Archives & Libraries

For many people the first access they have with history outside of school is in the local library. Libraries are often the repository of huge swathes of local knowledge and expertise, while national libraries hold the key to pulling local knowledge together. In many places across the UK the library is a positioned in close proximity to the local archives, and even when they are not the two bodies have much in common and much to complement each other.  In this section information and articles will support the use and understanding of these two important history supporting bodies and inform those working in the sector.

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  • Tracing Your Poor Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians

    Article

    Tracing Your Poor Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians, Stuart A. Raymond, Pen and Sword, 2020, 196p, £14-99. ISBN 9781526742933 This is a very helpful aide memoire for anyone wishing to find out what their impoverished ancestors may have experienced. Inevitably it cannot provide precise answers to the most specific...

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  • What difference has the opening (and closing) of archives after 1991 made to the historiography of the Cold War?

    Article

    Prior to the East European revolutions of 1989, and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, commentators outside the region were largely reliant on printed material collected by specialist research libraries, informal rrangements with contacts ‘behind the iron curtain’, information that could be gleaned from visits to the region, and...

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  • Exploring local sources

    Article

    Tim Lomas was correct when he said, in his article in the Summer 2019 edition of The Historian, that historians can see much more in medieval documents than the scribes intended.  Lay manors in Bedfordshire are a good example. Eggington manor, in the south-west, was part of a larger estate and held...

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  • My Favourite History Place: Gladstone’s Library at Hawarden

    Article

    When I first visited Gladstone’s residential library in 1977 for a pre-university History degree reading week, I barely knew who Gladstone was. I had just come back from a holiday in Italy and the contrast between Florence and Hawarden, a Welsh border town, was startling. I came from the sunny remains...

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  • The Georgian Papers – a virtual ‘madness’

    2nd December 2019

    Last month the Georgian Papers Programme released a new virtual exhibition available online. Exploring the myth and reality of the alleged ‘madness of King George III’, the exhibition is an interesting step in examining the past and exploring its relevance for contemporary discourses. Entitled ‘George III: the Eighteenth Century’s Most...

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  • How hidden are ordinary people in later medieval England?

    Article

    Tim Lomas explores some documents from the Bishop and Priory of Durham that shed interesting light on the lives of ‘ordinary people’ in medieval England. It is largely a truism to state that the majority of documents from medieval Britain were not designed to shed much light on the lives...

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  • Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians, 918-2018

    Article

    Many fascinating individuals appear in the British Library’s Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition – Bede, Alfred, Canute, Emma, William the Conqueror – but one deserves to be much better known, especially in this her anniversary year: one of the most important women in British history, hers is a classic case of the...

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  • The Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms and Europe

    Article

    The riches of surviving Anglo-Saxon manuscripts showcased in a fabulous new exhibition at the British Library emphasises the essential interconnections between England and the Continent.

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  • Out and About in Oxford

    Article

    The Sheffield Branch of the Historical Association is a very active one. In addition to our monthly meetings we organise a range of study visits, from one-day trips to longer residential tours in the UK and occasionally in mainland Europe. In recent years, these have included visits to Portsmouth, Lincoln and Newark, Newcastle and Northumberland, and the battlefields of Waterloo....

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  • Terriers in India

    Article

    Peter Stanley is working on the largely unexplored history of the thousands of British Territorial soldiers who served in India during the First World War using their letters and diaries. He is trying to discover what happened to these men when they returned to Britain. Did their service in India...

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  • The Bibliography of British and Irish History

    Article

    The Bibliography of British and Irish History (BBIH) is the most extensive guide available to published writing on British and Irish history.  It covers the history of British and Irish relations with the rest of the world, including the British empire and the Commonwealth, as well as British and Irish...

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  • Librarian CPD

    Article

    For advice and information about working as a Librarian or Information Professional, take a look at the following information from the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) website. CILIP is the leading professional body for librarians, information specialists and knowledge managers. They provide practical support for members throughout their careers...

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  • Archivist CPD

    Article

    For advice and information about working in Archives, take a look at the following information from the Archives and Records Association website. The Archives and Records Association is the leading professional body for archivists, archive conservators and records managers in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The principal aims of the Society are: to...

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  • Stories, sources and new formats: Digitising Archives

    Article

    In the last two decades or so there has been a movement towards digitising large collections of original sources. These projects have had a range of purposes, approaches and target audiences but there can be little doubt that they have had a profound impact on the practice of history in...

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  • Public History Courses

    Article

    What is Public History? Public History is about understanding how the past has affected, and is used by, the present. It brings history to life and helps us understand the relationship between the past and the public at present. Public History can involve history in the community, and a Public...

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  • Using Medieval Sources

    Multipage Article

    In this short video Professor Mark Ormrod, Dr Jessica Lutkin and Dr Jonathan Mackman discuss their work on the England's Immigrants 1330-1550 project and give an idea of how they use primary medieval sources in their historical research.

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  • The Institute of Historical Research

    Article

    The following podcasts are from an interview between Dr Andrew Foster, chair of our Public History Committee with Professor Miles Taylor, Director of the Institute of Historical Research. The podcasts look at the work of the IHR - what it aims to do for the historical profession and wider public, the...

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  • Challenges facing The National Archives and the archives sector

    Article

    Podcast of a second interview between Dr Andrew Foster from the Historical Association and member of The National Archives' Strategic Academic Stakeholder Forum and Oliver Morley, Chief Executive and Keeper, The National Archives, which took place on 6 December 2011. The interview covers the strategic challenges faced by The National...

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  • The Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture, University of York

    Article

    Many people are fascinated by the rich cultural heritage to be discovered in art, literature, music and historic buildings. However the fact that so much of this heritage has been substantially shaped by Christian belief and practice can pose a major problem of access and understanding for those who lack...

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  • Untold Lives - Sharing Stories from the Past

    Article

    Untold Live - British Library History Blog The British Library's collections contain stories of people's lives worldwide, from the dawn of history to the present day. They are told through the written word, images, audio-visual and digital materials. The Untold Lives blog shares those stories, providing fascinating and unusual insights...

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