Treasure Chest Thursday: 'Discover Your History'

The UK family history magazine “Your Family History” was rebranded late last year as Discovery Your History and yippee, we have a subscription to it. Whereas “Your Family History” was more dedicated to genealogy, the new publication promotes itself as “Ancestors, Heritage, Memories.” Even just flicking through a couple of issues (namely the late arriving issues of September and October) shows that there is going to be some great browsing material over the coming months.

The issues are packed with treats, such as an article on the New Zealander Archie McIndoe, who pioneered plastic surgery in World war two – the article focuses on the town of East Grimstead, West Sussex, where his patients, the ‘guinea pigs” lived. (He is held in such esteem in the town they are going to unveil a statue of him there this year.)

January 2014 issue
There’s an article on the London Underground – it turned 150 last year – and also on the subject of  travel, a lively piece on The Perils of Travel in Jane Austen’s day and how this most beloved author may have travelled –  she apparently got around England far more than most women did of the time.

Food – oh my gosh, who can possibly go past an article on food – especially an article on biscuits, with an interesting 1854 recipe for a “brown digestive” from the digestion-obsessed Victorian era. Not sure I’m game enough to try that one, even if my British ancestors may have enjoyed them.

But one of the most fascinating articles is on Port Sunlight in Merseyside, North West England  – the “industrial garden village” created by William Lever (the inventor, with his brother Darcy, of Sunlight soap). William wanted to create a beautiful village for his employees to live in, with Arts & Crafts styled houses, welfare provision, and facilities like a training college -and thus he founded the village of Port Sunlight. Last year Port Sunlight celebrated 125 years – ¾ of the properties are now privately owned, although almost all buildings are “listed” and the village is a conservation area managed by a trust set up by Unilever. Fascinating!

If you’re in the research centre, do take a look at publications like “Discover Your History” – some of these magazines are not available as borrowable copies, but they are jam packed with information about things British - and entertaining to boot.

Joanne

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