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Apr 23

Editorial

History is often simply described as  the ‘study of the past’, but  how do we approach the subject  and try to understand it? One approach attempts to move away from the old conventional attitude embodied in the ‘great man’ and ‘great nation’  model in our  understanding  of  history. Hitherto there has been too much reliance on secondary sources and  an almost exclusive use of the narrative approach. Modern historians realise that  history is not  ‘what happened in the past’ It is virtually impossible to know what happened in the past, but we can embark on a process that  uses primary or first hand sources. This information (evidence) comes to us in a raw pristine state and requires careful evaluation, polishing and weighing but in this process it challenges us to revise our current view of history (often based on secondary sources)  This approach provides us with new insights , ideas and explanations that  render our current perceptions of the past sadly inaccurate and wanting.  A good example of this is the impact made on our understanding of past events by the ever increasing  number of archaeological discoveries made in recent times. Henry Ford is  attributed with having said "' ‘History is bunk!’ Perhaps that  phrase was valid in his heyday, but now it needs to be replaced by a new one:

“Bunk-> Debunk-> Rebunk!”

5 comments

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  1. Robin Lamplough

    Howzit, Arthur,
    I had an excited call from an old friend from Botha’s Hill, telling me that she had just read in JC vd Walt’s True Stories (p. 59) that the ailing British troops at Eshowe dosed themselves with, among other things, Lamplough’s Antipyretic Saline. She wanted to know if there was any family connection. I had not heard of this preparation before but discovered that in its day it was a rival of Eno’s (also used at Eshowe). The inventor and manufacturer came from the same corner of Yorkshire as my forebears but I could not establish a direct link. I’m still working on it in the hope that there is a bit of undistributed wealth to be unearthed there!
    Regards,
    Robin Lamplough

  2. ~Ed

    Hello David

    Thank you very much for your comment. I am also pleased to hear that you found some of the content on the site of interest.
    Your information on the book review on the latest edition of Zululand True Stories by JC van der Walt is also most welcome.
    I look forward to more collaboration in the future.

    Arthur

  3. ~Ed

    Robin, thank you so much for this comment and your kind and encouraging words. I am very keen to engage with your ideas and they appear to be just what the “doctor ordered” I will set about implementing them right away!
    In the meantime it would be highly appreciated if you could perhaps send me via email a potted history or profile on the Highway Heritage Society and perhaps an image of the Society’s coat of arms or badge. I would very much welcome having them grace our pages (either on a separate Notice board page or on the home (front) page itself. I will also be exploring the school history departments concept. Perhaps Kearsney’s History department would like to kickoff in this regard?
    Maybe you wouldnt mind volunteering to assist me by supplying me with contact details etc, ? I have visted their website and found an article on their recent History tour.
    Your offer of material for the site is most appreciated! Welcome aboard!
    Arthur

  4. Robin Lamplough

    Arthur, this is a really exciting concept. I think it has great potential. Two ideas that you might like to consider: what about ‘notice boards’ for interested organisations? I belong to the Highway Heritage Society, based in Ethekwini’s Outer West. We could supply news about recent and future meetings. Similarly, school history departments will have news of outings and other events.
    Something, at least, to think about.
    Meanwhile, I’ll think of an item or two to offer you.
    Keep up this sterling effort.
    Robin

  5. David Canning

    Some really interesting material is on the site Arthur. Regards David

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