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Tragedy on the Thames – The Princess Alice Disaster

‘Perhaps the most terrible catastrophe that ever occurred on the Thames took place last night,’ writes the Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette on 4 September 1878, ‘when the saloon steamboat Princess Alice, with about eight hundred passengers, was run down by a passing screw-steamer.’ This tragic incident, representing the largest loss of life on Britain’s inland waterways, saw pleasure steamer the Princess Alice, laden with London day-trippers, cut almost in three as she collided with collier Bywell Castle. The Princess Alice and

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Hot off the Press – New Titles This Week

This week at The Archive we are thrilled to bring you 11 brand new titles and additions to 6 existing titles.  We have added 19,712 new pages from regional titles across Scotland and England. Register now and explore the Archive Five of our new titles come to us from across Scotland including a newspaper from Scotland’s most northern point in the Atlantic Ocean, the Shetland Isles. The Shetland News   The Shetland News was first published in 1855 and it

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18th Century Molly Houses – London’s Gay Subculture

  June is Pride Month. At The Archive, we are delving into the newspapers and pulling out the breadth of LGBTQ history available. Register now and explore The Archive 18th Century Gay Subculture 18th century London was home to a flourishing gay subculture with Molly Houses at the centre of the social scene. ‘Molly’ was a slur used for effeminate, homosexual men and the term was adopted to describe the clubs, taverns, inns, or coffee houses where they met up

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‘London’s Greatest Bohemian Rendezvous’ – The Caravan Club, Endell Street

For just over a month in the summer of 1934, the Caravan Club in Endell Street, Holborn, was ‘London’s Greatest Bohemian Rendezvous.’ A safe space for society’s outcasts, it was a temporary haven for London’s marginalised LGBTQ community, home to an eclectic mix of clientele, from cabaret performers to bright young things. But in the early morning of 25 August 1934, the music ended. London’s Caravan Club was raided by the Metropolitan Police, whilst both its owners and members faced

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Hippies in Piccadilly – The Events of September 1969

In September 1969, 144 Piccadilly, a mansion in London’s fashionable West End, was taken over by a group of hippies who called themselves the London Street Commune. Over several days, the hippies barricaded themselves in the mansion, and resisted attempts to remove them, in what became known as the Battle of Piccadilly. Hippies occupy Endell Street School, Holborn | Illustrated London News | 4 October 1969 In this special blog, we look at how the newspapers of the time reported on this

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Discovering Shakespeare’s London on the British Newspaper Archive

As Britannia & Eve relates, ‘In 1586 a young genius of twenty-two, already the father of twins, packed his bags, said good-bye to the fading charms of his older wife, and quitted his home in Stratford-upon-Avon to earn his living in London as an actor.’ This young genius was of course none other than William Shakespeare, about whose life precious little is known. But we do know that it was to London that the bard went, Dick Whittington-like, to pursue

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Metro-land Magic – How the Metropolitan Railway Shaped the Growth of London’s Suburbs

I know a land where the wild flowers grow Near, near at hand if by train you go, Metro-land. Metro-land. The above pre-First World War verse written by George R Sims coined the phrase ‘Metro-land’ – that area of north west of Wembley served by what was then called the Metropolitan Railway, and is now known as the Metropolitan Line. In this blog, using articles found on the British Newspaper Archive, we will explore how the Metropolitan Railway shaped London’s

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The Blitz and The London Underground – Safety Beneath the Streets in the Second World War

When the Blitz began on 7 September 1940, ‘It was the people of London who took command…Men, women, and children went straight to the safest place they could think of – the Underground stations.’ In this special blog, over 79 years after the beginning of the Blitz, we take a look at how London’s main transport system – the Underground –  became a popular place of shelter for those seeking protection from the German bombing campaign, using an assortment of

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The Opening of the Metropolitan Railway – 10 January 1863

On 10 January 1863 the Metropolitan Railway was opened in London. An unprecedented feat of engineering, the Metropolitan Railway was the first underground railway in the world, forming the basis of the London underground and other global underground systems. In this special blog, we take a look at the historic first three days of the Metropolitan Railway’s existence, from its grand opening on Friday 10 January 1863, to the teething problems it encountered when it opened to the public on

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The Tango Craze of 1913 – ‘London Has Already Been Bitten Severely’

‘They name their dresses Tango, their hats Tango, their dogs Tango,’ so reports the Pall Mall Gazette in 1913 at the height of tango fever in London and in Paris. In this special blog, using articles and illustrations from The Archive, we explore the history of the tango, and how its popularity surged after its spread from along the Rio de la Plata in South America to the music halls, the stately homes and the dance floors of Europe. Origins

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