The Hampstead & NW London Branch of the Historical Association holds its lectures at Fellowship House, generally at 8 pm on the third Thursday of the month between September to April (excluding December). Suburb residents and those living further afield are all most welcome.
The cost of attendance is £5 at the door (£2 for Fellowship Club Members – please remember to bring your Club Membership card). Alternatively, you could become a Branch Member for £15 (£7 for Fellowship Club Members – please remember to bring your Club Membership card). Full members of the Historical Association are admitted free on presentation of their HA Membership Card (Full HA Membership : £40.50).
Coffee, tea and biscuits will be provided after the meeting and are included in the entrance fee. Wine is available for a small suggested donation. We hope this will encourage you to stay on after the talk to meet the speaker and your fellow attendees.
Queries, suggestions and requests should be addressed to
Hampstead & NW London Branch of the Historical Association
Thursday 16th November 2023 at 8pm
Taylor Downing, Historian, Author and Broadcaster
‘1942 Britain at the Brink’
Most people think that Britain’s worst moment in the war was 1940 with the fall of France, the Battle of Britain and the Blitz. But in 1942 – Britain at the Brink, Taylor argues that Britain’s darkest hour was actually in 1942 when the British people faced the prospect of defeat when a string of military disasters engulfed Britain in rapid succession. The collapse in Malaya, the biggest surrender in British history at Singapore, the passing of three large German warships through the Straits of Dover in broad daylight, the longest ever retreat through Burma to the gates of India, failures and defeat of the Eighth Army to Rommel’s forces in North Africa, the siege of Malta and the surrender at Tobruk. All of this occurred against the backdrop of catastrophic shipping losses in the Atlantic. The run of military failures created a political crisis for Winston Churchill and his government. People began to claim that Churchill was not up to the job and his leadership was failing badly. Public morale collapsed. 1942 Britain At the Brink explores the story of frustration and despair in that year. Using remarkable new material from the Mass Observation Archive, historian Taylor Downing shows just how unpopular Churchill became in 1942 with two votes attacking his leadership in the Commons and the emergence of a serious political rival. After El Alamein and Stalingrad the war took a favourable turn for the Allies: but this pivotal year is described in nail-biting detail, bringing a fresh eye on the events of eighty years ago.