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Our character, Alf Burton, grew up in Depression-era Jarrow,

and in 1936 was part of the Jarrow March, otherwise known as the Jarrow Crusade.   

 

Click or tap here to find out more;

 

He came to London in 1947 as an idealistic young reporter. Follow the link to find out more about

the world he was part of;

Alf was a strong supporter of the Attlee Labour Government. Click or tap on the icon to read their 1945 manifesto;

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Norman Armstrong's frustrating years in the political wilderness and Opposition  finally ended in 1979, when the Conservative Party under

Margaret Thatcher came to power. Read more about the Britain their government inherited here, and the dramatic steps, for better or worse, that were taken;

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Diversity in the Commons; The Class of '87

 

Our fictional MP, Janice Best, served as Conservative Member for the equally fictional seat of Streatham and Vauxhall, and was the only black MP in our slightly adjusted Conservative Party. In 1987 three real MPs of African and/or Caribbean background were elected to the Commons. Read more here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Image; UK Archives

Our character Charlotte Morris only makes a fleeting appearance in The Banqueting Club, but her influence is still felt more than six decades after her death. She protested strongly against the use of concentration camps in South Africa during the Second Boer War. Read more about the reality of the camps here, with further links to external sources and documentation.

 

Our characters, Richard Armstrong MP and the notorious, irascible Party Chairman Sir Dick Billings, played a key role in the Abdication Crisis in 1936. Read more about the real history behind the abdication of Edward VIII here;

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The theme that underpins the Armstrong and Burton series is the deep yet somewhat unlikely friendship between the arch Thatcherite Norman Armstrong, and the old socialist Alf Burton. When Winston Churchill was defeated in 1945, conservatively minded King George VI had to come to terms with a Labour government intent on social reform. 

Would they find common ground?

Clip Credit;  BBC Reputations-King George VI-The Reluctant King (1999)

 

In Armstrong's Army, our character, retired Commodore Jim O'Malley, recounts the dramatic maiden voyage of his ship, the Calcutta Queen II, in 1940.  This clip explains the remarkable truth that inspired our own version of events. It's a brief extract from a 1997 documentary series, The Liners: Ships of Destiny (ABC Australia), narrated by Sandy McCutcheon and with expert commentary from legendary maritime historian John Maxtone-Graham. 

 

In The Honourable Company, we learn that the quietly sinister Sir John Prentice served in northern Russia at the end of the Great War, in what was know as the Allied Intervention. Read more about this campaign, and a place called Mudyug Island, thanks to the BBC.

 

A BBC World Service radio documentary series, available in podcast, The Red and the White, is highly recommended.

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See more of the world inhabited by our characters on our Image Gallery page.

There are briefer and more frequently updated 'in-context' articles on our Blog page.

There is also a growing collection of curated content on Pinterest, with many images and brief descriptions of events, culture and people pivotal to the characters and stories in the Armstrong and Burton Series.

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