What would you have liked to witness first hand in British history?

Home Forums General Discussion What would you have liked to witness first hand in British history?

This topic contains 61 replies, has 25 voices, and was last updated by  Mary Bellomo 7 months, 3 weeks ago.

  • Author
    Posts
  • #15447

    Chris
    Participant

    Ok guys and girls, this is a big one. If you could go back in time (without intereferring with history, the whole cause an effect scientific shenanigans that goes with it) and watch a specific part of British history in the making with your own eyes, what would it be? It could be anything from any period and you don't have to choose just one moment either if it is too difficult to narrow it down.I am hoping this will stir up quite a few varied responses.

  • #17194

    Tim the Enchanter
    Participant

    I would love, LOVE to watch Duke William in 1066 step off the boat and fall on his face. 

  • #17195

    anonymous
    Participant

    There must be something wrong with me, because my big three events I'd like to see, fly on the wall of course, all revolve around death:1. Who really killed William Rufus2. Was Edward II really killed, and really how the legend goes?3. The Princes in the Tower; because you know someone will say it, I might as well be first  :P

  • #17196

    drewster81
    Participant

    Ooh, good question, Chris!I'd have to choosea) Elizabeth's speech at Tilbury (just to see how climatic/anti-climatic it was, since sources dispute just how necessary it was.  Whatever it is, it's a pretty rockin' speech.)b) The first performance of Hamlet.  c) The Battle of Ethandund) The "Submission at Chester" to Edgar I by six British kings, where they (supposedly) rowed him up the River Dee, which would be the exact last time any Scot would ever consider doing that ever, in the history of the world.e) Robert the Bruce thwacking Sir Henry du Bohun in the head with an axe at the start of Bannockburn.  I know, someone actually had their head split open.  Even so, it must have been a pretty rousing moment.f) Trafalgar Okay, I should probably stop.  So much to soak up. :)

  • #17197

    Anonymous

    I want to meet (somehow) Boudica!  Maybe this should be the start of another topic:  What character from British History would you like to meet?  Converse with?

  • #17198

    Chris
    Participant

    I would love, LOVE to watch Duke William in 1066 step off the boat and fall on his face.

    Good answer Tim  ;DSatirically, I can see it now. He gets up, looks around to see who was watching (plenty I should imagine), brushes himself off and carries on as if nothing has happened.......maybe not.

  • #17199

    Chris
    Participant

    I like where you are going with Trafalgar and the first ever performance of Hamlet, excellent choices Drew.mls, who wouldn't want to meet Boudica? What an amazing gal. I think you could have a pretty interesting conversation with her if you could overcome the language barrier  ???

  • #17200

    Tim the Enchanter
    Participant

    Good answer Tim  ;DSatirically, I can see it now. He gets up, looks around to see who was watching (plenty I should imagine), brushes himself off and carries on as if nothing has happened.......maybe not.

    "Erm, I, erm, meant to do that...  I was just embracing the land!  Stop LAUGHING!!" 

  • #17201

    Chris
    Participant

    My choices, like ddshistorynut, seem to revolve around one theme except my theme is based on the building of structures.1. Mid to late construction period of Stonehenge (about 2,000 BC)2. Roundhouses in a typical Iron Age settlement3. Cadbury Castle hill fort4. Hadrian's Wall5. Any Roman villa, let's face it they where here long enough so there's plenty to choose from6. Westminster AbbeyNo. 3 has a link to King Arthur and I like mls' idea of which character from British history you would like to meet. I think you should start this new topic mls, could be pretty interesting. Anyway, stripping away all the myth, the legend and general nonesense about Arthur, if I had the chance to meet this guy I'd like to know who he really was and what he actually did during his life so we could settle a few things and put the history books straight once and for all.  He's not the only one though, it could be a long list  ;)

  • #17202

    Chris
    Participant

    "Erm, I, erm, meant to do that...  I was just embracing the land!  Stop LAUGHING!!"

    Ha ha, now that is funny ;D That would make a great comedy sketch.

  • #17203

    drewster81
    Participant

    Ha! I suddenly realized that, Shakespeare aside, mine tend to revolve around the theme of “battle” or “submission”.  What does that say about me?  :oI'm right there with you about Arthur.  To able to see what the man (some say it was Ambosius) who inspired that legend was really like.  Of course, the Arthurian stuff is a weird mix of Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and French tales, so it ends up being a bit of a muddle.  I'd say that being able to visit those villas would be incredible.  If it were any one building, I'd prefer Durham Cathedral, right after it was built.  I mean, the size and scope of the thing TODAY are incredible.  What must it have looked like surrounded by a bunch of Anglo-Saxon timber houses?

  • #17204

    Chris
    Participant

    Yes, the Arthur 'stuff' can be quite frustrating to try and get your head around. I'd love to know if he actually did fight in the Battle of Mount Badon. Was he the leader and how did he really win this decisive battle? So little detail is known about this battle but what an impressive battlefield it must have been. Maybe I'll have to come up with a list of battles too.Durham Cathedral.....oh yes, good choice ;)  That's quite a thought-provoking image Drew.

  • #17205

    WhiteMonk
    Participant

    I'd like to go back and watch The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Motorhead, and Led Zeppelin perform in small clubs when they were still young and relatively unknown bands.I was born in the 1970s, so this is "history" to me.    8)

  • #17206

    Chris
    Participant

    I'd like to go back and watch The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Motorhead, and Led Zeppelin perform in small clubs when they were still young and relatively unknown bands.I was born in the 1970s, so this is "history" to me.    8)

    Good answer. The Who would be at the top of the list for me, they are simply one of the best rock bands of all time.I guess anything from yesterday backwards is history  ;)

  • #17207

    Jamie
    Keymaster

    Good answer. The Who would be at the top of the list for me, they are simply one of the best rock bands of all time.

    Yes.  This.  Every time I hear Eminence Front, I feel like starting a revolution.  I've been lucky enough to see them live once, and they can still put on a hell of a show.  Though, obviously they don't rock as hard as they did when they were younger.  ;)

  • #17208

    Zoie
    Participant

    Lord, where to begin? Ok. I have to watch at least one Beatles concert. Two, I want to see the “Real” Robin Hood. If there was one. Three, I want to spend a night in the tubes during the Blitz. Four, king Arthur. All of him. There's more, but those are the big ones. And Tim, he wasn't embracing the floor. He was heroicly attacking it. Backwards. He's talented.

  • #17209

    Diane
    Participant

    I'd love to go back and meet William Wilberforce and experience the abolition era.I'd also love to join John White on his voyages to the New World and find out precisely what happened to the "Lost Colony" of Roanoke Island. And of course... I wouldn't say no to a Beatles concert! ;)

  • #17210

    anonymous
    Participant

    In the bunker with Churchill.  Agreed on being at a first performance of (almost) any Shakespeare play. A fly on the wall when Edward's discussing abdication with Wallis.    So, you think I should then?    Oh, yes, darling.  You know how the crown musses your hair.      But, it isn't quite done, you know.      Has that ever bothered you before?

  • #17211

    Zoie
    Participant

    Diane! Roanoke! Yes!

  • #17212

    peterjcharles
    Participant

    I want to meet (somehow) Boudica!  Maybe this should be the start of another topic:  What character from British History would you like to meet?  Converse with?

    And ask her ' why she didnt press home her advantage whikst the Roman forces were disorganised?'

  • #17213

    anonymous
    Participant

    OK, one more, this one much more modern:1966 World Cup Final, a seat along the goal line...

  • #17214

    Anonymous

    I'd love to see Cnut holding back the tide……..oh, wait.

  • #17215

    HayleeB
    Participant

    What a fantastic thought-to see what really happened! I'd love to witness the War of the Roses-any part of it! And Henry VIII reign-specially Catherine of Aragon's speech to her husband during one of the so called religious hearings into the validity of their marriage, or the lavish Field of Cloth of Gold event, specially the tournaments!! Or just see Hampton Court during its Tudor splendor-either under Wolsey or Henry!Definitely agree with ddshistorynut re:the princes in the tower-would love to know the truth behind that one! Which brings me to one character I would like to meet (besides all the obvious Tudor players) is Richard III.....be fascinating to see how accurate or not the image we have of him is!!

  • #17216

    anonymous
    Participant

    I'd like to be at some of those parties after the Restoration. Of course, that would have to be before the great fire and the black plague … 

  • #17217

    WhovianKate
    Participant

    I'm quite sure I would have adored Shakespeare so I would want to go back and hang out with him (too bad I couldn't act in his plays as I'm not Gwyneth Paltrow) as morbid as it sounds I am interested in the time period of the Black Death because it's interesting from an epidemiological standpoint..and definitely Boudica's rebellion would have kicked @$$.

  • #17218

    WhovianKate
    Participant

    the abdication!! yes, brilliant I vote for that too!

  • #17219

    anonymous
    Participant

    Another vote for witnessing some of the building of Stonehenge, in particular seeing how they really transported and raised those sarsen stones and asking those responsible “Why?”.While not taking place on mainland Britain, the slaughter in the trenches of the First World War are almost 100 years later still an integral part of our national identity.  I've been there in modern times, walking through preserved trenches and shell holes and along endless lines of headstones.  It would have been terrible to really be there but I think being able to experience life in the trenches of the Somme for just one day would be life changing and would probably put all of our modern day worries into real perspective.Finally, I could think of a hundred concerts I'd love to have seen but picking just one, it would have to be Jimi Hendrix at the 1970 Isle of Wight festival.Pete.

  • #17220

    anonymous
    Participant

    I would like to high-five a giant deer.

  • #17221

    anonymous
    Participant

    Of course it would be a low-five to the deer.

  • #17222

    Jamie
    Keymaster

    Pete, I suspect the response would be “why not?”And high fiving a giant deer.... Lol.

  • #17223

    1) The Yalta and/or Potsdam Conferences. I can only imagine what it must have been like to have such 3 distinct and strong personalities interacting. Fascinating.2) Behind the scenes during the War of the Roses.3) Meeting between Queen Elizabeth and Sir Francis Drake. What was their relationship really like? Another one people seem to debate much over.

  • #17224

    anonymous
    Participant

    I would really like to meet each previous direct relation on both sides of my family. To spend a day or two with each of them would be amazing!That, or a new one from chatting to my poorly nan and seeing her eyes light up when I asked her if she saw the Spitfires flying over The East End: "Oh yes, we can never forget them. You could almost touch them as the flew so low!" then we continued watching British Bake Off on the telly. Yep, I'd like to do that too:)

  • #17225

    anonymous
    Participant

    Truthfully, although interesting I would avoid battles; unless you could offer some sort of security; because in battles people get hurt or worse.  So I would pick:1. To see the debut of any one of Shakespheare's plays.2. To attend an assembly at Almack's.3. To go on a progression with Elizabeth I.4. See the construction of Stonehenge, because really, don't we all want to know why it was built?

  • #17226

    Jacob_Stevens
    Participant

    1.  The Battle of Badon Hill A.D. 4952.  The Signing of the Magna Carta A.D. 12153.  Julius Caesar's invasion of Britannia 55 B.C.4.  The Battle of Bannockburn A.D. 13145.  The Battle of Stirling Bridge A.D. 12976.  Invasion of William the Conqueror A.D. 1066 (and the Battle of Stamford Bridge)7.  Battle of Rorke's Drift A.D. 1879 (I guess this is British history, just not in Britain  ::))

  • #17227

    Jacob_Stevens
    Participant

    I guess it's a bit pointless of me to post which events I would like to see though, because I have too many to make a thorough list  :P

  • #17228

    Jamie
    Keymaster

    #1 would be great, just so we could know whether or not Arthur was involved.  And #7… oh man #7… every time I hear Men of Harlech I get all patriotic.  :D

  • #17229

    Jacob_Stevens
    Participant

    Yes, that is exactly why I would want to see Badon Hill!  It would be interesting to see for sure.  And about Rorke's Drift,  I think further on down the road (that would definitely be way further down the road  ::)) you should do a special episode on British colonialism and include an account of the battle.  It would definitely be a riveting listen! 

  • #17230

    anonymous
    Participant

    Well, in view of upcoming excitement, I'd like to see how the Staffordshire Hoard was gathered and lost, and by whom. I'd also like to know who designed the art for the Bayeux Tapestry, who did the stitching and where. Was the wool spun and dyed on site or was it brought in from elsewhere. Were the various panels embroidered in one location or several, and then joined later? I just wish I could have been a little bird, seeing the reaction of the Normans and the Saxons. Did Harold really die as the tapestry seems to suggest, with an arrow through the eye? And what really happened at Kirk o Field when Darnley died. Who was responsible?

  • #17231

    weis14
    Participant

    I would have like to have seen 1940. It would have been interesting to see the reaction of the general public before, during, and after the Dunkirk Evacuation, the fall of France, and the Battle of Britain. I also would have liked to see Spanish Armada.

  • #17232

    anonymous
    Participant

    You know I have become quite curious, how big was a giant deer?  I mean here in America, some species are quite big, 6 feet tall or so.  How tall would a giant deer have been?  That would have greatly changed that scene in Bambi where the hunters kill his mother.

  • #17233

    Jamie
    Keymaster

    Kathie, here's an image that should give you a bit of perspective.  :)http://www.blc.arizona.edu/courses/schaffer/182/Giraffe/IrishElk.jpg

  • #17234

    anonymous
    Participant

    Yep, that deer certainly would have made Bambi a different movie. Those antlers would certainly make me think twice. 

  • #17235

    anonymous
    Participant

    I love to have seen Caesar's invasion (so I could warn him about the dangers of not wearing armour under toga's)Oliver Cromwell in Parliament. Would be awesome to see a right winger who made the tea party look like a hippy commune, but who was at the same time a blazing revolutionary!Lady Godieva. Nell GwyneCharles Darwin at the Royal Society.Lodge demonstrating electric waves.Isaac Newton (the Chuck Noris of Science as Stuff to Blow you Mind called him).The Battle of MaldonThe Battle of HastingsTom Cribb v Tom Molineux (the greatest bare knuckle boxing bout in history between the greatest English champion and the first black American challenger in 1810)

  • #17236

    The Hedge
    Member

    1) To know what was going through Thomas Telford's mind when he designed the Menai suspension bridge.  It's a fantastic bridge, really cutting edge stuff for the 1820's.  The design of it and the building of it were (to me) really impressive.  2) to watch, unseen and maybe even from a distance, Alfred at Athelney.  If one could see whatever gave rise to the story of the burnt cakes, so much the better.

  • #17237

    anonymous
    Participant

    It would've been pretty cool to see the committee that drew up the People's Charter of 1838. Fantastic revolutionary stuff at the time. Every man a voter? Insane.

  • #17238

    chaoticmuse
    Member

    Okay, since these seem to have multiple answers, I have no qualms about putting down a list myself.

    • The construction of Stonehenge
    • The Battle of Baden Hill. Mostly to see if Mordred and Arthur were enemies, allies, or lived at all and who they were
    • Supposedly, when he signed some early deals while in England, Jimi Hendrix asked to and did jam with Clapton. Hell, that may be first on the list.
    • Macbeth. First showing.
    • The defeat of the French army during the war of Spanish Succession by the Duke of Marlborough... not only because it's an epic and important moment in history, but because I want to know what the man looks like, I keep seeing him with a cigar, scowling, vaguely bulldog like. I can't help it. I know, that's way later.
    • The Arrival of Julius Caesar
    • Boudicca's sack of Londinium.

  • #17239

    Matt1066
    Participant

    Is this too many?  ;D         1. What happened to the Princes in the Tower        2. Thomas Becket's murder        3. Thomas Blood's attempt to steal the crown jewels        4. The placing of a pillar at Stonehenge        5. Churchhill commanding from his London bunker        6. The first Ceremony of the Keys        7. Nelson on the HMS Victory        8. The coronation of Elizabeth II

  • #17240

    Barefoot Bree
    Participant

    I'm actually not so much interested in the big, world-changing events. I'm always fascinated by glimpses of daily life in the past. So that's what I'd like to do: spend a day each observing various kinds of people just going about their daily lives in lots of different time periods, from the King (or Queen) down to a lowly serving wench or farmer. And I want to come back with lots of recipes.

  • #17241

    anonymous
    Participant

    Perhaps, from a safe and unobservable location, I should have liked to have seen the death of Mary Ann Nichols in 1888 so that I might have prevented the subsequent ones.

  • #17242

    Joepochicken
    Participant

    Either the creation of the the universe (not because of religion etc but because of how Raymond. E. Feist portrayed it in A Darkness in Sethanon) or what actually happened to the ninth legion.

  • #17243

    Moore
    Participant

    1: Dec 29th, 1170 AD. Canterbury Cathedral.2: 1215 AD. Runnymede. Magna Carta. 3: 1349-50 AD. Witnessing at first hand a flaggalents procession. I think its nigh impossible to fully understand the magnitude of The Great Pestilence, but reading accounts of the desperate acts taking place, like instances of the infected burying themselves alive in holy ground due to the lack of priests gives you a small insight into the chaos & insanity morphed into grim acts of piety that gripped Britain. 4: 55 AD. An open beach somewhere in Dover in anticipation of the wily foxes first invasion. 5: Druid ritual. Pre Roman occupation. (Anywhere on the mainland)6: Jan 13th-June 10th, 1333 AD. Dunbar Castle sets the scene for Black Agnes to make her mark on history.7: 1966 AD. Wembley. 8: 60-61 AD. Just up the road from where I live & somewhere near Viroconium. By all accounts a glorious day for the Romans & superior military discipline. That said, they (Roman rank & file) must of been bricking it.

  • #17244

    Anonymous

    Here's my top 3.1)Watching Boudicca sacking Colchester, London, and St Albin's. (Not as a Roman persective though.)2) The Battle of the River Idle, between the East Anglians, and the Northumbrians.3) The Battle of Mons Grapius. (Did I spell that right?)Those are the ones I want to see. 

  • #17245

    ehsfb2001
    Participant

    Either the Battle of Waterloo standing beside Wellington or the Who performing Baba O'Riley the first time.

  • #17246

    anonymous
    Participant

    I'd just like to be a fly on the wall during people's everyday lives. In any era, any class. Or as many as possible. What were personal relations like? How did they go about their business? How did they treat other classes? How did they plan for the furure? Etc. etc. etc. (I majored in economic and social history. ;-) )

  • #17247

    anonymous
    Participant

    There are some really good suggestions here, perhaps I would catch up on the feedback from people's viewings of these classic moments on the forum, leaving me to witness the more misty moments of British History – the top 3 would be:1) The 1st people coming across from the continent;2) The introduction of Celtic culture, when, who & how was it really done;3) Checking out if Hengist & Horsa (or whoever were the 1st Saxon settlers/invaders) and how they integrated/invaded with/over the locals.

  • #17248

    DanChisum
    Participant

    Hmmmm……perhaps the following:1) Watching the Beatles at the Cavern Club2) Watch the Beatles record Abbey Road (my favorite album and their last album)3) 1st performance of MacBeth4) Alfred the Great dying and Edward being given his crown over his older sister.  Changed history in many, many ways.5) Churchill in action6) Henry the 8th create The Church of England

  • #17249

    anonymous
    Participant

    Hmmm also, must admit, would really like to see the Beatles at the Cavern club (rather than just hear about it) & after the 5-0 Ashes whitewash @ the SCG today, perhaps being at the Oval in 1882 to see England go down to Australia for the 1st time in England to be the 1st Ashes Test (with the actual Ashes!!) – due in a large part to the “demon bowler” Spofforth!

  • #17250

    anonymous
    Participant

    I have to pick something by Queen Elizabeth I that I would like to witness first hand. Her speech at Tilbury in preparation for the Armada springs most to mind:"I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too"My runner up would be Boudica marching to London as the Roman's evacuate the city.

  • #17251

    anonymous
    Participant

    1) be on the ramparts whilst the Empress Maude made her escape from Oxford 2) Be a dinner guest at this dinner ""After dinner, the weather being warm, we went into the garden and drank the, under the shade of some apple trees...he told me, he was just in the same situation, as when formerly, the notion of gravitation came into his mind. It was occasion'd by the fall of an apple, as he sat in contemplative mood. Why should that apple always descend perpendicularly to the ground, thought he to himself..."3)There is no one specific moment for Henry 2, but rather several, but I would have loved to sit down and talked to him. I would have also liked to speak to King John the underrated (in particular considering his brother the overrated)4) be a fly on the wall when King George first heard of the Boston Tea PartyGreat question by the way.

  • #17252

    anonymous
    Participant

    I would like to see what it would really be like to stand in a shield wall?  (not sure that I would have the courage to do so!!!)Also, I would like to see what a "push of the pikemen" would be like during the English Civil War.  (again, I might have just turned-tail and run the other way)The life of the ordinary soldiers/warriors during the different periods fascinates me greatly.Scott

  • #17253

    anonymous
    Participant

    I would love to spend and evening in a pub with Samuel PepysJust one of Charles II dinners Watch Henry VIII and Francis I at the  Field of the Cloth of GoldWilliam the Marshall at a tournament

  • #30432

    Mary Bellomo
    Participant

    I’ve thought about this many times, and like someone said above, me it’s not about major events for me, so much as it’s about the daily lives of the people who lived. I think the Victorian era so far is the most fascinating to me – although late medieval period is pretty cool too. I love the Victorians.

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

jQuery('.testimonials-widget-testimonials17')