I have recently been making the most of my time by using the very popular library edition of Ancestry, as a library member, via the RBKC libraries website. In Ancestry, censuses from different years are widely used as a tool for researching a particular address or person. It’s possible to find out more about how they lived, who they lived with, names, ages, occupations and so on. It’s a great resource if you are interested in your family history, or even the history of the house you live in. Continue reading “Census from Punch Historical Archive”
How would you feel if all of a sudden you are told by authorities that are you an illegal immigrant, that you can no longer have a job and that you will be deported to a country you have not lived in before? Amelia Gentleman’s The Windrush Betrayal and the BBC’s Sitting in Limbo cover some of the stories and facts involved in the biggest UK political scandal of the century so far. Continue reading “The Windrush Betrayal and Sitting in Limbo”
A post from our Service Development Manager, Angela Goreham – about what RBKC Libraries have to offer.
R Research for a project that interests you
B Booking a PC, a place at an event
K Knowledge as we all need this
C Connect (to others in the community and the wide world)
L Lending items for your pleasure or information
I Information that will help you with your day to day or forward planning
B Baby activities and information to help new parents
R Reading – a core skill and past time in any format
A Access us at any time and from anywhere
R Resources – varied and plentiful, in different formats to suit different needs
Y Young and old – we’re here for everyone
Are you 1 in 840,344? Or maybe you are 1 in 515,004? They’re odd numbers you might say, but the first one is the number of times the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s libraries were visited between April 2017 and March 2018 and the second is how many items were borrowed during the same period – how many did you account for?
104 people from our local communities supported the Library Service by volunteering with us and over 40,000 people came to one of the events that we held.
They are huge numbers but we always want to beat our previous year’s figures so please come along to one of our libraries, find out what we can do for you and you can help us pass last year’s numbers.
There are six libraries within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea – find out more about them and what we offer by either visiting us in person or our website or you can call us on 020 7361 3010.
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
All these can be looked for on our library catalogue
We also have resources online:
• Naxos Music Library – we have a workshop about using this music streaming service, more details below
• Biographical and newspaper online resources useful for musician biographies and performance and recording reviews
Naxos Music Library workshop
Naxos Music Library workshop
Friday 26 January
2 to 3pm
Kensington Central Library
Come along to our workshop to find out more about the Naxos Music Library, the music streaming service which is free for library members. You will be shown how to:
- Access the service
- Find the sort of music you are interested in
- Find multiple recordings of a work, or all the recordings available on the site by one recording artist or composer
- Put together a playlist of your favourite music
- Share your favourite tracks or albums
This event is free, no need to book – just turn up.
The Biography Store Team at Kensington Central Library
First up – 12 strange facts about mistletoe:
- Mistletoe is a parasite that grows on around the tops of broad leave trees, mainly hawthorn, blackthorn, willow, oak and rowan.
- You can hardly ever find it on oak trees. It’s so rare to find it on oak trees that ancient druids thought that mistletoe on oak was sacred.
- Mistletoe bushes can grow up to 1m wide when they can look like baskets and are sometimes called Witches’ Brooms.
- Birds eat the leaves and berries but don’t eat them yourself because they are poisonous to humans.
- In Norse times, after Loki killed Baldur with a mistletoe spear, it became a symbol of love and friendship and anyone passing under the mistletoe would exchange a kiss.
- Other names for mistletoe are birdlime, all-heal, golden bough and devil’s fuge.
- The Greek word for mistletoe is “Phoradendron” which means “thief of the tree” because it feeds on trees and can kill them.
- During the Medieval times, mistletoe was used during the to ward off evil spirits and protect from the devil. It was then burnt when Christmas was over.
- The name “mistletoe” comes from the Anglo-Saxon words “mistle” and “tan” which mean “dung twig”. This is because mistletoe spreads its seeds via bird droppings! Birds eat the seeds and spread them when they do droppings in other places.
- Mistletoe was used for leprosy, hypertension, pain and intestinal worms in the past.
- Mistletoe is now being researched as a cure for colon cancer.
- Kissing under the mistletoe started again in Victorian times when servants played a game where any girl caught standing under the mistletoe was allowed to be kissed.
- In modern times people still like to kiss under this mistletoe, but nowadays we ask before we kiss!
We hope you enjoyed this; do look out for more festive posts coming soon.
Staff at Brompton Library
This month’s display from the Biography Collection display, in the foyer of Kensington Central Library, commemorates the centenary of the Russian Revolution with a selection from our enormously wide range of books on the key figures of that event.
Finding books for this display was one of those occasions which reminds us how rich and diverse our biography collection is – scholarly biographies analyse the minutiae of developments in political thought amongst revolutionaries, while collections of deeply personal letters highlight the intimate relationships of those caught up in this epic drama of history.
We can get a sense of the eccentricities and excesses of the Imperial elite by reading the memoirs of Prince Felix Yussoupoff, best known for murdering Rasputin, which we have in an opulent violet covered hardback produced by the Folio Society in the nineties. Frances Welch’s Rasputin: A Short Life is a compulsively readable and at times very funny profile of one of the most bizarre and controversial figures of the period, and proves that fact can indeed be a lot stranger than fiction.
How did Trotsky choose to remember Lenin? We can find out by reading his famous essay from 1926. What was the 28 year old Joseph Stalin’s role in the revolution? Simon Sebag Montefiore’s scrupulously detailed Young Stalin answers this and numerous other fascinating questions that afford glimpses of alternative histories. Robert H. McNeal’s Bride of the Revolution: Krupskaya and Lenin reveals the intertwining of personal relationships and political imperatives.
Also from the collection, When Miss Emmie was in Russia by Harvey Pitcher allows us to glimpse the revolution through the eyes of English governesses working for aristocratic families as their world collapsed – often very young women whose previously narrow, parochial lives had not prepared them for front row seats in an arena of earth-shaking change.
These titles are just a tiny sample of what our collection holds, and we thought the range of our Russian Revolution-related books was so impressive that we would make them the subject of an event. If this is a topic that interests you, come along to Biographies and the Russian Revolution, on Wednesday 15 November, 2 to 3pm at Kensington Central Library. After a brief introduction to our Biography Collection, we will be seeking to answer the question “Is there such a thing as an unbiased biography of any prominent figure in the Russian Revolution?”, by looking at biographies written throughout the last century, and asking how their view of their subjects was influenced by their authors’ time, place and political standpoint. We’ll also be showing you how our online resources can enrich your knowledge of this period, and what the British journalists and cartoonists of 1917 made of events.
Also, if you have not yet discovered the treasures of our Naxos free online music streaming, we’ll be using music from revolutionary Russia to invite you into it.
The Biography Store Team at Kensington Central Library
We in RBKC libraries can’t understand why people aren’t falling over themselves to sign up for our free online courses! We know there are other online courses out there but all you need for ours is a library card and the inclination. Our offer extends from employment and personal development to leisure and personal interest courses. There’s also a specific course for passing the driving theory test and one for candidates preparing for the Life in the UK or British citizenship test.
If you’re in work and wanting to upskill or looking for work and wanting to ensure your skills are up to date then Learning Nexus is the suite for you. Below you can see their main menu so if you’re wanting to avoid the “not waving but drowning” feeling or looking to improve your skills on the quiet just ask a member of staff to log you in and you’ll see the full range of courses in each of the categories listed below.
Universal Class offers a broader range of classes aimed more, but not exclusively, at leisure and personal interest topics. Below are the categories available and within each of those there may be dozens of courses to choose from, for example, in the Arts, Crafts and Hobbies category there are 75 to choose from – from Cake decorating to Yoga! For each module of a course you submit your work to a real person who will give you personal feedback.
Accounting Alternative Medicine Arts, Crafts & Hobbies Business Career Training Computer Training Entrepreneurship Finance General Education Health & Medicine History Homeschooling How to / Do It Yourself Language Arts Law/Legal/Criminal Mathematics Office Skills Parenting and Family Personal Care Pet and Animal Psychology Real Estate Science Self-Help Social Work Special Education Spiritual Studies Teacher Resources Test Preparation Web Development Writing Skills
For Universal Class courses you can just register at home (or wherever you’d prefer) with your library card.
Go Citizen is the online version of the latest official study materials for the Life in the UK test, licensed from the Home Office, the people who write the handbook. It includes hundreds of practice test questions in the same format as the official test and has additional interactive learning resources and teaching aids to ensure you pass the Life in the UK test first time!
Just register for this with your library card.
Theory Test Pro should allow you to pass the Driving Theory Test on your first attempt!
It contains all the official test questions licensed from the DVSA ( the people who set the tests), gives you unlimited access to all the official questions from the DVSA in the same format as the official test and realistic hazard perception video simulations. So why pay for the official books and dvds when it’s all available for free with your library card?
All these online courses are free and can be accessed at www.rbkc.gov.uk/learningonline
Naxos Music Library (NML) is now available for RBKC library members!
With an unparalleled depth of classical music content, extensive background information, and improved search facilities that remain simple and effective, NML is a pleasure to use regardless of your prior music and/or technical knowledge.
Your library membership is access to a world of information.
We are encouraging you to get the most from your local libraries, by making use of our great range of free online learning courses. Getting access to quality training materials can be expensive – but you can get them for free from us and once registered, you can have access to these materials whenever and wherever you want.
Let me introduce you to Learning Nexus, Universal Class, Go Citizen, and Driving Theory Test Pro!
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:
The Illustrated London News is available at the Central Reference Library
Karen Ullersperger, Tri-Borough Reference Librarian