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Contextual Essays

Guide to British Illustrated Periodicals, 1869–1970

British Online Archives (BOA) is pleased to announce the completion of our extensive primary source collection: British Illustrated Periodicals, 1869–1970. This brings together the back catalogues of nine “sister” titles belonging to the Illustrated London News (ILN): The Graphic (1869–1932); The Illustrated... Read more →
British Online Archives
Published 3rd January, 2024 30 min read

The Graphic, 1869–1932

Launched in December 1869 by the artist and engraver William Luson Thomas, the weekly newspaper The Graphic got off to an advantageous start by prioritising visual storytelling and high-quality illustrations. Before its first anniversary, the newspaper boasted that the high reputation... Read more →
Andrea Korda
Published 19th September, 2023 17 min read

Propaganda and the mobilisation of consent during the two world wars

IntroductionThe British vote to exit the European Union (2016) and US administration under Donald Trump (2017−2021) have highlighted the degree to which appeals to personal and emotional belief are far more compelling than objective facts in contemporary politics. “Fake news”... Read more →
Catriona Pennell
Published 12th September, 2023 16 min read

Further Reading: Britannia and Eve/Women’s Magazines.

If you have enjoyed engaging with our Britannia and Eve collection and are keen to explore the historical themes and issues that it raises in more detail, then we invite you to look at our extensive list of suggested further reading.... Read more →
Ilya Parkins
Published 26th July, 2023 5 min read
An illustration of women in smart dress.

The Tatler (1901-1965)

The Tatler has, since its original form in the early eighteenth century, been a publication concerned with status and social ideals. The original Tatler was very much focused on guiding the emerging middling sort on how to behave in a variety... Read more →
Ruth Larsen
Published 21st September, 2022 15 min read
Woman in shorts smoking a cigarette and looking at a man doing laundry.

From the Archive: The Failures of Women in Art

“[Women] have been let loose upon arid fields for education” The Sketch, first published in 1893, was a popular sister title of the The Illustrated London News. This publication was created by Clement Shorter and William Ingram (former editor and managing... Read more →
Katherine Waite
Published 20th September, 2022 24 min read
The words

The Transforming Effect of the 1960s

The 1960s continue to inspire and provoke. Despite the passage of time, there is a sense that the decade has not quite fully passed into the past. At one level this is a symptom of people’s interest in the surfaces... Read more →
Mark Donnelly
Published 31st August, 2022 14 min read
A painting of Lady Welby on the left sat down, with William Welby-Gregory stood on her right.

Victoria Lady Welby (1837-1913) and Significs

1. Contextual highlightsBiobibliographical trajectoriesVictoria Lady Welby (1837-1912) was born into the British aristocracy on April 27, 1837 and baptised that same year (June 17) as Victoria Alexandrina Maria Louisa Stuart-Wortely. Her godmothers were Princess Victoria (coronated Queen Alexandrina Victoria five... Read more →
Professor Susan Petrilli
Published 18th July, 2022 47 min read
An image of eight front covers of different publications: Britannia and Eve, The Sketch, Tatler, The Bystander, The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, The Graphic, London News, and The Sphere.

British Print Media, 1860s–1960s

The hundred years from the 1860s to the 1960s, covered in this collection, was in many respects the golden age of the print media in Britain. In the middle decades of the nineteenth century, a number of social, cultural, and... Read more →
Adrian Bingham
Published 31st May, 2022 15 min read
Red background with yellow letters that read

A Guide to British Government Information and Propaganda, 1939-2009

Although propaganda is thousands of years old, it really came of age in the 20th century, when the development of mass media (and later multimedia communications) offered a fertile ground for its dissemination, and the century’s global conflicts provided the... Read more →
Professor David Welch
Published 26th November, 2021 27 min read
The Hospital of Bethlem [Bedlam] at Moorfields, London: seen from the north, with sheep grazing and people walking in the foreground. Coloured wood engraving by W. H. Prior after an earlier engraving.

The Historic Records held at Bethlem Museum of the Mind

Bethlem Museum of the Mind records the lives and experience and celebrates the achievements of people with mental health problems. Situated within the current day site of Bethlem Royal Hospital, the oldest psychiatric hospital in Europe, the Museum seeks to... Read more →
David Luck
Published 18th November, 2021 11 min read
United Nations Emergency Force soldiers resting in Sinai during the Suez Crisis.

The Post-War International Order: Past, Present, Future?

In Western historiography, it is often presented as a given that the end of the Second World War ushered in a new international order. As this archival collection shows, a series of treaties and institutions including the United Nations (UN),... Read more →
Dr. Danielle Young
Published 16th August, 2021 12 min read
A photo of the Karl Marx monument in Moscow, Russia.

The historian and her group: Dona Torr and Marxist history

Dona Torr was born in 1883. Her recently-deceased grandfather John Torr had been a merchant and for the last seven years of his life the Conservative MP for Liverpool. She was brought up in a large and newly-built Victorian mansion,... Read more →
Dr. David Renton
Published 29th March, 2021 11 min read
A British war horse stuck in the mud while ferrying supplies during WW1.

Soldiers and their Horses in The Great War

The British Army of 1914-1918 fully appreciated the numerous benefits to be gained by properly managing its equine resources. Despite the increased use of mechanised alternatives, horses were nevertheless still the most versatile and reliable means of transporting men and... Read more →
Jane Flynn
Published 30th October, 2020 6 min read
A black and white image of the top of a Church. A sign on the Church reads

The Methodist Recorder, 1861-1919: Collection Guide

By Peter S. Forsaith, Ph.D., F.R.Hist.S. (Oxford Brookes University) with Rev. Dr. Martin Wellings.Methodism is arguably the most significant single Christian religious movement since the Protestant Reformation, now numbering some 80 million members and adherents worldwide. Other denominations (such as... Read more →
British Online Archives
Published 22nd October, 2020 22 min read
A black and white image of the top of a Church. A sign on the Church reads

Methodist Publications, 1855-1919: Collection Guide

By Peter S. Forsaith, Ph.D., F.R.Hist.S. (Oxford Brookes University) with Rev. Dr. Martin Wellings.Methodism is arguably the most significant single Christian religious movement since the Protestant Reformation, now numbering some 80 million members and adherents worldwide. Other denominations (such as... Read more →
British Online Archives
Published 22nd October, 2020 22 min read
A black and white image of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin.

From the Archive: Prosecuting the Holocaust

Our recently published primary source collection, ‘Prosecuting the Holocaust: British investigations into Nazi Crimes, 1944-1949’, provides a valuable and unique study into the British governments efforts to investigate and prosecute Nazi crimes after the Second World War. The featured evidence shines... Read more →
Katherine Waite
Published 21st February, 2020 7 min read
A black and white photo of a busy street with lots of people walking.

The Departments of the Communist Party of Great Britain: A Detailed Guide

The singular nature of the CPGB's relationship with the Communist International means that the organisational holdings of the archives in Britain are of a highly asymmetrical character. Discrete groups of documents from the inter-war years, some of considerable historical significance,... Read more →
Professor Kevin Morgan
Published 20th January, 2020 28 min read
A black and white photo of three men.

Notable Individuals of the Communist Party of Great Britain

Individual deposits within the CPGB archives are significant both for the biographies of the individuals concerned and as a record of the wider activities of the party and its ancillaries. The dividing line between these materials and the party's institutional... Read more →
Professor Kevin Morgan
Published 20th January, 2020 29 min read
WAAF radar operator Denise Miley plotting aircraft on a cathode ray tube in the Receiver Room at Bawdsey 'Chain Home' station, May 1945.

British Military Intelligence in Context, 1938-1974

Military Intelligence Files: Land, Sea & Air provides access to secret British government files produced by the intelligence branches of the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force. Held by The National Archives of the United Kingdom, and covering... Read more →
Dr. Stephen Twigge
Published 5th December, 2019 19 min read
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