Book review: Back from historical oblivion

The 5th Marquess of Lansdowne had a long and important career at home and abroad which ended abruptly a century ago in November 1917. A sudden fall from grace led to him being almost totally forgotten.

Who got women the vote?

The standard answer is Mrs Pankhurst and her law-breaking suffragettes. The credit really belongs elsewhere, as Alistair Lexden explained in the main letter published in The Daily Telegraph on December 21.

Churchill's fascist friend

Writing in The Spectator on 2 December, Charles Moore referred to a most cordial meeting between Churchill and Mussolini in 1927.

Women and hereditary titles

The Succession to the Crown Act 2013 introduced gender equality in the monarchy: males no longer take automatic precedence over females in inheritance rights to the throne.

Another young prince whose bride had a husband living

Prince Harry’s father made a second marriage in middle age to a woman in the lifetime of her previous husband. Centuries have elapsed, however, since the last occasion when a prominent member of the Royal Family married a woman in such circumstances as his first wife.

Gladstone and slavery

On November 16, The Times reported that students in Liverpool were campaigning to have Gladstone’s name removed from a university building because he was not a strong opponent of slavery, an assertion given credibility by his father’s ownership of sugar plantations in the West Indies.

Online voting

As a historian, Alistair Lexden devotes much time to thinking and writing about the past, but he does not neglect the future. He is a Patron of the Institute of Digital Democracy, and contributed a foreword to its report on online voting, published on November 6.

Oscar Wilde's prison books

A prominent Liberal politician came to Oscar Wilde’s aid after his conviction and imprisonment in 1895. An article in TLS: The Times Literary Supplement on October 20 made brief mention of the books that were sent to Wilde, whom some thought close to mental collapse, by this helpful MP.

The Balfour Declaration

On 2 November 1917, Lord Balfour, then Foreign Secretary, signed a short 67-word letter to Lord Rothschild, a leader of the British-Jewish community, containing a statement which instantly became famous as the Balfour Declaration when it was released to the press seven days later.

250th letter in The Times - and a record

Alistair Lexden’s letter in The Times on October 30 (see below) was his 250th in what is generally regarded as the most famous letters page in the world.