I have many things that I love – scouting, adventure, BLOGGING – all of which I talk about and express my love for often over on my blog. It is a little known fact, however, that I am a complete history buff and absolutely love history. I don’t tell many people this – perhaps because I didn’t realise just how big my obsession with history was until I came to write this or perhaps because history is such a natural part of me I feel as if everyone should already know how much I love it anyway. Either way, I’m going to talk about it now.
My love of history stemmed, I think, from the fact that my relatives have always lived very far away from me so whenever they visited us; they would always bring little gifts. When I was younger, these would usually be drawing books or fancy pens or some sort of arts and craft thing, which, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved but when I reached about the age of 7 and my relatives decided I was old enough to start reading books, I would get more and more excited with their every visit, waiting to see which new, fascinating book I would be brought next. One of the most memorable books that I ever received was Twist of Gold by Michael Morpurgo – in fact, I still own it now. This book is so special to me as this is what introduced me to the vast and wonderful world of historical fiction.
And of course, after I read this book, I was dying to explore historical fiction even more and discover new eras and stories to match. So, naturally, I started to collect more and more historical fiction books until almost my entire bookshelf was made up of them….oops.
But seriously though, books really were what got me into my history addiction.
In addition to reading historical fiction books, throughout school, we learnt about various eras of history – the Elizabethans, the Victorians etc – but my personal favourite has to be WW1 and WW2. Ever since I discovered the world of historical fiction, I have been drawn towards reading books set in the world wars and now also the Holocaust. When we were given the opportunity to study WW2 back in year 6, I couldn’t have been more thrilled. I think when you get to the point where you go home and make a giant timeline of all the events of WW2 and pin it up all around your bedroom, you know you’re a history addict.
When I reached year 8 and was able to choose which subjects I wanted to take exams in at the end of my time at secondary school, I of course chose history and loved every second of the two years we spent learning about Nazi Germany – an aspect of WW2 I previously knew nothing about – and Medicine Through Time.. I even got to go to Berlin as part of the course which is where my love of Germany and the German language stems from.
Somewhere along the lines, my love of history started moving away from just reading historical fiction and learning about it in school and I started watching historical films too. I used watched all of the old black and white war films on TV – The Great Escape, Escape to Victory, Colditz, Goodnight Mister Tom etc – which were mainly focused on the holocaust which probably wasn’t the best choice of films to watch at 9/10 years old, but I was so interested in it all that I just had to find out more. Naturally, this then led onto me digging out my parent’s old Colditz board game and playing it over and over and over again. Then there was the Dad’s Army phase where I used to be obsessed with the show no matter how bad quality the filming was. Then when I was 12, I went to watch War Horse at the local cinema which reinforced my love of Michael Morpurgo even more. When I 14, I was lucky enough to go and see the stage production of War Horse which was AMAZING, even if I did keep jumping 3ft in the air every time they fired a gun…
Around the age of 11, purely out of coincidence I came in possession of an Airfix model which, for those of who don’t know, is a scaled down model kit of military vehicles/aircraft that you have to construct and paint. I won it in a raffle – it was a 50th anniversary model of the Spitfire plane which of course I was delighted at as it was flown in WW2. Once I had finished that model, I bought another – this time a WW1 plane called a Spad. Then I got another plane for Christmas and another for my birthday and before you knew it I had a fleet of Royal Air Force and Luftwaffe planes parked up in a homemade aircraft hangar in my bedroom.
When I went to Berlin last year, as I mentioned earlier, my love for history grew even more. I got to explore the historical routes of Berlin that I had been reading about in books for years. I also got to visit Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp which was a very interesting and informative opportunity – it really helped to put into perspective the Holocaust fiction I had read.
Last year I also volunteered for a week at my local museum where I got to go ‘behind the scenes’ and help with the packing up of the exhibits before they went off into storage to make way for the renovation of the museum. Last year made me truly realise that history is all around us and we can’t live in the present without understanding and remembering what happened in the past.
So, as you can tell, my love of history just keeps growing as I turn down new paths and discover more about the thing that I love. Currently, my love of history is focused on exploring career options that history could lead to and fantasizing about being a museum curator or an archivist or a tour guide around historic sites. I guess I just can’t get enough of history and it is such an important aspect of my life that I want to help others experience the eye-opening journey it has taken me on through the years. As my historical understanding grows, so does my understanding of the world around me and how things came to be. This is why I love history so much and why it is so important to me.
Thank you to the amazing Victoria for allowing me to share my love of history with you all! 🙂