Headlines from History – Page 2 – The British Newspaper Archive Blog

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A Gift of Warfare – The History of Plastic Surgery

‘Plastic surgery, born in one war and perfected in another,’ had been practiced before the First World War, but it took this global conflict, and a second one, to develop plastic surgery as we know it today. The Sphere | 20 May 1933 In this special blog, using newspapers taken from The Archive, we will trace the development of plastic surgery, from the work of Harold Gillies in the First World War, to its move into the cosmetic mainstream in the

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The 1920s Sea Shanty Trend

‘Sea shanties are having a great vogue right now,’ reports the Leeds Mercury in January 1927. The writer may well have been describing the sea shanty trend of the present day, as the haunting harmonies of traditional sea shanties once again have captured the popular imagination. And one hundred years ago, during the 1920s, sea shanties were also incredibly popular. You could listen to them on the radio, or on your gramophone, and they were even performed by MPs. Sailors turn the capstan

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Newspapers from the Pandemic – Reporting on the Spanish Flu

What began as rumours from Spain was soon to become a nightmarish reality, as the Spanish flu pandemic began to take hold in the United Kingdom, where it would go on to kill approximately 250,000 people, and 50,000,000 globally. Staff from the Michie Hospital | Graphic | 26 July 1919 In this special blog, as part of medicine month on The Archive, we will take a look at how newspapers from the time reported on the deadly disease, from those first rumours,

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Uncovering Dubious Medical Remedies on Our Archive

We’ve scoured The Archive to bring you some of the most dubious medical remedies from our newspapers. From magic cure-all pills to blood-letting, from cigarettes to liquorice, we take a look at some of the most bizarre cures from the last two centuries, using pages taken from the British Newspaper Archive. The Graphic | 8 April 1922 It might go without saying, but we thought we better say it anyway – please do not try any of these cures at home!

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Discovering Ancient Christmas Customs on The Archive

Our familiar Christmas customs – decorating our houses with holly and ivy, enjoying chocolate yule logs and giving presents – have, for the most part, their origins in ancient pagan practices. In this special blog, using articles taken from the rich pages of the British Newspaper Archive, we take a look at how our Christmas traditions have evolved through time, with Druid, Roman and Norse influences. Want to learn more? Register now and explore The Archive From Saturnalia to The

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A Look at Contemporary Reactions to Early Vaccination

In 1796 British doctor Edward Jenner demonstrated how infection from cowpox gave rise to immunity from smallpox. This led to the first vaccination in history and represented the first step in the total eradication of smallpox, the only human disease to ever be totally globally eradicated. Edward Jenner | Illustrated London News | 27 January 1923 With vaccination again hitting the headlines during the COVID-19 pandemic, we set out to discover how Edward Jenner’s contemporaries reacted to his groundbreaking vaccination method, and

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The Regent’s Park Skating Tragedy – 16 January 1867

On 16 January 1867 Regent’s Park in London was witness to the worst ice-skating tragedy in British history. In this special blog post, we take a look at how the newspapers in our Archive can help us understand exactly what happened that day, by hearing from the voices of those who were caught up in the catastrophe. In the Luton Times & Advertiser, 19 January 1867, the following is described: At about a quarter-past four, when a large number of

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The Truth Behind the White Christmas Dream

On Christmas Day 1906 the city of Sheffield in the north of England saw the ‘heaviest Christmas snow for 25 years,’ as the Sheffield Daily Telegraph reports: On the evening of Christmas Day the snow began to fall, and yesterday morning the city was covered in a beautiful mantle of the purest white. Snow lay on the ground to the depth of about six inches, and, except in the streets, so remained until last night, when there was a further fall. Long

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A Look at the History of Britain’s Extreme Winter Weather

Nowadays, a single snowflake is enough to send the country into a panic, but in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Britain faced freezing weather that brought with it extreme snowfall to all corners of the land. ‘A wintry scene in Kent’ | Illustrated London News | 8 February 1947 And so, using newspapers from our Archive, will we take a look at how such extreme snowfall impacted Britain, how it disrupted the nation’s communication system, from the early days of the mail

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Celebrating 75 Years Since the Release of ‘Brief Encounter’

75 years ago, on the 26 November 1945, Noël Coward’s enduring masterpiece Brief Encounter was released to cinema audiences. A classic of post-war cinema, Brief Encounter came to symbolise the British restraint that had got the nation through the Second World War, its popularity enduring to this day. In this special blog, using newspapers taken from the British Newspaper Archive, we will take a look at the contemporary reception of Coward’s film, and how it was received by cinema-goers across the country. Celia Johnson

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