Tag Archives: British Library Newspapers

‘The Very Latest Craze’ Slumming Parties in the Late-Nineteenth Century

By Megan Murphy, Gale Ambassador at the University of Liverpool
I’m a third year History student at the University of Liverpool, a Gale Student Ambassador, and a self-proclaimed Jane Austen fanatic. As a modern historian, my main research interests revolve around the development of Victorian cities – particularly the crime and deviance that took place within them. Outside of my studies, in the rare time I spend without my head in a nineteenth-century newspaper, I specialise in binge-watching Louis Theroux documentaries.

During the mid-nineteenth century, slums in the world’s largest metropolises (namely London and New York) became a site of continuous fascination. From Henry Mayhew’s famous ‘Labour and the Poor’ series in The Morning Chronicle, to Jacob Riis’ book length study ‘How the Other Half Live’, social commentators in both Britain and the US were captivating the minds of middle class society with their investigations into the living conditions of the urban poor. Yet what is perhaps most interesting about this fascination is the social phenomenon of ‘slumming parties’ which resulted. This phenomenon was readily reported on within the pages of both the British and US press, which I have been able to investigate through the British Library Newspapers and Nineteenth Century US Newspapers archives inside of Gale Primary Sources.

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James Greenwood – Social Reformer or Opportunist?

by Rory Herbert
I am a third year History student and President of the History Society at the University of Portsmouth. I enjoy trying to grapple with the vastness and complexity of this subject, and the challenges it can present. On the rare occasions that I have free time, I can be found playing hockey or researching historical facts and events.

James Greenwood was an author of relative obscurity who came to fame abruptly following the publication of his serial A Night in the Workhouse in the 1860s by the Pall Mall Gazette. He soon found himself rising through the ranks of the Victorian social ladder and became one of the leading social commentators of his age. This revolutionary piece saw Greenwood experience the conditions of a workhouse firsthand in one of the first examples of investigative journalism. Yet, while his work was quickly adopted by social reformers and critics alike, it seems the author himself was somewhat less interested in the people he claimed to support and, instead, focused on appealing to a wider audience.

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The Stuart Papers: from Neglect and Oblivion to the Royal Archives, Windsor Castle

We know that the Stuart Papers were acquired by George IV when he was Prince Regent (1811-1820) following the death of Henry Benedict Stuart, Cardinal York, the final Jacobite heir, and that it was around this time they were moved from Rome back to the UK. They’re now housed in the Royal Archives, Windsor Castle. I decided to search through Gale Primary Sources, focusing particularly on newspapers and periodicals, to see if I could find out more about how the papers of the exiled Jacobite heirs returned to the UK, and how it has been reported in the press at that time, and since. The initial discovery of the Stuart Papers and their subsequent journey from Rome to Windsor Castle makes fascinating reading.

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The eruption of Krakatoa, August 1883: the first global media event

On August 26th 1883, Krakatoa erupted. Not, of course, out of a clear blue sky; ash columns and steam plumes had been filling the sky over the island and its archipelago for days, the area had been experiencing tremors and earthquakes for years, and smaller explosions had been throwing up ash, changing the tides and, presumably, worrying the locals for months.

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Chinese National Day

By Cathy Huang
I joined Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, in August 2015, as a new member of our China team. I’m very happy to work together with the team and it feels like a family. I’m very willing to contribute my skills to help increase awareness of Gale resources and hope more and more researchers worldwide discover Gale’s rich Primary Source collections.

Chinese National Day is celebrated on October 1st every year to commemorate the founding of the People’s Republic of China with lots of large-scale activities held nationwide. It’s followed by ‘Golden Week’, a seven-day holiday from the 1st to the 7th of October, during which many Chinese people travel around the country and abroad.

There had been Chinese national celebrations in October prior to the establishment of the PRC as the removal of the final Chinese dynasty (the Qing) sprung from the Wuchang Uprising on 10th October 1911, after which Sun Yat-sen sought to consolidate a Republic. Consequently, for many years the nation commemorated the formation of the Republic in October. In 1945 The Western Daily Press and Bristol Mirror – one of the papers included in Gale’s British Library Newspapers digital archive – briefly described how National Day was celebrated in the region that year. Continue reading