My name is Tundun Folami, and I am the Institute of Historical Research Library’s current graduate trainee.
In an exercise designed to improve understanding of what it’s like to use the collections, each of the IHR library staff have been undertaking different research projects using the library. This exercise was particularly beneficial to me to see how easy it is to access the collections, as I only started at the IHR library a week ago.
Using the library catalogue
I chose espionage during the Cold War as my research topic and as a starting point for my research, I searched the library catalogue using ‘Cold War’ as a keyword.
Searching ‘Cold War’ by keyword brings up 88 results. Some examples included:
The first five results were most relevant to my research; three of which were books available on open access and two were e-books.
I felt narrowing down my search to Cold War espionage didn’t yield enough results, so I scrolled to the bottom of the page and found a link to the IHR library E-Resources page. Here I found a list of links to online resources available onsite. I went through the list and ultimately, the most relevant results were retrieved from JSTOR and Times Digital Archive. These included journal articles, reviews and newspaper articles.
Working in the IHR Library (Wohl Library – Lower Ground)
My topic for this exercise was on Cold War espionage and so I chose to work on the lower ground level of the Wohl Library, as this is where the International Relations collection is held. I sat at the desk closest to the entrance as it had a PC which I could use to browse the library catalogue and it was near to the rolling stacks holding the International Relations collection.
Working in this area was comfortable and quiet, though occasionally the noise from reception on the floor above would disturb the silence. The room housing the International collection was also poorly lit, especially further in towards the window.
The library has a large amount of material on the general topic of the Cold War, both in the library itself and online as e-books and e-resources. When I narrowed down my research topic to Cold War espionage, the majority of titles found were from a U.S perspective. A smaller number of titles were retrieved for the USSR, France, Germany, Italy and Latin America. I felt it would’ve helped my search if there had been a sub-category in either the Military or International Relations collection guides on the website. There were a few issues regarding noise and lighting were the International Relations collection is held, but overall, working in the IHR library was pleasant and largely problem free, and an ideal place to start research on the topic I’d chosen.
The Bibliography is a joint project of the IHR, the Royal Historical Society and Brepols Publishers, and is the most extensive guide available to what has been published on British and Irish history. It covers the history of British and Irish relations with the rest of the world, including the British empire and the Commonwealth, as well as British and Irish domestic history. It includes not only books, but also articles in journals (over 770 journals are searched) and articles within collective volumes. It is updated three times a year and currently includes over 579,000 records, with a further update expected in February 2017; subscribers can sign up for email alerts notifying them when new records are added on subjects, people, or places in which they are interested.
Friends of the IHR (including American Friends) can subscribe to the Bibliography for one third of the normal cost of an individual subscription. The sign-up period for the Friends’ discounts starts on 1 October and runs until 15 December 2016 for the 2017 subscription year. New subscribers will have access to the Bibliography from 31 December 2016 and subscriptions will run until 31 December 2017. To apply please contact the Development Office or by telephoning (0)20 7862 8791.
For more information about the Friends, and the other benefits of joining, please visit the Friends’ web pages. Similar discounts are available to Fellows and Members of the Royal Historical Society who will receive information in their autumn mailing, as usual.
“Never so simple and clear again”: Memory, Disillusionment and the Aftermath of the Irish Revolution.
Speaker: Professor Roy Foster (University of Oxford)
The IHR invites you to join us in Beveridge Hall on Tuesday 15 November 2016, for the Inaugural Kehoe Lecture in Irish History 2016 by Professor Roy Foster.
The lecture is free to attend, but advanced regisration is required. Register now
Lecture: 6.00-7.30pm Reception: 7.30-8.30pm
Professor Roy Foster is Carroll Professor of Irish History at the University of Oxford and the author of many books on modern Irish history and culture, including Modern Ireland 1600-1972 (1989), Paddy and Mr Punch (1993), The Irish Story: telling tales and making it up in Ireland (2001), Luck and the Irish: a brief history of change, 1970-2000 (2007) and the two-volume biography of W.B.Yeats, The Apprentice Mage, 1865-1914 (1997) and The Arch Poet, 1915-1939 (2003) and Words Alone: Yeats and his Inheritances (2011), based on his 2009 Clark Lectures at Cambridge, which deals with a number of Irish writers of the nineteenth century, including Sheridan LeFanu and Bram Stoker. His most recent book is Vivid Faces: the revolutionary generation in Ireland 1890-1923 (2014).
October’s update includes an entry on the artist Tirzah Garwood (1908-1951), who was married to Eric Ravilious, who becomes the 60,000th person to be added to Dictionary.
The October update also adds 35 biographies of early nineteenth-century slave-owners, who were recipients of compensation from the Commissioners of Slave Compensation after the passing of the Abolition Act in 1833. These biographies have been researched and written in collaboration with the new Centre for the Study of the Legacies of British Slave-ownership at University College London.
New figures include John Stewart (1789-1860), a slave owner in Berbice, who was probably of African descent. As an MP, Stewart represented the concerns of the West India interest while establishing business interests in the City of London: he is thought to have been the first MP of black or mixed race.
The October update also adds 40 biographies of men and women associated with the city of Hull, which is UK City of Culture, 2017. Among those now added to the Dictionary are Ethel Leginska (1886-1970)—who was born in Hull, and became a noted composer and the first woman to conduct some of the world’s leading orchestras—and Jean Hartley (1933-2011) who published The Less Deceived—the first volume of poems by Philip Larkin, following the poet’s arrival in Hull.
October’s update also adds 2500 new links from ODNB entries to externalresources, offering additional biographical information. These include:
2000 gallery pages in Art UK, allowing readers to view art works in public collections by artists with entries in the ODNB.
Highlights from the new edition are available here. The Oxford DNB is the national record of 60,000 men and women who’ve shaped all walks of British life, worldwide, from the Roman occupation to the 21st century.
An update to the Bibliography of British and Irish History was published on 30 September. There are 4,962 new records, some 633 new records relate to Irish history while 240 deal with the history of London, 324 with the history of Scotland and 262 with the history of Wales. The overall total of records available online is now 579,638.
We are pleased to welcome a new section editor to our editorial team, Dr Colin Veach Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Hull, who will be dealing with Irish history to c. 1640. He succeeds Dr Beth Hartland, for whose expert help over the last few years we are very grateful.
We also welcome Dr Adam Chapman, Editor and Training Co-ordinator with the Victoria County History based at the IHR, who will be dealing with England 1066-1500.
We expect to release the next update in February 2017. You can always find out more about the Bibliography at http://www.history.ac.uk/projects/bbih or, if you already have access to the Bibliography, you can sign up for email alerts so as to be notified each time the Bibliography is updated with records on a subject or subjects of your choice.
You can’t help avoiding Shakespeare and the celebrations for the 400th anniversary of his death, especially when entering Senate House and its ceremonial staircase. Each morning I am greeted by the playwright’s staring eyes and, each morning, I think I ought to write a post. So here goes.
Knowing I loved my books, he furnished me / From mine own library with volumes that / I prize above my dukedom.
Senate House Shakespeare celebration
Shakespeare has 1860 references on BBIH, surpassing Elizabeth I (1158 references), Winston Churchill (1273) and Geoffrey Chaucer (650). But, as I alluded to in my title, there is more to Shakespeare than drama.
A Person as subject search for “Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616” brings up the aforementioned 1860 references. However if I add in Subject tree “Representations of politics” there are over 200 references.
There were undercurrents of discontent amidst the public rejoicing which met the marriage of the future William III and Mary II in November 1677. This article examines the nature of those public misgivings and assesses how Stuart and Orange propaganda responded to the ensuing doubts and anxieties. Through detailed analysis of public festivities, medals and prints, it explores the development of complex images which endorsed the policies and personalities of husband and wife. Ultimately, these hitherto neglected representations of William and Mary were both persuasive and influential, providing the foundations for their regal portrayal, following the 1688 revolution.
This article examines the reform of the penitential system during the reign of Henry VIII. It considers the call to reform, and analyses official statements from the Ten Articles (1536) to the King’s Book (1543), which is usually regarded as a victory for traditional religion. A careful assessment of the section of the King’s Book on the sacrament of penance, and of the King’s Primer, reveals that in this area evangelical reformers made gains. It shows Cranmer influencing Henry’s religious policy, and as such challenges George Bernard’s position. The article therefore argues for the major significance of penitential reform in the English Reformation.
This article investigates the discussion of the origins and development of religious belief within the Scottish jurist and philosopher Henry Home, Lord Kames’s Essays on the Principles of Morality and Natural Religion (1751). Kames’s work is argued to be a significant yet understudied contribution to the Scottish Enlightenment’s examination of religion as a human phenomenon. The Principles contained one of the lengthiest analyses on the topic published by a Scottish literatus. In particular, Kames placed into a historical trajectory the internal sense theory’s account of the non-rational origins of religious belief. In doing so, he provided an apologetic account of the progress from polytheism to monotheism resulting from the emergence of civil society, which set the tone for later Scottish discussions of religion.
On 4 July, a group of 24 Friends of the IHR and interested members of the public gathered for a guided tour of the Tower of London. Every summer the Friends organise a visit to some place of historical interest and this year proved an exceptional outing. Once assembled at the Middle Drawbridge, the party split into two groups, for simultaneous tours, and off we went.
Starting with Dr Alden Gregory at the helm, my group went first to the Queen’s House, nestled in the southwest corner of the Tower grounds. Dr Gregory, a Buildings Curator with Historic Royal Palaces, began by dispelling the myth, perpetuated by the Beefeaters, that the house was a wedding present built for Anne Boleyn. Dendrochronology suggests the house was built around 1539-40, after her death, and we know instead that it served as the lodging for the Lieutenant of the Tower. Today, it is the private residence of the Constable of the Tower of London. After noting the restoration work to the timber framing and casement windows to revive the original, pre-Great Fire Tudor appearance, we ventured inside and into the Bell Tower. This empty stone chamber was once adjacent to the Thames, and the cell of Sir Thomas More.
We then made our way upstairs to the Great Hall. The room was originally twice as high until a mid-level floor was installed in 1607, and the excessively timbered ceiling was only rediscovered and revealed in the 1960s during repairs to a water leak. The most impressive features, however, are a large wall monument and a portrait bust of King James VI. Not just a hall for eating and entertaining, the space also served as an interrogation room for notable prisoners (though the torture took place elsewhere).
The Great Hall and wall monument in the Queen’s House
Most famously, Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators were questioned here; the red, white, and black marble and alabaster wall memorial is fixed as a testament to the triumph of the inquisitors and condemnation of the accused. It dates to 9 October 1608, making it perhaps the oldest commemorative interior plaque of its kind. To its right, the bust of the king served to intimidate prisoners as they entered the hall and to represent the royal presence during interrogations.
Heading outside, the groups re-assembled, swapped tour guides, and Dr Jane Spooner, also a Buildings Curator, led our half of the party to the Byward Tower. Situated on the interior side of the main visitor entrance bridge, this thirteenth century fortification was a principal point for defence of the Tower. As with the Queen’s House, this area is normally closed to the public, and there was something very exclusive and satisfying about shutting the door behind us as we ascended the spiral stairs. At the top, Dr Spooner explained that in the mid-fourteenth century the space would have housed the King’s Exchange, part of the Royal Mint. The fine appointments that decorate the room—red striping on the stone walls, a large fireplace, and a tiled pavement—were befitting of this distinguished occupant.
Wall painting in the Byward Tower
Crossing the hall, past the wooden mechanism of the inner portcullis, we entered a slightly larger, timber-framed room, resplendent with a fourteenth century wall painting. The scene is brought to life with an array of expensive green, red, and blue pigments and gold leaf. It depicts on one side St John the Baptist and the Virgin Mary, and on the other St John the Evangelist and the archangel Michael, holding the scales weighing Christ’s soul in judgement. The figure of Christ on the cross, originally over the mantelpiece, was replaced with a Tudor rose in the sixteenth century when a new fireplace was installed. An imposing beam running the length of the room bears more green and gold painting, of birds, lions, and fleurs-de-lis. There is evidence that paintings of angels once existed on the north wall, as late as the 1950s, but almost no trace now survives.
The groups came back together a final time for some refreshments in the Great Hall of the Queen’s House. What a marvellous treat to sit where Guy Fawkes may have sat, though thankfully with some lovely tea and scones instead of an inquisitorial squad. There was just enough time left in the day to make a quick visit of the armouries or the crown jewels. The outing was a great success for all, and a particularly splendid introduction for those who had never been to the Tower, like yours truly.
British History Online might not be the first place you’d think to look when researching Shakespeare, but London and the early modern period are two of the great strengths in BHO’s collection. We have an abundance of materials that provide excellent context for Shakespeare’s life and his writing. What was London like when Shakespeare lived there? How has Shakespeare shaped the London of today? What about Shakespeare and places across the rest of the country?
Senate House Library recently hosted a Shakespeare and place Wikipedia workshop, which prompted me to compile the following list of relevant BHO resources. It’s by no means an exhaustive list, but hopefully a useful starting point.
John Stow’s Survey of London: Although John Stow famously does not mention any theatres or playwrights in his Survey of London, the Survey is a contemporary account of London, which makes it an invaluable resource for understanding the city where Shakespeare lived. The first edition of the Survey was published in 1598, with a second and much-modified edition published in 1603. The version of the text that is on BHO is a 1908 edition of this 1603 text, edited by C L Kingsford. In his Survey, Stow ‘walks’ through the City of London, parish by parish.
Survey of London: Not to be confused with its early modern namesake above, this project began in the late nineteenth century and continues today. It provides detailed architectural and topographical studies of the capital’s built environment. Volume 22 covers Bankside, including the playhouses.
Victoria County History: This project also began in the nineteenth century and continues to this day. It is an encyclopaedic record of England’s places and people from earliest times to the present day. Particular series that contain useful information about Shakespeare are the History of Middlesex and the History of Warwickshire.
Agas Map of London: The woodcut map of London, usually called the Agas map, represents London in the 1560s—slightly earlier than Shakespeare was in London, but it is a wonderful resource to get a sense of what the city was like in the 16th century.
Old and New London: This nineteenth-century account of the history of London is chock-full of useful—and sometimes imaginative—descriptions of famous Shakespearean sites. Volume 6 covers Southwark and the Globe.
Feet of Fines, London and Middlesex: Feet of fines are court copies of agreements following disputes over property. The disputes were mostly fictitious and were simply a way of having the transfer of ownership of land recorded officially by the king’s court. The records in this series relate to London and Middlesex for the period 1189-1570.