The dress that actress Ellen Terry wore to play Lady MacBeth at the Lyceum theatre in 1888, has been restored by the National Trust. The dress was covered in the wings of iridescent green beetles. It’s horribly fascinating and suitably gothic! Here she is, her famous performance and dress immortalized in fine Pre-Raphaelite style by John Singer Sergant. You can see the original at Tate Britain.
25 years ago, an antiquarian bookseller from Adelaide bought some glass plate negatives at a suburban garage sale for a pittance. Now he’s realised these are images of an early expedition the Australian outback, and show some of the first ever pictures of the indigenous desert people of South Australia’s Far North and Western Australia’s inland, he’s selling them for $250,000.
Colman’s mustard celebrates its 200th anniversary! They’re celebrating with an online gallery of photographs, documents and vintage advertising images. Mmmm, fiery!! And to think, your ancestors might have been spreading the same condiment on their sausages at the time of the Napoleonic Wars!
The Mustard Club!
Meanwhile, if you’ve ever wondered what your ancestors drank, wonder no more! Guinness has created two new beers based recipes from its archives, the Dublin Porter and the West Indies Porter, dating back to 1796 and 1801! This makes me want to create some kind of mad historical mustard and Guinness Welsh rarebit. Yummy!
The Black Cultural Archives, documenting the history of black people in Britain, has moved into a new beautiful new centre and opened with much fanfare. A community-led organisation, formed by a tiny group of people in the wake of the 1981 riots, the centre works to educate people on black british history. The organisers have been campaigning and fundraising for decades to get this far, so big a congratulations to them. Their current exhibition is Re-imagine: black women in Britiain.
In China, historical research is being hampered by officials. Archives have been imposing new restrictions on researchers, making it more and more difficult to conduct research. Foreign researchers face additional hurdles, copying is no longer permitted, and some official archives have been pretty much closed altogether. On the other hand, masses of documents relating to Japanese war crimes against the Chinese during the 1930s and 40s have just been released. The fact that the Chinese government is controlling and maipulating its archives so strongly clearly shows what an important political tool history actually is.
On the other hand, the archival situation in Chile is improving. Remember the Breaking Bad sub-plot, where Gustavo claims the reason why his background is so mysterious is because Pinochet was a terrible record-keeper? That’s actually true!! …Archives are truly everywhere, even on tv shows about crystal meth. Anyway, Chilean human rights organisation called Londres 38 has been leading a campaign for ‘No More Secret Archives.’ The country has et to find out what happened to so many of the ‘disappeared’ from 40 years ago, but thanks to the campaign judges have been gradually opening some files. This shows that in many cases it’s possible to trace what happened to ‘disappeared’ people. Chile still has a long way to go, but it’s moving in the right direction, towards greater transparency about the past.