Our Island Story: A Child’s History of England is a book by Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall, first published in 1905 in London by T. C. & E. C. Jack. It is about the history of England up to Queen Victoria’s death, with some myths and legends mixed in. The book’s contents were originally told by H. E. Marshall to answer her children’s questions about the history of “their home island” (Great Britain, although at the time they were living in Australia). The book has always been very popular, and many famous historians credit it as an inspiration.
After being out of print for many years, in 2005, the book’s centenary year, an alliance of the Civitas think-tank and various national newspapers brought the book back into print through Galore Park Publishing, with the aim of sending a free copy to each of the UK’s primary schools. Readers of The Daily Telegraph contributed £25,000 to the cost of the reprint. It was published as Our Island Story: A History of Britain for Boys and Girls, from the Romans to Queen Victoria.
Prime Minister David Cameron chose Our Island Story when asked to select his favourite childhood book in October 2010: “When I was younger, I particularly enjoyed ‘Our Island Story’ by Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall It is written in a way that really captured my imagination and which nurtured my interest in the history of our great nation.” Its style is parodied in 1066 and All That.