The latest batch of Colonial Office photographs from the Through a Lens series have been released on Flickr. These photos are from the Mediterranean series in CO 1069 and include pictures from Cyprus.
In 1952, both Greece and Turkey had just become members of NATO and the Greek Cypriot population were pressing for ENOSIS, which was becoming a serious international issue.
We hold a lot of records here at The National Archives regarding the political situation in Cyprus during the 1950s, but little about the social aspects of the island.
The Coronation on 2 June 1953 gave the Empire a wonderful opportunity to enjoy themselves, and the women of Cyprus were certainly no exception. The formal celebrations for this happy event lasted for a week, but while the men were doing what men in uniform do best -
Governor inspecting the police (catalogue reference: CO 1069/702)
- the photographs I was particularly drawn to show what the women liked to get involved with. These photographs I’ve chosen show a fun, lighter side of life enjoyed by them all.
Continue reading »
Happy International Women’s Day! We have an amazing array of records relating to women’s history here at The National Archives and so what better way to celebrate than to showcase some of our records? There are documents which played a huge part in the establishment of women’s’ rights through to our more puzzling and bizarre records on women’s appearance.
Prompted by the recent debate in the media following Hilary Mantel’s comments on the Duchess of Cambridge, I was particularly interested to see how the image of women, not just female royals, has developed over the course of recent history.
A matter of class?
The National Archives holds a prison record on Lady Constance Lytton (catalogue reference: HO 144/1054/187986), one of the many suffragettes imprisoned whilst campaigning for Votes for Women. Continue reading »
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 »
Happy St. George’s Day!
St. George is an elusive figure in our records, but he does pop up in a place calling for national pride and strength – the National War Savings Committee posters.
He appears with the slogan ‘Lend to defend the right to be free’, encouraging households to invest in national savings certificates during the Second World War:
"Lend to defend the right to be free": St. George and the Dragon. 1940
Continue reading »
March is Women’s History Month. Just in time, I’d like to share a file I was introduced to last year by our Education department.
The suffrage movement is a common theme when talking about achievements of women in the past, and we certainly hold a wealth of information here, from the force feeding of women on hunger strike, to 1911 census forms when women refused to provide their details to a government they had no say in electing. Although there are so many achievements of women to choose from, this wealth means there is always something more to talk about!
This file, MEPO 3/203, came to my attention while carrying out some research with colleagues on the last Maharajah of the Punjab, Duleep Singh and his family in preparation for last year’s Diversity Week.
However, it wasn’t a member of the Duleep Singh family that caught my eye during our research.
Princess Sophia selling 'The Suffragette' (Image source: http://historysheroes.e2bn.org/)
We looked at a file relating to the Maharajah’s daughter, Princess Sophia Duleep Singh and her involvement with the Suffragettes. This particular file contains police reports on ‘Black Friday’, 18 November 1910, when Suffragettes clashed violently with police in response to the apparent stalling of the Bill in Parliament which would have granted suffrage to women of the upper classes. One particular statement, given by disabled protestor Miss May Billinghust, describes the brutality and humiliation the protestors reported:
Welcome to day 2 of the blog! I have landed myself this illustrious spot thanks to Valentine’s Day and having stumbled upon something suitably soppy in the records. This unusual find is the perfect beginning to my blog, as the sheer variety of amazing things that are brought to the surface every day here could keep me talking forever!