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A Fue Respectable Friends

John Lloyd: British brass bands, 5 April 2001

The British Brass Band: A Musical and Social History 
by Trevor Herbert.
Oxford, 381 pp., £48, June 2000, 0 19 816698 2
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... class. Brass bands were not originally working-class institutions. They were led at first by what Trevor Herbert calls ‘the socially superior classes’; they depended on a musical establishment with a taste for classical and religious music; they were formed into a network and encouraged to compete at open-air shows by entrepreneurs, instrument makers ...

Stormy Weather

E.S. Turner, 18 July 1996

Passchendaele: The Untold Story 
by Robin Prior and Trevor Wilson.
Yale, 237 pp., £19.95, May 1996, 0 300 06692 9
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... is a long time to wait for the so-called ‘untold story’ of Passchendaele. Robin Prior and Trevor Wilson are Australian historians who tell us, a little loftily, that ‘Great War studies have yet to escape their protracted adolescence.’ Their adult investigation is reminiscent of those relentless inquiries into scams carried out by district ...

Sabre-Toothed Teacher

Colin Kidd: Cowling, 31 March 2011

The Philosophy, Politics and Religion of British Democracy: Maurice Cowling and Conservatism 
edited by Robert Crowcroft, S.J.D. Green and Richard Whiting.
I.B. Tauris, 327 pp., £54.50, August 2010, 978 1 84511 976 8
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... market. Indeed, his legion of enemies ranged all the way across the political spectrum. When Hugh Trevor-Roper – raised to the peerage as Lord Dacre on Thatcher’s recommendation – became master of Peterhouse in 1980, he was dismayed to find that what he had imagined to be a congenially conservative environment provided instead an ecological niche for a ...

As seen on TV

Keith Kyle, 26 September 1991

From the House of War 
by John Simpson.
Hutchinson, 390 pp., £13.99, August 1991, 0 09 175034 2
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In the Eye of the Storm 
by Roger Cohen and Claudio Gatti.
Bloomsbury, 342 pp., £16.99, August 1991, 0 7475 1050 4
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... had been out in the streets whereas he had not. He was also very piqued at being beaten by Trevor McDonald in the competition for the Saddam Hussein interview, was unkind about McDonald in the Spectator (for which he expresses regret), and went off hurt from Iraq for a little while. He has a novelist’s gift for creating atmosphere and pinning down ...

Like Buttermilk from a Jug

Oliver Soden: Ivor Gurney’s Groove, 22 September 2022

Dweller in Shadows: A Life of Ivor Gurney 
by Kate Kennedy.
Princeton, 488 pp., £28, June 2021, 978 0 691 21278 4
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... father was a tailor in the city and the family lived above the shop. The cathedral choirmaster, Herbert Brewer, had an eye for local talent: as well as Gurney, his apprentices included Herbert Howells, later famous for his Anglican church music, and Ivor Novello, who soon disappeared into a different world. In ...

Don’t pee in the lift

Stefan Collini: Keeping Up with the Toynbees, 6 June 2024

An Uneasy Inheritance: My Family and Other Radicals 
by Polly Toynbee.
Atlantic, 436 pp., £10.99, June, 978 1 83895 837 4
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... intellectual convictions. In any case, large numbers of leading intellectuals, from, say, Herbert Spencer through H.G. Wells and on to Richard Hoggart and beyond, exhibited no such consanguinity.However, even if many of the more sweeping generalisations about the social homogeneity of intellectuals in Britain prove on closer inspection to be false, it ...

Draining the Whig bathwater

Conrad Russell, 10 June 1993

The Personal Rule of Charles I 
by Kevin Sharpe.
Yale, 983 pp., £40, November 1992, 0 300 05688 5
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... It is time the balance was redressed, though his praise for Windebank at times recalls Professor Trevor-Roper’s remark about historians who judge a minister’s ability by the number of letters he writes. Though Dr Sharpe has a case to make, he is not always sensitive to the evidence against which he must argue. The result is that he is less able to argue ...

My Castaway This Week

Miranda Carter: Desert Island Dreams, 9 June 2022

... the famous and worthy, or would-be worthy, have queued up to appear on it. On his death in 1965, Herbert Morrison, Clement Attlee’s heir presumptive for 25 years, was found to have a list of his eight favourite songs in his wallet in case he should ever be invited on – he never was. In his 1982 play, The Real Thing, Tom Stoppard described the eternal ...

Lord Cardigan’s Cherry Pants

Ferdinand Mount: The benefits of the Crimean War, 20 May 2004

The Crimean War: The Truth behind the Myth 
by Clive Ponting.
Chatto, 379 pp., £20, March 2004, 0 7011 7390 4
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... both at Scutari and in the Crimea. A full-scale Royal Sanitary Commission was set up under Sidney Herbert in 1857 to investigate conditions in army barracks and hospitals. Ventilation, sanitation, diet and leisure facilities were all improved as a result. The performance of the army commissariat was fiercely criticised by another commission. A staff college ...

Strewn with Loot

Adewale Maja-Pearce, 12 August 2021

The Brutish Museums: The Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence and Cultural Restitution 
by Dan Hicks.
Pluto, 368 pp., £20, November 2020, 978 0 7453 4176 7
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Loot: Britain and the Benin Bronzes 
by Barnaby Phillips.
Oneworld, 388 pp., £20, April, 978 1 78607 935 0
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... by the British. ‘A large quantity of brass castings & carved tusks have been found,’ Captain Herbert Walker noted in his diary. ‘The Admiral & his staff have been very busy “safeguarding” the remainder, so I doubt if there will be much left for smaller fry … The whole camp is strewn with loot.’ Olfert Dapper had referred to the bronzes ...

Dazed and Confused

Paul Laity: Are the English human?, 28 November 2002

Patriots: National Identity in Britain 1940-2000 
by Richard Weight.
Macmillan, 866 pp., £25, May 2002, 0 333 73462 9
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Pariah: Misfortunes of the British Kingdom 
by Tom Nairn.
Verso, 176 pp., £13, September 2002, 1 85984 657 2
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Identity of England 
by Robert Colls.
Oxford, 422 pp., £25, October 2002, 0 19 924519 3
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Albion: The Origins of the English Imagination 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Chatto, 518 pp., £25, October 2002, 1 85619 716 6
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... form’ in favour of parallel feet, straight hips and regular steps. The nation was reduced to Trevor Howard in Brief Encounter. The decline of the gentlemanly ideal transformed the political nation during the second half of the 20th century. The ‘secret rules of upper classness’ ceased to apply, and poshness became less fashionable. This was just one ...

Moderation or Death

Christopher Hitchens: Isaiah Berlin, 26 November 1998

Isaiah Berlin: A Life 
by Michael Ignatieff.
Chatto, 386 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 7011 6325 9
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The Guest from the Future: Anna Akhmatova and Isaiah Berlin 
by György Dalos.
Murray, 250 pp., £17.95, September 2002, 0 7195 5476 4
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... straight thing was ever made.” ’In 1969, he came upon a piece of moral idiocy from Herbert Marcuse – or at any rate a piece of moral idiocy from Marcuse quoted in Encounter – and went into a towering rage, writing that people like Marcuse and indeed Hannah Arendt were products of:the terrible twisted Mitteleuropa in which nothing is ...

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