It is well known that the next 12-months see several anniversaries of major significance: the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta (1215); the 600th anniversary of Agincourt (1415); and the 200th anniversary of Waterloo (1815). But those three anniversaries are not the whole story, with 2015 also marking several other events of historical and literary importance: a selection of these are described below, together with details relating to the most interesting resources held by our Information and Research (IAR) library in each particular case.
Thomas Wolsey made Cardinal (10th September 1515: 500th anniversary)
The BBC have well-selected 2015 as the transmission date for their adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall – because this year marks a half-millennium since Thomas Wolsey, Henry VIII’s trusted lieutenant and a key character in Mantel’s depiction of sixteenth-century courtly intrigue, was made a Cardinal by Pope Leo X. Readers wishing to explore the historical background to these fictionalised events will find much of interest in our collection, including a 1726 biography of Wolsey himself.
First issue of the London Gazette (7th November 1665: 350th anniversary)
Reckoned to be the longest continuously-published newspaper in the UK, the London Gazette is an official journal of record for the British government. The Information and Research collection stretches all the way from 2013 back to 1665 and the first issue. The department also holds a work exploring the development of the journal over its first three centuries.
Birth of Anthony Trollope (April 24th 1815; 200th anniversary); births of WB Yeats and Rudyard Kipling (June 13th and December 30th: 150th anniversary)
Three titans of English (and Irish and Indian) literature: the excellent IAR collection of literary works contains many books by and about Trollope, Yeats and Kipling – novels, poems, biographies, memoirs and letters – including all the novels in Trollope’s ‘Chronicles of Barsetshire’ series and first editions of both Kipling’s Barrack-room Ballads (1892) and Yeats’ The Secret Rose (1897).
The ending of the American Civil War and slavery in the United States (June 22nd and December 6th 1865: 150th anniversary); Selma to Montgomery Civil Rights Marches; and death of Malcolm X (March 7th and February 21st 1965: 50th anniversary)
Three events, separated by one-hundred years, but intimately connected through their central theme: African-American history. Among other works, IAR holds contemporary accounts of American slavery; all three volumes of Shelby Foote’s magisterial history The Civil War: A Narrative; first-hand accounts of key events in the civil rights movement from Martin Luther King and speeches by Malcolm X.
Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister (May 10th 1940: 75th anniversary); Winston Churchill dies (January 24th 1965: 50th anniversary)
Two key moments in British political and social history. Churchill’s ascension to the top political job in the nation swung the tide of war, while his funeral was the largest state funeral in world history to that point. Many of Churchill’s most famous speeches and statements during World War II can be traced and contextualised through our holdings of Hansard (verbatim debates in the Houses of Commons and Lords) and reactions to his death can be explored in detail via online access to The Times Digital Archive(which covers the period from 1785-1985). Information and Research also holds an extensive collection of books by and about Churchill himself.
You are welcome to view any of the items mentioned here – with some being available for loan. Please contact the department on 0113 2478282 for more information. Or pop in! (we’re on the 2nd Floor of the Central Library).