The Historical Association was founded at a time when compulsory elementary education was becoming the norm and the range of subjects was growing to include the relatively new school discipline of history. Already by 1906 a number of ‘subject’ associations were in existence. The Mathematical Association had been founded in 1871, the Modern Language Association in 1883 the Geographical Association in 1893, and the Classical Association in 1903. It is not surprising, therefore, that this movement stimulated history teachers, who by 1906 were, in any case, beginning to form local groups.
From the start, the HA was intended to be complementary to the Royal Historical Society (founded in 1868). Its aim was to bring together teachers of history from primary (or elementary schools) with the fledgling university professionals. But from very early on, the Association acquired a further aim, expressed by Professor Tout in 1911: ‘... that now we are becoming strong and well-established we shall not forget that we can also make ourselves an Association of students, a body desirous of furthering the study and the investigation of history.’
The growing non-professional interest in history was quickly seen in the Association’s branch structure. Whilst branches in large cities or near universities and teacher training colleges attracted history teachers looking to support one another, other branches began to spring up appealing to members of the public wanting to learn more about history. Membership, which had originally been open to ‘all persons engaged or interested in the teaching of history', was widened, therefore, and in January 1917 a revision of the constitution explicitly provided for the admission of ‘all persons interested in the study and teaching of history’.
The Association continues to support the study, teaching and enjoyment of history at all levels, and today there are over 50 branches around the UK.
Through its web resources and its committee work the HA supports teachers of history in primary and secondary schools with a huge range of practical resources helping to develop careers from initial teacher training, through NQT to subject teacher and subject leader.
Through its publishing, both online and in print, the HA supports a more profound understanding of history pedagogy and history content. Its teaching journals, Primary History and Teaching History have helped develop history teaching in the UK to become the world renowned subject community it is today. And the HA’s journal The Historian is the only history magazine that offers in-depth but extremely readable history by well-known experts in their fields, plus individual research by members of the Association that you just won't find anywhere else.
The Historical Association is an independent charity incorporated by Royal Charter. It has been supporting the study and enjoyment of history since 1906. With over 6,000 members, the Association is the major national organisation representing the case for an historical education to policy makers and ministers. It advises on curriculum issues at all levels and campaigns for access to specialist historical knowledge and collections.
2017’s recipient of the Medlicott Medal will be Mary Beard OBE, FSA, FBA
She is Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge, a fellow of Newnham College, and Royal Academy of Arts Professor of Ancient Literature. She is also the classics editor of The Times Literary Supplement, and author of the blog, ‘A Don's Life’, which appears in The Times as a regular column. Her frequent media appearances and sometimes controversial public statements have led to her being described as ‘Britain's best-known classicist’.