Exhibition explores changing roles of women in the army

A new spotlight exhibition at the National Army Museum in Chelsea explores the changing roles of women in the British Army from 1917 to the present day. The free exhibition is written in partnership with the WRAC Association and runs until 20 October 2019. Rise of the Lionesses charts the major contributions women have made to … Read more

New AncestryDNA communities bring people and places together

Ancestry, the family history and consumer genomics website, has launched an update to its AncestryDNA service, adding county-level detail to UK ethnicity results and bringing the total number of UK communities to 73. One of many innovations available to users as part of the AncestryDNA test, communities take your DNA story one step further, connecting … Read more

How to get the best from The National Archives

Do you find TNA’s online resources sometimes complex to use? Simon Fowler offers reassurance and guidance on where to find the records you need. If you are going to use the records held by The National Archives (TNA) – and this is almost inevitable if your ancestor are English and Welsh, and quite possible if … Read more

British Library explores the history of writing

Writing: Making Your Mark (26 April – 27 August 2019) is a landmark British Library exhibition, which spans 5,000 years across the globe, exploring one of humankind’s greatest achievements – the act of writing. Beginning with the origins of writing in Mesopotamia, Egypt, China and the Americas, the exhibition will chart the evolution of writing … Read more

Dark tourism, darker history: exploring museums of crime

If you want to know more about your criminal ancestors, there are an increasing number of museums catering to your needs, as Nell Darby explores. Dark tourism is the act of travelling to sites that are associated with death, tragedy or crime. As such, dark tourism has been increasingly analysed by academics, drawing parallels between … Read more

Rare map from WHSmith archive sells for £50,000

A rare map depicting WHSmith’s vast commercial empire in the 1930s, by a leading graphic designer of the last century MacDonald Gill, sold for £50,000 at Chorley’s Modern Art & Design sale. The extraordinary scale map, one of a number of lots from the WHSmith Archive, had an original estimate of £20,000-30,000. The 7ft by … Read more

National Archives exhibition explores the Cold War

Protect and Survive: Britain’s Cold War Revealed is a new exhibition at The National Archives in Kew exploring the impact of the Cold War on Britain, from the corridors of power and hidden government bunkers to daily life in the home. Discover the real evidence of what happened during this turbulent era of secrets and paranoia. Mark … Read more

The Riot Act

By Nell Darby. The Riot Act came into effect in England on 1 August 1715, a response to a series of civil disturbances that had taken place across England over the previous five years, it was intended to introduce a quicker way of punishing rioters and “riotous assemblies”. The act made it illegal for 12 … Read more

Fire festivals

Cate Williams wards off the cold weather by exploring the history of these winter celebrations. Origins Many celebrations involving light and fire have their origins in ancient pagan rituals. One of the oldest winter celebrations in the world is Yule. This occurs around the winter solstice, when people in the northern hemisphere experience the shortest … Read more

Mischief night

Lucy Williams looks at this autumnal celebration of troublemaking. Origins Mischief Night, also known in more recent years as Mizzy or Miggy Night, is an annual celebration of troublemaking popular in parts of England and Northern Europe. When or where Mischief Night first began is not precisely clear. Carnival days of tomfoolery, humour and chaos … Read more