Our New Year’s Day post unearthed some of the less-evident anniversaries coming up in 2014 (though somehow we missed out the Big Brownie Birthday – sorry Brownies!), but of course there are two other big ones this year, relating to the two World Wars:
The centenary of the start of the First World War and the 70th anniversary of the Normandy Landings.
A great way to get a feel for historical events as they happened at the time is to delve into contemporary newspaper reports. It’s just amazing how many newspaper resources there are available online for members of Westminster Libraries. They are not just useful for the current (eg: Library Press Display) or recent (over the past ten years or so, as with Newsbank) news. They also provide an unparalleled insight into the past 200 years or so – and you can access them with just your library membership number!
- UK Press Online
Look for both text and images from the time whether it’s 1914 or 1944. This database allows you to browse through the paper day by day, as well as searching for articles on particular subjects.
A place to start: Browse Wednesday 29 July 1914
- Illustrated London News
Another publication which contains a great number of images from the time; both photos and drawn illustrations.
A place to start: Search for ‘his majesty’s land ships’
- Picture Post
Again an illustrated publication but concentrating far more on photographs, this is a great place to start when looking back at the Normandy Landings.
Start by searching for just the word ‘Normandy’ within 1944
- Times Digital Archive / Guardian and Observer archive
These newspapers will provide more reading material than the other publications but fewer pictures. Don’t be put off – it doesn’t make them any less interesting.
Suggestion: Look through just how things were unfolding by searching for the word ‘Normandy’ between June and July 1944.
We’re sure that if you start with our suggestions you won’t be able to resist delving deeper into this amazing historical archive we have at our fingertips – who knows what gems you’ll find?