Editorial Blog

Happy New Year!

Posted on December 31, 2013

I don’t tend to make New Year’s Resolutions. I’m never at my best during the cold, post-Christmas months, and thinking positively amidst snow, credit card bills and the pervading smell of Olbas Oil is a difficult business. Instead, I make my resolutions in September. Maybe it’s a throw-over from school days, when autumn meant the start of a brand new school year. True, we’d just had an enormous summer holiday to rejuvenate and inspire us, with plenty...

Read More >

The Sinking of the 'Essex’; or, The Whale

Posted on December 23, 2013

Last night’s BBC drama ‘The Whale’ told the story of Thomas Nickerson and the crew of the whaling ship Essex. The story of the attack and sinking of the vessel by a sperm whale also inspired Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Reading the original accounts of the crew shows that the true story was more exciting, terrifying and harrowing than any work of fiction. The accounts of Owen Chase, the first-mate, and Nickerson, a 15-year-old cabin boy, appear...

Read More >

A Quiet Christmas: Mass Observation and Wartime Festivities

Posted on December 19, 2013

With shortages in nearly everything considered necessary for a ‘proper’ Christmas, Mass Observers during WW2 needed to balance the traditions of the festive season with the strictures and austerity of wartime.  Mass Observation set out in a series of reports to gauge not only the morale of the population, but how war would affect their festivities.  Paper shortages, toy shortages, food shortages and rationing hampered gift giving and...

Read More >

Pox in the Pacific: Syphilis and the Hawaiian Islands

Posted on December 13, 2013

Upon Captain Cook’s arrival in 1778 the population of the Hawaiian Islands was estimated at around 500,000. By 1848, however, this number had fallen to less than 90,000. Explanations for this exponential decline vary quite considerably, with many historians citing war, famine, and disease as potential factors. Yet contemporary narratives largely focus on one primary cause; the arrival of syphilis. In his study of the Islands in 1853, G W Bates...

Read More >

Silence is Golden…

Posted on December 06, 2013

Whilst visiting the big smoke last weekend I witnessed one of cinema’s greatest triumphs – Abel Gance’s thrilling six hour silent epic, Napoleon. Now, I have to admit, I was slightly sceptical. Six hours of silent cinema does not sound like the best use of a frosty Saturday in November, but the 1927 film opened my eyes to the vibrancy and passion of early cinema. Napoleon (played by Albert Dieudonné) tells the story of the first 27 years of...

Read More >

'My Leg Has Got To Come Off': Amputations at Sea

Posted on November 25, 2013

During the many Pacific voyages documented in China, America and the Pacific, a regular feature was death and injury onboard the ship. Crew members shattered their skulls from falls, and had limbs mutilated by breeching whales. Many of these men faced immediate death, however a minority faced a punishment that was arguably far worse, as this extract from The Life of Tristram Coff[y]n shows: In 1800 … in the capture of a large sperm whale, Captain...

Read More >

Commodities of the China Trade: Bechè de Mer, Shark Fins and Gold

Posted on November 22, 2013

Below I have shared one of my personal highlights from China, America and the Pacific, which has just been released. This new multi-library collection provides an extensive range of archival material connected to the trading and cultural relationships that emerged between China, America and the Pacific region between the 18th and early 20th centuries. During the eighteenth century American merchants sought to establish trade with China. Their...

Read More >

Who Killed JFK?

Posted on November 20, 2013

  Image © Bowling Green State University At 12.30pm on Friday 22 November 1963, three shots rang out over Dealey Plaza Park in Dallas. Lee Harvey Oswald had fired three 6.5mm Carcano bullets from the sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository, two of which struck President John F. Kennedy. Thirty minutes later JFK was dead. That’s the official story. The Warren Commission set up to investigate President Kennedy’s death...

Read More >

Lest We Forget. Remembrance Day 2013

Posted on November 06, 2013

It is that time of year again, when poppy sellers fill the streets and shops and even cars begin sporting the distinctive red flowers. In our First World War resource, the second module of which, Propaganda and Recruitment, has recently been published, there is a wealth of material to be explored regarding the armistice of 11 November 1918, from both the joyful celebrations of peace, to the commemoration of and mourning for those who had...

Read More >

Kung-Fu Monthly and the Felix Dennis Legacy

Posted on October 25, 2013

On a recent visit to the in-laws’ we passed a verge of trees in Warwickshire just west of Leamington Spa that was pointed out to me as “Felix Dennis’s forest”. Most familiar with Felix Dennis as the creator of the magazine Maxim and the first person to say a certain very bad word on British television, I was surprised. As it turns out, the site belongs to The Heart of England Forest, a charity created to maintain and preserve native...

Read More >

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 | View All

Back to top ^