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Thrilling elopement story found in 19th-century newspapers

  While researching A Visitor’s Guide to Jane Austen’s England, author Sue Wilkes discovered an amazing romance which could have appeared in an Austen novel. We love hearing about what you’re finding in the newspapers. Tell us about your own discoveries in the comments section below.   **************   Heiress Augusta Nicholson, a most intrepid young lady, showed great ingenuity when she fell in love with handsome John Giles, a penniless comedian. Miss Nicholson was a ward of chancery and

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WW1 recipes found in copies of old newspapers

You can search more than 390,000 newspaper pages from 1914-1918 at The British Newspaper Archive, with more being added all the time. Juliet Greenwood got in touch to explain how she used the collection to research World War One recipes for her novel, We That Are Left.   **************   When I first began writing a novel set during the First World War, I knew I wanted to focus on the experience of women and civilians. For Elin, the heroine

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Examples of Winston Churchill’s work as a war correspondent

Simon Read is currently using The British Newspaper Archive to research Winston Churchill’s adventures as a war correspondent. He got in touch to show us some examples of Churchill’s journalism.   **************   Hear the name Winston Churchill, and what comes to mind? Most likely, it’s Churchill the war leader with his ever-present cigar, bulldog scowl, and never-surrender spirit. But long before Churchill’s Finest Hour, there was Winston Churchill the young adventurer. Between 1895 and 1900, Churchill covered wars of

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Twiggy on Who Do You Think You Are? – Grace Meadows in the newspapers

Twiggy used historical newspapers during her WDYTYA? episode to research the life of her great-great-grandmother, Grace Meadows.   Grace Meadows charged with stealing bank notes The York Herald printed the following article about Twiggy’s ancestors on Thursday 9 July 1874. Grace Meadows and her 14-year-old daughter Lucy were charged with stealing ‘three Bank of England notes for £20 each’ from Lucy’s employer. The newspaper article states that Twiggy’s ancestors were initially discharged as there was no evidence. Grace Meadows was said

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Mary Berry’s ancestors in the newspapers: Christopher Berry and Robert Houghton

Mary Berry uncovered some fascinating newspaper articles during her Who Do You Think You Are? episode, revealing shocking information about her ancestors Christopher Berry and Robert Houghton.   Christopher Berry declared bankrupt in 1811 On Saturday 14 November 1811, the Norfolk Chronicle printed the following announcement about Christopher Berry, Mary Berry’s great-great-great-grandfather. He was described as a ‘bookseller, printer, stationer, dealer and chapman’ who had been ‘declared a bankrupt’. Because of his bankruptcy, people indebted to him were advised not

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Sheridan Smith on WDYTYA: Newspapers reveal a shocking arson story in her family tree

You can find fascinating information about your ancestors at The British Newspaper Archive. Sheridan Smith did just that during her Who Do You Think You Are? episode, uncovering a story about her great-great-grandfather Benjamin Doubleday.   Benjamin Doubleday and the fire at the Woodman Inn On Friday 5 July 1895, the Sheffield Daily Telegraph reported that a fire had taken place at the Woodman Inn. The newspaper stated that Sheridan Smith’s great-great-grandfather was seen at the scene and ‘appeared in

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Lady Harberton, cycling and the ‘Rationals’ scandal

Michelle Higgs, author of A Visitor’s Guide to Victorian England, has uncovered lots of fascinating stories by searching our historical newspapers. She got in touch to tell us about Lady Florence Harberton and her fight for Victorian women’s freedom to wear practical clothing.   **************   It might surprise you to know that until the 1870s, it was rare to see unaccompanied middle or upper-class women walking in the streets. This was because they ran the risk of being mistaken

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Using newspapers to research the Luton Hoo estate

Tom Mason-Mckean works as a volunteer with the Luton Hoo Walled Garden project, looking into all aspects of the estate’s history. It was great to hear how he’s been using The British Newspaper Archive in his research. You can show us what you’ve found in The British Newspaper Archive by emailing press@britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk   **************   When I retired and started looking around for something to keep me occupied, I noticed that the Luton Hoo Walled Garden project in Bedfordshire was

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Working with Wikipedia to bring history facts to light

We’ve recently donated 100 subscriptions to the Wikipedia community through the Wikipedia Library, a grant-funded programme which makes it easier for experienced volunteer editors to access research materials. It’s very exciting to be involved in this new partnership. It allows us to contribute to Wikipedia, one of the most frequently used reference tools in the world, and demonstrates how local British and Irish newspapers can help improve public information about historical topics from around the world. We asked Simon Tushingham, one

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National newspapers, local newspapers and cases of breach of promise

Denise Bates, historian and author of Breach of Promise to Marry: A History of How Jilted Brides Settled Scores, explains why local newspapers are often more useful for historical research than national newspapers.   **************   Breach of promise was a legal claim. It allowed a man or woman to demand financial compensation from their ex-fiancée or ex-fiancé if they broke their engagement to marry.  Newspapers are the best source of information about breach of promise cases, but there is

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