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The story of the NCH History Society

NCH Student Blog | August 12, 2019

Back in the cold, dark days of winter, on the first day of Hilary Term, NCH witnessed the inception of the brand- new History Society. To shake off the sluggishness of the festive season we decided to kickstart the society in style with our Launch Party. Featuring music, cake, alcohol and NCH-styled Cards Against the Humanities, the evening was a resounding success! Though not exactly historically-focused the party certainly contained our other essential ingredient – fun! With a record attendance of at least 20 people we proudly noted it was a launch for the books!

Our debut at the NCH History Society Launch Party, January 2019

This evening also saw the launch of our termly periodical, The Historical Times. Packed with contributions from students of many disciplines, and even articles from faculty members in the second edition, the magazine covers as wide a scope as possible with in-depth historical articles, or anything even remotely historical, all presented in our own inimitable style. You can read The Historical Times here.

Following on in mid-January we held a special screening of the documentary film Walford’s War which explores the previously untold story of Captain J. Osborn Walford’s First World War experience. This moving film was followed by a speech from our very own Nicholas Lambert about the historical sources used and the process of creating the film. The road to success is not always a straight one and unfortunately our next event had to be postponed. Partnering with the Student Union, the NCH History Society had planned a Holocaust remembrance event for

Holocaust Memorial Day. Featuring speakers from the Holocaust Society and a genuine Holocaust survivor, sadly winter health issues got the better of us, though hopefully we will be able to reschedule this event in the near future. Undeterred, the NCH History Society took an excursion down the Thames to Hampton Court Palace during Hilary Reading Week. We started the day in the Tudor Kitchens watching specialists make Tudor chocolate recipes, though for health and safety reasons we were unable to taste the delicious smelling goods! We then moved through the Tudor rooms where accidentally the group split into two. The splendid blue and gold roofed Chapel Royal was next for the group I was with. We were all taken aback by the majesty and beauty of this room that once saw the marriage of Henry VIII with Catherine Parr – the sixth and final of Henry’s queens. We then moved on to explore William III and Mary II’s rooms, and the Georgian rooms. Before heading to the café for refreshment we went to see the costumes from the film The Favourite which were temporarily located in Hampton Court. Whilst walking around we bumped into one of the ‘favourites’, unfortunately not Rachel Weisz who plays Sarah Churchill in the film, though we decided not to follow her. We finally met with the other group at the café and shared our experiences before heading to the Royal Tennis courts and then on to several of the gardens in the afternoon sun. As is becoming a society tradition, the trip ended in the pub! It was a lovely day out and definitely something the society hopes to do again.

Members of the History Society relaxing at Hampton Court Palace

In order to book notable historians to visit NCH as speakers’ funds are needed, so our next events were fundraisers. We baked cakes for a sale and ran an Easter raffle with a personalised NCH History Society chocolate egg as the prize! We also partnered with the Film Soc to put on a film night where the hilarious The Death of Stalin was screened. With the money raised from these events we were able to host our last event of the academic year.

The final NCH History Society event held in the 2018/19 academic year was a fascinating ‘in conversation’ between the author of The Five, Hallie Rubenhold, and NCH’s own Dr Estelle Paranque. Delving deep into Jack the Ripper’s London we learnt not only about the five ripper’s victims but also more generally about the lives of working-class women during the Victorian period. After the interesting discussion the audience asked many insightful questions during the Q&A. The event ended with drinks and topical conversations, and of course book signings!

So why not check out the NCH History Society in the new academic year? New members are always welcome and we will be organising more trips, talks, book launches and soirées! Plus, we will continue to publish. The Historical Times each term and invite any interested parties to contribute – please send any proposals for articles to historysoc@nchsu.org.

Finally, we would like to thank everyone for showing interest in our events and the magazine! We would not be able to do this if it wasn’t for you!