“Ye are many—they are few”: Exploring the Peterloo massacre through our library resources

Next year on this day, 16th August, it will be the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre. The ironic name given to events at St Peter’s Fields in Manchester on 16th August 1819 when the cavalry charged into a peaceful crowd of 50,000-80,000 people who were attending a mass demonstration for political reform. Between 10-20 people were killed and 100s were injured. In this week’s blog post I have pulled together just a small selection of Library resources, digital and physical, that will help you explore Peterloo, the events leading up to it and the aftermath.

The Massacre of Peterloo. George Cruikshank [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The 19th century was a period of huge economic, social, political and idealogical changes. Post the Napoleonic Wars, which ended just four years before Peterloo (“Peterloo” a play on Waterloo), demands for political reform were growing. Industrial cities such as Manchester had no representation in Parliament,only relatively small numbers of wealthy male citizens were eligible to vote and working and economic conditions were incredibly poor. Campaigns for parliamentary reform became more strident and found growing levels of support, political radicalism in the UK was on the rise. Continue reading

New to the Library: Foreign Office Files for China, 1919-1937

I’m really pleased to let you know that the Library has recently purchased access to the Foreign Office Files for China, 1919-1937 from Adam Matthew Digital. This means we now have access to the full Foreign Office Files for China database covering the years 1919 to 1980. This fantastic resource provides access to the digitised archive of British Foreign Office files dealing with China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

You can access Foreign Office Files for China, 1919-1980 via the Databases A-Z list, Primary source database list, the History Subject Guide or DiscoverEd. Continue reading

NHS at 70: Explore the history of the NHS through our primary sources

70 years ago today, 5 July, the National Health Service (NHS) was established, one of a number of social and welfare reforms from the post-World War II Labour government (though initial proposals for the NHS came from the World War II coalition government). Launched just over two years after Aneurin Bevan, Minister of Health, published his National Health Service Bill, the NHS provided medical and healthcare services for free at the point of delivery.

On the NHS’s 70th birthday I have pulled together a small selection of primary resources, digital and physical, you have access to at the Library that will help you explore the history of the NHS.

What did the people think?

Mass Observation was a pioneering social research organisation founded in 1937. The aim was to create an ‘anthropology of ourselves’, and by recruiting a team of observers and a panel of volunteer writers they studied the everyday lives of ordinary people in Britain. This original work continued until the early 1950s and gives unparalleled insight into everyday life in Britain during that time.

Through our Library you have access to Mass Observation Online, which makes available the entire Mass Observation archive from that period and includes original manuscript and typescript papers (such as diaries, day reports, questionnaires, observations, etc.) created and collected by the Mass Observation organisation, as well as printed publications, photographs and some interactive features.

Mass-Observation. 1949. Meet Yourself at the Doctor’s. London: Naldrett. Available from Mass Observation Online.

In Mass Observation Online you will find a large amount of material detailing people’s opinions and experiences of the NHS from its earliest days. From Mass Observation’s own file reports and publications pulling together people’s comments, observations and experiences of the NHS to the original diary entries and questionnaire responses.

The material available allows you to read about people’s views on the NHS prior to it being launched and their opinions and experiences of the service in its first few years of existence.

When you are using Mass Observation Online the easiest way to find material regarding the NHS is by clicking on the “Popular Searches” button near the top right-hand side of page and then under the “Organisations” tab click on “National Health Service”. Continue reading

Channel Islands occupation: through the Library’s online primary sources

On this day, 30 June, in 1940 the Germans invaded the Channel Islands which was the beginning of nearly 5 years occupation. In this week’s blog I’m using some of the Library’s online resources to find primary source material to discover more about this facet of the Second World War.

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Jersey War Tunnels, one of Jersey’s many tunnel complexes built by mostly forced and slave labour under German command during the occupation.I have to admit that before that visit I really knew very little about this period in the Channel Islands history but I was inspired by the incredibly moving and fascinating exhibition to try and find out what primary source material was available to us through the University Library’s fantastic online primary source collections about the occupation.

© Mark Cairney

There are many stories that could be told about the Channel Islands occupation and I encourage you to seek them out but due to the nature of our online primary source collections and time limits I’m focusing on what the outside world, mainly Britain, knew (or didn’t) about what was happening on the Channel Islands during the occupation.

The blitzkrieg nears Britain

The first half of 1940 was a dark time for the Allies in the Second World War. In fairly quick succession Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands and France were invaded by Germany. With the evacuation at Dunkirk (Operation Dynamo) and France, faced with no real other choice, signing an armistice with Germany in June of that year, Britain was now on its own and under threat.

The Daily Mirror, Tuesday, 18 June 1940, p. 7. UK Press Online. Accessed 25th May 2018.

Continue reading

On trial: Scottish nationalist leaflets, 1844-1973

I’m pleased to let you know that thanks to a request from a student in HCA the Library now has trial access to Scottish nationalist leaflets, 1844-1973 from British Online Archives. This primary source collects together pamphlets relating to Scottish nationalism printed by the Scottish National Party (SNP) and their predecessors.

You can access this online resource via the E-resources trials page.
Access is available both on and off-campus.

Trial access ends 4th July 2018.
Continue reading

On trial: Cold War Eastern Europe, 1953-1960

Thanks to a request from staff in HCA the Library currently has trial access to the digital primary source collection Cold War Eastern Europe, Module 1: 1953-1960, a unique and comprehensive, English-language history of post-Stalinist Eastern Europe. If you’re interested in East European and Soviet history, 20th century international relations, Cold War history or the history and culture of individual states within Eastern Europe then this database could be for you.

You can access this online resource via the E-resources trials page.
Access is available both on and off-campus.

Trial access ends 25th May 2018.

Cold War Eastern Europe provides full-text searchable access to over six thousand primary source files from the political departments of the UK Foreign Office, source entirely from The National Archives series FO 371. Files cover every aspect of political, economic, cultural, social and dissident life behind the ‘Iron Curtain’. Continue reading

On trial: Secrecy, sabotage, and aiding the resistance

The Library has been given trial access to the British Online Archives (BOA) collection Secrecy, sabotage, and aiding the resistance: how Anglo-American co-operation shaped World War Two. Giving you unique insight into US-UK diplomacy, intelligence sharing, and sabotage operations in enemy territory from 1939-1954.

You can access this online resource via the E-resources trials page.
Access is available both on and off-campus.

Trial access ends 9th May 2018. Continue reading

On trial: Migration to New Worlds II: The Modern Era

The Library currently has trial access to Migration to New Worlds II: The Modern Era from Adam Matthew Digital. The Modern Era presents thousands of sources focusing on the growth of colonisation companies during the nineteenth century, the activities of American immigration and welfare societies, and the plight of refugees and displaced persons throughout the twentieth century.

You can access this online resource via the E-resources trials page.
Access is available both on and off-campus.

Trial access ends 14th May 2018. Continue reading

On trial: Military Intelligence Files

I’m happy to let you know that British Online Archives (BOA) have given us trial access to their digitised primary source collection Military Intelligence Files: Land, Sea & Air, 1938-1974. This collection provides access to secret British government files produced by the intelligence branches of the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force and will be of particular interest to those of you looking at the Second World War or the beginnings of the Cold War.

You can access this online resource via the E-resources trials page.
Access is available both on and off-campus.

Trial access ends 9th May 2018.

Screenshot from Royal Air Force: Weekly Intelligence, Jul 1940-Feb 1941 (Military Intelligence Files, British Online Archives).

Continue reading

Explore black history through Archives Unbound

With our current trials to online primary source databases African American Newspapers and Black Newspaper Collection (and Black History Month in the U.S. just ended) I wanted to highlight a number of primary source databases that you already have access to at the University that allow you to discover more about black history.

I’m concentrating on collections available to you through Archives Unbound, which presents topically-focused digital collections of historical documents. There are currently 265 collections in Archives Unbound covering a broad range of topics from the Middle Ages forward-from Witchcraft to World War II to 20th century political history.

You can access Archives Unbound via the Databases A-Z list or Primary Sources database list.

As Archives Unbound covers such a vast range of subjects and collections, searching through the whole database will provide material perhaps from some surprising areas (so it’s very worthwhile doing this), however, I’m going to focus on some of the individual collections. You can access the individual collections by clicking on “Browse Collections”, where you can either browse through an alphabetical list or choose to browse by “Categories” instead.

So here is just a small selection of collections that will allow you to take your research into black history further.

Fannie Lou Hamer: Papers of a Civil Rights Activist, Political Activist, and Woman

Fannie Lou Hamer (née Townsend) was born in Mississippi in 1917. The youngest of 20 children she would go on to become an American voting rights activist and a leader in the Civil Rights Movement. Hamer was instrumental in organising Mississippi Freedom Summer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). She was actively involved in starting the Delta Ministry, and she was one of the founders of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party later to become the Vice-Chair. Continue reading