This month’s display of books from the Biography Collection at Kensington Central Library showcases musicians with significant anniversaries in 2018. Those we have most books on in the collection are Leonard Bernstein (born 1918), Claude Debussy (died 1918), and Gioachino Rossini (died 1868), but we include many others.
Other hard copy resources for music in our libraries are:
• Scores in at Kensington Central Library’s store
• CDs at Kensington Central Library
• DVDs of operas, shows etc and books on music, across all all our libraries
• A special collection of music reference books at Kensington Central Library
I say population and not just customers or residents as it has been said that living near a library and, indeed, just walking past a library has a positive effect on one’s emotional and mental well-being.
Of course we in libraries are keen to invite people to come through the doors and experience the well-being benefits first hand. The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘Surviving or Thriving’ which encourages us to look at our physical and mental well-being.
Some of our offers are more obviously health focused, our health information displays encourage us to feed our brains with the right food and suggest ways to be more active, as well as giving information on managing and living well with chronic conditions. Poor physical health can be a drain on our mental and emotional strength and poor mental health can lead to inactivity, poor diet and so the cycle continues.
One way to break cycles of unhelpful thoughts and behaviours is cognitive behavioural therapy and in the West London Clinical Commissioning Group area there is Time to Talk, a free psychological therapy service.
In order to help people decide whether this service is for them or for support while waiting for a referral, or during, or after therapy, the libraries’ Reading Well Books on Prescription collections are recommended by GPs and health promotion specialists. A new collection put together to support those living with chronic conditions will be launched in July this year.
The Reading Well Books on Prescription initiative is part of our Bibliotherapy offer. Our libraries host read aloud groups in partnership with The Reader Organisation. These facilitator led Book Break groups meet every week and give members the opportunity to join in reading aloud from good literature and discuss what has been read over a cup of tea or coffee or just sit back, listen and enjoy the company.
It is encouraging to look at how we in libraries contribute to what is called ‘the wider determinants of health’ All the things in our lives that support us, family, work, employment, housing, finances, education, lifelong learning, English classes, coffee mornings, knitting groups, activities for children and teenagers, employment advice, business information points for entrepreneurs old and young, all these available in libraries.
Libraries have always been inspirational and aspirational encouraging us to ask for more learning and knowledge and skills to create meaningful lives for ourselves and our families.
There are also some very good enjoyable fiction books available free to borrow hard copy or online! See our new book displays or see what eBooks and eMagazines we have. Did you know that reading for as little as six minutes can improve mental well-being?
See what you can do this Mental Health Awareness week to look after your own mental well-being, eat well, sleep well, go for a walk in one of our gorgeous parks and yes, visit your local library.
The 1st July 2016 marks the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.
At 7.30am on the morning of the battle thousands of young men rose from their trenches and walked across No Man’s Land towards the enemy trenches.
On that single day the British Army suffered 57,000 casualties of which 19,000 men died. The objective on that first day are shown in the map below:
For families on the home front, newspapers and magazines provided information. Seeing images of the battle meant reading the papers or magazines.
Here is a typical image of “Going over the Top” from our copy of the Illustrated London News from the later stages of the Battle of the Somme, showing that the dominion troops were heavily engaged:
An edition shows British troops capturing Montauban in late July:
You can read daily coverage of the Somme battle in the Times Digital Archive and I selected part of one of the first editorials/ leaders to come out on July 3rd where indications are that the battle was going favourably:
Contrast this with the Roll of Honour of Friday 4th August 1916:
Punch Magazine took a different view on the seemingly never-ending battle as we can see from this image of October 25th 1916:
Having visited the Western Front several years ago I was struck by the openness of the landscape, its tranquillity. The scars remain of course and the area is populated by cemeteries and memorials along the frontline.
Some of the areas which I found very moving on my visit included:
The Lochnagar Mine Crater at La Boisselle on the Somme which was sprung at 7.28am on the 1st July and shows that the war was also waged underground by Royal Engineers and the devastation this caused
Delville Wood was also an incredibly atmospheric place to visit. It was where battalions of the South African Brigade came under artillery fire from the Germans during their attempt to capture and then defend the wood in mid July 1916
The South African Brigade had gone into battle here on 15th July 1915 with strength of 121 officers and 3,032 other ranks. At roll call on 21st July they numbered only 29 officers and 751 other ranks.
Newfoundland Memorial Park near Beaumont Hamel is one of only a few sites on the Western Front where the ground remains largely untouched from when the First World War ended and there are preserved trenches:
The Royal Newfoundland Regiment, part of the 29th Division, which had seen action at Gallipoli (1915) arrived in France in April 1916 and attacked on the 1st July 1916 at 9.15am as part of the second wave and suffered great losses in their attempt to Beaumont Hamel with 90% casualties.
Just in front of the Caribou in the above photo are the trenches from which the Newfoundland’s launched their attack.
During the First World War plans were already being made on how to commemorate the fallen and I would recommend Empires of the Dead by David Crane (2013) if you are interested in the story behind the building of the British and Commonwealth war cemeteries.
The most poignant and the largest memorial and the focus of commemorations on the 1st July is the Thiepval Memorial to the missing. This commemorates the 72,195 dead of all the battles fought in the Somme area July 1915-November 1918 who have no known grave.
Total allied casualties during those 141 days were 623,907.
Lest We Forget.
To access all the databases used to research this blog please see:
So this year Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 90th birthday. Or rather birthdays, as while her actual birthday is today, 21 April (she was born at 17 Bruton Street at 2.40am on 21 April 1926), her formal birthday with all the pomp and ceremony is on the second Saturday in June. This year there will be a weekend of celebrations, such as the Patron’s lunch on Sunday 12 June.
But as the title says – what was said and what happened on the day itself? Using our newspaper archives, both online and hard copy, it is possible to have a glimpse of the news as it would have been read by the people of 1926.
First of all, the time of the then Princess Elizabeth’s birth was important for the daily newspapers. Normally an event which occurred on the 21st would be reported on the 22nd once it has had a chance to be written and printed. However, because the event took place so early in the morning it made it into the headlines of the day!
Check the Times Digital Archive to see how the news was reported (log in with your library card number). You could limit your searches to just 21 and 22 April, or simply browse through each day’s newspaper. Then take a look at some of the other papers – different publications can give you different types of story and varying headlines.
Think about your search terms; which words will you use? Try out different ones. Remember that the baby born that day had not yet been named, was not yet Queen or even the heir to the throne. Here are a few tips for possible keywords: granddaughter, daughter, birth, Duchess of York, and royal are just a few.
From my searches I discovered that The Times managed to get an announcement into its 21 April ‘News in Brief’ section, and the next day mentions that the princess is third in line for succession to the throne (an important fact, as we would find out later on).
And take a look at our Illustrated London News collection for some images too. These are available in Central and Chelsea Libraries.
Lots of stories to explore! Why not go further and see what is written about each of the birthdays and life events over her 90 years? You can read more in one of the many books featured on our catalogue, and find dates and events to then research in the newspapers. Be imaginative with your search terms; you never know what you might discover!
Charlotte Bronte was born on 21 April 1816. The eldest of the Bronte siblings to reach adulthood, she was the last to die. She wrote Jane Eyre, Shirley and Villette, and died on 31 March 1855, aged 38. Her bicentenary is celebrated this year, and those of Branwell Brontë in 2017, Emily Brontë in 2018 and Anne Brontë in 2020.
This post is a quick reminder of some of the resources we have available in the library for Bronte students…look out for more Bronte posts in the future.
The library holds a wealth of Charlotte Bronte resources for everyone, from students to simply curious browsers: Charlotte Bronte’s entry in the DNB (Dictionary of National Biography) gives a concise but detailed account of the life of this shy, complex and talented writer, with links to additional resources.
The online Encyclopaedia Britannica’s topic pages also gives extensive lists of useful sources of further reading. Britannica Library for students gives an excellent and well-written article about the Bronte family’s difficult and intriguing life.
Don’t forget, with both these resources you are offered links to carefully chosen, credible sites on the internet, as well as primary sources, pictures, and library catalogue entries. You are also able to highlight particular words in the article for a more detailed explanation of their meaning if unsure.
And in honour of Science Week Britannica Online have created a special microsite to celebrate some of the scientists who have made remarkable inventions and discoveries, leading to major advances in the field of science.
You will find links to articles about a variety of people who have made contributions to the scientific community. These articles will help you complete the quiz, word search and crossword.
Britannica Online have also created a diagram that shows well known scientific fields and their notable scientists; many scientists fall into more than one field!
Take a look and try the quiz! You’ll also find lesson plans, activities, biographies and other media to entertain and inform.
We’ve got a marathon of John Byrne Cartoon Workshops today, starting right now at North Kensington Library, then moving on to Kensington Central Library (11.30am to 12.30pm), Chelsea Library (2 to 3pm) and then Brompton Library (3.30 to 4.30pm).
Marvel, as our cartoon workshop host flies from library to library… Gasp, as John leads the group through a fast paced and fun session which will get them copying his cartoons perfectly in the first five minutes… and doing their own cartoons by the end of the session!
Contact the library to book your free place for this National Libraries Day event!
Warning! Searching the online resource the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) can be addictive as “all human life is here”. Most people use this dictionary to search for a specific individual. However you may not be aware that using the advanced search options and selecting other search criteria will create lists of names of the great and the good… and also, it must be said, the not so good.
To use the advanced search facility, click on one of the “More Search Options” displayed beneath the main search box.
Curiosity led me to check how many people there were with Kensington and Chelsea links by using these terms in the ‘place search’ category option. The result was over 3000! However this figure is misleading, as a casual check of a few entries revealed that the connection was often limited either to their unfortunate death in one of the borough’s hospitals or attendance at one of the borough’s schools.
I whittled down the 1975 Kensington entries to 122 by selecting the “Law and Crime” category from the drop down list of occupations (found in the “Fields of Interest” search category). Amongst the list of lawyers and judges I found John Christie, the Notting Hill mass murderer.
You may wonder why he is included. The DNB does not only include the great and the good. To quote the website “the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is the national record of men and women who have shaped British history and culture, worldwide, from the Romans to the 21st century”. In the case of Christie, the miscarriage of justice leading to the hanging of the innocent Timothy Evans, to quote Christie’s DNB entry, “played a significant part to the subsequent abolition of the death penalty in Britain”.
Finally it is also worth investigating the “Themes” tab to display the large number of collective biographies brought together under such topics as climbers of Everest, British monarchs, First World War poets and significant military and political leaders involved in that conflict. Other lists include a number of founder members of institutions and other significant groups.
Lucy Yates, WW1 Centenary Project Support Officer, writes….
Do you know where shrapnel fell on Kensington during the First World War? That the Suffragettes started a nursery for WWI orphans near Notting Hill, or why Rodin gave eighteen of his sculptures to the V&A during the war?
You can find out all this and more by downloading the interactive scavenger hunt/ tour guide app ‘Huntzz’ on your smart device.
Designed in conjunction with local cadets, this interactive online walk (with ten clues for you to solve along the way) showcases the World War One history of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
The 236 cadets, pictured above with their leader, braved the late evening darkness to help map the World War One sites they’d researched so as to turn this information into a guided online walk of World War One heritage around the borough.
Both children and parents were delighted by a reading of “Sam’s Pet Temper” by author Sangeeta Bhadra at Notting Hill Gate and Kensington Central libraries on Saturday 30 May.
In the story Sam’s temper is initially great company, and so he decides to take it home as a pet. Before long, however, it becomes too hard to handle and he begins to wish it would leave him alone…
Sam’s temper in the story is a real life naughty creature adorably illustrated by Marion Arbona. At the end of the reading, the children were invited to take part in a fun creative activity where they imagined and drew their own tempers.
Sangeeta visited Notting Hill Gate and Kensington Central libraries as part of a whistle-stop libraries tour with her debut children’s book, which has been published in Canada, in English and French, and will soon be published in Italy and South Korea. Sangeeta kindly presented Notting Hill Gate and Kensington Central libraries with signed copies of the book for our readers to enjoy.
Many thanks to Sandeep, Gaynor and of course Sangeeta for a great event!