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For the Love of Valentine’s Day

As we covered in our last blog post, the traditions and opinions surrounding the celebration of Valentine’s Day have evolved and changed over the years. But as we search through three hundred years of stories in The British Newspaper Archive, we see that the day has endured as one of celebration and, occasionally, scandal. In the newspapers, we can see a long tradition of celebrating this day, but we can also observe the emergence of a certain skepticism and cynicism

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Valentine’s Day Throughout the Ages

Valentine’s Day in its present iteration is inexorably linked to both romantic love and commercialism. It inspires strong feelings, both for and against this day of chocolate boxes and heart-shaped cards. However, the day and its traditions have not been static. In performing a simple search for ‘Valentine’s Day’ on The British Newspaper Archive, you can start to see the ways in which the holiday — and its reception — have changed (and, occasionally, stayed the same) over the years.

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All in the (McKellen) family

  ‘Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more’. – William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act V, Scene V These are the lines with which Sir Ian McKellen opens his episode of Who Do You Think You Are? As a septuagenarian, looking backwards to discover from whence (and from whom) he came, it is fitting that he should read these particular lines of Macbeth’s. Furthermore, they are

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Australia Day

On 26 January 1788, the First Fleet arrived in New South Wales, which saw the flag of Great Britain raised at Sydney Cove and the settlement of the first penal colony. The arrival also marked Britain’s proclamation of sovereignty over Australia’s eastern seaboard. This day has since become a national holiday in Australia: Australia Day. To mark this day, we’ve taken a look into its history and evolution. You can find articles on this historic landing of the First Fleet in

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A Study in Sherlock

The Premiere of Sherlock Holmes What better way to ring in the New Year than with the premiere of the latest series of the BBC’s Sherlock? The hype generated by this latest iteration of the famed ‘consulting detective’ is far from unprecedented. From the first appearance of the sleuth at 221B Baker Street, audiences have been glued to the page and eager for more. Sherlock Holmes first graced the pages of Beeton’s Christmas Annual in the 1887 printing of A

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‘National Newspaper Carrier Day’ – 4 September 2013

In the USA today, they celebrate ‘National Newspaper Carrier Day’. The day celebrates the employment in 1833 of the first paper boy, Barney Flaherty, by Benjamin Day, the publisher of the ‘New York Sun’. But the day also celebrates all the paper boys and girls down the years, who have been fleet-footed messengers of the latest news. To mark the day, here is a newspaper report about a mass protest by paper boys in London in 1948. And as there

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More content, more quickly. An update on progress. PLUS! – some exciting news about 20th century content!

More content, more quickly. An update on progress. We now have almost 7 million pages and with our new processing system we are going to be able to add around another 4 million pages in the next 12 months. Compare that with the (although rather impressive if we do say so ourselves), 3 million pages processed in the past 20 months since launch! However, in order to support this great improvement in production throughput, we have been very busy modifying

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More content, more quickly! The BNA tech upgrade – an update

More content, more quickly! The BNA tech upgrade – an update We hope that you have all been enjoying the lovely Summer weather lately? You may have noticed that there has been a slow-down in the number of pages added to the site recently. There is a fantastic reason for this . . . [drumroll please] . . . We are delighted to announce that we have been busy working on upgrading our newspaper ingest and post-processing system. Once we’re

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Sir Samuel Plimsoll, inventor of ‘the Plimsoll Line’

Newspaper report from 1898 on the life and achievements of Sir Samuel Plimsoll On 10 February 1824, Sir Samuel Plimsoll, ‘the Sailors’ Friend’, was born in Bristol. The MP for Derby, philanthropist and social reformer had an amazing life, including a period of destitution in London, when he failed in business as a coal merchant. Today, he is mostly remembered for inventing ‘the Plimsoll Line’, which is a set of measurements and symbols on the side of ships indicating how

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