Love, love (or just boys?)

Diarist: Anonymous Diary Dated: 1978 and 1979 ‘30 July 1978: Our last day. Lo and I stayed at pool all day enjoyed it. Others went to beach party. We to disco at end got kisses from Billy + Hans WOW! Blush.’ MEMORANDA 1979 Boys January Blonde 5th former who I see at lunch time. Thomas, cycles to school. Lives near. February Dominic Butler (from Latchfords party!) Jewish boy. Simon F... March Simon F.... Dominic Butler lives at Bridgecroft, 70a Kent Road, Harrogate. Tel 69846 Thomas April Dominic Butler…. […] August Dutch boy looks like Guy from monkeys Humphrey Dutch boy [...]

2018-11-16T13:14:17+00:00By |Latest News|

All about the almanac (part 2)

.....By the late sixteenth century, European almanacs became very popular; as a category they outsold the Bible. These volumes, like their Babylonian predecessor, contained information on the moon, stars and sun, but also included agricultural and ecclesiastical calendars, dates of fairs and markets, prognostications, political commentary, advices for life and health, recipes, weather forecasts, harvest predictions and medical notes. Like Bibles, almanacs were often used to record personal information such as domestic accounts, births, marriages and deaths. Many almanacs were published interleaved with blank pages for owners to make entries. Satirical almanacs even had spoof-diary notes printed in the text. [...]

2018-11-09T13:06:54+00:00By |Latest News|

Back to Bolivia for November (nearly 200 years ago)

Diarist: James Bennetts Williams Diary Dated: 1883-87 As we discovered last month, the diarist recounts his emigration from Cornwall to Bolivia to work in the silver mines; his move followed the decline of Cornish tin-mining in the second half of the nineteenth century. ‘Thursday 8 November 1883: […] 4 or 5 of the men went on shore yesterday without leave & stayed all night & when they came on board in the morning they were drunk & soon got their discharge. I hear some of them have joined the Chilian [sic] Navy. Went to bed about 8 p.m.’

2018-11-08T13:09:43+00:00By |Latest News|

All about the almanac….

Around 1400 BC, Babylonian astronomers inscribed clay tablets with dated charts containing information on the movements of the moon, stars and sun. These charts are an early precursor to the appointment diary which continues to print information on lunar and solar movements. Such movements linked astronomy to divining the future, and so later printed almanacs came to include horoscopes, astronomical data, religious and agricultural calendars, and medical tips. Almanac meaning ‘calendar’ appears in Latin in the twelfth century. One possible – and charming - etymology is the Arabic ‘al-munak’, or making a camel kneel; this term for a halt may [...]

2018-10-31T10:00:20+00:00By |Latest News|

James B Williams Vols 2 and 3

So last week we were introduced to the GDP diarist James B Williams' first volume of diaries - Cornwall to Bolivia... Vol 2 (1884-6) reports on the three years he spent working in Bolivian mines (entries become shorter as life becomes more routine); and the third reports on the trip home to England. There is a gap of about 10 months between the last entry in volume 2 and the first in volume 3. These diaries include additional material, including financial records, scraps of manuscript poetry, and a passport issued to the diarist in Chile. The diarist was married to [...]

2018-10-30T09:32:23+00:00By |Latest News|

Cornwall to Bolivia (Vol 1)

James Bennetts Williams aged 27 (1883) emigrated to Bolivia to work in the silver mines, following the decline of Cornish tin-mining in the second half of the nineteenth century. The first volume gives a detailed, vivid account of the diarist's journey from Cornwall to Bolivia: including, sightings of flying fish and mirages; shooting wild ducks; lashings of drunkenness and death and encounters with native women and spying. Locations: Truro, Birkenhead, Bordeaux, Vigo, Lisbon, Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo, Punta Arenas, Lota, Talcahuano, Valparaiso, Los Vilos, Tongoy, Coquimbo, Sarco, Huasco, Caldera, Taltal, Paposo, Antofogasta, Cobija, Tocopilla, Barriles, Calama, Huanchaca, Atocha, Tatasi.  

2018-10-25T09:22:02+01:00By |Latest News|

Nautical Themes

This month will be devoted to all things shipboard. First up is Alfred Foster Statham's late 1800s account of his apprenticeship on board the ship Eulomene on trade voyages including Liverpool to Calcutta, he was 15 at the time. His diaries are GDP 116 and are available to read at the archive.

2018-11-29T12:35:04+00:00By |Collections, Latest News|


GDP 386 are the diaries of a train spotter. The entries are frequent and regular. Mr John-Miller recounts at the top of most entries - as a form of perfunctory subtitle - the weather for the day. He often writes in some detail about his whereabouts throughout the day and in the evening; generally spent at work or home, he often notes what entertainment he decides on in the evening or what type of evening meal he had. Through these brief details a portrait of a man is pieced together - and yet another piece of history is made.

2018-06-29T12:18:23+01:00By |Latest News|

Mine’s a slider

GDP 385 - spent much of her life fruitfully caring for her family. During the second world war she was one of a new army of women called on to become over-night engineers and worked assiduously on plane exit slides for the RAF.

2018-06-25T12:12:51+01:00By |Latest News|

The Motorcycle Diaries

A recent addition to the archive consists of the motorcycle diaries of Father Wilkinson, a beloved and loving priest, who had a passion for the open road. And butter. He created - possibly - the first motorcycle butter fridge. Will travel BUT will also have butter. The diaries chart over 50 years of motorcycling - a little bit about dairy and some ecclesiastical - history.

2018-06-21T12:12:30+01:00By |Latest News|
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