British Online Archives
British Online Archives
American Studies: the colonisation of North America and the American revolution
These collections cover both the United States and Canada. Records on the United States cover the slave trade and missionary work. Wartime records include lists of British officers who fought in the American Revolution and Americans captured in the 1812 war. Records on Canada include papers from colonial missionaries and 19th century correspondence from the Governor. These items also include 18th century trading records from both countries.
Asia at war, World War 2 as described by USPG missionaries, 1914-1946
The outbreak of war between the Allies and Japan came at a time when the Society for The Propagation of The Gospel was very active in South East Asia. Missionaries in Japan were the first to be affected as the police came in the morning after war was declared and took most of them away to internment camps. Missionaries in Japan did report having realised that this might happen once the announcement was imminent. Missionaries in other countries had less warning of what would happen as Japan's empire spread. Some missionaries were able to flee once they heard Japan had invaded their country of residence, though their stories of escape are far from straightforward. Many missionaries did not manage tro escape and were interned in a variety of ways. These accounts cover house arrest, being held in a cell at a police station, finding a refuge of sorts in a school for the blind, and missionaries being sent to work camps. The narratives from work camps are the least detailed as writing records whilst in them appears to have been near impossible. The SPG at home faced their own challenges during this period, from the drop in donations to the loss of most of their investment when foreign buildings were either taken by the Japanese army or raised to the ground. Missionaries' locations needed to be traced as they were interned and the desire to return home after their release meant that a significant number of missionaries sought passage at the same time. The SPG Headquarters first saw many of their staff leave for the war, then had to reduce their numbers yet further, as missionary activity in South East Asia ground to a relative halt. The records from the First World War are significantly less numerous, but provide some detail not found elsewhere. Their focus is on the effect of the First World War upon the Society, with records of SPG staff fighting in the war and notes upon how the SPG's duties were continued in their absence. This collection is derived from the 'X Series' records of the USPG which are held at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.
Australia in records from colonial missionaries, 1808-1967
This collection of C series records (C/AUS), along with selected volumes from the series of copies of letters sent and received (CLR & CLS), consists of files relating to the establishment of the Society's activities in the province of the Anglican Church of Australia, and the development of a diocesan organisation to support them. Correspondence was entered into by the SPG, the Colonial Office in London and the ecclesiastical officers in the colonies. The records also include printed reports, annual returns, and financial statements. The main period covered is the mid-nineteenth century, and the bulk of the records document the development of the Church of Australia. The records have been arranged by provincial region and sub-divided by diocese, except for a general group of Colonial Office papers relating to clerical appointments to the dioceses of Australia, which have been denoted by the heading 'GEN'. Though originally separate within the archive of the USPG, the papers and letters concerning Tasmania are included here.
British Broadcasting Corporation, 1927-2002
Learn how broadcast listener expectations changed and viewer expectations developed in the United Kingdom during the 20th century. These records include both detailed schedules and audience research. They also include commentary on how the BBC interpreted their own performance. The listener research reports include details of what was broadcast during World War 2 and how it was received. These BBC records are valuable as a mirror of the social change that the broadcaster had to reflect in order to engage with its audience.
British women trade unionists on strike at Bryant & May, 1888
The matchwomen who were employed by Bryant and May went on strike over their working conditions in 1888. Their strike is historically significant due to the fact that it was led by working class women, many of whom were immigrants from Ireland. The year of the strike and the women's relationship to London dock workers have also led to the suggestion that their strike may in fact mark the beginning of New Unionism. These papers combine business records from Bryant and May with press coverage of the strike and photographs of the women who were involved.
Colonial women missionaries of the Committee for Women's Work, 1861-1967
Originally the "Ladies' Association for the Promotion of Female Education in India and other Heathen Countries", a semi-autonomous body linked with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. In 1895 this became the "Womens' Missionary Association for the Promotion of Female Education in the Missions of the SPG", and in 1904 an SPG Committee for Women's Work was established, responsible to the Standing Committee. Includes minutes of main and sub-committees, candidates' books, in and out letters, and reports. This collection is organised by subject and date; the correspondence is divided according to whether it is an original or a copy and whether it has been sent or received, it is also organised by date. This digital collection currently comprises approximately two thirds of the vast records relating to the Committee on Women's Work stored at Rhodes House Library, Oxford.
Governing Africa: British records from African countries under colonial rule
These reports reveal what was reported to the British government by their governors in the African colonies. The statistical reports cover 13 colonies, with some data that pre-dates the abolition of the slave trade. Our collections on Colonial Law show how those laws were implemented. The legal notices in the three collections reveal how colonial laws were used to control citizens during wars and uprisings. Notices of land sales also reveal how land changed hands between 1808 and 1966. Less formal notices within the legal content provide context to the legal notices. The colonial reports for each colony explain how the statistics in the Blue Books were intended to be interpreted by colonial readers.
Life under Nazi rule, reports by anti-fascists in occupied Europe, 1933-1945
These two newsletters published fortnightly by the ITF (i.e. Internationale Transportarbeiter Foederation) between 1933 and 1945. Based on analyses of other newspapers of the day, the editorial policy was to give information about social policy as well as reports from cadres working under cover. In this way it provides a unique insight into life under fascist regimes, focusing in particular on the working-class movement, organised labour and the growth of trade unions. In fact, it seems from the volume numeration introduced in 1936, that the editors came to view the two newsletters as as one, but with a title change, as hinted at on p.1 of the first issue of Fascism: It is more than a year ago since the first number of 'Germany under the Swastika' appeared, a publication in which we tried to show in a matter-of-fact manner the great contrasts between the promises and the deeds of the Hitler regime in Germany. There has been ample evidence that this publication was keenly appreciated both by the unions affiliated to the I.T.F. and far beyond on account of its contents, tendency and reliability. "That 'Germany under the Swastika' is to appear no more is not because there was no need for it. The opposite is the case unfortunately. Since its first appearance the number of countries where Fascism has risen to power, and then robbed the working classes of their rights and liberties, has increased by three, while in other countries Fascist influence has grown considerably.
New Zealand & Polynesian records from colonial missionaries, 1838-1958
This collection comprises the C series records relating to the early history of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia (C/NZ), along with selected volumes from the series of copies of letters sent and received (CLR & CLS), consists of files relating to the establishment of the Society's activities in the province, and the development of a diocesan organisation to support them. Correspondence was entered into by the SPG, the Colonial Office in London and the ecclesiastical officers in the colonies. The records also include printed reports, annual returns, and financial statements almost a hundred years, from the second quarter of nineteenth century, with the addition of one volume of letters received from the Diocese of Honolulu, in the north of the Polynesian region, over a forty year period from the 1870s until it fomally became part of the Episcopal Church in America. Of special interest among the papers relating to the diocese of Melanesia is the private correspondence and journal of its first bishop, John Coleridge Patteson.
Politics and protest: from major party politics to popular protest and parliamentary history
These records start with the first written accounts of parliamentary debates. The Scottish nationalist pamphlets then begin in the mid-19th century, while Labour Party records cover the entire 20th century. Collections upon women and protest include the strike at Bryant and May, Scottish suffragettes, and the anti-war protestor Hypatia Bradlaugh Bonner. Content on Conscientious Objection then includes both meetings and publications.
Power and preachers: India under colonial rule
Our Indian records start in 1752 with papers covering how the British military took India by force. The military records are followed by the correspondence of India’s colonial rulers. The colonial authorities were not the only British influence in India; records from colonial missionaries provide a different perspective on India between from the 18th to the 20th century. Our collection upon the Meerut Conspiracy Trial then reveals a less sympathetic view of colonial rule during the 20th Century.
Representing Britain: International relations and diplomacy
The diplomatic collections in this series cover World War 1 and the Spanish Civil War. These records also include the creation of Israel and the campaign for Home Rule in Ireland. Correspondence from the 18th century describes how Britain took India from the native population. Military tactics are also explored in our letters to and from military leaders.
Running the West Indies: British records from West Indian countries under colonial rule
See narrative accounts from missionaries combine with colonial statistics to create a picture of these former colonies' development. Learn how owners of an Antiguan sugar plantation adapted to emancipation, and witness the nature of missionaries' roles in the slave trade. Together, these collections reveal how governments, slave owners and missionaries shaped the development of these countries over three centuries.
Scottish women's suffrage movement, 1902-1933
The Glasgow and West of Scotland Society for Women's Suffrage was a non-militant suffrage society. Their work continued after that of the many militant societies who ceased campaigning in 1918. With close ties to the Scottish Council for Women's Trades, these women were of a certain social class. They attracted a number of Liberal Lord Provosts and Town Councillors, as well as MPs. The Society's emphasis was upon fundraising, this usually involved flag days and whist drives. When the Society was wound-down in 1933, it was due to a lack of funds and former members would meet at the Queen Margaret Union in the University until the 1960s.
South American missionaries' records, 1844-1919
Includes most of the material held in the SAMS archives for the period up to 1919. When originally founded in 1844, this Church of England-affiliated organisation was called the Patagonian Mission. This collection reproduces the minute books, reports from the mission field, articles and photographs on the geography, anthropology, natural history and economic development for the society's magazine, launched in 1867, as well as the journals of its Anglican founder, Captain Allen Gardiner, and two others of its missionaries, Edward Bernau and Adolfo Henriksen.
Spreading the word: British missionary work around the world, 1808-1967
The correspondence and papers of these missionary societies cover work within North America, South America, Asia, Africa, and Australasia. Most collections focus on the 18th and 19th centuries. The North American content covers both the United States and Canada. Records on Asia cover India and Sri Lanka, The Committee for Women's Work were also active in Asia. These collections feature a large amount of correspondence to and from missionaries working in these countries. The Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist periodicals reveal how the missionary work was reported to loyal subscribers who funded the missionaries.
The British industrial revolution: mills and education
This series unites collections that cover different aspects of the industrial revolution. While records on Bolton's mills cover the progress of the textile industry, reports on poor schools show the progress being made on getting children out of mills and into school. Medical essays from this time reveal the health problems affecting the population during this time of great social change. Then papers from Manchester Cathedral's archive show how parish populations were affected by movements of people. This Cathedral archive also contains details of legal judgements made by the church at the time when it served as a small claims court. Shipping records from Liverpool and Bristol then illustrate the pace of this social change through lists of the ships' contents.
The Middle East, its division into countries and the creation of Israel, 1879-1919
One of the authors of the Sykes-Picot agreement in 1916; Sykes' work would be the basis for carving up the Ottoman Empire after its collapse. This former Empire would be divided between Britain and France. These papers focus on Sykes' experience in military intelligence and diplomacy in the Middle East, both before and during the First World War. These records also include items on the Armenian genocide. The Zionist movement was active during this time and records of its influence upon him are included in these papers.
The World Wars: firepower and fascism at home and abroad
This series reveals a unique range of perspectives which challenge what we 'know' about the wars. Events that may seem familiar become far less familiar when viewed through the eyes of intelligence officers, diplomats and conscientious objectors. See what the intelligence services knew about foreign firepower and learn about the rise of fascism in Britain during the 1930s.
The trade in people: The slave trade in Africa and the West Indies
Follow the slave trade from Africa and America to Britain through these records. See who traded in slaves, read accounts of their transportation and learn about the plantations where they were forced to work. Then uncover the philosophies that endorsed or fought against the existence of this trade in people.
Walt Whitman and his fellowship of supporters in Bolton, 1891-1913
Regarded as the father of American poetry, Walt Whitman (1819-1892) maintained an active correspondence with this obscure group of socialist and ordinary working-class readers. Indeed, once, when the critic Herbert Gilchrist asked Whitman: It surprises me that you should be so taken with those Bolton folks; they're not famous in England at all, the poet was heard by Horace Traubel to reply: "It surprises you, does it? Well, I've had my bellyful of famous people! Thank God they're just nobody at all, like all people who are worthwhile." In addition to letters, the papers include photographs and journals of pilgrimages by founding members to Whitman in New Jersey, as well as records of the group's annual celebration of his birthday. So close became the relationship that the friendship between Whitman's inner circle and the group continued long after the poet's death. These papers comprise the bulk of the archive generated by members of the group. Together with the separate collection deposited by Charles F. Sixsmith with the John Rylands University of Manchester Library and also the papers of Dr John H. Johnston, they form an essential resource for the reader-oriented study of one of the pre-eminent exponents of English-language poetry in the 19th century.