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Saturday, 10 October 2009


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"Strata" is already plural, David.

I have a shrewd idea who you are, Dominie, but thank you for the correction, now made and lesson learnt, and for proving the inherent truth of my post title!


"TBS' ('The Bearded Socialist' but I can't keep typing that out every time!), complained of a lack of classical history in it which is true but there is only so much time in a school life."

As you have noted I'm probably older than you but my formal primary and secondary education which was entirely in the state sector included a survey - over almost the whole time I was at school - from the year dot to 1914 (where "history" stopped and journalism took over apparently). As it happens I didn't sit History "O" Level but, by God, I was taught history. Admittedly, post the fall of the Roman Empire in the West the concentration on English history became almost total but why not? It's my history after all although a dose of the history of the Orient wouldn't have gone amiss.

Furthermore, it wasn't just in the formal history lessons where we learned "history". In Latin, along with learning the language, we received a fairly comprehensive overview of Roman republican and early imperial politics. In Geography aspects of the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions were only explicable in historical terms and taught as such. Frankly, I can't recall anything in general that we missed in the school time available to us. Of course there was a down-side: we got an hour of PE four times a week and sports afternoons twice a week - all (except the cricket) quite loathsome.

*this might be more appropriate as a response to an earlier posting of yours - if so, apologies

No need for apologies, 'Bongers', especially as you own up to be older than me - I was beginning to think that no-one was older than me!

Mostly because I rarely paid attention I cannot recall exactly how far back our history lessons went but, as you describe, they pretty well told a straightforward story as far Britain was concerned, and that is what I hope Mr. Gove will re-introduce when he has his bottom on the ministerial chair.

I took a gamble on my history 'O'-level. I guessed there would be a question on either Gladstone or Salisbury and, with no time to revise both, I chose the latter; also there would be a question on either the war at land or the war at sea during WWI. The naval campaigns were shorter and easier to mug up on, so that's what I swotted. It has gone down as the only successful bet of my life and I passed!

Sic transit gloria!

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