The first Bonfire Night celebration happened on the very evening of the discovery of Gunpowder Plot – 5 November 1605. On Thursday 7 November John Chamberlain reported to his friend, the diplomat Dudley Carleton: ‘On Tuesday at night we had great ringing and as great store of bonfires as I think was ever seen’.
This letter (SP 14/16/23), along with many of the key documents of the plot, can be found in the State Papers at The National Archives. Some, like the confession of Guy Fawkes of 9 November 1605 with its faint signature (SP 14/216/54), can be viewed in our image library showcase. The relevant volumes of State Papers are available online in calendar form on the website of the Institute of Historical Research.
The letter warning Lord Monteagle of the 'Great Blow' SP 14/216/2
2012 really seems to be the year of big royal anniversaries. Hot on the heels of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, July marks the centenary of Crown copyright. It was in 1912 that that the Copyright Act of 1911 came into force and the concept of Crown copyright first made an appearance on the statute books.
Catalogue reference: WORK 25/69/B1/PR/3
The phrase ‘Crown copyright’ probably conjures up shelves of Royal Decrees and ancient parchments gathering dust in government archives. Although that is partly the case – except that the archives at Kew are in pristine condition and are anything but dusty or fusty – Crown copyright covers a wealth of government documents, both published and unpublished, produced by ministers and civil servants. So the term encompasses a huge wealth of documents including the Highway Code, Ordnance Survey maps, weather charts produced by the Met Office, government reports, government statistics and most information published on government websites. It also covers minutes written by government ministers and civil servants. This article, indeed, is covered by Crown copyright.
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Today is the eve of the centenary of the sinking of Titanic. The ship struck the iceberg on 14 April at about 11.40 pm, but the anniversary of the sinking is on the 15th, since it had not become fully submerged until 2.40 am.
RMS Titanic at Belfast 1 April 1912
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