Introduction - British Empire 1815-1914

British Empire
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Welcome to the new 'British Empire 1815-1914', launched in August 2019. Please let me know what you think of the site (using the contact form) and what additional topics or features you would like added.

The author of the website, Peter Crowhurst
Who is this website for?
I have produced this website for anyone who is interested in knowing more about the British Empire, especially during those years when it reached its greatest size and degree of influence - the Victorian period. Whether you are coming to the empire for the first time, or you are a casual reader  or you are a first year undergraduate, I hope there will be something here for you.
What does the website offer?
This website has information about the growth of the British Empire from the time of the Napoleonic wars until the outbreak of World War One. There are  introductory essays on An Outline History of the British Empire’ and ‘Key Features of the c19th British Empire’  and also an essay on ‘Why Study the British Empire?’ then sections on some of the main controversies that engage historians and the public and the main turning points and profiles of some of those who helped make the British Empire. There is a reference section with glossaries of colonial wars, people and the territories of the British Empire and also suggestions for further reading, both fiction and non-fiction. If you are looking for something which is not here or you have suggestions as to what might be included please contact me.
Where should I begin?
If you are new to the study of the British Empire you may want to read my essay on Why Study the Empire?  and then go on to read  ‘Key Features of the c19th British Empire?  This discusses the idea of empire and how British and English the empire was. If you want to know a little  about the background of the establishment of the British Empire, you may want to read ‘An Outline History of the British Empire.
Why Study the Empire?
The main reason for this website is to raise awareness of the British Empire. For too long the subject has almost been a taboo subject and not properly debated because of its association with racism and the reluctance of society to engage in debates around race and the violence associated with the empire. We have been embarrassed to confront the realities of Empire partly because questions of why and how the empire was established is not distant enough in our consciousness but also because the subject was often politicised. Discussions about reparations, repentance and morality have dominated the airways and made us shy away from discussing the real issues. Read On
Who am I?
I am a retired History teacher who spent most of my teaching career as Head of History in a large comprehensive school in West Sussex where I taught all ages and periods of British and World History. In the last few years of my career I introduced topics on the British Empire to various year groups  and since retirement have developed further my interest in the British Empire.
My Talks
As well as preparing material for the website, I also give talks on a range of topics linked to the British Empire. Recent talks include: General Garnet Wolseley, Olaf Caroe -the last Governor of the North West Territories of India, The Boer War,  Cecil Rhodes and Kipling’s Rottingdean Years. I am now preparing a talk on ‘Ranji-  an Imperial Servant’. More details on these talks can be found here.

As well as talks on the British Empire 1815 - 1914, I also give talks and guided walks on the North Laine area of Brighton. See my website on North Laine for more details:

Contact Me
You can contact me using the form on the contact page
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