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The last of the Romanovs

    On 15 March 1917, amid the chaos and fury of the Russian Revolution, Tsar Nicholas II, Emperor of all Russia, abdicated from the throne and ended 300 years of Romanov rule.  Russians of all classes were on the streets of Petrograd (formerly known as St Petersburg), and Nicholas’ own military had joined the ranks of protestors.  How did this monarch fall and a dynasty end?  On the anniversary of Tsar Nicholas’ abdication, we will take a look through

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The Homeward Mail – News from the East

The British Newspaper Archive brings you news from India, China, and further East during the height of the British Empire.  The Homeward Mail from India, China and the East was first published in 1857 by Messrs. Smith, Elder, & Co. and provided Britain with news from its colonies in the East.  The publishing company also produced the first Dictionary of National Biography and worked with major authors such as Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, Alfred Tennyson, and Arthur Conan Doyle.  Along

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Liz Bonnin’s Presbyterian connections in Trinidad

Last night, during Who Do You Think You Are? we searched through Liz Bonnin’s family tree and discovered her Indian and French heritage. This week’s episode opened with gorgeous views of a sun soaked beach and crashing waves, making us all envious as we watched by our fires and with hot cups of tea in our hands.  The first part of the episode took us to Bonnin’s mother’s home in Trinidad to find more clues about Liz’s Indian ancestors. Early

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The Battle of Jutland: A message from Admiral Jellicoe

After the Battle of Jutland, Admiral Jellicoe sent this message to his Fleet, as recorded in the Cornishman on the 15th June 1916: “I desire to express to the flag officers, captains, officers and men of the Grand Fleet my very high appreciation of the manner in which the ships fought during the action of May 31, 1916. At this stage, when full information is not available, it is not possible to enter into details, but quite sufficient is already

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“Wherefore art thou, Romeo?” Shakespeare’s missing men of 1916

Countless celebrations are taking place across the country to commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. Wherever you live, you’ll find parades, talks and performances of all kinds paying homage to the Bard’s work, but it was a very different story 100 years ago. Search the newspapers On the tercentenary of Shakespeare’s death in 1916, Britain had found itself in the middle of one of the most horrific battles in history. While the odd commemorative event took place in

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“Liner collides with iceberg. Passengers safe” : The Titanic, in our newspapers

At 11:40pm on the 14th of April 1912, the RMS Titanic, which had been transporting 2,208 people from Southampton to New York, hit an iceberg while crossing the North Atlantic ocean. Search the newspapers Over the course of the next few days the British press was littered with conflicting news and information, with statements claiming that all passengers were safe and the “unsinkable” ship had started making its way to Halifax. The Western Times had quite a job keeping up

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The missing men of Singapore: Remembering the “worst disaster” of British military history

From the 8th to the 15th February 1942, the Empire of Japan invaded Singapore, one of Britain’s largest military bases in the South East. The move, that would see 85,000 British, Australian and Indian troops taken prisoner of war, was dubbed the “worst disaster” in British military history by Winston Churchill. Search the newspapers Back in Britain, the newspapers were filled with reports of missing troops and families appealing for information. Many of these men had been taken prisoner, but

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“This is the head of a traitor, Edward Marcus Despard!” The plot to kill George III, by Regency Spies author Sue Wilkes

While researching her new book Regency Spies (published by Pen & Sword this month), Sue Wilkes uncovered the story of a desperate plot to kill George III and overthrow the British government… Colonel Despard (1751–1803) has gone down in history as the leader of a wildly impractical, hopeless scheme. Despard was the leader of a group known as the United Britons, which had links with rebel Irishmen. Unfortunately for their plans, some members of the group were government spies, who

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