Archives

(Originally published September 2015)The 1715 Jacobite rising saw an attempt to regain the English throne for the Stuarts, who had fled into exile in France following the 1688 Revolution. The Earl of Mar, John Erskine, sailed to Scotland in the summer of 1715 and on 6 September the Stuart standard was raised at Braemar and a military force was mobilised. The Old Pretender, James Stuart, landed in Aberdeenshire in December but the initiative was lost by that time and further military operations...
Book provenance is an area of research which delves into the history of individual books and of libraries.  It focuses on who owned which books, and what other books they kept in their libraries, and how they organised them.  Knowing the contents of a person’s or institution’s library gives an insight into their life and thinking. It allows us to see what interested people in former ages (even if they did not read...
This year, 1 September marks the 125th anniversary of the death of former Provincial of the English Province, Fr Robert Whitty SJ. The Irish priest joined the Society at the age of 40, after a successful career in the Roman Catholic church as a secular priest. Whitty was acquainted with many influential Catholics of the day including Bishop Thomas Griffiths, the first and only Vicar Apostolic of the London District, Cardinal Nicholas Wiseman, the first Archbishop of Westminster, and influential...
The outbreak of Coronavirus saw Jesuit novices Dunstan Rodrigues and Sam Dixon abruptly leaving their experiment in Dublin – a six-week experience of ministry – and heading for St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre in north Wales. Four vulnerable Jesuits were spending time there in quarantine, and it seemed the perfect opportunity for the two new Jesuits to conduct recorded interviews with them for the Jesuits in Britain Archives.While the production of oral histories has always been high on...
On 28 July 2020 the parish of St Francis of Assisi in Barbados was handed over to the local diocese after Michael Barrow SJ celebrated his final Mass there. This seems like a good opportunity to reflect a little on the British Jesuits history on that island after 163 years of their involvement.Although the Jesuits in Britain Archives have a bound volume of mission papers containing letters, financial and spiritual accounts and articles from the Bajan and Missionary Magazine on the history and...
For many of us, the idea of a summer holiday will be just a memory because of the coronavirus pandemic - but since 1853 Jesuit students have taken a two week holiday in Barmouth, Wales. The house at Barmouth is still owned by the Jesuits, and is today used as a retreat centre. Travel back in time over the last 160 years with the Jesuits in Britain Archive.The summer holidays are about to start, and for some they are already upon us. Children will be enjoying their six weeks off school, and...
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...

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