One that is being publicised at the moment is by Tracy Borman who reveals how the Tudor monarchs were constantly surrounded by an army of attendants, courtiers and ministers, even in their most private moments. A groom of the stool would stand patiently by as Henry VIII performed his daily purges, and when Elizabeth I retired for the evening, one of her female servants would sleep at the end of her bed.
Dr Tracy Borman is a historian, author and joint Chief Curator for Historic Royal Palaces. Her books include the highly acclaimed ‘Elizabeth’s Women: the Hidden Story of the Virgin Queen’; ‘Matilda: Queen of the Conqueror’; and ‘Witches: A Tale of Sorcery, Scandal and Seduction’. Her latest book is ‘The Private Lives of the Tudors’, published by Hodder & Stoughton.
This week (2 February 2016) The National Archives have launched a new record copying service, integrating the service into their online catalogue, Discovery, with revised costs and clearer guidance on how to order copies.
Record copying allows people to request digital or paper copies of TNA’s records – an essential service for those unable to visit The National Archives in person, or for when records are not available to download.
Reviewing record copying
The record copying service is a two-stage process: people send TNA the details of a document that they want copied, and the staff at Kew find and check the document to see if copies can be made and how much they will cost. After this, researchers can decide if they wish to order the copies.
The National Archives said “During reviews of the service, we found that the system was unintuitive and that we received a high number of speculative requests which did not become record copying orders, as well as requests we could not fulfil. We wanted to improve the success rate of the first stage, as well as make the service more perceptive and easy-to-use.”
The new process will be introducing a new first step which involves a paid-for page check, costing £8.24. This will cover TNA’s staff resources for them to find the information that a person wants copied, and then to assess whether they can safely copy it. To offset this cost, they have revised their current fees structure, reducing the cost of both digital and paper copies. Documents up to A3 in size will now both cost £1.10 per copy; digital copies previously cost £3.50 and paper copies £1.30.
At the same time TNA say that they are also integrating the record copying service into their online catalogue Discovery, to make sure all requests provide a valid document reference number. Also they will be introducing new features so people can track their order as it progresses through the record copying service.
The Battle of Trafalgar took place on the 21 October 1805. It was fought by the Royal Navy against the combined fleets of the French and Spanish Navies, during what was known as the War of the Third Coalition that took place between August–December 1805 within the wider Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815).
Trafalgar was the most decisive naval victory of the war when twenty-seven British ships of the line were led by Admiral Lord Nelson aboard his flagship HMS Victory. The British defeated thirty-three French and Spanish ships of the line under the French Admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve in the Atlantic off the south-west coast of Spain, just west of Cape Trafalgar. The Franco-Spanish fleet lost twenty-two ships in the fight while not a single British vessel was lost.
The British victory dramatically established Britain’s naval supremacy and was achieved in part through Nelson not adhering to the prevailing naval tactics, which involved engaging an enemy fleet in a single line of battle parallel to the enemy hit each other with broadsides. Nelson instead divided his smaller force into two columns which he then ordered to sail at right angles against the larger enemy fleet and so won the battle.
At the height of the battle Nelson was shot by a French musketeer and died shortly after, becoming one of Britain’s greatest war heroes.
The National Archives blog has announced the release of the latest batch of the MI5 files to view at TNA in Kew while a selection have been digitized.
They write that “As always they contain a fascinating new glimpse into the murky world of Second World War and Cold War espionage and provide extraordinary insights into some of the most famous of all spies.”
The National Archives this week announced the release of more than 3,300 Security Service records available online to view. Within these new records is a fascinating file on the use of an ‘agent provocatrice’ by The Special Operations Executive (SOE) in Second World War Operations.
The SOE used this ‘agent provocatrice’, known as ‘Fifi’ but real name Marie Christine Chilver, as part of the training programme for SOE students before they were sent out into enemy territory. Students would use the skills they learned at SOE’s security training school at Beaulieu to carry out secret training activities all over Britain. The trainers would lay traps, either police interrogations or the temptation to part with secret information to a pretty young lady. Fifi played her part in these training schemes and managed to trip up many of the SOE trainees.
The release of this file (HS 9/307/3) reveals Fifi’s identity and her special talent for character assessment which enabled her to extract information from up and coming trainee secret agents. The file contains Fifi’s reports on trainee agents and handwritten correspondence from her relating to SOE training operations.
The National Archives has this week announced their new Chief Executive, Jeff James, has now started his new role.
His official title is ‘Chief Executive and Keeper’ and his previous experience at The National Archives will no doubt be invaluable in his new role. He has previously been Director of Operations and Services at The National Archives, involved in a variety of tasks from managing customer relations to the development and delivery of public services.
The National Archives have announced a number of talks and events, many of them free over the coming months.
With the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, there’s a free talk on the 5th August 2014 at 2pm entitled: “The Royal Navy and British Army Go To War: Mobilisation and their Roads to War 1914.”
This talk will discuss what happened to the Royal Navy and the British Army between the end of July and the end of the first week in August 1914, how the two services were mobilised for war and what records The National Archives holds and what the records tell us.
The speaker will be William Spencer, the Principal military specialist at The National Archives. More details including how to book a place on the event can be found at The National Archives website.
If you’re keen to find out what’s happening at The National Archives and to have your say, next Saturday sees one of the eight User Forum meetings at The National Archives. The Forums take place at The National Archives at Kew and last for approximately one to one and a half hours.
The National Archives have announced they will begin to archive tweets and You Tube videos previously published by UK central government departments.
According to TNA, the UK government social media archive contains over 7,000 videos that date from 2006 to early 2014 and over 65,000 tweets from 2008 to September 2013. It covers some major events in our recent history, including: The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the London 2012 Olympic Games,Budget announcements and the formation of the Coalition government following the general election in 2010.
The aim is to permanently preserve them as official public records, for future generations to no doubt read what life was like, as we family historians do now! There’s more information at The National Archives website.
The National Archives have announced a new management appointment this week. Catherine Lee, Director General of Law and Access to Justice in the Ministry of Justice, has today announced that Jeff James has been appointed to the position of Chief Executive and Keeper, The National Archives.
Prior to his current role at the Chartered Institute of Housing, he was Director of Operations and Services at The National Archives for nearly six years. In this time he was responsible for leading the development and delivery of public services; overseeing The National Archives’ estates and assets; managing customer relations and maintaining service excellence.