Just a selection of the campaign badges held by the Lesbian and Gay Newsmedia Archive (with thanks to Bishopsgate Institute for the image)
We’re now well into LGBT history month, celebrated by The National Archives and many other heritage organisations and communities across the country. It seems like a good moment to reflect on how LGBT archives appear in the historical record, without which LGBT history month couldn’t exist.
Older records can be really problematic for studying LGBT history, and seem almost to conspire to hide histories rather than to reveal. Where a community was of necessity trying to avoid the eye of the authorities, there’s relatively little in the official records, and when it does exist, it’s often a negative portrayal. Jenni’s blog earlier in the month outlined what The National Archives is trying to do about that, revealing hidden histories and bringing together information on LGBT records so that it is easier to find. Continue reading »
The indictment of Alice Sparke, who was put on trial for witchcraft on 23 March 1576. Document reference: ASSI 35/18/5 m 18.
You live in a village in 16th century England and you keep two cows. Sadly, your cows are not thriving and you are concerned for their welfare. Do you:
a) Change their diet?
b) Treat them with leeches?
c) Kill them, sell the meat and use the profit to buy better cows?
d) Accuse someone of bewitching them?
John Harvy, from Buntingford in Hertfordshire, chose option d. He accused a woman named Alice Sparke of being an ‘enchantress and witch’. Alice denied the accusation and was put on trial for witchcraft at the assizes in Hertford on 23 March 1576. Continue reading »
Ice cream may not be all that appealing at the moment, given the recent snowy weather. It’s a time when most of us just want to wrap up warm and eat comforting stews and soups. I, however, have spent a week rummaging through boxes of material from the Lyon’s collection at London Metropolitan Archive (LMA).
Result: Now ice-cream is all I can think about…
'Lyons Ice Cream Van' from the Lyons Maid Collection at LMA
Continue reading »
My introduction to First World War research didn’t initially come through looking into my own family. One of my hobbies is bellringing: like so many clubs and social groups the Central Council for Church Bell Ringers created its own roll of honour after the First World War. Much work has been done in recent years to link the names on the roll with Commonwealth War Grave Commission records, but some names were proving stubborn, and there didn’t seem to be any obvious candidate. I realised that I was in a position to help since I could easily look at the available records.
It soon became clear that at least some of the men had been overlooked at the time, their health had broken under the strain of army service and had been discharged as a result, and subsequently died from the same condition. While they qualify for recognition under the terms of CWGC’s royal charter, their names had never been put forward for inclusion on the debt of honour register. I wrote up as much detail as I could find on these men on our old Your Archives wiki (see for example Gilbert Victor Drew) and with help from members of the Great War Forum and the In From the Cold Project I was able to get a few men added to the CWGC register.
Fred Holbrook (from the family photo album)
So, having already honed my research skills to some extent, I then received an email via my Dad from his cousin Jane who had been working on the family history. In particular she was looking for help with her great-uncle (my great-great-uncle), Frederick John Holbrook. She had already found his entry in the CWGC database and his medal index card (WO 372/9/241037). This showed that he had served in 2nd Battalion, Welsh Regiment as Private 30649.
They also reveal one slight discrepancy, with CWGC showing his date of death as 26 July 1916 and the medal card as 23 July. Another discrepancy is that CWGC record his age as 19, but Births, Marriages and Deaths records show that he was born on 5 May 1898, meaning he was just 18 when he died: and since the medal card also shows that he was posted to France on 12 May 1915 he must have been underage when he joined up. Certainly he looks very young in the surviving photo of him, and rather swamped by his uniform.
Continue reading »
Access to 13 archive collections is set to be transformed by a series of grants announced today. The National Cataloguing Grants Programme 2012 has awarded £407,950 to archives across the UK to help make these vitally important collections fully accessible for the first time.
Warwickshire Record Office's successful project - 'Boaters & Bright Sparks' will catalogue the archive of Willans Works, Rugby
Managed by The National Archives, the grants programme helps archives to catalogue previously inaccessible collections. Cataloguing past collections has uncovered treasures, which have provided unique insight into our nation’s history.
The programme is funded by a collective of charitable trusts and foundations including the Pilgrim Trust, the Foyle Foundation and the Wolfson Foundation – we are very grateful for their renewed support.
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Mr Johnston's 'fantasy' map of Africa, showing his proposed British territorial claims in red (reference: FO 84/1750 f 54)
Some of The National Archives’ most interesting maps are not kept as separate flat, rolled or folded sheets, or even as part of atlases. Instead, they are to be found within boxes, files or volumes of official correspondence and other mainly textual records. Most such maps are not yet described individually in our online catalogue. Today’s blog post is about one of them.
Continue reading »
A sign in the supermarket yesterday advised me that there were only eight sleeps until Christmas. With that in mind it seemed like a good time to write a post with a festive theme.
Number 10 Christmas card 2009 - The official website of the Prime Minister's Office - archived 4th December 2009
The image above is taken from the website of the Prime Minister’s Office which was archived in December 2009. It shows the image chosen for the official Number 10 Christmas card that year. The accompanying text explains some of the changes the then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and his wife made to make Number 10 more sustainable. I think the historians of the future will be interested to see the importance placed on sustainability and the environment.
Kew and environs, as seen on BombSight.org
The title of today’s blog post comes from the first stanza of the poem Slough, by John Betjeman.
Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough!
It isn’t fit for humans now,
There isn’t grass to graze a cow.
Swarm over, Death!
Continue reading »
As we are nearing the end of preparing the Middlesex County Appeal tribunal papers for digitisation, we are beginning to get an appreciation of the type of people who were appealing their conscription and their reasons for doing so.
We have papers of former German nationals, Russian Jews, Socialists, Quakers, Christadelphians and large employers appealing on behalf of their workers.
Edward's appeal form
However, since this is a festive themed post I thought I would blog about the story of a man we have discovered called Edward Christmas Church.
Our ‘Mr Christmas’ is a great example of what you will typically find in the MH 47 records, as well as how you can link into other record series here at The National Archives.
Edward was born in 1878 in Edmonton and married Martha in July of 1912. His initial form submitted to his local tribunal tells us that he is appealing on ground ‘D’, serious hardship, explaining that he is father to three young children (two girls and a boy, all under the age of three). Continue reading »