Press Releases

When was The Kingdom United? Town Hall Lectures 2004 – University of Reading

Release Date : 06 January 2004

peter berresford ellisWe talk about "The United Kingdom" as a matter of fact, but how did this unification take place? And are the four nations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland willing participants? Leading Celtic scholar and author Peter Berresford Ellis will consider these issues and look at the myths and realities of living in the UK in his introductory Reading Town Hall lecture on Monday 19 January. He is the first of an impressive line-up of speakers in this year's Town Hall lecture series, entitled 'United Kingdom?' The five fortnightly lectures, organised by the University of Reading's School of Continuing Education, aim to explore our national identity as a unified kingdom. Peter Berresford Ellis's talk will trace the UK from its emergence in 1707 when England exerted its dominance, to the modern-day United Kingdom where the smaller constituent states have been given greater power and control. ’There might have been a state called The United Kingdom,’ he said. ’But was it a united kingdom and is the basis of its foundation strong enough to survive? ’Only from 1999 has central government accepted the concept of self-determination, with limitations, for the constituent nations that make up the UK.’ He will argue that without understanding how the UK came into being, it is not possible to understand the country's current dynamics or to anticipate how it will develop either within its own borders or within a European context. Peter Berresford Ellis has written more than 30 books relating to the ancient Celts, as well as histories of the Cromwellian colonisation of Ireland and the Scottish uprisings of 1820. Under the pseudonym Peter Tremayne, he has also written the bestselling Sister Fidelma Murder Mysteries, which are set in seventh century Ireland. The second lecture in the series will be given by Lembit öpik, the Liberal Democrat MP for Montgomeryshire. He will consider the controversial subjects of the politics of fear and governmental erosion of civil liberties in contemporary Britain. Mandana Hendessi, Commissioner on Muslim women's issues for the Women's National Commission, will look at the UK as a multi-cultural and multi-faith society, and will focus particularly on the experiences of Asian women in this country. Caroline Lucas, Green MEP for the South East Region, will consider how the UK fits in to an ever-expanding European Union. Finally, Anthony Barnett and Caspar Melville, the editor and executive editor of (an online global magazine of politics and culture) will look at how the 'war on terror' might affect the UK's role on the global stage. Tickets for the series (£25 or £18 concessions) and individually (£7) can be booked in advance through the Hexagon Box Office by calling 0118 960 6060. Individual lecture tickets are also available at the door on the night. End Notes for editors: 19 January 2004 – When was the Kingdom United? (Peter Berresford Ellis) 2 February 2004 – Brave New World or Brand New World? (Lembit öpik) 16 February 2004 – The Hidden United Kingdom (Mandana Hendessi) 1 March 2004 – The Question of Europe (Caroline Lucas) 15 March 2004 – Sovereign State? (Anthony Barnett/Caspar Melville) For further press information please contact Craig Hillsley, University press officer. Tel: 0118 378 8005 Email:


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