July 2012 – The British Newspaper Archive Blog

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Wyndham Halswelle – the gold medal winner who raced against himself in the 400m final at the 1908 Olympics

London-born Wyndham Halswelle was a competitor in one of the most amazing (and surreal!) Olympic events – the 400m final of the 1908 Olympics. In this event, Wyndham Halswelle won the gold medal in a race that had no other runners. The reason for the occurrence of this most strangest of races, was the total absence of uniform rules that then existed. For prior to the rules in the Olympics being standardised, many of the countries had different sets of

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‘Olympics Are Attraction – Market Subdued’, Thursday 5 August 1948

We like this news report about the effect that the Olympics was having on the London Stock Exchange in 1948. The report also mentions Torbay/Torquay, which was was the location for the Olympic sailing events at the 1948 Games. It’ll be interesting to see if what effects the Olympics have on the London Stock Exchange in 2012…we hope there isn’t a high absenteeism rate in ‘the City’ when the Games are on… Western Morning News – Thursday 05 August 1948

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The Gold Medal Won by the Uncle of James Bond Author, Ian Fleming – Philip Fleming, 1912 Olympics at Stockholm

Reading about the family of Ian Fleming in the Archive It’s just a small newspaper report, but there are so many stories within this wee clipping. The Leander crew who beat the New College (Oxford) crew to win the gold medal at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, contained one Philip Fleming. The nephew of Philip Fleming was a certain Ian Fleming, who wrote the James Bond stories. Unfortunately, the newspaper does not list the individual members of the victorious Leander

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Fanfare of Golden Trumpets for the Opening of the 1948 Olympic Games in London

To celebrate the start of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, we thought we’d post these stories about the opening of the 1948 London Games. We love reading old newspaper reports about the OlympicGames in the Archive, as the old-fashioned, Corinthian spirit of the Olympics really shines through these stories. We also love the quirky stories, such as the ‘missing luggage’ (and wine!) of the French Team in 1948. Known as ‘the Austerity Games’, the ‘make do and mend’ and

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Parasites in the British Newspaper Archive!

We’re endlessly fascinated by all the different types of researchers who are busy rummaging around in the Archive. It’s a grand gallimaufry: from genealogy researchers to, well, leading experts on parasites…in all their various and glorious forms – insect and human. So when a parasite expert recently got in touch to advise us that that the BNA was a great place to discover information on most type of parasites, we were very enthusiastic to learn more about this excellent research

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Beethoven – Portrait, Description and His Views on England

With the Beethoven cycle taking place at the Proms this week, we thought we’d post another story to complement the wonderful tale about the muse for the ‘Moonlight Sonata’. The portrait/description and story included below come from ‘The Beethoven Centennial’ in 1927. At this time, there was a major reappraisal of his work. In the description of Beethoven that accompanies the portrait, we loved learning that although ‘no beauty’, he could still make ‘Adonises fume in the background’! It was

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Amelia Earhart – ‘Still Flying Although Married’

The pioneering aviatrix, Amelia Earhart (‘Lady Lindy’), was born in Atchison, Kansas, on 24 July 1897. To celebrate her birthday, we’ve included a wee story below about Earhart’s thoughts on how best to combine flying with marriage. “It’s about fifty-fifty”, she opined. We’ve also included a wonderful photo of Earhart, all dressed up in her flying togs and ready for take-off! The Archive contains scores of interesting stories about the life and amazing achievements of Amelia Earhart, and also the

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Invention of the ice cream cone by Charles Menches – 23 July 1904

There are 100s of different flavours of old newspaper stories about ice cream (including secret recipes…) to be found in The British Newspaper Archive. But did you know that on 23 July 1904, Charles Menches had a ‘Eureka!’ moment, while watching people eat ice cream at the World Fair at St Louis? Read this fascinating story about the invention of the ice cream cone – 108 years young today!   Hull Daily Mail – Tuesday 29 December 1931 Image ©

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The Muse for the ‘Moonlight Sonata’ or a “Shaggy Beethoven’s Tale”?…

With the Proms taking place at the moment, we thought we’d post a historical newspaper story about Beethoven. The report tells the story of how Beethoven received his inspiration to write the beautiful ‘Moonlight Sonata’ The thing is, we’re not sure if it’s true – for it does seem to be one of those famous “Shaggy Beethoven’s Tales”. We dearly wish it to be true, though! But even if it’s not true, it’s still a wonderful tale. Perhaps some music

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The Lucky Half-Crown That Helped Bobby Jones to Win the 1926 Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes

We love this story about Bobby Jones forgetting his admission badge on the opening day of the 1926 Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes. To gain entrance, he had to pay the admission fee of half a crown – which he did with good grace. But it must have been a very lucky half crown, as Bobby Jones went on to win the tournament just three days later – as reported in the second story included below. In the

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