Headlines from History – The British Newspaper Archive Blog

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‘Death in a Bathing Machine’ & Other Bathing Machine Headlines

The bathing machine, once a familiar sight at British seaside resorts, has all but become extinct, its legacy only really reflected in the beach huts which still line coasts up and down the United Kingdom. In this special blog we take a look at some of the wonderful photographs and illustrations of bathing machines that can be found using the British Newspaper Archive. The Bystander | 7 August 1912 There is some conjecture as to where the bathing machine originated –

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‘The Most Remarkable, Invigorating, and Enjoyable Holiday You Will Ever Have’ – The Holiday Camp Phenomenon

By 1939 there were an estimated three to four hundred holiday camps established across the United Kingdom, with the smallest housing fifty beds, and the largest with six thousand or more. What was behind the surge in popularity? We explore the holiday camp phenomenon by delving into the pages of the British Newspaper Archive, using the myriad of advertisements, photographs and articles located there to discover more about this mainstay of the British seaside resort. In 1936 William ‘Billy’ Butlin

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‘Brighton – For Health and Pleasure’ – The History of a Seaside Resort

‘What Pompeii was to the Romans…Brighton is to Londoners,’ comments an article on the famous British seaside town in the Penny Illustrated Paper, 10 August 1889. Using articles, photographs and illustrations from The Archive, in this special blog we will take a look at the history of this ‘Queen of Watering-places,’ from its establishment as a health resort in the eighteenth century, its growth as a fashionable destination thanks to the Prince Regent, to its railway heyday, and its infamous

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‘Nothing Else But Cricket Matches All Summer’ – A Look at Cricket in the 1730s

Performing a search for cricket in our oldest British Newspaper Archive publications (the Archive’s earliest pages run from 1700) it is possible to discover the fascinating history of the enduringly popular sport. In this special blog we will look at cricket’s early association with royalty, its emergence as a gambling sport, and its inevitable explosion in popularity. Kentish Gazette | 23 June 1773 An early and passionate advocate for the sport was Prince Frederick of Wales, father of George III, who

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Single versus Married Ladies – Women’s Cricket in the 1800s

The first recorded mention of women’s cricket was in 1745, in Surrey. We searched our Archive for early mentions of women’s cricket, and we came across a treasure trove of articles describing the early history of the sport. Harrow versus Pinner | Graphic | 18 August 1888 One of these comes from the Sherborne Mercury, published in August 1849. It describes a match between ‘nine married ladies’ and ‘nine single ladies’ played at Picket Post, in the New Forest. The single ladies

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‘A Panorama Equal to that of Fairyland’ – Remembering the Orchards of Old

‘Apple orchards have been a familiar characteristic of the European countryside for thousands of years,’ writes Edward Hyams in a 1974 article for the Illustrated London News. Indeed, he claims they have been in existence for 6,000 years, as an integral part of rural life and a mainstay of the rural economy. But by the late twentieth century, many orchards were beginning to disappear from the landscape, and with them, another way of rural life faded into memory. In this

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A Poacher’s Progress – Attitudes to Poaching in Rural Britain

Historically poachers have often been ascribed ‘a good deal of romance’ – but are they deserving of such a description? In this special blog post, using articles and illustrations from the British Newspaper Archive, we will investigate this notion, as well as looking at the crueler side of this antiquated countryside pursuit. Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News | 31 October 1908 An article in a July 1917 edition of the Illustrated Sporting & Dramatic News does much to propagate this romanticised

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‘A Hard Lot to Labour’ – A Look at the History of Straw Plaiting in Rural Britain

If you’ve got an agricultural labourer in your family tree, chances are you’ll have an ancestor who practiced straw plaiting. Straw plaiting was a cottage industry that saw its heyday in eighteenth and nineteenth century rural Britain, and was in the main part practiced by women and children. In this special blog, using articles and pictures from The Archive, we’ll take a look at the history of this discipline, from its heyday to its eventual decline. An article in the

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The Hop-Pickers’ Holiday – A Collision of City and Rural Life

At the beginning of September 1936 the Nottingham Evening Post describes ‘an invasion’ taking place in Kent. But this wasn’t an invasion of a military kind. It was in fact an invasion of hop-pickers, arriving in the county for the hop-picking season. The annual trek of 40,000 hop-pickers to the green fields of Kent has begun, with an invasion of caravans, horse drawn lorries, cars, covered wagons, perambulators and even London taxis. Our photo shows hop-pickers at work at Paddock

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‘A Saturnalia of Nondescript Noise and Nonconformity’ – The Rise and Fall of the Charter Fair

Using newspapers from The Archive, in this special blog we take a look at the history of Charter Fairs, from their inception in the medieval period to their continuation in twentieth century Britain. In his June 1955 article for The Sphere, entitled A Partial Eclipse of the Fair, Brian Vesey-Fitzgerald notes how ‘Fairs are of very ancient origin,’ and have been part of British life for thousands of years. A Charter Fair was a fair endorsed by the Crown. Crown-issued

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