During the eruption, photographs were taken of the steam rising from the sea where the lava spilled in:
I have worked at The National Archives for 4 years, beginning as a Researcher on the 1911 Census before it was released online and moving through various roles in our Advice and Records Knowledge and Freedom of Information teams before taking on my ideal role as a Diverse Histories Records Specialist. I have a background in History and Cultural Heritage, and so love the way my role allows me to work daily with the records, but at the same time have a lot of interaction with the public and other teams in the organisation, being involved in many different projects at any one time. I love the diversity of the records we hold and the daily surprises my colleagues tell me about – there is so much here! I hope to reflect just a few of these in my blog and share some of the hidden histories of The National Archives with you.
The characters and landscapes of Australasia are the subjects of the latest ‘Through a lens’ online release today – timed perfectly for Australia Day tomorrow.
From Darwin to Tasmania, Perth to Brisbane, the people, places and projects of Australia from the 1860s to 1960s are represented in the collection, alongside smaller collections showing New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu and other Pacific islands.
The photographs are part of the Colonial Office collection that we have been releasing online through Flickr since 2011. In September last year I wrote about the release of the Asia collection, and the diversity shown in the Australasia photographs is just as apparent. There are, for example, beautiful images of landscapes, of the construction of Sydney Harbour Bridge, and even the All Blacks team from 1953-54. Continue reading »
Happy New Year!
So, the time is upon us once again – adverts everywhere for the latest celebrity diet, queues to sign up at the gym and playing ‘dodge the jogger’ in Richmond Park – yes, it’s the cycle of ‘New Year, New You’ repeating once again.
I admit I am guilty of the same – my desk is piled with ambitious mountains of fruit and I am determinedly marching up stairs, glancing longingly at the lifts…
As we well know, this annual dive in to health and fitness is nothing new, and I have been searching for records that reflect this.
The idea came from one of my favourite images in the collection – ‘Lady cyclists riding down a hill’.
Taken in 1898, the photograph appears in COPY 1, the original application forms for the registration of copyright at Stationers’ Hall. It is registered by Frederick Miller Ramell of Sittingbourne.
Usually when I sit down to write a blog post, I begin by reflecting on the projects and work I have been involved in recently, to share the discoveries and events along the way.
This week however, I was inspired by another blogger – Claire Newing – and her post on ‘Disability in the UK Government Web Archive’ on Wednesday. Claire talked about the various ways website design is geared towards providing additional assistance to those that need it. This made me think of the British Sign Language (BSL) video podcasts available on our media player that deserve highlighting.
According to Action on Hearing Loss (formerly RNID), there are an estimated 9 million people in the UK who are deaf or hard of hearing, and a number of our users both online and in person may need assistance due to this. We have hearing aid loops in our Reading Rooms and staff trained in BSL to assist people onsite. Our podcast series is designed to share our collections more widely offsite, and using BSL interpreters on some of them means this can be as inclusive as possible.
In August 1972, Idi Amin, the leader of Uganda, gave the order that Asian people living in Uganda had 90 days to leave the country.
This triggered the mass movement of almost 80,000 Ugandan Asians, seeking refuge in countries all over the world. Boarding planes, most could only take what they could carry or were permitted to carry. Just over 28,000 came to Britain to start new lives, often leaving family, friends, businesses and possessions behind.
This month our Outreach team, led by my colleague Yasmeen Haji, organised a day to reflect, remember and at times celebrate the lives and experiences of those who left Uganda for Britain. Around 100 people from the British Ugandan Asian community came to The National Archives for a day to take part in cultural workshops, discussions and performances to mark the events of 40 years ago.
The National Archives holds many documents relating to this turbulent period in Ugandan history and the lives of those forced to leave. We wanted to share these records with those who experienced it firsthand and hear their memories.
On Wednesday we released ‘Asia through a lens’, the latest batch of Colonial Office photographs in the CO 1069 collection.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the project, over the past couple of years we have been releasing parts of our CO 1069 photographic collection on Flickr. The photos are from the colonial period and feature images taken by government staff from all over the world. They range from around 1860, to when many colonies gained independence in the 1960s. You can read more about the project on my previous blog and our news story.
This set of photographs hasn’t disappointed – it is a beautifully diverse collection, with plenty of panoramic scenes, everyday life and events alongside the more unusual examples of typhoon damage, theatre performances and celebratory ‘bun mountains’! We also see a number of beautifully coloured prints that have inspired staff to order copies for themselves!
For all those still suffering with Olympics withdrawal symptoms, never fear – the Paralympics are here!!
In their honour, my blog today is dedicated to the story behind the London 2012 Paralympic mascot – Mandeville.
This cute little drop of steel from the Olympic Stadium (that’s what he is, apparently – you can learn more about Mandeville’s creation), is named after the original home of the Paralympics – Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire, on which we hold a number of files.
Sir Ludwig Guttmann was a pioneering doctor at the hospital in the 1940s who recognised the importance of physical activity in the rehabilitation of injured soldiers during and after the Second World War.
WorldPride 2012 was celebrated in London last week and so I thought I’d use my blog today to draw attention to an exciting area of research that is truly uncovering some of the hidden areas within the records.
LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) history is a steadily growing research area. At The National Archives, largely due to the nature of the records we hold, research in to this area has been challenging. As true ‘hidden histories’ in the records, it can take a lot of thought and digging to uncover examples of LGBT histories in government files. In the case of gay history, it is often particularly difficult to uncover records free of negative connotations, such as criminal prosecution. This is often a question of the language used to describe homosexuality during different periods, when it was considered a crime or illness (for example ‘gross indecency’ or ‘unnatural practice’), and the interpretation of documents themselves which may or may not refer to gay or lesbian issues explicitly.
I’ve previously blogged about a 20th century poetic find in our collection – here’s another I came across recently from the late 18th century, coincidentally ‘echoing’ quite a similar theme…
An interesting email was passed to me a few weeks ago enquiring about searching for evidence of oral culture of those enslaved during the transatlantic trade. I expected to find very little using a simple search, as the preservation of such culture would be rare, at least without in-depth research, particularly amongst the records of the companies and governments involved in the trade for profit. However, a chance try of “slave AND song” in Discovery returned a result which sparked my interest to take a closer look.
The box that arrived is typical of uncatalogued material, bundles of papers housed together with little further information available.
With some very careful handling and the help of a colleague who passed further than “Je suis…” at school, we leafed through the papers. They belonged to one ‘Francois Lavignolle’, listed on Discovery as an administrator on a Haitian plantation, whose papers were intercepted and filed with the High Court of Admiralty paperwork.
There, amongst the accounts papers, was a little folded booklet of songs and rhymes. Continue reading »
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