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On this day, an arrest at sea

Dr Crippen

On 31 July 1910, Hawley Harvey Crippen, better known as Dr Crippen, and Ethel Le Neve, his typist-turned-lover, were arrested on board the Montrose while trying to flee west to Canada. On top of being a sensational case and arrest, it was the first example of an arrest aided by wireless telegraphy. A cross-Atlantic chase of a fleeing couple is an apt ending to our July theme of travel and migration. When you ask yourself why your ancestor or the

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Remembering Jane Austen

Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy

This day marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death. During the last two centuries, Jane Austen has become a household name. Austen and her modest-sized collection of works has enjoyed a vibrant presence in both academia and western culture, from quotes on magnets and clothing to movie adaptations and sequels to her novels. Austen’s name is equally as at home in highbrow literary essays and criticism as it is in contemporary periodicals meant for mass consumption, such as the

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The month of July

With summer well underway and a new month dawning, we take a look at the month of July with the help of The British Newspaper Archive. What events and holidays of significance took place in July? How have our newspapers covered such happenings? Join us as we explore the history and newspaper coverage of Canada Day, the Battle of the Somme, and Independence Day. Canada Day The national holiday celebrates the anniversary of the enactment of the Constitution Act, which

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On this day, 31 May

Joseph Grimaldi

Today, we’re highlighting one of many events that have occurred over the years on 31 May. On 31 May 1837, the Clown Laureate of the Regency era, Joseph ‘Joey’ Grimaldi, died. Read the entire obituary Grimaldi was considered the best clown of the nineteenth century. His work was influential in the role and appearance of clowns — he expanded the clown’s role in pantomimes and the harlequinade. He worked on several famous stages, including Drury Lane, Sadler’s Wells, and Covent Garden. Over

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On this day, 18 May

Today, we’re looking at two events that occurred on 18 May: the Khodynka Tragedy in 1896 and Jacqueline Cochran’s breaking of the sound barrier in 1953. Khodynka Tragedy The first took place in 1896 in the Khodynka Field, Moscow. The field was the site of festivities honouring the recent coronation of Emperor Nicholas II. Thousands gathered to celebrate and to, hopefully, receive rumoured gifts of food and a commemorative cup. With growing and increasingly frenzied crowds, the police force on

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The Obscenity Trial of Miss Radclyffe Hall’s novel, ‘The Well of Loneliness’ – 16 November 1928

‘Give us also the right to our existence’ At Bow Street in London on 16 November 1928, Miss Radclyffe Hall’s novel, ‘The Well of Loneliness’, found itself in the dock on a charge of obscenity. The powers-that-be had decided that they did not like the novel’s ‘unnatural offences’ – hence the decision to prosecute. The magistrate eventually decided that the book was obscene and ordered that it be destroyed. Here is a newspaper story that reports on this famous literary

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‘Charge of the Light Cavalry Brigade’ – the Battle of Balaclava, 25 October 1854

On 25 October 1854, Lord Cardigan led the charge of the Light Brigade againt the Russians in the Battle of Balaclava in the Crimea. The insane order to attack the gun positions arose due to a miscommunicated message somewhere along the chain of command. 156 men of the Light Brigade were killed in the charge and 122 were wounded – 335 horses were also killed during the attack. Included below is a newspaper article from November 1854 that reports on the

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The Opening of the UK’s First Tram Service – Birkenhead, 30 September 1860

On 30 September 1860, the first tram service in the UK started operating at Birkenhead on Merseyside. The tram service was the idea of the (aptly named) George Francis Train, an American entrepreneur who was a pioneer of innovative transport systems. To mark that historic day, here is a newspaper story from October 1860 that reports on the opening of the Birkenhead tram service.  

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The Start of the Battle of the Somme – 1 July 1916

The Somme Offensive commenced on 1 July 1916, as Allied forces attacked German positions by the River Somme on the Western Front in France. On the opening day of the battle, the British suffered 60,000 casualties – making it the worst day in the history of the British army. Here is an upbeat newspaper report of the battle, which was published on the first day of the battle – also included is a map of the area where the battle took

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‘Operation Barbarossa’: the Invasion of the Soviet Union by Nazi Germany – 22 June 1941

‘When Barbarossa commences, the world will hold its breath and make no comment’ – Adolf Hitler On 22 June 1941, Hitler ordered the start of ‘Operation Barbarossa’ – the campaign to conquer the Soviet Union. To mark the day, here are some contemporary newspaper stories (published the day after the invasion started) that report on the start of the war between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Image © Northcliffe Media Limited. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

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