Who are we?

Rebecca Sullivan, published 17th November 2015

The Historical Association

We are a registered charity incorporated by Royal Charter (charity no. 1120261). We support the teaching, learning and enjoyment of history at all levels and bring together people who share an interest in and love for the past.

We inspire, enable and encourage people to get involved with history, whether in the classroom, at college, in the library or at home. We passionately believe the study of history should be accessible to all people at all levels of study.

 

Our people

As a membership charity our people make us who we are, from our small team in our Kennington Office to our many volunteers who run our branches, to our knowledgeable history teachers who advise on national education policies, to our academic historians who provide us with access to research and the latest ideas in historical thought and to our many members and associates.

The Kennington Team

 

Our governance

We are overseen by a Governing Council made up of trustees who are directly elected by the membership. The Council has overall responsibility for the HA, for its future and its well-being. As trustees, members of the Council ensure the charity runs in accordance with the law and our charitable objectives.

Council meet twice a year to consider the strategy and policy of the organisation and is assisted by an Executive Committee which meet quarterly. The day-to-day management of the charity is delegated to the Chief Executive Officer.

 

Our history

We were founded in 1906 by a small group of history teachers and academic historians to support the growing need for good history resources in schools. The first stated aims included the need to support teachers, to encourage the teaching and learning of history, the need to research and distribute ideas on the teaching of history and to represent the needs and interests of teachers of history to government departments and other authorities with control over education.

Within just a few years the HA 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 branch structure led to people not involved with history teaching or study wanting to join.  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.  In January 1917 membership was widened to allow ‘all persons interested in the study and teaching of history' to become members.

The Association continues to support the study, teaching and enjoyment of history at all levels. In our centenary year we were granted a Royal Charter. As one of our founding members – and later a President of the HA – was Henry Marten, tutor to the Queen as a young woman, this felt a fitting celebration of our centenary and our royal Patron.

Today there are over 50 branches around the UK who run over 350 events annually. We have just over 6000 full members, 2000 branch members and in excess of 24,000 digital subscribers.

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