History

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Between 10 July and 31 October 1940, the German Air Force waged an air campaign against the United Kingdom. The objective of the German forces was to achieve air superiority over the Royal Air Force, and began by targeting coastal shipping convoys and shipping centres. Soon the target of attacks was shifted to RAF airfields and infrastructure, factories involved in aircraft production, and eventually areas of political significance...
Back in 2016 we reported on the redevelopment of the Jesuits in Britain Archives following the introduction of rolling stacks to create more and improved storage for the collections. Work on improving the physical layout and appearance of the archives has been ongoing since then and in early 2019 the final refurbishment work took place. The Archive now has a refreshed look and the library has finally been fully put back on to open access shelves.In addition to the ‘new’ reading room and library...
9 June is International Archives Day. The day is intended to raise awareness among the public of the importance of records and archives, promote the unique and extraordinary documents preserved in archival institutions, and de-mystify the archive profession. In light of this, the Jesuits in Britain Archives team asked those that they live with, who during lockdown will be seeing them at work for the first time, to ask the burning questions they have always wanted to know about being an...
Working from home is tricky for archivists.  The archive is shut, the material we work with is inaccessible.  We can't bring a couple of boxes of old documents home, or a volume of 18th century bound letters, and get on with cataloguing them from our kitchen tables.  There are no researchers visiting the archive at the moment, so we have no research questions to answer and in reply to most of the email enquiries we have to say that we cannot help until we are back in the archive...
As the month of May continues, so too does a month of special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. With Spring and the promise of new life well under way, the Archives turn once again to the wonderful Blandyke Papers.These wholly manuscript volumes, spanning 1888 to 1923, were largely a place for future priests to reflect on history, literature, liturgy, philosophy and science. But they were also an outlet for literary and creative and artistic development, and perhaps none display these skills...
Just over 100 years ago, in April 1915, the renowned Jesuit preacher, Fr Bernard Vaughan, spent several days at Farnborough with Lord Kitchener’s new army. At the conclusion of the event, he was given a ride in a military biplane, becoming the first priest to fly in an aircraft. In this blog post, the Jesuits in Britain Archives examine archival material surrounding the event, and the role of aircraft in the First World War.At the start of the War, aircraft like the one Fr Vaughan likely went...
Though we currently find ourselves in a truly unprecedented time in history, the Jesuits in Britain Archives wishes to celebrate Easter as much as is safely possible to do. This article therefore, aims to take a deeper look into the origins of the festival and its customs. As part of my research I explored, once again, the pages of the Blandyke Papers - a journal created and maintained by philosophers at St Mary’s Hall, which contain a fascinating range of articles, illustrations and poems....
This year, 25 March marks the 175th anniversary of the English Governor of Malta inviting the Society to open a College on the island. In this blog post, Archivist Rebecca Somerset examines the material to be found in the Jesuits in Britain Archives relating to Malta and, in particular, to this CollegeFrom looking at various sources, it was discovered that the College of St Paul's was opened in 1845 at Notabile. George Connell SJ (1800-1853) was the first Rector of the...
Mothering Sunday falls on 22nd March this year. Historically Mothering Sunday has been celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent, in the United Kingdom and Ireland, since the 16th century. Once observed as a day on which people would return to their home, or ‘mother’, church loaded with gifts to honour the Virgin Mary, it has today become an occasion to celebrate and give thanks to all mothers.Children and young people who had left their families to find domestic work, such as household servants...
World Book Day falls on 5 March this year, and this blog post will look at some of the antiquarian books in the Jesuit Archives which I have been cataloguing recently.I have been struck by how many of the books which retain their older bindings – that is, those which were not re-bound in the nineteenth or twentieth centuries -- contain re-used materials.  ‘Reduce Reuse Recycle’ is a current concept, and one which we should all try to put into practice, but it is not a new idea. ...

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