Posts from 2014

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  • Humans 1, Foxes 0: from our Sports Correspondent


    Huntsmen in their red jackets, steam rising from huge horses on a frosty morning, the clamour of hounds: for many years this scene, immortalised on a thousand sporting prints or table mats, was a fixture in the British countryside and… Continue reading

  • Eggnog from abroad


    Eggnog: the festive cocktail that either brings joy or strikes fear into the heart, depending on one’s tolerance for raw eggs. I happened across Leo Engel’s 1878 book American & Other Drinks while browsing our recent contributions to the UK… Continue reading

  • Spotlight: Christmas greetings from 5 Field Ambulance


    Christmas cards come in myriad forms, from the reverently pious through the cloyingly schmaltzy to the frankly naff. Humour, where it appears, is usually gently playful (Santa stuck in a chimney, Rudolf held up by celestial traffic lights) or achingly… Continue reading

  • The case of Miss Banks


    As 1909 drew to an end, Miss Beatrice Mary Jane Banks was in her early thirties and living in East Sussex. Her routine sounds agreeable: she made her home in a country house on the outskirts of a small village,… Continue reading

  • Christmas sells: an example of seasonal advertising


    Whether its celebrity spotting in perfume campaigns or the cuteness of the John Lewis penguin, Christmas themed advertising is now almost as much a seasonal tradition as the Queen’s Christmas message. As this bookmark from the 1890s shows, Christmas advertising… Continue reading

  • Panto season on the Eastern Front


    Christmas on the front lines during World War I was a time when military personnel were most likely to get home-sick. While entertainment was provided throughout the year to keep spirits up, Christmas was when the troops most needed cheer.… Continue reading

  • Lionel Penrose: a man of many talents


    Katy Makin reveals some insights into the personality of the multi-talented geneticist Lionel Penrose from his personal papers, which have been digitised as part of the Codebreakers: Makers of Modern Genetics online resource. Lionel Sharples Penrose (1898-1974) is best known… Continue reading

  • The spirit of Christmas


    What does this bottle for holy water, from the Southern Italian port of Bari, have to do with Christmas? It is one of a series of Holy water flasks to be found in the original collections of Henry Wellcome (and… Continue reading

  • Studying transgender and transvestism: a new archive


    Wellcome Collection’s exhibition about the study of sex, The Institute of Sexology, highlights the profound effect that the gathering and analysis of information can have in changing attitudes and lifting taboos. Much of the display takes its inspiration from archives… Continue reading

  • Health posters from the past: visual responses to AIDS


    On World AIDS Day (1 December) take some time to look back at how the world responded to the AIDS epidemic by browsing our international collection of over 3000 AIDS posters online. When AIDS gripped the world in 1981, the… Continue reading