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British Isles Free Web Sites: General and History

Selective guide to free web sites about the British Isles organized by broad topics: general and history; images and museums; libraries; literature/language; news; politics, government, and contemporary society.

General and History

A2A Access to Archives

The A2A database contains catalogues describing archives held locally throughout England and dating from the 8th century to the present day. In Jan., 2006 it contained 8.7 million items held in nearly 400 record offices and other repositories. To access records of the National Archives U.K., the Public Record Office or the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts Commission use the link in electronic resources for National Archives U.K.

AMARC: Association for Manuscripts and Archives in Research Collections

The Association for Manuscripts and Archives in Research Collections (AMARC) promotes the accessibility, preservation and study of manuscripts and archives in libraries and other research collections in Great Britain and Ireland. It brings together curators, researchers and all who share a scholarly interest in this field.  Their newsletter is freely available online in this website; according to them it is ''probably the most up-to-date and most wide ranging source of information available about manuscript research.''

Anglo-American Legal Tradition

Documents from Medieval and Early Modern England from the National Archives in London.  Digitized and displayed through the O'Quinn Law Library of the University of Houston Law Center by license of the National Archives. Sponsored by the University of Houston Law Center and by the University of Houston Department of History.

Archives Portal Europe

One of the largest portals for entry to archival collections in Europe.  Search by topic across institutions or by country. 

Atlantic Archive: UK-US Relations in an Age of Global War, 1939-1945

From the Institute for the Study of the Americas at the University of London.  Repository of primary sources from government documents generated during WWII.  Browse by year, place, government departments of both UK and US, and author name.  Contains formal letters, aide memoires, newspaper articles, government reports, and memoranda.  Has scanned images along side transcriptions of the texts, abstracts, and metadata.  190 documents to start,  with projected 2000 at completion.

BBC History

Contains full-texts of and links to information about British Isles and world history, as well as history information about the BBC itself. Has materials for children, so would be useful also for education students.

BBC History: Historic Figures

Presents hundreds of brief biographies of important historical figures. Entries are arranged in alphabetical order or search by surname.  Entries often feature a representative photograph, portrait, or other illustration. This BBC site has been archived and is no longer being updated.

BBC National Health Service

Here you can follow the early years of the NHS from radical plan through to triumphant birth and on to fully fledged but sometimes problematic service. Through programmes, documents and images taken from the BBC's archives you can witness for yourself a time before the NHS existed, the disputes surrounding its inception and the difficulties it faced in the early years.

BBC Programmes

This site aims to ensure that every TV & Radio programme the BBC broadcasts has a permanent, findable web presence. Browse by title of program, category (genre or format), or schedule (TV, national radio, Nations Radio, local radio).

BBTI British Book Trade Index

BBTI aims to include brief biographical and trade details of all those who worked in the English and Welsh book trades up to 1851. There is a separate Scottish Book Trade Index at the National Library of Scotland, so BBTI includes only those Scottish book trade people who also traded in England or Wales at some point in their lives.  Includes not only printers, publishers and booksellers but alsopeople in other related trades, such as stationers, papermakers, engravers, auctioneers, ink-makers and sellers of medicines. This is only an index to other sources of information. It is not a biographical dictionary of book-trade people.

BIAB Online: the British and Irish Archaeological Bibliography

BIAB provides information about articles and books on the archaeology of Britain and Ireland. This resource includes the contents of British and Irish Archaeological Bibliography,1997-, British Archaeological Abstracts 1968-91 (Main DA 90 .B8), Archaeological Bibliography for Great Britain and Ireland, Reports of the Committee on Ancient Earthworks and Fortified Enclosures, a Guide to the Historical and Archaeological Publications of Societies in England and Wales, 1901-33 (Mullins, Main Z 2016 .M83), Index of Archaeological Papers, 1665-1890 (Gomme family, Main Z 2016 .I65.)

Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society

Archive of biographies of members of the Royal Society, content older than one year, accessible free on the internet.  The Royal Society first began publishing short obituaries of its fellows in 1830 in its Proceedings of the Royal Society of London.  From 1932 fuller memoirs of nearly every deceased fellow and foreign members have been in their Obituaries... (1932-54) and then in their Biographical Memoirs... from 1955 onwards.

British Association for Local History

Has a "Useful links" portion containing links to local history organizations, national organizations of interest to people studying things local, educational and other links.

British Library Digital Collections

The British Library Labs encourages experimentation and use of digital collections and this site describes: digital scholarship guides, datasets, images, books, music, maps, sounds, and multimedia.

British Library Victorian Britain

Discover historical sources and articles written by experts that reveal the everyday reality of living in Victorian Britain. The Victorian period in Britain was one of huge industrial and technological change, shocking divisions between rich and poor, sensational crimes, spectacular entertainments for the masses, and grand attempts to combat squalor and disease.
A Collection of great books viewable using their Turning the Pages software.  Searchable.  Browse all, alphabetically by title.  Look at the newest additions.  A small, but growing collection.

Lists the contents of 2,652 reels of microfilm containing reproductions of manuscripts and some rare printed materials found in the libraries in England and Wales, covering from medieval times to the 18th century.

Based on: British manuscripts project : a checklist of the microfilms prepared in England and Wales for the American Council of Learned Societies, 1941-1945 / compiled by Lester K. Born, coordinator of microreproduction projects. Washington, D.C. : Library of Congress, 1955. xvii, 179 p. ; 29 cm. Includes bibliographical references.

During WWII manuscripts removed from London for safe-keeping were microfilmed. University of Michigan Libraries owns copies of the microfilms that were made. The 179 page bibliography shows which mss were filmed. University of Michigan Libraries' Humanities Text Initiative digitized the print bibliography and made it searchable by words in the entry, title, author, repository, and shelfmark.

What does MSU Libraries own? Our copy of the print bibliography is in the Microform Guides section, Hollander MakeCentral  2nd floor west, Z 6620 .G7 U5 1968. We have some of the microfilms, call number #27736: ALN 40/3,ALN 50/4,ALN 56/2,ALN 67/2,ALN 69/2.

British Monarchy

Official web site of the British monarchy.

British Studies Web

It provides access to scholarly information pertaining to the United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales)and the Republic of Ireland. Critical but not exhaustive listings. Contains links to library catalogs; www directories,gateways and search engines for the U.K.; newspapers and news sources. Subject links for education, history, language and literature, and politics and government. It is a section of WESSWEB, from the Western European Studies Section librarians of the American Library Association.

Carlyle Letters Online: a Victorian Cultural Reference (CLO)

Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle were very gifted and prolific 19th-century letter-writers; they had an immense circle of friends, family and acquaintance in Scotland, England, Europe and North America; through their letters they interacted with many of the outstanding writers, thinkers and political figures of their time. 35 plus print volumes have been published of their letters since the 1950s, in a project led by Edinburgh University and Duke University. M.S.U. Libraries has many volumes of the print edition at PR 4433 .A44 v. 1-28,30 in Main.

CBTM Catalogue of British Town Maps

This Catalogue of British Town Maps locates town maps extant in UK public archives and libraries. It provides details of almost 8,000 maps and provides for each the key cartographical and other features and the location of publicly-accessible exemplars. Associated with each catalogue entry is a PDF image outlining the area covered by the map.  Catalogue information is available from a straightforward and easily searchable user interface. For ease of access the maps are also searchable via a simple Google maps search function.  See also the book British Town Maps: a History Man GA 791 .K35 2015.

Charles Booth's London: Poverty Maps and Police Notebooks

Charles Booth (1840-1916) was a British businessman and social reformer remembered today mostly for his efforts to document poverty in 19th c. London.  He published a multi-volume work, Inquiry into Life and labor in London, published 1889-1903.  It is perhaps best known for Booth's Maps Descriptive of London Poverty, which are color-coded according to wealth distribution in London on a street-by-street basis.  In this web site you can explore a digitized version of one of his "poverty maps" and use a slider at screen bottom to transition to a modern-day Google map.  You can search to explore particular neighborhoods or streets, some explore some of of Booth's notebooks to learn more about his research process.  The notebooks include a series of entries by policemen who helped Booth survey neighborhoods for his maps.

Clergy of the Church of England Database

From 1540 to 1835, the Church of England was one of Britain's largest employers.  Search clerical records for more than "155,000 individual clerics or schoolteachers" from over fifty different archives in England and Wales. Search by name and fields such as diocese, location, and date range, and browse people, locations, and bishops according to diocese.  Reference section contains bibliographies, lists of bishops and locations, and a glossary.  Directed by Arthur Burns at King's College London, Kenneth Fincham at the University of Kent, and Stephen Taylor at Durham University.

Connected Histories

Covers 1500-1900.  Allows sophisticated searching across many digital resources and archives. 

Court Depositions of South West England 1500-1700

Digital edition of 80 fully transcribed depositions relating to 20 cases heard in the church courts and Quarter Sessions between 1556 and 1694 across Devon, Hampshire, Somerset and Wiltshire.

Crace Collection of Maps of London

This is the essential guide through the history of London: some 1200 printed and hand-drawn maps charting the development of the city and its immediate vicinity from around 1570 to 1860. The maps were collected, mainly during the first half of the nineteenth century, by the fashionable Victorian society designer, Frederick Crace. After entering the site look for the link to "See all the items in this exhibition." From the British Library Map Collections.

Department for Culture, Media, and Sport (U.K.)

The DCMS is responsible for [British] Government policy on the arts, sport, the National Lottery, tourism, libraries, museums and galleries, broadcasting, film, the music industry, press freedom and regulation, licensing, gambling and the historic environment. They are also responsible for the listing of historic buildings and scheduling of ancient monuments, the export licensing of cultural goods, the management of the Government Art Collection and for the Royal Parks Agency.

Digital Bodleian

The single, central portal to the multiple and separate digital collections created by the Bodleian Library at Oxford University over the past two decades. Designed for item-level searching or collection-level browsing; links to each collection unfold as one scrolls down. Collections range from medieval and Oriental manuscripts to late-20th-century political posters, and include maps, ephemera, games, and texts. Only collection-level materials are identified on the home page.

Digital Irish Famine Archive

The purpose of the Digital Irish Famine Archive is to make accessible eyewitness accounts of the Irish famine migration to Canada in 1847-1848. It also pays tribute to those who cared for Irish famine emigrants. It contains the digitized, transcribed, and translated French language annals of the Grey Nuns of Montreal, or Sisters of Charity, who first tended to Irish famine emigrants, especially widows and orphans, in the city’s fever sheds in 1847 and 1848. It also includes annals from the Sisters of Providence and correspondence from Father Patrick Dowd, who worked alongside the Grey Nuns in the fever sheds, as well as testimonies from Irish famine orphans, like Patrick and Thomas Quinn, Daniel and Catherine Tighe, and Robert Walsh, who were adopted by French-Canadian families.

Digital Panopticon: Tracing London Convicts in Britain and Australia, 1780-1925

Research project exploring the impacts of various punishments on approximately 90,000 people who were sentenced at London's Old Bailey between 1780 and 1925. Brings together "millions of records from around fifty datasets" into a searchable database, including trial records, transportation records of convicts who were sent to Australia, etc.  The "convict lives" pages feature brief biographies of individual convicts whose life histories were "reconstructed using the Digital Panopticon website." The historical background section offers helpful contextual information about the British criminal justice system at that time. Research and teaching section contains themed research guides as well as resources for this site in school. The Arts and Humanities Research Council funded this project, with the work done collaboratively by the Universities of Liverpool, Sheffield, Tasmania, Oxford, and Sussex," with Barry Godfrey, professor of Social Justice at the University of Liverpool, as the principal investigator.

Digital Repository of Ireland

The Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) works to preserve and share the data, objects, and narratives that contextualize Ireland's rich cultural heritage. Providing access to over 2,200 historical and contemporary items physically housed in collections across the country, the portal acts as a central hub, offering interactive multimedia tools and digital resources to archivists, researchers, educators, historians, and the interested public. Readers can find out more about the contributing institutions under Organizations, or browse/search the repository through the Discover section. Perhaps best of all, readers may opt to Visit the DRI Project Website to explore a sampling of current projects and online exhibits.

Diplomatic Correspondence of Thomas Bodley, 1585-1597

He lived 1545-1613.  Founder of Oxford's Bodleian Library.  Was a diplomat and traveled.

Dissenting Academies Project

In 1662, the Parliament of England passed the Act of Uniformity - which required adherence to many rites and ceremonies prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer. One of the rites required was episcopal ordination for all ministers. In response, other Protestant religious communities established a number of dissenting academies, which were "intended to provide Protestant students dissenting from the Church of England with a higher education similar to that at Oxford and Cambridge, from which they were largely excluded." This digital humanities project, created by the Queen Mary Centre for Religion and Literature in English, allows visitors to learn more about these academies through an extensive database and encyclopedia of 220 academies that existed between 1660 and 1860. The database also includes thousands of individuals who were involved in the academy as tutors or students.

Electronic Theses Online Service (ETHOS)

Online index and full text of dissertations and theses from the majority of British universities. A developing resource. If the desired dissertation is not available for downloading, please submit an ILLiad request for interlibrary loan. Go to the Interlibrary Services link on M.S.U. Libraries' home page.

English Broadside Ballad Archive

EBBA makes broadside ballads of the seventeenth century fully accessible as texts, art, music, and cultural records.

In its heyday of the first half of the seventeenth century, a broadside ballad was a single large sheet of paper printed on one side (hence “broad-side”) with multiple eye-catching illustrations, a popular tune title, and an alluring poem—the latter mostly in black-letter, or what we today call “gothic,” type.

About 8,000-10,000 English broadside ballads of the entire seventeenth century survive. To capture the genre’s arch of development, EBBA seeks to archive all these printed ballads—with priority given to the black-letter ornamental broadside of the genre’s heyday—as well as all surviving sixteenth-century broadside ballads (about 250) and a representative sampling of broadside ballads of the early eighteenth century.

Ephemera Society

It's purpose is to conserve, study, and present printed and handwritten ephemera.  Established in 1975, the Society is today internationally recognised as an authority in the field of ephemera, counting among its members libraries, museums, colleges and universities, as well as ephemera dealers and private individuals in twenty or more countries.  There is an extensive list of links to web sites of collections here.

ESTC English Short-Title Catalogue (via internet to British Library)

The 'English Short Title Catalogue' (ESTC) is an international project established at the British Library in 1977. Its aim is to create a machine-readable bibliography of books, serials, pamphlets and other ephemeral material printed in English-speaking countries from 1473 to 1800, based on the collections of over 2,000 institutions world-wide. In 2006, the English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC) lists over 460,000 items: * published between 1473 and 1800 * mainly in Britain and North America * mainly, but not exclusively, in English * from the collections of the British Library and over 2,000 other libraries. The ESTC now also includes records for early English serials, annuals, newspapers, and news-books. The geographical scope for these is the same as for books, and coverage is from the beginning of serials printing (around 1620) through to the end of 1800. This version should be more up-to-date than the 2003 ed. but the search interface is different. This is not a full-text database; for full-texts see the electronic resources entry for Early English Books Online (EEBO)for imprints from 1470s through 1700 and Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) for imprints from 1701-1800.

EthOS: Electronic Theses Online Service

Online index and full text of dissertations and theses from the majority of British universities. A developing resource. If the desired dissertation is not available for downloading, please submit an ILLiad request for interlibrary loan. Go to the Interlibrary Services link on M.S.U. Libraries' home page.

EuroDocs: Primary Historical Documents from Western Europe

These links connect to Western European (mainly primary) historical documents that are transcribed, reproduced in facsimile, or translated. They shed light on key historical happenings within the respective countries (and within the broadest sense of political, economic, social, and cultural history). Covers medieval and Renaissance, Europe as a supranational region, as well as documents of individual countries. From Brigham Young University.

European History Primary Sources

Provides access to scholarly digital repositories and other portals dealing with all facts of European history, from ancient to modern times.  Browse by country, language, subject, time period, type of resources.  Types of resources: dictionaries, drawings, interviews, letters, maps, pamphlets, photos, posters, sheet music, more.

Full English Digital Archive, from the English Folk Dance and Song Society

And with the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library in London.  They preserve and foster English traditional song, music,and dance.  The full digital archive, click on this in the site, contains catalog records and images from the mss collections of noted folk song collectors.  Brings together 12 major manuscript collections for the first time in the most comprehensive free searchable digital archive of English folk songs, tunes, dances and customs in the world.

Gazetteer of British Place Names

Online index to place names in Britain, containing over 50,000 entries.  Each entry provides grid reference, county, and many of the important administrative areas in which the place lies. 

Georgian Papers Online

Catalogue of the Georgian Papers held in the Royal Archives and the Royal Library at Windsor Castle.This catalogue currently contains descriptions and digitised images of material dating from the reigns of George III to William IV, including personal letters, diaries, account books and records of the Royal Household.

Grub Street Project

The goal of the Grub Street Project is to visualize the literary and cultural history of London. This includes mapping the city's print trades, its (imagined) literary representations, and its (real) histories in order to understand their evolution and their influence upon other networks of trade, knowledge, and literature. Data to be integrated with the maps includes: *A Dictionary of London, by Henry Harben (1918) * a bibliography of books published in London from the years 1660 to 1830 * tradesmen and addresses, compiled from various sources including both the bibliographical details of publication information, and Kent's London business directories published annually from 1732 until 1828 * full text of online editions. As data is added to the database, we can begin to imagine early modern networks of communications and interactions, visualize how ideas were transferred, shared, and stolen, and see how the city was represented by its citizens and its visitors. We will be able to see how the dissemination of ideas created networks of trade and commerce; we will also be able to see how the urban landscape was imagined in the eighteenth century. (from the website).

Hidden Collections Registry

Provides access to previously hidden or unprocessed library, archives, and museum collections whose owners have received grants to catalog and make the contents accessible online from the Council on Library and Information Resources.  You can search the database by broad topic, such as British studies, medieval studies, etc., or by keyword.  You can limit results by collection name, by institution type, by format. 

Historical Research in Europe

Historical Research in Europe attempts "to unite both web-based and printed resources about [Western] European libraries and archives in a single interactive database." Search by keyword, country, any one of 25 pre-defined subject groupings (such as World War II or immigration), subject terms, historical periods, type of archive (such as church or diplomatic), personal or family name, or broad historical topic. Search results lead either to guides to archival materials held in University of Wisconsin's library system (which M.S.U. Libraries may also own; check our online catalog) or to web sites of particular archival institutions.

History Extra

From the official website of the BBC History magazine.  To view the magazine one must subscribe; MSU libraries does not subscribe as it is popular reading, not curriculum related.  But, the podcasts are freely accessible.

History of Parliament

The History of Parliament is a research project creating a comprehensive account of parliamentary politics in England, then Britain, from their origins in the thirteenth century. Unparalleled in the comprehensiveness of its treatment, the History is generally regarded as one of the most ambitious, authoritative and well-researched projects in British history. It consists of detailed studies of elections and electoral politics in each constituency, and of closely researched accounts of the lives of everyone who was elected to Parliament in the period, together with surveys drawing out the themes and discoveries of the research and adding information on the operation of Parliament as an institution.

Institute of Historical Research (U.K.)

The IHR at University of London is an international research/information center whose mission is to support the study of (primarily) British history. IHR offers an open-access library, conferences and seminars open to the public, postgraduate degrees, research training, and networking for those students, digital and print research material, and publishes the journal Historical Research.This web site is a portal to its online info and that of its partners: British History Online, Centre for Contemporary British History, Centre for Metropolitan History, Victoria County History, England's Past for Everyone, London's Past Online, etc. IHR's library catalog provides access to the chief printed primary sources for medieval and modern history of Great Britain and western Europe, their colonial expansion, and the history of the Americas. Also offers access to their research centers. History in Focus features original articles, book reviews, and links to historical resources on selected topics.

International Churchill Society

This site is the result of a collaboration between leading worldwide Churchill organizations and is the ultimate online resource about the life of Winston Churchill.  In his lifetime Churchill published more than forty books in sixty volumes, as well as hundreds of articles. In 1953 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for his contribution to the written and spoken word. While he is celebrated for his wit and colourful quotations, it is for the impact of his speeches and broadcasts that he is now justly remembered as a Man of Words.  You can listen to him here.  Biographical info.  Links to further resources and to publications.

Internet Global History Sourcebook

The Global History Sourcebook is dedicated to exploration of interaction between world cultures. It does not, then, look at ''world history''as the history of the various separate cultures (for that see the linked pages, which do take that approach), but at ways in which the "world" has a history in its own right. Specifically this means looking at the ways in which cultures contact each other, the ways they influence each other, and the ways new cultural forms emerge.

Internet Modern History Sourcebook

Collection of primary sources of historic documents from the early modern period to the present for both Europe and the Americas. Includes links to other sources of information on modern history and on the nature of historiography, and links to maps, images, and music.

Intoxicants and Early Modernity: England, 1580-1740

Project explores significance of intoxicants such as tobacco, alcohol, coffee, tea, and opium to "the economic, social, political, material, and culture life of England from 16th-18th centuries."   Showcases 5 themes.  Link to beta version of their database where readers can browse sources.  Collaboration between University of Sheffield and the Victoria and Albert Museum.  PI is Phil Withington, Prof. Univ. of Sheffield.

Intute: Arts and Humanities (U.K.)

This is a free online service providing you with access to the best Web resources for education and research, selected and evaluated by a network of subject specialists. There are over 21,000 Web resources listed here that are freely available by keyword searching and browsing. Fields covered include humanities in general, art and the creative, history, languages, literatures. The history pages come from Humbul Humanities Hub originally.

Irish Archives Resource (IAR)

Descriptions of archival collections from over 30 prominent archive services throughout the island of Ireland.

Irish Bibliography of Press History (IBPH)

The IBPH is a searchable, open access resource, an initiative of the Newspaper and Periodical History Forum of Ireland (NPHFI). It is a bibliography of secondary literature on the history of print media in Ireland, or by scholars based in, or closely associated with, Ireland.  It focuses primarily on published scholarly, academic work. It does not cover broadcast media. The IBPH does not contain entries in biographical dictionaries; use the Dictionary of Irish Biography  (Main CT 862 .D53 2009 v. 1-9) and Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Main DA 28 .O95 2004 v. 1-60) to find biographical material.

Irish History Online

Irish History Online is an authoritative guide (in progress) to what has been written about Irish history from earliest times to the present. It currently contains approximately 72,000 bibliographic records (January 2011). Material on Northern Ireland is included. It includes  bibliographic information on books and pamphlets, articles from journals published in Ireland or internationally, and chapters from books of essays, including Festschriften and conference proceedings. Search by author/editor, by title or keyword from title, by subject, by journal title or series, or by publication details. Irish History Online is an essential resource for the study of Irish history at any level, and is free of charge to users.

Irish Revolution

From University College Cork and the Irish Examiner.  This is a collection of resources about the series of conflicts from 1916-1923 centering on issues of Irish independence. Many resources are from/about Cork, the county that experienced more fatalities than other counties during this time.  See the Cork's War of Independence Fatality Registers, 1919-21.  Learn how newspapers across the political spectrum  reported on the Irish Revolution.  Classroom resources for secondary teachers (needs free registration). 

Irish Studies Web

Provides links to websites about Ireland and Northern Ireland: newspapers and news resources, gateways and subject guides. Has sections on Irish language, history, literature, and politics and government. The site is created by Aedin Clements, a librarian and hosted as part of WESSWEB. The Western European Studies Section (WESS) is a section within the Association of College and Research Libraries, which is itself a division of the American Library Association. WESS is professionally involved in the acquisition, organization, and use of information sources originating in or related to Western European countries. Our aim is to promote the improvement of library services supporting study and research in Western European affairs from ancient times to the present.

IsisCB Cumulative: Open Access Bibliography for the History of Science, 1913-1975

This is a digitized version of the Isis Cumulative Bibliography of the History of Science, covering materials indexed from 1913-1975, on all topics in the history of science for all historical periods.   There are seven large HTML files corresponding to the seven volumes of the printed bibliography issued during this period.  It is a companion to IsisCB Explore, covering the files 1974 to present.  Over 154,000 citations to 83,000 articles, 44,000 books, 20,000 reviews, 6,000 chapters.  Made possible by Sloan Foundation, History of Science Society, University of Oklahoma Libraries, University of Oklahoma History of Science dept. 

JISC Joint Information Systems Committee U.K.

JISC, Joint Information Systems Committee, is a British independent advisory body that works with further and higher eduction by providing strategic guidance, advice, and opportunities to use to use ICT to support learning, teaching, research, and administration. Scroll about a third of the way down to the list of Projects. There are links there to digital projects of interest, historical, literary, contemporary, etc.

Legacies of British Slave-ownership Project

Legacies of British Slave-ownership is the umbrella for two projects based at University College London tracing the impact of slave-ownership on the formation of modern Britain: the ESRC-funded Legacies of British Slave-ownership project, now complete, and the ESRC and AHRC-funded Structure and significance of British Caribbean slave-ownership 1763-1833, running from 2013-2015.  You can search or browse.  In browse you can examine at the commercial, cultural, historical, imperial, physical, and political legacies.
    "In 1833 Parliament finally abolished slavery in the British Caribbean, Mauritius and the Cape. The slave trade had been abolished in 1807, but it had taken another 26 years to effect the emancipation of the enslaved. However, in place of slavery the negotiated settlement established a system of apprenticeship, tying the newly freed men and women into another form of unfree labour for fixed terms. It also granted £20 million in compensation, to be paid by British taxpayers to the former slave-owners. That compensation money provided the starting point for our first project. We are now tracking back to 1763 the ownership histories of the 4000 or so estates identified in that project.


From Local History Magazine, an alphabetical list of local history and allied societies with links to contact information.  See also British Association for Local History, above in this list.

London Bookshop Map

Names, addresses, map of independent and second-hand bookshops in London. The list of shops looks more useful than the map itself.  There are also some links to other similar sites.

London Gardens Online

London Gardens Online provides public access to a wealth of information on over 2,500 parks, gardens, squares, churchyards, cemeteries and other sites of historic interest across the whole of London. The sites are all on the London Parks & Gardens Trust’s Inventory of Historic Spaces, a resource that has been growing since the Trust’s formation in 1994, and which continues to be updated. Criteria for inclusion on the Inventory are those sites whose history dates back at least 30 years and are of significance for their design, landscaping or social history.  See also the website for London Gardens Trust, the main website of the organization behind London Gardens Online.

London Lives 1690 to 1800

London Lives makes available, in a fully digitised and searchable form, a wide range of primary sources about eighteenth-century London, with a particular focus on plebeian Londoners. This resource includes over 240,000 manuscript and printed pages from eight London archives and is supplemented by fifteen datasets created by other projects. It provides access to historical records containing over 3.35 million name instances. Facilities are provided to allow users to link together records relating to the same individual, and to compile biographies of the best documented individuals.

London Metropolitan Archives

Covers City of London and the Greater London area.  They have finding aid of their business archives arranged by names of trades, such as printers, publishers, booksellers, letter founders, engravers, paper makers, stationers, etc.  There is also a list by name of the business. Also has information on pursuing family history/genealogy in London and on things to do in London for travellers.

London Time Machine

On Sunday the 2nd of September 1666, the Great Fire of London began reducing most of the capital to ashes. Among the devastation and the losses were many maps of the city itself. The Morgan Map of 1682 was the first to show the whole of the City of London after the fire. Produced by William Morgan and his dedicated team of Surveyors and Cartographers it took 6 years to produce.  See it here.

Medical Heritage Library

The Medical Heritage Library is a "digital curation collaborative" between numerous leading medical libraries, including the August C. Long Health Science Library at Columbia University, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, and the Wellcome Library, to name just a few. These libraries are working together on this remarkable collection that provides insight into the history of medicine in the United States and Great Britain. Through the website's Content tab, visitors can browse hundreds of medical journals, pamphlets, and books dating back to the sixteenth century. Researchers can also conduct a keyword Search in order to find relevant material within this extensive (and still growing) collection.

MoEML: The Map of Early Modern London

Uses modern technology to recombine and present centuries-old data in new ways.  Based on the Agas map, a woodblock printed 16th-17th century bird's-eye view of London, MoEML encompasses four separate, related projects: a digital edition of the Agas map; an encyclopedia and digital gazetteer of London people, places, topics, and terms; a library of digital texts, marked up in TEI; and a digital edition of the 1598 text of John Stow's A Survey of London.  Search by street name or category of location.  By clicking on a particular building or street the user is linked to a series of documents detailing the history of the place chosen and its role in society.  Project done by University of Victoria, Canada, with support from Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

National Archives (U.K.)

The National Archives of England, Wales, and the United Kingdom is one of the largest archival collections in the world, spanning 1000 years of British history, from the 11th century to the present. This government agency was formed in 2003 by bringing together the Public Record Office and the Historical Manuscripts Commission. This web site offers online catalogs of primary source materials and some online texts.  Also see their web site offering their online research guides.    They also offer various research guides to help those looking for individuals, in the armed services, for instance, here.  There is also a sub-site for media, videos, etc. about their collections and U.K. history, here.

National Archives: Beginner's Latin

Many English/British official documents written 1086-1733 are in Latin.  This is a practical online tutorial for beginners, 11 sessions worth, of the Latin used in British documents during these years, covering verbs, ends, adverbs, numbers and dates, months, useful phrases, dating clauses, etc.  There is also an Advanced Latin tutorial on the National Archives site.

OAIster, from OCLC

Over 1500 organizations with OAI-compliant repositories contribute over 30 million records to this database which uses the OCLC WorldCat interface.  Has finding aids for archival collections.

Oxford Digital Library

This is a link to the digital resources provided by Oxford Libraries, some of which are freely available and others are only available to University of Oxford students and faculty. After entering the site, click on Collections at top to be taken to a page where you can click on a list of the offerings.


Mostly a site used by classicists.  But, in the Renaissance Materials section there is primary and secondary material on early modern English literature, including the works of Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare.

PLRE.Folger (Private Libraries in Renaissance England)

PLRE.Folger, a project of the Folger Shakespeare Library (Washington, D.C.), complements the printed volumes of Private Libraries in Renaissance England (PLRE--Remote Storage Z 997.2 .G7 P75 1992 v. 1-8), an ongoing editorial project that has published eight volumes since 1992.  Three searchable databases are available on this site: Books, which contains all the information entered in PLRE.  Names, which is designed to assist in searching Books.  Owners, which is designed to assist in searching Books.  

Proceedings of the Old Bailey London 1674-1913

"This is a fully searchable online edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing accounts of over 100,000 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court." Also includes historical background information and a bibliography (contains citations on: publishing history; associated records; crime, criminal justice and punishment; Old Bailey Courthouse; London and hinterlands; community histories; gender and the proceedings; and general and useful web sites.)

Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee

Official website of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Royal Archives

The Royal Archives at Windsor Castle contains documents relating to the Royal Family and British Monarchy over a period of almost 250 years.  The Archives preserves the personal and official correspondence of former monarchs and of other members of the Royal Family past and present, as well as administrative records of the departments of the Royal Household.

Royal Family see British Monarchy, above in this list

Royal College of Physicians Museum and Archive Collections

Search RCP collections to uncover a wealth of information on the history of medicine and the RCP.   Near complete records of the RCP's activities for 500 years. Manuscripts and personal papers of eminent physicians. 300 oil and sculptural portraits of physicians and over 5,000 prints and drawing. Silver and decorative art collection. Rare medical instruments and artefacts.

Runaway Slaves in Britain: Bondage, Freedom, and Race in the Eighteenth Century

Little is known about slavery in 18th-Century Britain. This project at University of Glasgow will create a database of searchable information about those who sought to escape bondage. Not all of the the people who ran away from their masters in Georgian Britain were of African descent, and a small number were Native Americans or were from the Indian sub-continent. While some were not slaves, many were described by their masters in terms of slavery. 

Scottish Bibliographies Online

Website containing a number of bibliographic databases containing details of material relating to Scotland or held in Scottish Libraries. Three major components: Bibliography of Scotland, Bibliography of Scottish Gaelic, and Bibliography of the Scottish Booktrade. Also others.

SHARP: Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing

This website is a portal to useful resources for book historians and those interested in the history of print culture.  History of books, all aspects of bookmaking, readers and reading history, and textual criticism.  Scope is increasingly international but most resources point to American or Western Europe. English, French, or Spanish language.  Look at Research Tools and Archives and Collections links within this.

Society for the History of Children and Youth

SHCY promotes the study of the history of children and youth. The organization (1) supports research about childhood, youth cultures, and the experience of young people across diverse times and places; (2) fosters study across disciplinary and methodological boundaries; (3) provides venues for scholars to communicate with one another; and (4) promotes excellence in scholarship. Membership is open to all individuals as well as to cultural and educational institutions. SHCY resources for scholars and students include regular conferences, an email discussion list (H-Childhood), a website, newsletter, and scholarly journal (The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, available here at M.S.U. Libraries online). SHCY also hosts a biennial conference held at various locations throughout the world.

The Spectator Archive

Continuously published since 1828,this is a conservative, British weekly magazine specializing in politics and culture.  Coverage from July, 1828 through Dec., 2008. Simple search box with option to search by time periods.  Sort results by relevance or date published.  Limit by type of document: article, letter, fiction, recipe, other.  Filter results by date, keyword, or subject.   Issue browser is arranged by decade.  Content viewable as digitized copies or facsimile pages.  For more functionality, use Periodicals Archive Online version, a resource open to M.S.U. community.

Stuart Successions Database

Searchable catalogue of the writing printed in response to moments of royal and protectoral succession over the long 17th c.  Contains records for over 3000 examples of succession literature across several genres, including panegyric and elegy, sermon and pamphlet, address and proclamation, the materials are for use to uncover new ways of understanding the relationship between literature, print, and politics during the tumultuous 17th c. A collaborative project of the universities of Exeter and Oxford.

Suffrage 100: the Fight for the Female Vote

U.K. National Archives has a world-renowned collection of documents relating to the 20th century women’s suffrage movement. The wealth of records come from a range of government departments and illustrate the huge impact suffrage campaigns had across government.  100 years ago some women in the U.K. got the right to vote.

Texts and Calendars: British Society Publications Indexing Online

M.S.U. Libraries contains the publications of a great many British historical, record, archaeological, and archival societies. Many are focused on history, archaeology, and records at the county level. The access/indexing to their contents is often not very good. Some societies publish indexes to their own material from time to time; some do not. M.S.U. Libraries may, or may not, have item level records in the online catalog. Not many researchers know about or use these publications. Some contain only primary sources, some only secondary sources, and some contain a mixture of both kinds of materials. A great many of these societies' materials are indexed in the Bibliography of British and Irish History.  Some societies publish more than one series of publications. The link provided here takes the researcher to a page owhere there is is a link to the list of societies that exist. Clicking there takes one to a page giving access by society name, with contact info and websites hosted by the individual societies as well. Some of these societies are beginning to offer online indexing of their own and full texts of their materials. Additional indexing is available in some older book bibliographies by Mullins (Main Z 2016 .M8, .M8 1983, .M83) and Stevenson (Main DA 750 .S25 ser. 4 v. 23)

Timeline: Sources from History

Several hundred images culled from the British Library's extensive collections are arranged by decade in this interactive resource. Each decade has one to ten images. Coverage is from Magna Carta 1215 to 2008. Clicking on a thumbnail image retrieves a larger entry with an introduction that briefly describes the subject and places it in historical context. Entries may be printed or downloaded as PDFs. Also has thematic timelines: Politics, Power and Rebellion; Literature, Music and Entertainment; Everyday Life; Sacred Texts; Medicine/Science/Engineering. More for undergraduates to help with topic selection than for advanced researchers.

Trans  Atlantic Slave Trade Database

From Emory University, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, this offers both quantitative and qualitative information about the slave trade in Spain, Uruguay, Portugal, Brazil, Great Britain, the Netherlands, the United States, Denmark, and the Baltic, from the 16th through the 19th centuries.  Three sections:  searchable database of voyages, statistics/estimates of the slave trade by nation and ports of em and disembarkation, and African names database.  Bibliography of documentary sources and archival materials.  Overview essays on the Atlantic slave trade, racial/ethnic fallout, abolition movement.  Lesson plans and educational resources.  Images from 19th c. archival materials.  Maps.  Timeline/chronology.  Searchable in both English and Portuguese.

Victoria County History

Founded in 1899 and originally dedicated to Queen Victoria, the Victoria County History is an encyclopaedic record of England's places and people from earliest times to the present day. Based at the Institute of Historical Research in the University of London since 1933, the VCH is written by historians working in counties across England. The famous VCH big red books, which cover all historical periods, are written county by county from original documents and fieldwork. Introductory chapters include subjects ranging from archaeology to social and economic history, while topographical sections give a comprehensive account of each city, town and village. With 14 county sets completed, most counties have at least one volume. More than 240 volumes have been published in total, providing an invaluable resource for everyone interested in local history. M.S.U. Libraries has the set of printed volumes in the oversize stacks in the Main Library, basement center section, at DA 670, and a standing order for new volumes as they are published. To see what full text information is available on this website, click on "counties and publications" in the menu bar near the top of the screen. You will see a map and a list of clickable counties. England's Past for Everyone is another website in our electronic resources, texts and links, providing access to new publications and teaching resources being developed "by the people, for the people."

Vision of Britain Through Time

The Vision of Britain through Time [1800-2001]web site provides a window into the Great Britain Historical GIS -- which stands for ''Geographical Information System''. The GB Historical GIS is a description of Britain and its localities, showing how they have changed through the centuries. The Vision of Britain site is designed primarily as a public resource for people interested mainly in local history, but the GB Historical GIS is also used for research projects into national topics like the origins of the north-south divide; the geography of infant mortality in the inter-war period, and its relationship with unemployment; and long-run trends in land use. The system holds information computerised from a range of historical sources, but each of them can be seen as a kind of ''geographical survey'' of Britain, or at least a large part of the country. Sources used include statistical works, census reports, historical boundary documents, historical maps, gazetteers, travel writings, etc.

William Corbett's Bookshop

William Corbett was a bookseller in Newcastle Upon Tyne, who died in 1626.  When he died, someone made an inventory of all the books in his shop.  The inventory and his will are in Durham University's Special Collections.  This website allows for exploration of 17th century English book trading, the network of individuals that brought books to Newcastle, Corbett's will, inventory records, and digital versions of some of the books. 

Women in Book History Bibliography

Compilation of secondary sources on women in the book trades, including writers, printers, typesetters, and binders.  Focus is on women in Britain, the U.S., and parts of Continental Europe.  Based initially on work done by Laura Fuderer, a librarian at University of Notre Dame Libraries on women in the book trades. 

Women's Library @ LSE

The Women's Library of the London School of Economics (LSE) presents this collection of over 300 digitized artifacts that span five centuries. From Photographs, Postcards, and Objects to Books, the material here offers insight into historical views of women and the history of the women's rights movement in England.

Women's Work in Rural England 1500-1700

World Digital Library

The World Digital Library (WDL) is a project of the U.S. Library of Congress, carried out with the support of the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO), and in cooperation with libraries, archives, museums, educational institutions, and international organizations from around the world.  It makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from all countries and cultures.  Its goals are to promote international and intercultural understanding; expand the volume and variety of cultural content on the Internet; provide resources for educators, scholars, and general audiences; build capacity in partner institutions to narrow the digital divide within and between countries.

World War One

From the British Library.  Brings together material from various institutions across Europe about Europe in WWI.  




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