History

Primary Inspiration
23 October 2020

It’s been hard to get the creative juices flowing this year, that overwhelming sense of anxiety about the world in general was stifling to say the least. However, the acknowledgements at the end of Colson Whitehead's The Nickle Boys got me thinking...

Domestic Science: Revolutionising the Salad
14 October 2020

When I first started working on the Food & Drink in History resource, I immediately became obsessed with molded jelly salads. This food fashion fascinates me, so I leapt at the chance to dig deeper.

The ‘Knead’ for Bread: Marketing Strategies from 1959
09 October 2020

This blog will showcase a few highlights from a document which explores interesting research into consumer attitudes to packaged white bread in 1959 and how attitudes and spending habits reflected changing consumer priorities.

It's September – Roll On Christmas!
09 September 2020

Even if you’ve never heard the term “Christmas creep”, chances are you’ll be familiar with the concept. September has only just begun and already you’re noticing Christmas-themed merchandise in the mall and on the outer fringes of the high street.

“What have the Romans ever done for us?”: Highlights from Food and Drink in History Module 2
09 September 2020

This week marks the publication of Module 2 of Food and Drink in History, which adds a wealth of new material to a resource which spans centuries and offers users a unique lens through which to explore food histories, cultures and traditions from around the globe.

Is blood thicker than water? Friends, Relatives and Neighbours from the Mass Observation Project
04 September 2020

“An old adage maintains that “blood is thicker than water” but this must have been proven false countless times, as such ties are no guarantee of help in adversity.” Ouch! Old friends, neighbours and relatives are at the centre of our support networks – particularly in times of adversity. This was the topic that participants in the Mass Observation Project were asked to write about in the winter of 1984. How would they weigh up ‘relatives versus friends’?

Exposition Universelle: A Trip to 1889 Paris with World’s Fairs
02 September 2020

World Fairs were events that involved huge scale expositions from countries all over the world, which showed off their innovations and inventions. From the Eiffel Tower and the Space Needle, to the invention of television, chewing gum and hot dogs, these fairs created a legacy. Adam Matthew’s World’s Fairs resource represents over 200 fairs, and there are 10 core collections that relate to 12 ‘case study’ expositions. With so much daydreaming about holidays and getaways, I thought I would take myself on a virtual trip to 1889 Paris, around the Exposition Universelle.

Excerpts of a young Baron’s travelogue: Byron and Hobhouse in Mediterranean Europe
28 August 2020

As the post-Covid news cycle regularly reminds us of travel corridors, quarantine requirements and localised lockdowns, I have begun to wonder if holidays have ever been so stressful. A browse of the travel manuscripts collected in Nineteenth Century Literary Society reminds me otherwise.

The Bard and the Badger: the story of a grain hoarder
21 August 2020

This Sunday, 23 August, marks five months since lockdown began here in the UK and, as restrictions slowly but steadily begin to ease, I’ve been reflecting on my lockdown experience.

Five Vicarious Vacations
19 August 2020

Holidaymakers the world over have put their passports away this summer as the global pandemic continues to make international travel difficult, if not entirely impossible. In an effort to recreate that holiday feeling I’ve been seeking inspiration for future trips in some of the documents published in Leisure, Travel and Mass Culture - The History of Tourism.

Spenser's Brienne of Tarth
14 August 2020

The release date for Winds of Winter is still unknown, and Game of Thrones finally went down in (literal) flames last summer, but if you’re missing your annual dose of fierce queens, morose knights and fiery dragons, look no further than Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene.

Fancy a Cuppa? An Insight into Tea Drinking Habits from the Mass Observation Project
30 July 2020

Four months on from us Brits going into lockdown, the BBC has reported that we have splurged on tea, biscuits and good books.  I have delved into the directives in Adam Matthew’s newly released Mass Observation Project, to take a look at tea drinking habits in the 1980s. One thing for sure is that there is always an occasion for a cuppa.

“One Felt Like A Bouquet of Flowers!” Homemade fashions in Mass Observation Project
24 July 2020

In the spring of 1988 I was newly 5 and was about to undertake the most exciting thing in my young life – to be a real-life bridesmaid.

‘Celebration or bore’: Mass Observers react to the wedding of Charles and Diana
22 July 2020

Inspired by the recent news of the wedding of Princess Beatrice to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, I decided to dig into the newly published Mass Observation Project, to see what the mass observers of the 1980s had to say about another famous royal wedding, that of Prince Charles to Diana Spencer.

The Missing Olympics
17 July 2020

This month would have marked the beginning of the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. However, this is not the first time Tokyo has had to cancel or postpone the international competition. 80 years previously, the city found itself in similar circumstances, although for different reasons. Often referred to as the “missing Olympics,” material within Foreign Office Files for Japan, 1919-1952 reveals the discussions that surrounded the 1940 Summer Games and their value as a political tool.  

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