History of The UK Postage Stamp

Reform often comes from someone who is just a victim of a problem and not an expert. One such example is that of fixing postage stamp prices by Rowland Hill back in 1837. What are the odds of such a revolutionary change to be suggested by a former schoolmaster who did it on his free-will in contrast to being assigned this task?So, the problem with the postage stamp system of the time was that its pricing was inconsistent in different parts of the country which was disgruntling for the recipients of the post as they often ended up paying for the postage.

In May 1840, the system was reformed with the introduction of “Penny Black,”a prepaid stamp each of which costed 1d (one penny) to cover up to 4 oz. of a local post by weight.The move was perceived to be detrimental to the system as it would make postage cheaper but Hill countered by making the point that cheaper prices will help increase the scale as it will encourage masses to use it more, and also more often. Small amounts from a large number of people ultimately made postage popular and the new system was also adopted by other countries soon after. The original design of penny black featured a bust portrait of HM Queen Victoria and it was also the world’s first self-adhesive postage stamp.

Another reform in the postal system is something that was initially green in colour and was later painted red. Any guesses? It was the pillar box. Yes, they did not exist until it was invented by postal worker Anthony Trollope in 1853. Learn more about the history of postage stamps by checking out this infographic from Postage Supermarket. You would also get to learn how the price of postage stamps changed with time and about other reforms in the postal system

For further information:


Exhibition: Fighting for Recognition: The History of a Health Profession

Join us for the launch of our new exhibition celebrating 100 years of nursing registration. Find out about the fiery characters who fought for nursing registration, view original nursing registers from the General Nursing Council (now Nursing and Midwifery Council) and trim your own hat to emulate a matron from 1919. Talks and displays will explore the very different histories of health and medical Royal Colleges, from midwifery to physiotherapy; anaesthesia to optometry.

RCN Library, 20 Caverndish Square, Marylebone London W1

17 October 2019, 5.30 pm – 8.30pm

Short talks from 6pm include:

A century of nurse registration in the UK Dr Alison O’Donnell and Dr Moyra Journeaux. Alison trained as a registered general nurse. She has an honours degree in education, a Masters in Nursing and completed her PhD in 2010 at the University of Dundee. She is currently Chair of the RCN History of Nursing Forum.

Midwifery in twentieth century Britain: from regulation to reinvention? Dr Tania McIntosh, Principal Lecturer in Midwifery at the University of Brighton. Tania is dual qualified as an historian and a midwife and has researched and written extensively on the history of midwifery and women’s health.

‘Making Massage a Safe, Clean and Honourable Profession for British Women’: from Special Nursing to Physiotherapy in the early Twentieth Century.Dr Kay Nias, Medicine Galleries Research Fellow, Science Museum, London. Kay is a historian whose previous research has looked extensively at the history and material culture of physiotherapy, massage and mechanotherapy.

Displays and Activities (all evening)

  • View original nursing registers with the Nursing and Midwifery Council
  • Trim your own hat with the Royal College of Nursing
  • Association of Anaesthetists
  • The College of Optometrists
  • Bethlem Museum of the Mind
  • Florence Nightingale Museum
  • Royal Pharmaceutical Society
  • Royal British Nursing Association collection from Kings College Archives


City Women in the 18th Century Exhibition

This new exhibition of the trade and business cards of eighteenth- century women reveals their important economic role across London’s Cheapside. Recent research has demonstrated the prominence of women plying a trade at the heart of commercial London. These women were single, married, and widowed: marital status made little difference to their gainful employment in the city. They traded because they had valuable skills and capital assets. These women were entrepreneurs and they involved themselves in a multiplicity of commercial activities.

The extent of their activity and the fortunes of various individual women are chronicled in this free outdoor exhibition presenting new research in the British Museum collections as well as the records of the City of London and its various guilds.

From business cards produced by women, displayed in the vicinity of where they originally ran their shops, visitors will be exposed to the diverse and complex economic role of City Women in eighteenth-century London. Additionally, views of Cheapside and details of the trades conducted there by both women and men will chart the area’s contribution to the exploding commercial economy across the century.

The free exhibition, stretching over a 700-metre route from Paternoster Square to the Royal Exchange, will be available to view from 21st September to 18th October 2019.

For more information see


Vernon Press Series in Classical Studies – call for book proposals

CALL FOR BOOK PROPOSALS: New Series – Vernon Press Series in Classical Studies

Vernon Press invites proposals on the history, literature, art, philosophy, political or social structures, religion, languages, or archaeology of the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations for its new Series in Classical Studies.The classics are the earliest branch of the humanities, with a long history of scholarly value, but the field continues to evolve. The past two decades have seen exciting developments in key research areas, especially material culture, reception studies and gender studies. The books in this series will examine such growth areas, while also being open to more traditional approaches.Comprising edited volumes, co-authored books and single-author monographs, the series will be useful for senior researchers, scholars and practitioners with an interest in this field of study, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate students.

To receive more information about submitting a proposal or to discuss your idea, please contact James McGovern:

Information also available on:


Huntington Centennial Essay Prize

The Huntington Library Quarterly invites submissions for the Huntington Centennial Essay Prize. Offered in celebration of the Huntington Library’s centennial in 2019–20, the prize aims to promote scholarship in British and American studies from the sixteenth through the long eighteenth centuries.

The journal encourages interdisciplinary approaches and embraces research in all humanities fields. The competition is open to scholars at any stage. Essays need not be based on research in the Huntington Library’s collections. The prize carries a cash award of $1,000 USD to the author, and the winning essay will be published in the journal.

Application should be made via the HLQ’s online review and submission system,

Submission deadline: October 1, 2019. Word limit: 10,000 words, including notes.

Details at


Call for Contributions: The Crusades and the Far-Right in the 21st Century

The crusades refuse to remain in the past. In recent decades, elements of crusading rhetoric, iconography and historiography have been pressed into service by far-right, nationalist and related groups – sometimes with tragic consequences. From the shield-carrying white supremacists of Charlottesville to ‘Templar knight’ and mass-murderer Anders Breivik, self-styled ‘crusaders’ have often used a warped vision of the past as justification for antisocial or violent action in the present.As nationalist and far-right ideologies spread across Europe and the Americas, and as the academy engages in a welcome debate over how the crusades are taught, understanding how ideologues have misused our crusading past for their own ends is more important than ever. The aim of this volume therefore is to provide a timely exploration of this issue that crosses geographical and disciplinary boundaries.

The proposed volume edited by Charlotte Gauthier will be part of the Routledge Engaging the Crusades series, edited by Jonathan Phillips, Professor of the History of the Crusades at Royal Holloway, University of London, and Dr Mike Horswell, author of The Rise and Fall of British Crusader Medievalism, c. 1825-1945 (Routledge, 2018). It seeks to offer insight into the ways in which the crusades have been used in the last two centuries; demonstrating that the memory of the crusades is an important and emerging subject.

Proposals for articles of 6-8,000 words on any subject related to the appropriation of the crusades (e.g., crusader imagery, rhetoric, historical figures) by far-right, nationalist, white supremacist and associated individuals and groups in the 21st century are welcome. Pieces exploring appropriations of the crusades by individuals and groups outside the US/UK, and those taking a comparative or interdisciplinary approach are especially sought.

Potential topics include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • ‘Meme culture’ and the use of crusading imagery/rhetoric online
  • Invocations of the crusades by 21st-century political figures
  • Crusading conspiracy theories
  • The ‘modern military orders’
  • Crusading rhetoric/imagery as recruitment propaganda
  • Alternative/distorted histories of crusading
  • Modern crusader nationalism
  • ‘Crusade’ as justification for xenophobia, antisemitism or Islamophobia

Please submit an abstract of 200-300-words and a brief biography to Charlotte Gauthier ( by 15 July 2019. Inquiries are welcome at the same email address. First article drafts will be due by 15 October 2019, with an anticipated publication in spring 2020 (subject to commissioning by Routledge).

For more on the Engaging the Crusades series, see:


Twentieth Century British History’s Duncan Tanner Essay Prize 2019

Find out more at

The annual Duncan Tanner Essay Prize from Twentieth Century British History is now open to entries for its 2019 prize. The prize aims to recognise and reward high quality scholarship from postgraduate research students in Britain and abroad. Entries can cover any aspect of British history in the twentieth century and need not conform to traditional disciplinary boundaries.

The winner will receive:

  • Publication of the winning entry in Twentieth Century British History
  • £500 worth of OUP books
  • A year’s free subscription to the journal

The prize is open to anyone currently registered for a higher research degree, in Britain or abroad, or to anyone who completed such a degree no earlier than October 2018. Entries should be no longer than 10,000 words, inclusive of footnotes and references. The deadline for entries to this year’s prize is 1 November 2019.

Full entry requirements, as well as Terms & Conditions, can be found at

If you have any questions about the prize please contact Professor Adrian Bingham on


Keele University’s Latin and Palaeography Summer School

Keele’s summer school provides expert tuition in small groups for those who need to read medieval and early modern documents for local and national history.

This year features two introductory courses, to medieval Latin and to medieval palaeography, and three more advanced courses: Court Records of the Fourteenth & Fifteenth Centuries; Records of the Borough of Wallingford, 1250–1540; and Medieval Petitions to the Crown.

The school is frequently attended by local historians, postgraduate students, and archivists from UK and abroad, and is held in Keele University’s attractive campus in North Staffordshire. Some bursaries are available to help cover costs.

More details can be found at:


The Wandering Womb: Women’s health nursing past and present

Women have long been seen as at the mercy of their own biology. In the ancient medical world it was believed that a “wandering womb” could cause suffocation and death. Menstruation and childbearing were thought to make women weaker and less rational than men. Rising above these challenges, 100 years ago, women secured the right to vote in the UK. At the same time, nursing was formalised as a largely female profession. Since then, nurses have taken a leading role in challenging generalisations about women’s health. However, myths and misconceptions remain widespread, while medical and social changes have altered our biology as well as attitudes.

This exhibition addresses what has been seen as “normal” for women, past and present, and why women’s health has long been considered “dirty” nursing.

Please visit our website for more information:

Location: RCN Scotland, 42 South Oswald RoadEdinburgh, Scotland EH9 2HH

Dates: 8 May – 30 October 2019, 10am – 4pm


Images of Queen Mary I in Literature and Writing – call for papers

Images of Queen Mary I in Literature and Writing

 Edited by Valerie Schutte

I am seeking essay proposals for an edited volume focused on writings and literature about Queen Mary I. A few essays and book chapters exist on this subject, but there is no one volume that considers how Mary was written about in documents and letters as well as used in literature, from poetry to plays. While comparisons with her younger sister, Elizabeth, often yield fruitful results, this volume prefers essays focused solely on Mary so as to recover her from the shadows of Elizabeth and her reign. It is the purpose of this collection to present Mary in as many forms of writing as possible so as to offer a wide overview of her as queen, wife, and Tudor.

The collection will be submitted to the “Queenship and Power” series at Palgrave Macmillan, with planned publication for 2021. I will consider proposals from scholars at all stages of their careers, from graduate students to early career scholars to tenured faculty.

Possible essay topics include:

  • Poems celebrating Mary’s birth or pregnancies
  • Accession literature
  • Written commemorations of her death
  • Mary as written about in letters, particularly by ambassadors
  • Contemporary literature
  • Mary’s reputation in Italy or at the Papal Court
  • Mary in Spain, as Queen of Spain and Naples, or as a queen consort
  • Catholic or Protestant remembrances of Mary
  • Mary as represented by later rulers
  • Bio-bibliographies or compendiums
  • Novels, plays, and historical fiction
  • Treatment in encyclopedias or the ODNB

Essays not on these topics will also be considered.

Chapter proposals should be 250-300 words, accompanied by a brief biography, for essays of 6,000-8,000 words. Please email proposals and bios to no later than 1 August 2019. Accepted authors will be notified by September 2019 and complete essays will be due 1 August 2020.

Valerie Schutte earned her Ph.D. in History from the University of Akron. She is author of Mary I and the Art of Book Dedications: Royal Women, Power, and Persuasion (2015). She has edited or co-edited four collections on topics such as Mary I, Shakespeare, and queenship. She has published articles on Shakespeare, royal Tudor women, and book dedications. She is currently working on a monograph on Princesses Mary and Elizabeth Tudor and is planning a large-scale project on Anne of Cleves.