From Rise to Red Top: The Role of the Mirror in Shaping British Journalism

Old and New cover of Mirror

│By Rebecca Bowden, Associate Acquisitions Editor, Gale Primary Sources│

From its inception in 1903, the Mirror has played a pivotal role in the history of British journalism, and today is the only mainstream, left-wing tabloid remaining in the UK. The newspaper has had a history of highs and lows, peaking in 1967 with a daily circulation of 5.25 million; understanding that history is an essential part of understanding British historical journalism. The Mirror not only played a prominent role in shaping newspapers as we know them today, but also acts as a distinctive counterpoint to the more conservative reporting in much of Britain’s mainstream press.

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Humanity and Courage: Refugees and the Memory of Those Who Saved Them

Refugees leave a life boat

│By Rebecca Bowden, Associate Acquisitions Editor, Gale Primary Sources

By the end of 2018, the UN reported that an unprecedented 70.8 million people had been forced from their homes by conflict and persecution. Since its start on 15 March 2011, the Syrian Civil War has caused nearly 6.7 million Syrians to become refugees, with another 6.2 million people displaced within Syria. At the same time, the number of refugees from across North Africa increased significantly with the Arab uprisings of 2011. Additional refugee crises arose throughout the 2010s – although there has been little reporting on the subject, such as the over four million Venezuelans who have left their country since 2014. Most recently, there has been the much better covered flight of 900,000 Rohingya to Myanmar. Modern warfare, internecine strife, economic disruption and now climate change have both accelerated the number and exacerbated the breadth of refugee crises, impacting governments and straining international relations.

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Introducing ‘Women’s Studies Archive: Voice and Vision’

"The Latest Paris Fashions." Myra's Journal, 1 Apr. 1889. Women's Studies Archive

│By Rachel Holt, Gale Primary Sources Acquisitions Editor

​ Rachel Holt is an Acquisitions Editor at Gale, working on the Gale Primary Sources portfolio. Managing the Women’s Studies Archive series, Rachel works closely with source libraries and other archival institutions around the world and tracks academic trends in Women’s and Gender Studies to ascertain which primary sources are required. In this blog post she answers the following questions about the new module, Voice and Vision:


  • What is in this new archive?

  • Why did Gale digitise these particular collections?

  • Why have we called the new instalment Voice and Vision?

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    Cultural Appropriation or Swiftian Satire? Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado

    “The Mikado.” Illustrated London News, 4 Apr. 1885

    | by Masaki Morisawa, Senior Product Manager, Library Reference, Tokyo |

    Last year, an American high school student’s twitter account flamed up when she posted prom pictures of herself wearing a cheongsam, or Chinese dress. Some Asian Americans accused her, who is not of Chinese descent, of cultural appropriation. “My culture is NOT your [expletive] prom dress,” wrote one particularly upset commenter. Others, including many Asians living in Asia, defended her actions and dismissed such criticism as irrelevant.

    While “cultural appropriation” is a fairly recent term, similar debates have arisen in the past where the borrowing of “exotic” elements from foreign cultures have been criticised as offensive or disrespectful. One such example is Gilbert and Sullivan’s opera The Mikado, a work that is often hailed as the duo’s masterpiece, yet at times has stirred controversy due to its use of Japanese costume and settings. In this post I would like to take a look at the history of Mikado performances and the controversies surrounding them.

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    The Peterloo Massacre, August 1819

    Reform. Libel. -- Sedition. -- Treason. -- Persecution. 1819, January - 1820, November. Radical Politics and the Working Man in England: Part One: Sets 7-11, 13-32, and 34-46 Set 40; Vol 1. British Library. Nineteenth Century Collections Online, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CREORT076326165/GDCS?u=webdemo&sid=GDCS&xid=c5017dd3

    │By Clem Delany, Associate Acquisitions Editor│

    Two hundred years ago, on 16th August 1819, at least seventeen people died at St Peter’s Field, Manchester, during a peaceful protest calling for the reform of parliamentary representation.

    This year, the two hundred-year anniversary, has been marked in the UK by a wealth of newspaper articles covering ‘a tragic event of minor historical significance that happens to accord with a Marxist version of Britain’s past’ 1 (The Times) or ‘the bloodiest event on English soil in the nineteenth century’ 2 (The Daily Mail). The BBC, from its new headquarters in Manchester, produced ten radio programmes and performances to mark the anniversary. You can buy a Peterloo mug or a Peterloo tea towel, and around Manchester live music, poetry readings, open-air karaoke and other family-friendly events took place over the weekend.

    I dug through the Gale archives to see how the event was represented at the time, and at its centennial in 1919.

    Read moreThe Peterloo Massacre, August 1819