Issues Presented When Focusing On Public History History Essay

St Clement Dames is the cardinal church of the Royal Air Force. It was designated this function after the Royal Air Force rebuilt the edifice in 1958. Not merely is the church is a topographic point of worship, it besides acts as a topographic point of memorialization and commemoration for the Royal Air force, which has drawn attending to the church in recent old ages. The site of St Clement Dames is an interesting instance survey as the site has been reconstructed as a site of recollection for the RAF. It is a fertile land for look intoing as a site of public history ; particularly as it serves to be an of import reminder of the Second World War, in peculiar the Blitz and Battle of Britain.

The impression of ‘Public History ‘ had been used in recent decennaries in the United States, but is now bring forthing involvement in the British Isles. The term ‘public history ‘ is a ‘chameleon like label[ 2 ]‘ , as it includes a broad scope of patterns and incorporates a figure of different scenes, which has enabled the term to be immune to being exactly defined. The term could be defined as public history as ‘means the presentation of historical cognition to a general public audience[ 3 ]‘ or known as ‘popular history- it is seen or read by big Numberss of people and has largely been designed for a mass audience[ 4 ]‘ . These definitions place accents on the assorted methods used to show the yesteryear to the populace and to acquire them to prosecute with it. The site of St Clement Dames was created with the intent to move as the cardinal church of the Royal Air force. The church was rebuilt to the original design of Christopher Wren and much of the interior resonates with a traditional Anglican 18th century church. However, during my visit I noticed there were certain facets of the church that appear to vibrate with the Royal Air force from the commemorations on the floor tiles, RAF streamers and the walls covered with memorial books. This highlights the strong presence of the Royal Air Force within the church and this would acquire the populace to prosecute with the history of the RAF. However, this could be debatable as members of the populace could easy overlook certain facets such as the organ donated by the American Air force and the other parts by the commonwealth air forces every bit good as the commemorations on the floor. St Clement Dames is a site of public history as it encompasses the chief facets of the definitions. The site presents the history of the RAF, therefore enabling the populace to prosecute with it, but like most sites of public history these facets could easy overlooked.

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The site of St Clements Danes church can be seen in the broader context of the British narrative and tradition. There are facets of the church, which enable the site to suit in to the narration of the Second World War, particularly in relation to the Royal Air Force. There are certain traits like the commemorations on the floor, which highlight the part of the RAF during the Blitz and the Battle of Britain. Furthermore, the E window looks out on to St Paul ‘s Cathedral, which was the focal point of the individuality of London during the Blitz and World War 2, farther underscoring the function of the church within the narration of the Second World War. Furthermore, the church has commemorated some of the most important events in the history of the RAF such as the jubilation of the fiftieth day of remembrance of the formation of the Air developing corps in 1991. This emphasises the church is a cardinal facet in the narration of the Royal Air force. As a consequence, the site of St Clement Dames is a site of public history, as there are features, which place accent on the function of the RAF and put the site in the traditional British narration of the Second World War, supplying a distinguishable position to the populace.

The site of St Clement Dames fits into the narration of the Second World War, but this besides provokes political issues as the site promotes peculiar involvements and positions. The political nature of history for the public becomes exceptionally clear when there are ferocious contentions, such as the programs to raise at a statue of ‘Bomber ‘ Harris in forepart of the church, about 50 old ages after allied bombardments of German metropoliss. The proposed statue caused an tumult, particularly as no official member of the church attended the ceremonial and some outstanding members joined the protestors[ 5 ]. Furthermore, the programs were met with unfavorable judgment from outstanding figures like the Mayor of Dresden and the Mayor of Colgne[ 6 ]for observing such a controversial figure, particularly as the unveiling of the statue coincided with the fiftieth day of remembrance of the bombardment of the Rhineland. These positions contrast the purpose of the Godheads, which is to honor the work forces within the RAF. The unveiling of the ‘Bomber ‘ Harris statue highlighted an issue within public history, as the argument resolved around how objects associated with one of the most extremely charged events of the 20th century should be presented to the populace. Many people think that the Allies were incorrect to drop bombs on the German civilians and metropoliss and their motivations have been unquestionably assorted. However, for others the Allies were right, and the event should be lawfully celebrated. It is impossible to show these issues neutrality, and it could be argued that it is improper to make so, given the immense devastation of civilian life and the long term effects of the bombs. Yet publicly funded establishments are capable to a scope of forces and restraints, which are non present in academic history. Like most commemorations, they can non be critical of those they commemorate, they have to show a positive image, which is unnaturally constructed and allow for their minute of creative activity. The statue of Harris and Dowding commemorate the function of the RAF during the Battle of Britain and Blitz, as all members are honoured. The commemorations of the Second World War highlight the public significance of the events for authoritiess and big wrappings of the population. The statues celebrated the triumphs of Royal Air Force during World War 2 and are designed to foreground the importance of these events to the population and authorities.

The site of St Clement Dames has a really strong RAF presence ; therefore it is hard for members of the populace to see anything but a memorial to the RAF. The church of St Clement Dane was non the merely spiritual edifice to be destroyed by the Blitz, the cathedral at Coventry was besides destroyed. It became the symbol of the German assault on the British civilian population. The metropolis gained its individuality from the cathedral, but after its devastation, it became the Centre of commemoration and memorialization. From this the ministry of rapprochement was created, the cathedral was to be left as a ruin and a new edifice was to be built alongside the devastation. As a consequence, the accent of Coventry Cathedral is placed on the supplying rapprochement every bit good as religious and practical support, in countries of struggle throughout the universe[ 7 ]. This procedure of Reconstruction contrasts the church of Frauenkirche ‘Our Lady ‘ in Dresden, which became a symbol of the devastation from the Allies air foray. The Reconstruction of the church was hard, unlike the rebuilding of the St Clement Dames and Coventry Cathedral. This was due to the hard inquiry during the post-war period, and the original sentiment was to disregard the events of World War 2. Both of these illustrations contrast the Reconstruction of St Clement Dames, as the church was rebuilt to portray the importance of the RAF, whilst the other churches provide a different portraiture of the events, concentrating on the devastation of war and the predicament of civilians. The RAF church is besides a topographic point of pilgrim’s journey and peace for those associated with the RAF, which is present during my visit, but as I do non cognize anyone in the RAF, I did non experience this sentiment.

St Clement Dames is a site of public history, as portrays the yesteryear to the populace and from my visit ; it would be hard to disregard the strong influence of the RAF. Furthermore, the site is different from other reconstructed churches from the Second World War as it portrays the history of the RAF and its impact during the war. This places the site into the British narration of the War, but this could be controversial as seen in the unveiling of the Harris statue.

Word Count = 1509



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