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When David Hume learned in 1762 that Jean-Jacques Rousseau was interested in relocating to Britain, he got busy to make that happen. The two men first met in Paris in 1765. They travelled together from Paris to England in January 1766. Hume arranged lodging for Rousseau, otherwise tended to him and successfully procured a pension for him from King George III. Within a few months, things turned very sour. Rousseau wrote hateful letters to Hume, accusing him of having plotted for... Read More >

Recent Articles:


Recent scholarship on investment patterns during the 18th and 19th centuries in Britain has uncovered the role of women as investors. By the late 19th century, rising real wealth and the promise of higher returns coupled with lower risk led both Read More >

The Church of England has confirmed plans to apologise to UK Jews for medieval antisemitic laws, put in place centuries before the church itself existed. The anticipated apology is a curious one, especially as the modern British Jewish Read More >

The colonists were at first demanding only equal rights with British citizens, until the events of April 1775. In 1837, the American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson published a poem called Concord Hymn, to mark the dedication of an Read More >

On 4 June 1989, an estimated one million peaceful protestors in China were met with machine gun fire and tank columns in what would be known forever as the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Simply known as the ‘June 4th Incident’ in China, where Read More >

An economist once relayed to me a conversation that he had with his teenage niece regarding the content of her high school global history class. When he asked her about the Industrial Revolution, she replied that there were good and bad things Read More >

This article was originally published in February 2018. An ornate fresco that once adorned the residence of a wealthy Roman citizen was discovered by our archaeologists at 21 Lime Street, in London in 2016. They uncovered the fresco six metres Read More >

The railways made a rapid impact on Britain. It was only in 1830 that inter-city rail travel started with the link between Liverpool and Manchester, but by 1840, they, and the other four largest English cities (Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds and Read More >

We are at a key moment in economic history right now. This is the definitive movement of the world and economic life from a world of territorial states and economies to one of cities. Cities have been a feature of human life for almost 6,000 Read More >

The state of Massachusetts has now entered Phase III Step 2 of a reopening, which means all sorts of amazing nonsense cobbled together by people with power who imagine that their high-end credentials grant them the intelligence to outsmart a Read More >

This article was originally published here in July 2020. One of the most marvelous books I’ve read this year is Donald Henderson’s personal story of the eradication of smallpox. The book is Smallpox: The Death of a Disease: The Inside Read More >

This article was originally published in October 2017. In a conscious echo of Harold Macmillan who oversaw the construction of more than 300,000 mostly local authority houses in 1953, the Prime Minister recently announced that her government is Read More >

The historical role of female investors is belatedly coming under the spotlight. In recent years, industry research has documented the rise of female investors. A report by the Center for Talent Innovation titled Harnessing the Power of the Read More >

The deposal of James II was less revolution than evolution, setting England firmly on the path towards parliamentary democracy. Few monarchs have inherited such a seemingly strong position as James II did in 1685. The Earl of Peterborough Read More >

This article was first published in January 2018. Real estate, golf courses and Florida sunshine have long gone together, but not always happily. It is to a golf complex in Florida (the wonderfully-named Valhalla Village) that novelist John Read More >

Most people today regard America’s experiment with alcohol prohibition as a national embarrassment, rightly repealed in 1933. So it will be with the closures and lockdowns of 2020, some day.  In 1920, however, to be for the repeal of Read More >

The Interregnum is airbrushed as a mere gap between two kings, but we were among the first in Europe to scrap the monarchy. England makes much of its monarchy as a symbol of continuity. It is part of this country’s identity and sense of Read More >

On 12 October 1864, Chief Justice Roger Taney, author of the Dred Scott decision, passed away. Abraham Lincoln (finally!) had the opportunity to replace that man. There was never a doubt that Lincoln would nominate a successor. On the other Read More >

ARTICLE ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED APRIL 2018 John Shotto Douglas, the ninth Marquess of Queensberry, has two major claims to fame. First he was the nemesis of gay author Oscar Wilde who sued him for libel after he had publicly objected to the liaison Read More >

December 1939 marked an unusual moment in American politics. Although a raging world war consumed the European continent and the distant perimeter of the Pacific, the United States remained two years away from entry into the conflict. Instead, Read More >

Above: The opening of the account roll of University College, Oxford, for 1383-4 © The Master and Fellows of University College, Oxford ARTICLE ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 21ST NOVEMBER 2017 Few organisations, apart from cathedrals, can rival Read More >

In 1533-4, Henry VIII rejected the Pope’s authority and broke away from the Church of Rome, declaring himself Supreme Head of the Church in England. This country thus detached itself from a large supra-national institution that had Read More >

Outside Westminster Hall stands a prominent statue of Oliver Cromwell, which was designed by the Victorian sculptor Hamo Thornycroft and erected in 1899 to mark the three hundredth anniversary of the Lord Protector’s birth.  In Read More >

In an earlier article, I discussed Cromwell’s speeches during his years as Lord Protector (1653-58).  His private letters during this period show many similar characteristics, and especially the same religiosity and Read More >

ARTICLE ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED JULY 5TH 2017 In 2008, financial institutions across the globe were engulfed by waves emanating from an over-extended US property sector. The problems surfaced in the ‘shadow’ banking sector, where much of the Read More >

ARTICLE ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED SPRING 2019 The English mania for seaside holidays predated the railways – but the arrival of the steam train supercharged it Seaside resorts and inland watering places have a long history in England. “One Read More >

ARTICLE ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED SPRING 2019 Slammed as a device of weak-wristed cads, a new ball managed to take over the entire sport within a few years Sports change – rules are modified, equipment is improved,  and skills are Read More >

“The economic mechanism of Europe is jammed.”  - J M Keynes [1]  The Dutch finance minister Wopka Hoekstra is somewhat brazen. Like his German counterpart, he caused consternation across the Union by rejecting a Read More >

Extensive records survive of Cromwell’s speeches during his years as Lord Protector (1653-58), and they tell us much about both the man and the age in which he lived.  They reflect his intense religious faith and his grappling with Read More >

On an urban street corner, where Middlesex Street meets Whitechapel High Street in East London, lie the remains of a lost Shakespearean-era playhouse, the Boar’s Head. Its existence was already known due to references in historic records, such Read More >

“It promises to join up various portions of the metropolis with what has been described as an ‘inner ring’ represented by the Metropolitan District Railway. New lines will bring passengers from east, west, north and south to the District Read More >

I have long maintained that films are powerful indications of the social mood and values of a society. Within that context, the comparison between two recent war films is highly informative as to the disparate perspectives on the importance of a Read More >

The history of infrastructure finance has much to teach us. Let’s look at Indian railway securities during the time of the British Empire and the role played by the Economist The period 1880-1913, characterised as the first era of Read More >

Archaeologists have been thrilled at some unique finds in a sixth-century princely burial site near Southend-on-Sea In 2003 archaeologists from the Museum of London Archaeology excavated a small plot of land in Prittlewell, Essex, for Read More >

In 1945 and again in 1974, the Tories lost an election they had been certain to win. Why? And is it about to happen again? If Boris Johnson loses the election on 12 December, it will be in the long tradition of Conservative governments that Read More >

A Prediction Not yet the railway mania flags, All are agog for speculation;But such a multitude of stagsMay terminate in a stag-nation.  The Times (London, England), Tuesday September 2, 1845 The railway mania was a time of Read More >

Post war British economic policy and house-building Macroeconomic policy frameworks followed by governments have definite impacts on all sectors of the economy including the housing sector. Post Second World War the British government was Read More >

Academics are at war over new evidence suggesting high pay didn’t spark the rush for labour-saving devices It has been more than 200 years since the start of the Industrial Revolution in Britain. For a century historians and economists have Read More >

Work stops at sunset. Darkness falls over the building site. The sky is filled with stars. "There is the blueprint," they say. - Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities Urban planning is best defined by scholars as a form of state intervention in a Read More >

This article was originally published in August 2018. Our archaeologists excavated Ten Trinity Square beside the Tower of London, as part of the development of a luxury hotel and residential development by Reignwood Group. Occupied since the Read More >

Joseph Chamberlain (1836-1914) the radical nineteenth-century businessman and politician who terrified Queen Victoria and many others, is back in the news again. The man who broke not one but two political parties has been twice cited by Prime Read More >

Over the last 200 years railways have had a profound effect on the areas they serve – opening them up to trade and passenger transport. The busiest passenger station in the world is said to be Shinjuku in Tokyo where 1.26 bn passengers Read More >

Recent data from the Office of National Statistics and HM Land registry show that house prices rose 3% in the year to May 2018, relative to a growth of 3.5 percent in the same period last year. This is the lowest annual rate of growth since 2013, Read More >

Recently, the giant British multinational facilities management and construction company Carillion recently faced compulsory liquidation- a court-based procedure through which company assets are realised for the benefit of creditors. A recent Read More >

In the latest in a series of extracts from America Inc: The 400-year history of American capitalism Bhu Srinivasan recounts how the transformation of American roads led to the development of department stores and the decay of cities. In the Read More >

Much like the world today, the period from 1870-1913 (known as the first era of globalisation) was marked by increased trade, significant cross-border financial flows, unrestricted migration and sophisticated financial markets. London was the Read More >

Above: The first page of the first set of printed accounts for University College, Oxford, from 1883 © The Master and Fellows of University College, Oxford Read part 1 of this series Read part 2 of this series In 1850 the quiet Read More >

Above: Extract for the 1680s from a register recording the payments of entry fines to University College, Oxford © The Master and Fellows of University College, Oxford Read part 1 of this series In the early sixteenth century Read More >

The interwar period witnessed an outstanding period of housing development - about 1.4 million houses were completed of which 865,000 or 62% were new dwellings in rural England and Wales. Amongst a wide range of factors supporting this boom, Read More >

The interwar period in Britain oversaw the boom in the housing sector which resulted in the construction of a significant three million houses. In my previous article I explained how it is this boom which, amongst other factors, has been Read More >

Housing, an essential human need, forms a key sector of the economy. It forms a crucial component of investment and in many countries, makes up a large component of overall wealth. Taking the case of the United States, Zhu (2014) noted that real Read More >

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