This is a blog written by two friends who are history anoraks with a particular interest in Britain from 1870 to 1939. Some of what we will be sharing in this blog will use Downton Abbey as a reference point. Why?

Downton Abbey has been a phenomenon since it debuted on ITV in September 2010 and one that caught our interest since it is set during the period in which we specialise. However, as the series has progressed, we have become annoyed by the programme’s ahistorical bent (yes it is fiction but it still has to have some grounding in the realities of the time it was set), simplistic view of history and the untruths that has been deliberately peddled. The programme is set during a crucial period in the history of Britain especially as there were events that have had a wide impact then and continue to do so even today such as women’s suffrage, the People’s Budget, the rise of socialism and the Labour movement, World War 1 and an increasingly globalised economy. They illustrate how the old pre-war order, brimming with confidence at the beginning of the twentieth century was gradually swept aside and supplanted by a new world order with the middle and working classes as a political and economic force to be reckoned with.

As students of late nineteenth and early twentieth century British history, we will be looking into the political, economic and social realities behind Downton Abbey’s narrative, plotting and characterisations and hopefully attempt to help shed light on this vital period that help shaped Britain into the nation that it is.



We are aware that criticism of Downton Abbey will lead to comments along the lines of “if you don’t like it, don’t watch it”. Apart from watching the programme because of the time frame it was set, we are fans of the actor Hugh Bonneville and those two are the reasons why we continue to watch the programme.

17 thoughts on “About

  1. Dear Thom:

    An apology for posting publicly, I wanted to thank you for the “like” of my recent post on Sutton Hoo at First Night History. Feel free to read the blog or a sample chapter at theoryofirony.com.

    -Erik Von Norden


  2. I enjoy your blog and I keep coming back to read every post. Each time I get in, I’m confronted with the darkish window, which is a beautiful work of art, but which doesn’t accurately set the mood or the purpose of the blog. The same with the background tile which I would associate with 18th century or earlier. Have you thought of redecorating? 🙂


    1. Many thanks for your comments. Redecorating is something we have thought of but any suggestions are always welcome. The title of the blog is part of a quote from a UK Prime Minister from the early part of the 20th cenutry – Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman who commented on the stately oratory of his rival Arthur Balfour – “Enough of this tomfoolery. It might have answered very well in the last Parliament but it is altogether out of place in this.”


      1. If you are serious about receiving suggestions, let’s take this to the private. You’ll find my email address in About on my blog.


  3. Would love to use one of the photos you have on this site (Munitions girls – and a lad – all grinning) for a drama school production next month of Barnbow Canaries – a play about the munitions factory explosion in Leeds in 1916. Could you tell me how I might get the rights to use it? Many thanks!


  4. Hi i found this blog very helpful and interesting because i have to write an essay about marriages in britain in the 19th and 20th century. I want to use these information in my essay but i dont think we can use blogs as sources and only books. It would be amazing if you could maybe please tell me which parts you wrote in the log are from which book? I am going to get these books anyways but it would be such a great help if you could tell me. Thank you so much.


    1. Hi Katharina,

      The quotes have been taken from the following books:

      1. Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
      2. Aprons and Silver Spoons by Mollie Moran
      3. The Lady’s Maid by Rosina Harrison
      4. Edwardians in Love by Anita Leslie

      The list of books we’ve used in the blogs are listed at the end of each entry


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