Admission is £3 at the door for visitors
Full time students are free
Assoc. membership £12 p.a.

Contact the Hon. Secretary Rollo Crookshank for details 01252 319881

Twitter: @HAWestSurrey         





For details of full membership, please telephone Association Headquarters on 020 7735 3901

or email


We are delighted to announce our programme for 2017/18.

Entry to meetings is free for HA members, non-members £3 per meeting.

Associate membership of the branch is £12 per year.

For any further information please contact Mr Rollo Crookshank, branch secretary on 01252 319881 or email

All meetings take place at 7-30pm, at St Nicolas’s Hall, Bury Street, Guildford, GU2 4AW.

Programme of Meetings

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Dr Gareth Davies, St. Anne’s College, The University of Oxford

The Political Legacy of the Sixties in the USA

Tuesday October 17, 2017

George Goodwin  FRHistS, Author and Historian, 2017 Eccles Centre Makin Fellow at the British Library, 2017 International Fellow at the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies, Monticello 

Fatal Colours: The disastrous reign of Henry VI and the 1st War of the Roses, culminating in Towton – England’s Most Brutal Battle

November 21, 2017

Dr Jon Wilson, Senior Lecturer in British Imperial & South Asian History 

King’s College , University of London

The Chaos of Empire: Rethinking British Rule in India

Tuesday December 5, 2017

Professor Andrew Jotischky, Professor of Medieval History,

Royal Holloway College, University of London

The Crusades: Holy War or the Clash of Civilisations?’

Tuesday January 23, 2018

Nicola Tallis, Historian and researcher

Crown of Blood : The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey

Tuesday February 20, 2018

Dr. Carey Fleiner, Senior Lecturer in Classical and Medieval History

University of Winchester

A Boy and his Mum: the story of Nero and Agrippina

Tuesday March 13, 2018

Dr. Matthew Grimley, Merton College, University of Oxford

The Permissive Society and its Enemies

Tuesday April 17, 2018

Professor Joe Maiolo, War Studies Department, Kings College, London

The Origins of the Second World War.

Tuesday May 15, 2018


Dr Jon Wilson, Senior Lecturer in British Imperial & South Asian History 

King’s College , University of London

The Chaos of Empire: Rethinking British Rule in India

Reports of previous meetings

March 2017

The popular perception by the general public of the relationship between England and France, has always been hostile, but in reality, the history of the relationship between the two countries, is a mixture of negatives and positives. The reality is that both countries need each other, despite repeatley refusing to acknowledge the fact.   The rivalry between the two countries has been a significant part of each country’s history.

 The Entente Cordial of 1904, as well as finding themselves as allies, during the 1st World War, stimulated an interest in the history of relations between the two countries. The Huguenot Society and the Foundation Society contributed towards an interest in the history of the relationship between the two countries. The Society of Court Studies specializes in the role of Royal courts of Europe, and its research has helped to understand,  how the European monarchies have evolved.

 No other period of history in English and French history, has been researched more than the 100 years’ war. One historian compared the occupation of France by Germany in the 2nd World war, with the English occupation of France during the 100 years’ war. Archaeological research has been undertaken to understand the roles of the English and French armies, at the Battle of Crecy, 1346, and the research has now shown, that the use of artillery was greater than previously thought.

  Research has shown, how the King of France, attempted to reconcile the powerful nobles of France, to unify against the English invaders, which led to the beginnings of a national army and the use of artillery to defeat the English. England, often took advantages of France’s disunity, by invading France, knowing that they could rely on significant elements of the French nobility to ally themselves with the English.

Anne Curry, University of Southampton, is studying the Treaty of Troyes, 1420, which, if King Henry V, had not died, would have led to a duel monarchy of both Kingdoms, with both Kingdoms retaining their own laws. The core clauses of the treaty are much more complicated than previously realized. Though crowned King of France, King Henry VI, lost all the English held lands in France, except Calais. The French continued their success, by expanding their rule into Burgundy and Brittany. France, before the 100 years war, was a largely decentralized country, but the effects of the 100 years war, was to lead to a strong unified country, with England no longer a threat to France.

King Henry VII follows the same policy as the French Kings, by strengthening the English monarchy. The French Kings looked to expand into Italy, but whenever an opportunity ever arose, looked to interfere into English affairs.

  As France became financially and politically stronger, it has to contest with the rise of the neighbouring Hapsburg Empire.  King Henry VIII of England attempts to play these two powerful European countries against each other. The English invade France three times, but the gains are minimal. The French continue to pay a pension to King Henry VIII, to stop the English from interfering in France’s affairs. However, England needs France, as much as France needs England, against the background of an increasingly powerful Hapsburg Empire.

  In late 16th century, France is torn apart with internal religious wars, with the rise of the increasingly popular Huguenots. Queen Elizabeth 1 of England follows her policy of supporting fellow Protestants, while wanting to retain a strong central monarchy in France, with the possibility of Elizabeth marrying a member of the French Royal family.

 With King Henry IV of France, the monarchy in France is strong, but it is debatable whether the French monarchy is more consultative, than the English monarchy. The execution of King Charles I, appals the European monarchs, but none of these monarchs do anything to help restore the Stuart monarch to power in Britain.

 King Charles II of Britain is a strong Francophile, and is heavily influenced by France, and the secret Treaty of Dover, includes a clause that France will pay the British court, not to interfere in Europe.

  The continued persecution of the Huguenots, forces the Huguenots to flee France, with many fleeing to Britain, bringing with them, all their work skills. With the accession of King William III, to the British throne, starts another 100 years war with France, which only ceases with the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Concord, Channel Tunnel and Bret exit. It is debatable that certain sections of French society, were delighted with the result of the Bret exit vote, as France never wanted the UK to join the EC in the first place

Rollo Crookshank

February 2017

After an absence of ten years, Professor Carl Bridge, of Kings College, London, returned to Guildford, to talk to the West Surrey branch on ‘From the Far Ends of the Earth: The British Empire and the Great War’

 In 1904, the British government ordered an inquiry, into the possibility of Britain becoming involved in a major world war. In the event of a world war, Britain would dominate the seas, and Germany would dominate the land warfare, with Russia providing the same number of soldiers, but being less efficient and professional than the Imperial German army.

 Australia pledged that it would fight in this war to support Britain. Canada, with the vast majority of its population being British born, or descended from British migrants, stated that it would be ready to defend the British Empire. The population of these countries still described Britain, as home. The major trading partner for these countries was Britain, with serious political consequences, if these countries did not support Britain. The same would apply to other British colonies, like New Zealand, the Caribbean and African countries.  As a consequence, 5 million British, 1 million Indian and a further 1 million from Australia, New Zealand and Canada volunteered to join Britain in its fight. The South Africans quickly captured S.W. Africa, but struggled in Tanzanika.  New Zealand and Australia capture the German Pacific colonies, with Japanese help.

 During the 1st World War, the allied shipping lanes are threatened by German U-Boats. Australia and New Zealand’s’ economy shrinks by 10%. With Australia unable to export its wheat, Britain guarantees to buy Australian wheat harvests, with the consequence, that this act stabilizes the Australian economy. Canada manages to export its wheat to the USA.  A 1/3 of the artillery shells used by the BEF, were manufactured in Canada.

  Countries which have landed borders, have conscription, for example, Germany and France, with countries, that are surrounded by water, like the United Kingdom, have only volunteer armed forces.  New Zealand introduces conscription, with a consequence that 50%of the male population are serving in the armed forces, with severe consequences for New Zealand’s economy. Canada also introduces conscription, but there are plenty of exceptions, including the farmers, and the French speaking Quebecois. Australia votes to reject conscription, and in November 1917, conscription is again rejected. One of the consequences of the rejection of conscription is that no Australian is executed for desertion. Conscription is not enforced in Ireland, and it is the same in South Africa, to ensure that trouble does not break out by the Boers.

 Britain lost 705,000 out of a population of 45 million, with Canada losing 458, 000 out of a population of 8 million, Australia losing 332, 000 out of a population of 5 million, and South Africa losing 136, 000 out of a population of 1.4 million.

 The first major action for the troops of Australia and New Zealand was Gallipoli, where they earned a great reputation, with the Canadians winning great fame by their capture of  Vimy Ridge. Britain asked their colonies to stand by Britain, during the war, and all the colonies finished the war, with their reputations enhanced.

 The reason why the Britain’s Colonial armies did so well is that their officers are recruited from the technical middle class, who had been trained in their previous civilian life to use their initiative.  This also applies, but much later on, with the British armies.

 The countries believed that their contribution and sacrifice should be rewarded, by becoming nations in their own rights, and should be fully rewarded, by being fully involved in the peace negotiations. King George V signed the Treaty of Versailles, representing the British Empire, as an entity. India does not achieve self-governing status, as promised to India, at the beginning of the war. This leads to a rise in Indian nationalism. Ireland, also does not gain self-governing status, which leads to independence in 1922.

 Australia does gain any repatriations, from the peace treaty, as the country had not suffered any damage from the Germans, but was rewarded with the Pacific Island of Naru, Soma and New Guinea. As a result of the contribution made by the British colonies, there was a gradual movement from Empire to Commonwealth.

  If there was any thought,  that the ordinary citizen of Britain’s colonial countries, might prove reluctant to fight for Britain, it was proved to be false, as these citizens, in their millions, ‘joined up’ to fight for Britain

Rollo Crookshank

January 2017

It was with great anticipation, that we welcomed back Dr Robert Saunders of Queen Mary, University of London, after an absence of two years, to talk to us on the vote that took place in 1975, on whether the United Kingdom should join the Common Market.

 On what proved to be a most interesting talk, so  soon after the Brexit vote of the previous year, Dr Robert Saunders, showed how everyone who voted in 1975 to join the Common Market, in 2016 voted to leave the EU, and those who voted not to join the EC in 1975, in 2016, voted to remain in the EU.

 The National referendum of 1975, was the first ever in British history, and the first election in two hundred years, not contested by political parties, ‘drew in’ many different lobbying groups, women’s’ organizations and terrorists organizations.

 The vote produced a 67.2% majority for joining the EC and a 32.8% no vote. Every part of the UK voted to join the EC except for Orkney and the Shetlands.

 The UK joined the European Community in 1973. The then Prime Minister, Edward Heath, was the most pro-EC Prime Minister that Britain ever produced.  Edward Heath had served in the army during the World War II, and from his experiences, he believed, that the horrors, must never happen again. Edward Heath, wanted to borrow the Bayeux Tapestry, for Westminster Hall, but his advisors reminded him, what the Bayeux Tapestry was about. The legislation, said that the UK would join the EC by the consent of the people and Parliament.

 Many retailors stocked pro-Europe merchandise, while the national media published articles on the benefit of joining the EC. Northern Irish terrorists published articles, on the effects that the EC have on Northern Ireland. Bishops and the clergy would preach to their congregation the benefits of the EC.

 Margaret Thatcher campaigned actively for the Yes vote. The Labour party was split. Among the national newspapers, the Daily Express, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph campaigned on behalf of the yes vote.  The Spectator and the Morning Star were the only national periodicals to support the No campaign.

 The consequences of immigration were not discussed during the campaign, while farming, fisheries and prices were the most popular subjects for debate during the campaign. Both groups of the Yes and No campaign were given £125, 000.00 towards their campaigns. Major companies based in the UK, gave large sums to the Yes campaign.

 Anytime that, the No campaigners, Tony Benn, Enoch Powell, Barbara Castle and Michael Foot, appeared on television, produced an increase in support for the Yes campaign.

 During the seventies, there was an anti-establishment sentiment, and 10 Downing St was concerned that will an ‘all-round’ support for the Yes campaign, this could lead to a ‘back-lash’ vote

Towns and cities were encouraged to set up their own Yes campaign support groups. Surveys showed that women were more likely to vote no.

 One of the major concerns of the Yes campaign was of the effect on food prices. The 70s were a decade of inflation and high prices. Barbara Castle travelled to Brussels, to buy the same produce as in London, to compare the prices between the EC and the UK. The 70s was also a decade of poor harvests. The Yes campaign focused on the benefits of reliable harvests. The oil price had quadrupled, a 3 day week and shops were running out of sugar. Inflation hit 20%, and Edward Heath warned of economic collapse and rationing, if the country voted no.

 In Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, this was the period, when the nationalist parties, were starting to make inroads, combined with these parties beginning to win parliamentary seats at Westminster. In Northern Ireland, the talk of open borders, added to the tension, between Protestants and Roman Catholics. Ian Paisley publicly stated that the EC was a Papal conspiracy. Sinn Fein opposed the EC, believing in the end of the British involvement in Northern Ireland, did not want to find British rule, replaced by EC rule. In the end, Northern Ireland produced the lowest yes vote.

 In the 1970s there was still a strong memory of World War II, with many people having been involved in the war. The Yes campaigned for a strong economy and a fear of another war. The famous episode of Fawlty Towers, with Basil Fawlty upsetting the German guests, was written in May 1975, and was first screened on television in October 1975. The No campaigners used the sacrifice of the armed forces, and West Germany would succeed through the EC, where they failed in the two World Wars. The Yes campaigners would use   the slogan, that it would be better to lose a little sovereignty,  than a son or daughter in another World War. Anti-British Empire supporters also campaigned against the EC, as they saw the EC as another establishment empire. With Portugal drawing slowly towards communism, and the US withdrawing into itself, Margaret Thatcher liked the idea that the weaker European nations, Italy, Ireland and the UK, would be drawn into an organization with stronger countries like West Germany and the Netherlands