five noblemen, Arundel, Derby (the future Henry IV), * Gloucester, *Nottingham, and Warwick, formed an alliance, the lords *appellant, to remove two royal favourites, Michael de la *Pole, duke of Suffolk and * Oxford (created duke of Ireland in 1386). Suffolk was impeached and forced to flee. De Vere, earl of Oxford, raised an army in Cheshire in December 1387 and marched south to join the king. He was intercepted at Radcot Bridge, just east of Lechlade, on 20 December and trapped between armies led by Derby in front and Gloucester behind. Oxford fled and joined Suffolk in France.


radicalism seeks a fundamental change in political structures through a programme of far-reaching but constitutional reform. Its features include some or all of individualism, democracy, minimal government, a market economy, freedom of speech and publication, and opposition to tradition, hereditary privilege, and religious influences.

There was never a single radical party in Britain, though three loose groupings may be identified. The *philosophical radicals were the *utilitarian followers of Jeremy *Bentham ( 1748-1832) who formed a small but influential reforming group in the 1830s, including George *Grote and Joseph *Hume within the Commons, and Edwin *Chadwick, Joseph *Parkes, and James and John Stuart *Mill outside Parliament. Their ideas were publicized through the Westminster Review. Secondly, from the later 1830s, the * Manchester School radicals, led by *Cobden and *Bright, campaigned for *free trade and against aristocratic privilege through organizations such as the *Anti-Corn Law League. They were supported by nonconformist religious opinion opposed to the established church. Thirdly, outside Parliament, admirers of Thomas *Paine's *Rights of Man ( 1791-2) formed a loose alliance of democratic agitators which gave leadership to the *chartist movement ( 1838-52). These extremists were often in conflict with the other, more middleclass radicals. To a large extent they coalesced in the later 1850s into the radical wing of the *Liberal Party under *Gladstone's leadership. Notable parliamentary radicals in


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The Oxford Companion to British History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Ppreace vii
  • Contributors ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Note to the Reader xii
  • A 1
  • B 71
  • C 149
  • D 273
  • E 318
  • F 363
  • G 399
  • H 445
  • I 503
  • J 523
  • K 541
  • L 553
  • M 602
  • N 666
  • O 701
  • P 717
  • Q 782
  • R 785
  • S 831
  • T 907
  • U 941
  • V 951
  • W 960
  • Y 1008
  • Z 1015
  • Subject Index 1034


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