Monthly Archives: December 2013

Happy Christmas

ILN xmas tree

Did you know that Christmas trees only became popular in this country in Victorian times? In 1848 the Illustrated London News published a picture of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their children enjoying their Christmas celebrations around a tree, and the idea caught on.

Christmas trees were originally popular in Germany, but their use only spread to other countries in the 19th century when they became popular with the nobility and spread via the royal families of Europe. In the UK there had been a tradition of decorating homes with evergreen branches, but the idea of an entire fir tree in the house was new. Victoria, with her German relatives, had grown up used to the idea of a fir tree at Christmas, and this was further encouraged by Albert after their marriage. The idea gained popularity, and the picture in the Illustrated London News  gave a massive boost to the popularity of Christmas trees. Soon, advertisements for them began to appear in newspapers. Nowadays, the British Christmas Tree Growers Association grows approximately 8 million trees for sale each year.

The Illustrated London News is part of the Special Collections periodicals collection.

Happy Christmas from Special Collections! You can check when we are open after Christmas on our Special Collections guide.

library xmas tree

Birthday celebrations

On Tuesday 10th December 2013 the Library turns 40, and, anyone who also follows our Library blog, Bookmark Daily, will have seen that we’re running a series of events, including displays, online events, and the launch of our exclusive Library Song to mark it.

There will be a Library Birthday Cake-Off downstairs in the eating area at 2pm. Don’t forget to bring some cake! You’ll also find displays on the ground floor which will be there until the end of term.

Photos and memories can be viewed on the Library’s Pinterest board and you can find out more about the history of the Library on our timeline.

Nelson Mandela

Bookmark Daily

27th January, 1971…

Dear Miss Goolagong,

It has been reported that you are considering going to South Africa and it is on this matter that I have been instructed to write to you. You have already achieved a splendid reputation as a tennis player, and we wish you even greater successes in the future…

You cannot be unaware, however, that the structure of South African tennis is racialist, and that thousands of non-white South Africans, natives of the country, are excluded from the ‘national’ body which has invited you and they will be denied participation in the ‘national’ events in which you take part…

This letter to Aboriginal superstar of 1970s tennis, Evonne Goolagong, was written by Dennis Brutus (1924 – 2009). Brutus was a South African of African and European ancestry.  A poet, academic and anti-apartheid campaigner, he was one of the founders of SAN-ROC, (South African Non-Racial Olympic Committee.)…

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