11th Sept 2018: Thinkers or Junkers? Germans in England 1860-1915 by Anne Hill Fernie

Come along to The Castle Hotel (66 Oldham St, Manchester M4 1LE) from 7pm. Come along for some food, some socialising and an opportunity to discover the history of Germans in England…


Name of speaker:

Anne Hill Fernie

Title of talk:

Thinkers or Junkers? Germans in England 1860-1915


Bullet points of what you would like to cover:

  • Brief overview of how the confederation of German states became a unified country.
  • How Germany developed its 19th century image of ‘Poets and Thinkers’.
  • How and why this changed from 1870 onwards.
  • How and when anti-German sentiment started in Britain.
  • Germans in England. Who they were / what they did.
  • Sinking of Lusitania, 1915, anti-German riots, internment camps.


A (few) paragraph(s) on the subject you you’ve chosen to talk about and written through a personal narrative

2017 has seen the sharp decline in UK German studies at all levels. A 13.2 drop at GCSE level, similar at ‘A’ level and undergraduates reading German has almost halved since 1997. It would appear ironic that in an age where Europe has never been closer geographically, our real sense of closeness to it culturally & emotionally widens.
As a result of this and continued media stereotyping of the ‘bad’ or ‘threatening’ German, many British are unaware of the completely different reputation that ‘our cultural cousins’ had before the onset of WW1 as a nation of ‘poets and thinkers’. Germans of all professions flocked to Britain from the 1860s onwards, becoming one of the largest immigrant groups and contributing immeasurably to British culture and communities of the time.
My talk will identify German nationals’ contribution to Manchester in particular but crucially, will try and pinpoint at what point the image started to curdle, from that of ‘poets and thinkers’ (Dichter und Denker) to that of ‘Judges and executioners’ (Richter und Henker) – a Eurotrope of aggression and domination that the country has never quite managed to shake off. The question posed is how to re-engage Britain with German culture – a culture so bound up with ours if only we knew…….

A few paragraphs about you:

I work as a study skills tutor with under & post graduates on the autistic spectrum or with mental health issues. Do love the whole urban exploration thingy, architecture and photography.  I am a bit of an old counter-culturalist/’bohemian’ myself and lived in various parts of Europe until the age of 15 and then another 3 years in Austria in my early twenties.
My under and post-graduate work also pertained to Austrian/German culture, specifically to that of the Weimar Republic & dying days of the Hapsburg Empire so I have always been aware of the startlingly radical ideas both artistic and cultural that were coming out of the ‘Mitteleuropa’ region from the late 19thc onwards.

Any suggested you-tube links, websites and / or texts where further information may be found on your chosen topic:

Anon (u.d.). Riots and Hooligans. Available at: http://liverpoolremembrance.weebly.com/anti-german-riots.html


Ashley, M. (2014). ‘The Fear of Invasion. British Library. Available at: http://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/the-fear-of-invation


Clark, I. H. (2015). Handforth Concentration Prison. Available at: https://diversenarratives.com/2015/02/05/handforth-concentration-prison/


Gabb, S (1990). ‘Anglo-German Relations in the Twentieth Century; an isolationist’s view. Libertarian Alliance. Available at: http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/histn/histn011.pdf


Greenwood, J. (1875). ‘At a Sugar Baking’ in: The Wilds of London. London: Chatto & Windus. Available at: http://www.mernick.org.uk/thhol/sugarbak.html


Griffin, E. (2014). Manchester in the 19th century. Available at: https://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/manchester-in-the-19th-century


Hensher, P. (2011). ‘Germany land of poets and thinkers’. Available at: http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20111128-the-land-of-poets-and-thinkers


Nevell, N. (2015). ‘Housing in 19thc Manchester’. From Marple Local History Society. Available at: http://www.marplelocalhistorysociety.org.uk/society-meetings/meetings-2015-2016/235-15th-february-mike-nevell-housing-in-19c-manchester-3.html


Niccol, R. (1864). ‘The Influence of German Refiners (Pt.1) from: Essay on Sugar. Available at: http://www.sugarpacketchad.com/europeansugarhistor.html

Panayi, P. (2010). ‘Pride and prejudice: The Victorian roots of a very British ambivalence to immigration’. Independent. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/pride-and-prejudice-the-victorian-roots-of-a-very-british-ambivalence-to-immigration-2016353.html.
Panayi, P. (2014). Enemy in our Midst: Germans in Britain during the First World War (London: Bloomsbury)
Panayi, P. (2000). ‘The Settlement of Germans in Britain during the Nineteenth Century. Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies [IMIS]. Beiträge, Heft 14, Juni 2000. Available at: http://mawer.clara.net/ppanayi.html.
Reed, S. (2015a) ‘The Poor Palatines: an 18th-century refugee crisis’. British Library. Available at: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/european/anglo-german/
Reed, S. (2015b) ‘Waterloo’s Prussian Hero: Blücher and the British’. British Library. Available at: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/european/anglo-german/
Reed, S. (2014c). ‘All Horrid’ – but not all German’ British Library. Available at:. http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/european/anglo-german/
Reed, S. (2014d). ‘A Teuton take on tartan: Sco(t)tland and the Germans’. British Library. Available at: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/european/anglo-german/
Reed, S. (2014e). ‘Charles Bairnes, accused: a German on trial in 18th-century London’. British Library. Available at: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/european/anglo-german/
Reed, S. (2014f). ’Is Your Governess Really a Spy?. British Library. Available at: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/european/anglo-german/
Reed, S. (2014g). ‘On the eve: Germans in Britain in 1913. British Library. Available at: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/european/anglo-german/
Reed, S. (2014h). ‘Pfui, der Struwwelpeter!’ British Adventures of a German nursery classic’. British Library. Available at: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/european/anglo-german/.
Reed, S. (2014i). ‘Ploughing, Scattering and Translating: you know more German hymns than you think’. British Library. Available at: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/european/anglo-german/
Reed, S. (2014j). ‘Tauchnitz and Marinack: the famous and the unknown bringing English literature to the Germans’. British Library. Available at: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/european/anglo-german/.
Rigby, B.; Parker, J. et al. (1992). ‘Manchester’s German Gentlemen: Immigrant Institutions in a Provincial city 1840-1920’. Manchester Region History Review. Vol.5.No2. Autumn – Winter.
Simkin, J. (1997) ‘Anti-German Hysteria’. Available at: http://spartacus-educational.com/FWWantigerman.htm
The Guardian Archive (1915). 13 May 1915: Anti-German riots spread. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/13/anti-german-riots-lusitania-1915-first-world-war
Towney, P. (2009). ‘German Ancestors’ from: Who do you Think You Are. Available at: http://www.whodoyouthinkyouaremagazine.com/tutorials/overseas/german-ancestors
Traub. R. (2007). ‚Begeisterung für das Vaterland: unter der Fahne der Wahrheit und Schönheit‘. Spiegel. Available at: http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/spiegelspecialgeschichte/d-50620300.html
Ulrich, K. (2012). ‘125 Years of Made in Germany’. Available at: http://www.dw.com/en/125-years-of-made-in-germany/a-16188583
Wainwright, M. (2011). Liver Bird Sculptor rehabilitated by City that Tried to Forget. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/jul/12/liver-bird-sculptor-rehabilitated-bartels
Western Civilization II Guides (2017). ‘Prussian Militarism and Question of German Reunification as a Result of Prussia’. Available at: http://westerncivguides.umwblogs.org/2011/12/07/prussian-militarism-and-question-of-german-unification-as-a-result-of-prussia/
Wikipedia (2017). Anti-German Sentiment. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-German_sentiment
Wikipedia (2017). 18thc history of Germany. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/18th-century_history_of_Germany
WW1: Merseyside at War (2015). Handforth Internment Camp at: http://www.merseyside-at-war.org.story/handforth-intrnament-camp/