I studied History at Edinburgh University, earning a 2:1 MA with Hons. While I may not have used my degree in a formal sense, I’ve always retained a keen interest in the subject.
In 2013, I gave three talks at Previously…Scotland’s History Festival. These talks were:
Scottish Football Coaches – Kings of Europe.
This focused on four Scottish football coaches, John Madden, John Dick, William Aitken and J.T. Robertson, all of whom were coaching in mainland Europe before WWII. Arguably, all of them had a great influence on the game. Madden, for example, is still referred to as ‘The Father of Czech Football’.
Scots & Slavs
Even before meeting my Slovakian wife, I’d been fascinated by the historical links between Scotland and territories such as Poland, Russia and beyond. This talk focused on the significant levels of Scottish migration to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 17th Century, and also on Scots who went on to enjoy particular success or prominence in the Slavic world. These figures include the Fifer, Samuel Greig…who went on to become known as ‘The Father of the Russian Navy.”
I was also able to introduce my personal experience of having visited the Lithuanian town of Kedainiai, which at one point was probably home to a population of around 300 Scots. (NB. It’s important to point out that Lithuanians are Baltic people, not Slavs…lest the title of the talk confuse.)
I wrote some of my research for the Scots & Slavs talk up into an article, which you can find published on the website of the Polish Scottish Heritage Trail.
How Beer Explains Scotland
To trace the history of beer in Scotland is to trace the history of the land and people itself. Whisky may be considered our national drink, but evidence for the consumption of ales in Scotland dates back 5000 years. Following the trail allows us to touch on areas like taxation, the role of women and, eventually, globalisation.
While at University, I studied various historical topics. These included –
Britain’s Role in the Development of the Cold War
This was the topic for my dissertation at University and involved spending much time poring over de-classified Foreign Office correspondence. Things that stay with me include the bemusement of Soviet officials at Churchill’s worries regarding the post-war election. To paraphrase… “but surely you’ll just fix it?”
Early Modern Irish History
Living in a country where, often sadly, Irish history remains such a big talking point, I felt it was important to know more about it.
John F Kennedy’s Irish Roots
My extended third-year essay was on the importance (or lack of) of JFK’s Irish roots to his election to the American Presidency.
Ghana has a fascinating and rich history, from the Kingdom of Ashanti…to the colonial period and the British underdevelopment of the then Gold Coast’s Northern Territories.
Would you like me to write or talk on an area of history?
As you can see, I have various areas of knowledge when it comes to history and I would be happy to expand further upon any of these for any projects that you may have coming up. To discuss my availability, please contact me.