An evening with Dominic Sandbrook

To most people, a 3-hour lecture on the last 60-or-so years of British history probably wouldn’t sound like the best way to spend a Friday evening. To the Sixth Form History students of Concord College, however, the opportunity to have a talk from one of Britain’s most eminent historians, Mr Dominic Sandbrook, was something we greatly relished. The visiting historians and sixthformers from Wolverhampton Girls’ High School – who drove a good distance purely for this talk – felt a similar way. Mr Sandbrook has written multiple books on Britain and modern history, including titles such as “Never Had It So Good” and “White Heat”.

The event took place on Friday 3rd May, and involved Mr Sandbrook answering questions that we had prepared in advance. There was a wide variety of questions, involving everything from the truth behind the supposed “swinging” sixties to the premierships, Tony Blair and John Major. More globally, there was also discussion about the role of Britain in the Cold War, and the decision to join the European Economic Community – the latter of which is still particularly pertinent today.

Ultimately, the purpose behind this informal lecture was to help prepare us for our upcoming exams, by giving us a greater understanding of specific people and places, as well as wider and potentially more-complicated topics that we learn about in the classroom. Topics such as global politics and its effect on history, or that of social trends and phenomena in recent years. Needless to say, the talk was extremely edifying, and I personally feel that I have gained a new level of understanding of British history, and that the once-dreaded history paper now seems slightly less daunting.

Luke – 6.1

Medieval Jousting at Concord

Jousting was a crowd-favourite entertainment act during the Middle Ages. It usually took place at Medieval ‘tournaments’, which provided a venue for Knights to practice various forms of combat to the delight and the amusement of crowds of onlookers. On 26th of September, Concord’s History Department revived this tradition by hosting a medieval event for students and teachers to spectate, allowing us to engage with this British Medieval culture.

My experience of medieval jousting was phenomenal. Jousting is an activity where knights in armour fight on horses using lances, which, during the Middle Ages was the most common form of entertainment. During the jousting, we witnessed two knights charging at each other on horseback, attempting to knock each other off their horses with lances. Despite the unpleasant weather, many students and visitors gathered together at the back of Main Hall for the eye-opening experience. The audiences were very supportive; there were continuous and enthusiastic cheers for the jousters.

This event reminded me of the power of tradition in uniting people of different ages, gender and interests. Additionally, I was fascinated when I found out that one of the jousters is one of the United Kingdom’s only female jousters. She was unbelievably charismatic when performing and I really admired that. Overall, it was an incredible experience and I hope that I will be able to enjoy the charm of this traditional culture again in the near future.

Venice – 6.2

An Evening with Dominic Sandbrook

On Friday 4th of May, Concord College welcomed Dominic Sandbrook, a renowned British historian. Whilst awaiting his arrival, Concord students mingled with visitors from Wolverhampton Girls’ High School whilst nibbling on a fine selection of ‘finger foods’. After students had settled in Concord’s comfortable auditorium, the amiable author soon arrived to convey his wealth of knowledge. Without a doubt he immediately encountered inquisitive and friendly spirits from both Concord and WGHS, and together they immediately engaged in a detailed discussion of British history.

A brilliant historian indeed, Sandbrook did not lead his talk in the form of the conventional style of a typical lecture. Rather, he constantly sought to connect directly with his audience. His sense of humour was apparent and his witty lines caught on with responsive spectators. In addition, he was able to explain complex issues using simple language, and this appealed to his rapt audience of sixth form History students. What made the talk even more memorable is the fact that he also valued the opinion of his audience, as he invited them to express their opinion throughout the talk. Overall, it was an enlightening night which took all those present on a journey to the heart of Britain in the years 1951-2007.

Nancy – 6.1