The Sir Martin Gilbert History Prize

This year’s competition is now closed. Check back soon for updates.

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The Sir Martin Gilbert Learning Centre is delighted to announce the 2022 Sir Martin Gilbert History Prize.

The essay question for this year is:

“Debates about war are important, but not more important than the human story of those who fought in them.” –– Sir Martin Gilbert 

Discuss with reference to a conflict in the twentieth century. 

The aim of the competition is to encourage students to engage in historical debate, using a range of sources to support their arguments. Students should use at least 4 primary sources, ideally some they have found themselves, in addition to those we suggest in our Resource Pack. Students should draw on different historians’ views, incorporating at least 3 secondary sources. Essays should be 1000–1200 words long, not including notes and bibliography. We expect winning entries to demonstrate clarity and concision, without sacrificing depth of discussion.  

The essay competition is open to UK schools, for students in Year 12 (Lower 6th/S5 in Scotland). Up to two entries will be accepted per school/college, so students must discuss their intention to submit an entry with their teacher before beginning. Entries should be submitted in Word or PDF format by the teacher, using the form below. Entries must be submitted by 15 July 2022, and the winning entry will be announced before the end of October 2022.  

The winning entry will be awarded a prize of £500, which will be split equally between the student and their school or college. The school or college’s prize will be awarded to the History Department in the form of book tokens. A second prize of £300 and a third prize of £200 will also be awarded, and similarly shared equally between student and school/college.

Essays will be marked on the following criteria:

  • Writing style, clarity and concision
  • Use of primary source material
  • Strength and persuasiveness of argument
  • Evidence of independent thought and intellectual curiosity.

Resources

We have created some resources to help students and teachers prepare for the essay competition. We would love to hear your feedback, please email bethany@sirmartingilbertlearningcentre.org with comments and suggestions.

History Prize Master document
Source suggestions for 5 conflicts
Working with sources
Essay-writing guide
Abbreviated PowerPoint with source suggestions

Terms and guidelines 

  1. The essay competition is open to UK schools only. 
  2. Only students in Year 12/Lower 6th/S5 in Scotland may enter.  
  3. Up to two entries will be accepted per school/college, so students must discuss their intention to submit an entry with their teacher before beginning. 
  4. Entries should be submitted in Word or PDF format by the teacher, using the form on our website (below)
  5. Entries must be submitted by 11.59pm on 1 July 2022. 
  6. The essay must discuss a conflict which took place in the twentieth century only (1900–1999). 
  7. Students should use at least 4 primary sources.  
  8. Students should draw on different historians’ views, incorporating at least 3 secondary sources.  
  9. Essays should be 1000–1200 words long, not including notes and bibliography.
  10. Please follow the Chicago Manual of Style for your notes and bibliography. 
  11. Please make the lines double-spaced and use size 12 font for your entry.
  12. Students must only enter their own, independent work. Teachers may provide guidance on finding sources, and may discuss the question in general terms, but students should not receive help or feedback on their essay. 
  13. The winning entry will be awarded a prize of £500. This will be split equally between the student and their school or college. The school or college’s prize will be awarded to the History Department in the form of book tokens. A second prize of £300 and a third prize of £200 will also be awarded, and similarly shared equally between student and school/college. 
  14. By entering the essay competition, students, teachers and schools agree to their names being featured in associated publicity on our website, on social media and in any other platforms.  
  15. We are unable to provide feedback on individual essays.  
  16. We are unable to contact all entrants individually. Please check our website by 31st October 2022 to see the outcome. Teachers of winning entrants will be advised via email.  
  17. Essays which do not meet the criteria outlined above will be disqualified.  

Teacher's details


Name of teacher(Required)
Email of teacher(Required)
Address of school

Students' details

Entry 1

Name of student(Required)
Accepted file types: pdf, doc, docx, Max. file size: 256 MB.
Entry 2

Name of student
Accepted file types: pdf, doc, docx, Max. file size: 256 MB.
Consent(Required)

The quality of the entries was incredible. This is a great way of encouraging the next generation of historians. A fitting tribute to Sir Martin.

Allen Packwood, Director, Churchill Archives Centre