Featured | The British Newspaper Archive Blog - Part 2

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One Million New Free to View Pages Join The Archive

Today we have released one million new free to view pages on The Archive, meaning that we now have a total of nearly 3.5 million free to view pages all now available as part of our collection. These pages have been brought to you thanks to our partnership with the British Library. Both the British Newspaper Archive and the British Library are committed to making historic resources available to more and more people, and these 3.4 million free to view

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Explore The Archive’s Top Ten Most Unusual Rejected Patents

In December 1920 the world’s first illustrated weekly news magazine the Illustrated London News delved into the ‘curiosities and ingenuities‘ of the Patent Office, featuring some of Britain’s most unusual rejected patents. Illustrated by the publication’s own artist W.B. Robinson, the Illustrated London News presented a series of the bizarre designs that had been submitted to the Patent Office, but had since ‘lain dormant.’ We at The Archive were keen to delve into our collection’s cabinet of curiosities, and these

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Celebrating Princess Kouka and Her Forgotten Film Legacy

In the late 1930s a newcomer made her way onto British cinema screens: Princess Kouka. From Sudan, Princess Kouka, born Tahia Ibrahim Belal, had been spotted by film producer Walter Futter, who was determined for her to appear in his next film. Using newspapers from the time, we uncover the legacy of this largely forgotten film star, who travelled to Britain and impressed audiences across the country. ‘A Notable Newcomer’ On 18 December 1936 London’s Daily News reported on the

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The Jazz Age Queen Who Made Britain Her Home

American-born jazz age superstar Adelaide Hall (1901-1993) was a Black music legend, who from 1938 onwards made Britain her home. She went on to have a long and successful career in the UK. In this very special blog, as part of Black History Month on The Archive, we will celebrate this jazz age queen who came to Britain and entertained thousands of people via her stage and radio performances, using newspapers taken from our Archive. A Star Is Born To

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Exploring the ‘Dancing Anthropologist’ Katherine Dunham’s Visits to the UK

Born in 1909 in Chicago, ‘dancing anthropologist’ Katherine Dunham was known as the ‘matriarch and queen mother of Black dance.’ Her father was a descendant of enslaved West Africans and Madagascans, whilst her mother hailed from Canada. A multitalented artist, academic and activist, for many years Katherine Dunham ran the Katherine Dunham Dance Company, the only self-supporting African-American dance troupe in the mid-twentieth century. It was during this time that Dunham toured the United Kingdom, and in this special blog,

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Understanding the Open Air Schools of the 1900s

In the early 1900s British authorities took a new approach to education: open air schools. Inspired by methods of teaching in Germany, these open air schools were intended to provide disadvantaged city children with fresh air, alleviating their poor health and preventing the spread of tuberculosis. In this special blog, using newspapers taken from our Archive, we will investigate the open air schools of the 1900s, from their early inception, to how they continued to play a role in education

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Unlock the Story of the Cleveland Street Scandal

1889 was the year of the Cleveland Street scandal, in which a male brothel was raided in Cleveland Street, in London’s West End. At the time, sexual acts between men were illegal in Britain, and those who visited the house of assignation on Cleveland Street faced prosecution. However, due to the high social standing of many of the clientele of 19 Cleveland Street, only a few men faced prison time, as the British government were accused of covering up the

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Unravelling the remarkable stories of the Mitford sisters

The aristocratic Mitford sisters – Nancy, Pamela, Diana, Unity, Jessica and Deborah – hit the headlines throughout their lifetimes, with tales of scandal and intrigue filling the pages of the press from the 1920s and beyond. Born to David Freeman-Mitford, 2nd Baron Redesdale, and his wife Sydney, alongside brother Thomas, the Mitford sisters often shocked society, whether it be through their political views, or their private lives. In this special blog, we shall unravel the remarkable stories of the six

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Explore the fascinating history of baseball in Britain

Baseball is one of the quintessentially American summer sports, but did you know that the sport of baseball has a fascinating history in Britain? From the 1870s onwards, American players visited Britain to try and raise interest in the game. It was a slow start, but by 1938 the game of baseball had taken such a hold in Britain that a British team beat an American one at the inaugural Amateur World Series tournament. So read on to discover more

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Celebrating the Amazing Swimming Career of Mercedes Gleitze

Mercedes Gleitze (1900-1981) was the first British woman to swim the English Channel, and the first person to swim the Straits of Gibraltar. In an amazing career that spanned the 1920s and 1930s, Mercedes captured the imagination of the British public and became a household name. Born to German parents in Brighton, Mercedes was one of three sisters. Skilled in languages, she moved to London where she worked as a secretary and stenographer. Whilst living in London she began swimming

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