Tuesday, July 07, 2009

A nice find at the British Library...

On one of the Yahoo groups I'm a member of, I found mention of this little snippet - the British Library has just announced that it has made available millions of articles from 49 London, national and regional newspaper titles (UK only) dating from between 1800 and 1900. They believe that they have over two million pages - and all are fully text searchable with keywords in context visible in the results list with loads and loads of illustrations, maps, tables and photographs from the time...

Now as any confirmed Colonial gamer will tell you, the "Illustrated London News" with it's articles featuring those fantastically evocative pictures (engravings??) by Richard Caton-Woodville [click here] (see following) and other illustrators of the time (an example from one of the articles in the archive is include above and to the left) are the very stuff of why we wargame this period..

..it was pictures and illustrations from the newspapers of the time scattered around some of the wargame books by Donald Featherstone, and especially in Wargamers Newsletter, that first provided the embers of what was later to be my Sudan project, and now it's possible to search the original newspapers.. on-line and from the comfort of your favourite browsing position.. now if that isn't enough to stir the cockles of any jaded Colonial wargamers heart I don't know what is....!

As a (considerable) taster of just how brilliant this resource is - check the following link which is to the
The Penny Illustrated Paper and Illustrated Times of Saturday, August 26, 1882 [click here]; an edition subtitled "Pictorial Chronicle of our War against Arabi Pasha" - brilliant stuff!
Now there is a downside of course - not all the newspapers are free to access, at the moment only the "Penny Illustrated Paper" and "The Graphic" are free of charge, but there's more than enough there to keep me occupied... for the more serious student there is an option to buy a 24-hour pass or a seven-day pass for what I think are very reasonable amounts... (and there's a comment that the whole collection is free to access for people in UK higher and further education, and also in some UK public libraries which might be worth checking out at a later date...)

Either way - an astonishing and delightful resource - I can see many "wasted" lunchtimes browsing the newspapers for articles of interest!


Another sailing snippet - the girls and I went out for a very exciting sail on Sunday - a beautiful day but pretty windy so it marked a nautical first for me in as much as it was the first time I had reefed the main, and that it was also largely succesful!

According to my local weather station [click here] winds during the time we were out were a solid force 4, gusting 5... and I can confirm it was lively enough that we decided to have a run into my local fishing village (Emsworth) rather than head towards the sea. A lovely run, but very busy, followed by a pretty hairy beat back to the entrance of the inlet where are mooring is, dodging two lines of moored yachts end to end, and what seemed like a hundred thousand other boats going about their business - all very exciting, but nothing was hit and no animals were hurt while completing this exercise!

Distance: 5 miles (60 miles year to date)
Wind: Light (Force 4 gusting 5)


  1. Steve,

    You might check that "gutenberg" link. See if you can download the image to your computer and then upload from there.

    -- Jeff

  2. Cheers Jeff - I do wish they'd tell you at the time.... :o)