Fresh evidence from the archives: When did Martin McGuinness actually leave the PIRA?

A previously unseen archival document compiled on behalf of the Conservative Party Northern Ireland Committee, dated 3 July 1975, and located in the Julian Amery Papers, Churchill Archives Centre, University of Cambridge, reveals that despite Martin McGuinness’s repeated assurances that he left the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) in 1974, senior members of the British Conservative Party and British Army believed that McGuinness was still a prominent ‘I. R. A. leader’ in Derry by the summer of 1975, to quote … Read more

From the Derry Journal archives…

A short piece of “nostalgia” from the Derry Journal archives, May 19, 1989. “The SDLP leadership has lost its way,” claimed Derry Sinn Fein councillor, Mitchel McLaughlin, commenting yesterday on SDLP Leader John Hume’s invitation to the Unionists to engage in talks without an agenda, but within the context of Northern Ireland. Colr. McLaughlin said the gap between between nationalist demands for peace, unity and independence and the willingness of John Hume, Austin Currie and Eddie McGrady to settle for … Read more

How the Dutch have seen us

There are some great images of local interest in this Netherlands photographic archive. They give a fascinating glimpse of how the Dutch have seen us down through the years. From the home of William III, we can see a September 1690 pamphlet account of his military campaign in Ireland, including the siege of Derry and the Battle of the Boyne, right through to a not-so-appreciative account of the men of Orange to be found in a newspaper cartoon at the height … Read more

Boston College: A glimpse of the archive…

Let’s keep the dialogue ‘hinged’ this time.  With Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre aiming to try to head the US Government off at the pass, the legal battle over each ruling along the way continues in the PSNI/HET’s attempt to access some of the material in the Boston College Belfast Project archive. In the meantime, however, Boston-based lawyer, Ted Folkman has been following the legal arguments.  And he’ll be live-blogging today’s hearing [7pm GMT – Added link]. He’s already noted … Read more

Boston College: “an example of just how unhinged the dialogue has become in some quarters.”

I had mentioned in the comments on a recent post that there was little threat of the pre-emptive destruction of the Boston College archive material which is being sought by the Historical Enquiries Team.  As Thomas E Hachey and Dr Robert K O’Neill of Boston College point out in the Irish Times There have been people who have faulted Boston College for not adopting this or that particular stratagem, and we appreciate how expressions of concern have sometimes been prompted by … Read more

Boston College to hand over Dolours Price interviews

According to Kevin Cullen, reporting for the Irish Times, US district court judge William Young is continuing his in camera review of the Boston College archive material.  And he has already ordered the college to hand over the recorded interviews of former Provisional IRA member Dolours Price.  From the Irish Times report College officials said Ms Price’s interviews will be turned over to US prosecutors acting on behalf of British authorities, believed to be the PSNI, by today. US district … Read more

Boston College Ruling: “These are serious allegations, and they weigh strongly in favor of disclosing the confidential information.”

Via Newshound.  The Boston Globe reports the long awaited US court ruling on the release of the Boston College archive material.  And it’s something of a half-way house.  For now.  From the Boston Globe report A federal judge rejected yesterday a motion by the trustees of Boston College to quash subpoenas that order them to turn over recordings of former members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army and other items to British officials investigating crimes including murder and kidnapping. But Judge … Read more

“You can see Newton’s mind at work…”

To add to the open access treasure trove at the Royal Society, Cambridge University Library is putting online some of its collection of books, maps, manuscripts and journals. We have called the first phase of our work on the Cambridge Digital Library the Foundations Project, which runs from mid-2010 to mid-2013 and has been made possible through a lead gift of £1.5m by Dr Leonard Polonsky. This generous support will enable the Library to develop its technical infrastructure and create significant … Read more

Open access at Royal Society historical archive

From baby steps to giant leaps?  As the Guardian’s GrrlScientist notes, the Royal Society, established on Wednesday 28th November 1660, has blown the doors off their historical archive – papers published more than 70 years ago – all the way back to the first issue of Philosophical Transactions in 1665.  Not for the first time, but this time it’s permanent. The BBC have picked out some strange tales from the archive. And the Big G’s GrrlScientist is “intensely curious to see your … Read more

“At the very least, there is negligence on the part of the researchers…”

Those involved in Boston College’s Northern Ireland archive continue to mutter about the motivations behind, and potential damage to future research from, the subpoena for their source material.  But as the Boston Globe report notes However, Stephen Pope, a theology professor at BC, said the guarantee of confidentiality to interview subjects is at best, naive, and at worst, manipulative, especially when conducting research like the BC project that “has such grave significance for society.’’ “It’s important to get legal advice … Read more

Here’s what a Retronaut is….

I happened in on an Nexters event run by the Big Society Network in London last Wednesday. There were a lot of fascinating projects being presented there, some of which I hope to catch up with after Thursday’s elections (including our apres match session at the Big Election Breakfast) are over… But I managed to catch up with a guy whose work I’ve long admired, Chris Wild, the would be retronaut… Listen! His blog is a fascinating read… Currently he’s … Read more

Friday thread: Remapping the past through archives…

The Belfast Telegraph has a nice little web story about a Belfast filmmaker George Clarke, who ‘thinks’ he discovered an instance of a timetraveller speaking into a mobile phone at the Hollywood Premier of Charlie Chaplin’s 1928 classic, The Circus. It was featured on Chris Wild’s excellent blog a few days ago (with some pretty sceptical comments from his readers). Chris is one to watch for the future. Not least because of the way he uses original material from the past … Read more

“Most people don’t realise how comprehensive this is.”

In the Belfast Telegraph Liam Clarke has a suggestion for dealing with the past.  It involves the extensive archive the Historical Enquiries Team has gathered together.  From the Belfast Telegraph article All available evidence on the 3,268 Troubles’ deaths has been assembled in a repository the size of the largest B&Q store near Lisburn. Besides police, Army and MI5 files, the HET has collated Press cuttings, the claims of paramilitary groups, the files of official investigations and more than 3,000 books … Read more

An archive of wondrous things

An interesting article in today’s Observer tells the story of a soon-to-be-complete online archive of wondrous things – the notes, photographs and diaries of archaeologist Howard Carter’s excavation of Tutankhamun’s tomb.  From the Observer article This is the Griffith Institute – arguably the best Egyptology library in the world. One of its most prized collections incorporates the notes, photographs and diaries of the English archaeologist Howard Carter, who discovered Tutankhamun’s resting place in 1922. The only intact pharaoh’s tomb ever discovered, it … Read more