The Queen is 90! Let’s look back to April 1926…

Owen Grey, Reference Librarian, writes: 

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.queen2016

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. newsa

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.

queen

 

 

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!

60 years of the Route Master

Owen Grey, Reference Librarian, writes:

In Earls Court’s sixty years ago on the 24th of September the Routemaster bus was unveiled by London Transport.

A brief story in the Times, Biggest Commercial Motor Show by our motoring correspondent from Friday 24 September 1924 speaks about its benefits-  but even then could not foresee how it would become what Transport for London describes as being regarded by many as an icon of London. Or indeed just how long it would live on…

From http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/london-bids-farewell-to-the-historic-routemaster-9127455.html
From http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/london-bids-farewell-to-the-historic-routemaster-9127455.html

 

It is I am sure missed in a lot of ways by nostalgic Londoners (although I am glad I do not have to get my buggy onto it), but equally I am sure they would never be allowed these days with the dangers they pose: crazy children (and adults) leaping onto and off platforms to catch or leave the bus, who cares about whether you are at a stop or not! I managed to survive these crazy antics (I remember I preferred the Routemasters to the “new” buses as they were always quicker to where you wished to get to) and was very excited with the bringing in of the new(er) Routemaster, feeling the need to catch it for just two stops when I first saw one on our streets! They certainly will be more popular than the bendy buses with Londoners but will they be as popular as the old Routemasters? And will they survive just as long?

Well, have a look online and find out more…

TFL have a lot to say, telling us about the old and the new Routemaster buses… Or why not view the article an article from the time (in the Times) from the Times Digital Archive.

So when did they finally go onto the streets of London? The Illustrated London News suggests it was not until July 1961.  But an experimental model went all the way from Golders Green to Crystal Palace on route 2 in 1956.

Finally, a few videos to keep you reminiscing and amused…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsm4ykxjQ24

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlTdlNpGcpo

Farewell Routemasters

The Times Digital Archive, Illustrated London News, and much more, are all available in the Reference Library- come in to find out more!

By George – he’s here!

The birth of Prince George Alexander Louis inspired one of our Triborough Reference Librarians to take a look at our reference resources….

A New Royal Baby

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Prince George
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Prince George

Gosh everyone was rather excited about the birth of Prince George recently. Not just in the lead up to his birth as well but the naming, first glimpses and photos as well.

Of course Prince George isn’t the first royal baby by any means. I had an interesting time looking through our Illustrated London News for images of our current Queen, Elizabeth II at around the time of her birth in 1926.

Princess Elizabeth with the Duchess of York (The Illustrated London News, 25 December 1926)
Princess Elizabeth with the Duchess of York (The Illustrated London News, 25 December 1926)

I run a Family History Group at Marylebone Library and we were recently talking about what the day of the week we were born on and what these days mean.  If you don’t remember it the rhyme (usually referred to as ‘Monday’s Child’) can be found in the Oxford Reference Online database (you’ll need a Kensington and Chelsea library card to access this from home) and it originally went…

Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for its living,
And a child that’s born on the Christmas day Is fair and wise and good and gay.
1838 A. E. Bray Traditions of Devon II. 287

I think that Christmas day refers to Sunday in this instance but it would become the Sabbath day in later versions.

If you’re not sure what day of the week you were born on – you can check on the brilliant website Time and Date.  I was born on a Wednesday so apparently I am full of woe!

So –  Prince George was born on a Monday (22 July 2013) and the newspapers are indeed saying that he is fair of face. Perhaps more traditionally we would say he looked like Winston Churchill though?

Owen Grey

Triborough Reference Librarian

Further information

Easter – as reported in the Illustrated London News

In a previous blog post, one of our Triborough Reference Librarians, Debby Wale,  looked at how Valentine’s Day had been reported in The Illustrated London News. This time Debby looks at how Easter was reported in the same publication.

From 1842, The Illustrated London News became the world’s first fully illustrated weekly newspaper. It is a fascinating social record, providing a vivid picture of British and world events. We take it for granted now seeing news as it happens, with images beamed across the globe to our living rooms.

Below is the “Festival of Corpus Christi in Madrid.” Illustrated London News 3 April 1847

Festival of Corpus Christi in Madrid, 3 April 1847
Festival of Corpus Christi in Madrid, 3 April 1847

The Paso strictly speaking means the figure of the Saviour during his passion.

“These Pasos” says Mr Ford “are only brought out on grand occasions, principally during the Holy Week. The rest of the year they are stowed away in regular store-houses. The expense is very great, both in the construction and costume of the machinert, and in the number of persons employed in managing and attending the ceremonial. The French invasion. The progress of poverty, and the advance of intellect, have tended to reduce the number of Pasos, which amounted to more than fifty in Seville alone. Every parish has it’s own figure or group, which were paraded in the Holy Week; particular incidents of Our Saviour’s passion were represented by Companies, Brotherhoods, or guilds, and these took their name from the image or mystery which they upheld.”

However great the distress, Mr ford tells us that money is seldom wanting, for these ceremonies gratify many national peculiarities. First the show delights old and young, then it is an excuse for an holiday, for making most days in the week a Sunday, and for an exhibition of dress hallowed with a character of doing a religious duty. The members thus gratifying their personal vanity and love of parade, costume, and titles; and their tinsel, moreover, passes for a meritoroius act.

The name Corpus Christi is Latin for ‘the body of Christ’ and this festival is still enacted to the current time.

The language in The Illustrated London News is very much of it’s time – demonstrated perfectly in the piece below from the issue dated 19 April 1851:

Easter and the Great Exhibition

The Easter holidays will be this year supplied with an additional lion, in the mighty building in Hyde-Park; not, indeed, that the mass of holiday-makers can hope to penetrate the portals, to all but a favoured few as impregnable as the guarded gates of the citadel of Badajoz, or that they will have the wildest chance of even passing a glance into that interior in which the ingenuity and the skill of the world is now rearing the great industrial trophy of the age.

Sounds rather like trying to get a ticket for London 2012.…

The Great Exhibition Building, known as Crystal Palace.

The Great Exhibition Building in Hyde Park, sketched from Kensington Gardens Bridge
The Great Exhibition Building in Hyde Park, sketched from Kensington Gardens Bridge
The Great Exhibition - the last day of receiving goods
The Great Exhibition – the last day of receiving goods
The Great Exhibition Building - cutting down trees in the north transept
The Great Exhibition Building – cutting down trees in the north transept

If you want to find out more about The Great Exhibition and have a Kensington and Chelsea library card, log in to Britannica online and search for Crystal Palace.

The Crystal Palace, designed by Sir Joseph Paxton, was a remarkable construction of prefabricated parts. It consisted of an intricate network of slender iron rods sustaining walls of clear glass. The main body of the building was 1,848 feet (563 metres) long and 408 feet (124 metres) wide; the height of the central transept was 108 feet (33 metres). The construction occupied some 18 acres (7 hectares) on the ground, while its total floor area was about 990,000 square feet (92,000 square metres, or about 23 acres [9 hectares]). On the ground floor and galleries there were more than 8 miles (13 km) of display tables.

‘Crystal Palace’ Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Library Edition.
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2013

The Great Exhibition Building no longer exists but you can visit another of their Easter suggestions. As described in the April 22 1848 issue:

 There is not a more rational mode of passing an Easter holiday in the metropolis than a visit to this famous prison-palace.

They were referring to the Tower of London….

The Tower of London, 22 April 1848
The Tower of London, 22 April 1848
Debby Wale
Debby Wale

Debby Wale, Triborough Reference Librarian

Chelsea Reference Library

Further information

  • Kensington Central Reference Library has almost the complete holdings of The Illustrated London News in their store.
  • The Encyclopedia Britannica can be accessed via our reference and information web page. You’ll need a Kensington and Chelsea library card to access this.
  • Westminster City Libraries has electronic access to The Illustrated London News via Westminster City Libraries website. You’ll need at Westminster Libraries card to access this.

Valentine’s Day – as reported by the Illustrated London News

The Illustrated London News - masthead
The Illustrated London News – masthead

I’m sure it couldn’t have escaped anyone’s notice that it’s Valentine’s Day this week. One of our Triborough Reference Librarians, Debby Wale, has been looking at how this day has been covered in the past.

Looking at the month of February, traditionally  associated with Valentine’s Day on 14th February, I looked through Kensington Central Reference Library’s holdings of the The Illustrated London News.

The  library has copies of the  The Illustrated London News from 1842 to 2000.  This publication is probably best described by the Encyclopedia Britannica.

A magazine of news and the arts, published in London, a forerunner in the use of various graphic arts. It was founded as a weekly in 1842 by Herbert Ingram, and it became a monthly in 1971. It was London’s first illustrated periodical, the first periodical to make extensive use of woodcuts and engravings and the first to use photographs.

As well as serious news, The Illustrated London News had lighter articles and poems. Today, folk often complain that Valentine’s Day has become over commercialised. Looking back to 1877, we see that there were indeed a large choice of Valentine cards.

This pretty child who seems to be taking counsel from her doll – which shall I choose?
Image from The Illustrated London News, 1877
Image from The Illustrated London News, 1877

As always, there are Great Expectations from the postman on Valentine’s Day….

Image from The Illustrated London News, 11 February 1882
Image from The Illustrated London News, 11 February 1882
The customary sending and receiving of pretty love-tokens becomes the occasion of a little playful excitement among the children, especially the girls below their ‘teens’

In 1868, another rush to the door, to see what the postman brings.

'Valentine's Day' drawn by G.H.Thomas, 1868
‘Valentine’s Day’ drawn by G.H.Thomas, 1868

And from The Illustrated London News 11 February 1899.

Image from The Illustrated London News 11 February 1899
Image from The Illustrated London News, 11 February 1899
The ancient festival of St Valentine, of which poor Ophelia sang, has, in recent years, fallen into neglect; but although outward observance of the day may be slight, our Artist seems to be persuaded that, as the old verse has it, “Cupid still calls at a pretty girl’s door”

From the same issue February 1899 – Mardi Gras in Paris, 14 February.

On Mardi Gras (Shrove Tuesday) in Paris the Carnival is at it’s height. Holiday-makers pelt each other with confetti until the street are ankle deep in the paper snow. The  police insist that every handful shall be freshly thrown and of one colour, and that no confetti to be picked up.

Paris, of course, being the city for lovers.

Image from The Illustrated London News, 11 February 1899
Image from The Illustrated London News, 11 February 1899

The course of  true love doesn’t always run smooth, as illustrated in a cartoon from February 13 1886 by S T Dodd.

Cartoon by S.T. Dodd from The Illustrated London News, 13 February 1886
Cartoon by S.T. Dodd from The Illustrated London News, 13 February 1886

As the text is too small for you to read, I’ve copied out some of it for you.

Young Smithers invests in an expensive valentine to send to his adored, Miss Jones.
 He directs the same, putting his initials in the corner that she may know it’s from him.
 Her Maiden Aunt, another Miss Jones, at the same address, takes unto herself the Valentine with rapture.
 The day afer, Smithers calls, his adored is cold and distant, her Aunt effusive…

You can guess the rest, but on hearing of her mistake, the Aunt swoons!Smithers explains the situation to his Adored, and the “affair terminates in the usual manner” Miss Matilda Jones becomes Mrs William Smithers.

In an edition from 1900 two take A Spin on Valentine’s Day.

A spin on Valentine's Day
A spin on Valentine’s Day, 10 February 1990

But of course, ultimately, diamonds really are a girl’s best friend. Just in time for Valentines day in February 1905 – The Discovery of the World’s Biggest Diamond, 29 Times Bigger Than the Koh-I-Noor. Discovered at the Premier Mine Johannesburg, weighing 3032 carats, the new diamond is compared with other famous gems.

The world's biggest diamond!
The world’s biggest diamond!

Speaking of jewels, come along to Kensington Central Reference Library and see The Illustrated London News for yourself – just one of our many treasures!

Debby Wale
Debby Wale

Debby Wale, Triborough Reference Librarian

Chelsea Reference Library

Further information

  • Kensington Central Reference Library has almost the complete holdings of The Illustrated London News in their store.
  • The Encyclopedia Britannica can be accessed via our reference and information web page. You’ll need a Kensington and Chelsea library card to access this.
  • Westminster City Libraries has electronic access to The Illustrated London News via Westminster City Libraries website. You’ll need at Westminster Libraries card to access this.