Why does history matter?

I’m fascinated by history, even though I had to stop studying it at school at the age of 15 because I had to make a choice between history and physics and my original plan was to be an engineer so I had to choose physics. To this day, though, I still enjoy watching history programmes on television and reading history books (see my reviews here).
A six-month campaign called History Matters has just opened in Britain and, at the launch of the campaign, Stephen Fry addressed the question “Why does history matter?” He gave many answers in a scintillating speech in which he asserted that: “The biggest challenge facing the great teachers and communicators of history is not to teach history itself, nor even the lessons of history, but why history matters.”