What a week!

Monday I found myself running around London this week from one event to the next.  It started with a short hop to London on the Eurostar from Brussels before heading into a City archive where I have been asked to review some bullion records: a great start to the week!

Tuesday afternoon I attended a Witness Seminar that looked at the Role and Functions of British High Commission in Pretoria held at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.  An amazing line-up and a great insight into behind the scene operations and what it takes to get things done! I was highly impressed with Dr Sue Onslow (Institute of Commonwealth Studies) who chaired one of the sessions and also Dame Nicola Brewer, until very recently she was the British High Commissioner to South Africa since June 2009. Nicola gave a great performance and a frank and honest insight into her contribution during her time in office. I came away and having researched her achievements feel that I would put her on my list of ‘movers and shakers’ I could learn a lot from!

Wednesday saw me at King’s College London for an evening lecture by Vernon Bogdanor on ‘Britain in 1914: What would you have done?’ A great orator and it made me realise how much I already know and have retained about the origins of the Great War. This tied in nicely with the three conference paper outlines I had been asked to draft, which will take weeks of prep to prepare should I get any of the gigs next year!

Thursday I lived it up, more records to go through and some interesting bits and bobs put into the old memory box to be pulled out later. I had a nice email to say that my request to see some important closed archival papers for a Journal article I am writing had been granted, it’s not always what you know but who supports your request. PM I attended a glitzy awards ceremony at the HSBC in Canary Wharf. Lovely people, lovely venue, well deserved winner…..  I meet an interesting fellow there and arranged for coffee in the New Year as I want to learn more about his research project (more to follow on this later!)

Friday after a day fingering through papers I hopped back on the Eurostar and headed back to Belgium for a well earned rest!

Meet the Archivists – 28th November 2013


The BAC’s archive workshop for new researchers.

Fancy exploring treasure troves of untapped historical sources? Want to find out how you can use business archives in your undergraduate, masters or PhD research?

The Business Archives Council has held five one-day workshops in recent years where students could meet the archivists and find out how! The next one will be held on Thursday 28th November 2013 at Barclays (Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London).

The workshop aims to explore ways in which new research students can identify and use business records in a surprising variety of different research fields. Participants will be able to explore the vast and varied materials available at many of the UKs major and minor business archives.

Following a successful formula from previous years, the day will commence with an archives skills workshop run by eminent academic historians, followed by a buffet lunch, where participants will be able to meet the archivists. The programme is:

10:00-10:30 Registration

10:30-11:00 Alex Ritchie, National Archives: Introduction

11:00-11:30 Dr Valerie Johnson (TBC), National Archives: What’s the use? Your research and business archives

11:30-11:45 Break

11:45-12:15 Dr Roy Edwards, University of Southampton: Where to begin? Searching for primary sources in business history

12:15-13:00 Practical session and round-up

The morning session will be chaired by Dr Mike Anson, Bank of England Archive

13:00-14:30 Sandwich lunch around the archive expositions: a chance for researchers and archivists to meet

Archives wishing to participate should contact james.mortlock@hsbc.com

Students wishing to register should contact M.J.Aldous@lse.ac.uk

Springing with Springboard girls!

Day 2 in promoting me went really well last Friday. 22 ladies (highly intelligent ladies I may add) controlled in one room by our lovely trainer Emma. Of course with any class the naughty ones ended up at the back of the class. I enjoyed this session more than the last as our group is getting to know and trust each other. My partner in crime researches brain functions, another is a surgeon and the others play with mice (for fun one even had a class to become a taxidermist : most of the group were highly impressed!).

After class we made it out for a quick drink at the Xmas market next to the Thames. A good experience for so many chattering ladies and a whole lot of fun. Exploring what makes us special group is that we are all on a journey promoting our talents!

Bring on next month, I need to hear myself laugh more…….

And we are off!

Welcome to my blog.  Having had my head in the books for the last 4 years I am getting to grips with technology and updating my skills.  Dr Blagg is setting out as an independent historical researcher.  Over the next couple of months I hope to record a couple of papers that I am writing. One for a journal and the other for a conference.

I took the summer off to recharge my batteries, a PhD really takes it out of you! Having caught up with family and friends and nursed my husband through unplanned heart surgery I am looking forward to getting stuck back into the archives. The next 6 months are all about getting me back into the real world, earning some money, meeting new people and most importantly promoting my work as an independent researcher.  My aim is to raise my research profile and see how many people I can reach out to.  As well as the Language of Access course I have enrolled on another course offered by King’s College London called Springboard Women’s Development.

Extending my circle will also allow me to share my research interests.  The biggest is Gold.  My thesis charted the history of a gold refinery operated by the Rothschild family from 1852-1968.  It offered a window onto the London Gold Market and also the development of the global economy.  I think it was a fascinating subject, my mom loves to read and hear about it, my husband has heard it so many times he knows nearly as much as I do and friends have been good sounding boards. However, I would like a new audience to share my findings with and to join in my quest for knowledge.

Over and out for now!