About the HA

History of the HA

The Historical Association is an independent charity incorporated by Royal Charter. It has been supporting the study and enjoyment of history since 1906.

With over 6000 members the HA is the major national organisation representing the case for historical education to policy makers and ministers. It advises on curriculum issues at all levels and campaigns for access to specialist historical knowledge and collections.

The Historical Association was founded as compulsory elementary education was becoming the norm and the range of subjects growing to include the relatively new school discipline of history. Already by 1906 a number of ‘subject’ associations were in existence. The Mathematical Association had been founded in 1870, the Geographical and Modern Language Associations in 1893, the Classical Association in 1903. It is not surprising that this movement stimulated history teachers, who by 1906 were in any case beginning to form local groups. From the outset the Association was intended to be complimentary to the Royal Historical Society. Its aim was to bring together teachers of history from primary (or elementary schools) with the fledgling university professionals. 

But from very early on, the Association acquired a further aim expressed by Professor Tout in 1911 ‘… that now we are becoming strong and well-established we shall not forget that we can also make ourselves an Association of students, a body desirous of furthering the study and the investigation of history.’

The growing non-professional interest in history was quickly seen in the Association’s branch structure. New branches began to spring up, appealing to members of the public wanting to learn more about history, and in 1917 a revision of the constitution explicitly provided for the admission of ‘all persons interested in the study and teaching of history’.

The Association continues to support the study, teaching and enjoyment of history at all levels. Today there are more than 45 local branches around the UK. 

What does the HA do?

Supporting knowledge and enjoyment of history in the community

The network of local branches offers annual programmes of talks and other activities, covering all kinds of history from local to international, and all periods. (Topics of particular local interest are included, but we would not wish to compete directly with the flourishing local history societies which exist in many areas; our intention is always to set the local topic in its wider national or even international context.)

Supporting history teaching and learning

Through its web resources and committee work, the HA supports teachers of history in primary and secondary schools with a huge range of practical resources helping to develop careers, from initial teacher training through NQT to subject teacher and subject leader.

Developing subject understanding

Through its publishing, both online and in print, the HA supports a deeper understanding of history pedagogy and history content. Its teaching journals, Primary History and Teaching History, have helped develop history teaching in the UK to become the world renowned subject community it is today.

Supporting teachers’ professional development

The HA runs a number of events, including the Annual Conference, with workshops and subject talks to support history at all levels. It also has a growing programme of online CPD.

Supporting students of history

The HA has a growing resource centre for students on its national website to help with GCSE and A level studies.

Campaigning for history

The Association engages with policy makers and government ministers to make the case for history and to ensure all students in all schools have access to history. Annual surveys into the state of history teaching in England in both primary and secondary schools are a vital part of its work, and have contributed to the debate on history over the last few years.


The HA publishes a number of journals and magazines as well as one-off publication to support history. The in-house journals are:

The Historian

Teaching History

Primary History

In partnership with Wiley-Blackwell, the HA also publishes History and the Annual Bulletin of Historical Literature.

For more about the HA’s activities and publications, and how to join as a national member, please go to the HA’s national website.