On 20 August 2016, the Swansea branch welcomed the president of the national Historical Association, Professor Justin Champion, to deliver the President’s Lecture at the National Waterfront Museum.
Justin opened the talk by stating that the Swansea branch “is an absolute model for other branches and for what the HA is trying to achieve. It is a real testament to volunteers and the role of history in the community.”
The talk entitled, ‘To Kill a King: New Perspectives on the Trial and Execution of Charles I’, set out to dispel myths of the traditional accounts of the events following the English Civil War. Justin argued that far from being inevitable, the king’s death was the worst conceivable outcome and a last resort.
Justin highlighted how this important part of British (including Welsh) history is too often glossed over or not even covered. We had a Revolution before the French, the Russians and even the Americans.
Despite the wars not being part of our collective memory, if you take into account direct and indirect deaths, the percentage of the population that died in the Civil Wars is the same as World War I.
The talk was very well received and there were a number of audience questions, which Justin was only too happy to answer.
After the Q&A, the Swansea branch president, Dr John Law, lecturer in medieval history at Swansea University, presented the national president, Justin with a framed copy of the 1658 Charter granted to Swansea by The Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell.
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The PR Secretary of the Swansea Branch, Stephanie Brown, said “It was a great opportunity to meet such a successful and prominent historian as Justin. It is refreshing to see how passionate he is about public history and keen to support history at all levels.”
“These talks are a great opportunity for students to listen to and meet an array of historians, speaking on a wide range of topics.”
The Swansea branch of the Historical Association’s next talk is entitled ‘1916 in Irish History and Memory’ and will be given by Swansea University lecturer, Dr Tomás Irish on Saturday 17 September 2016.
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