BBC History Magazine - - Welcome - Rob At­tar Ed­i­tor BSME Ed­i­tor of the Year 2015, Special In­ter­est Brand

Few images con­jure up the des­per­a­tion of Vic­to­rian poverty as much as the dreaded workhouse. The bleak­ness of life within those walls was chron­i­cled by Charles Dick­ens, whose nov­el­Oliver Twist high­lighted the plight of pau­per chil­dren trapped within this sys­tem. The workhouse was not, how­ever, the fate of all of Bri­tain’s most de­prived chil­dren in the 19th cen­tury. As Les­ley Hu­lonce shows in this month’s cover fea­ture, the au­thor­i­ties tried a range of al­ter­na­tive ap­proaches to lift these vul­ner­a­ble young­sters out of poverty. Turn to page 22 to find out more.

This year sees the 500th anniversary of the Re­for­ma­tion, one of the piv­otal events of Euro­pean his­tory. It’s a topic we will be re­turn­ing to on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions in the fol­low­ing months, but we be­gin our cov­er­age this is­sue in an in­ter­view with one of the world’s fore­most ex­perts on the sub­ject: Ea­mon Duffy. As he ex­plains on page 63, the events of 1517 con­tinue to res­onate in mod­ern times, even in­flu­enc­ing the vote to leave the Euro­pean Union.

We are liv­ing in times of great up­heaval, and amid the huge changes tak­ing place, his­tory it­self may be in some peril. New forms of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, such as so­cial me­dia and email, mean that the records of the present could present sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges to his­to­ri­ans of the fu­ture. On page 41, Jane Win­ters re­veals the dan­gers his­tory faces and of­fers her thoughts about what we can do to en­sure it re­mains in rude health in the decades and cen­turies to come.

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