Archives

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. ...
The Jesuits in Britain Archives holds a substantial collection of oversize plans and documents. These include architectural plans and drawings of Jesuit churches, schools, and community buildings. There are also large prints, photographs, maps and Photostats. Their storage, an open-fronted wooden shelf unit, was proving insufficient and in some cases was damaging to the material, particularly the large items which protruded from the unit. It was therefore decided to have the collection surveyed...
On Friday 25 January 2020 the staff and pupils of St Ignatius College, Enfield attended a service at Westminster Cathedral to mark the 125th anniversary of the school, which fell on 10 September 2019 (click here for pictures).  St Ignatius College is a comprehensive school providing a Jesuit education for boys, and in the sixth form, for girls as well.  It is housed in modern buildings in Enfield, with sports hall, swimming pool, theatre, playground and playing field.  It is an...
The wintry months of December and January are synonymous with one sport in particular: ice-skating. Though our mild winters generally no longer allow us to enjoy gliding over frozen ponds, canals and lakes, our predecessors certainly could, and took full advantage. These days you will struggle to make it through the winter months without encountering an ice rink, and you may even look forward to slipping and sliding across the ice!The earliest form of ice-skating first developed roughly three...

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