Oct 242014

This is the fourth post looking at the most popular search terms, items and subjects that people have been browsing and searching on in Jisc MediaHub. Clicking through to the ‘Most Popular’ page allows you to take a closer look at the most recent popular items, searches and subjects. Here is a selection from the previous month (September 2014).

Image of Jisc MediaHub's "Most Popular" page, captured on Wednesday 1st October 2014.

Jisc MediaHub’s “Most Popular” page, captured on Wednesday 1st October 2014.


As well as the more general subjects of ‘sport’ and ‘football’, you can see that the more specific search on ‘St Helen’s Rugby League Challenge Cup Final 1961’ was particularly popular. This final was played at Wembley, where St. Helen’s beat Wigan 12-6. It is unclear why the 1961 Cup Final in particular has been so popular, so if anyone has an idea please let us know!

I particularly like this Rugby League Cup Final poster from an earlier year, 1934, which was designed for Transport for London and can be found on the Exploring 20th Century London website.

Image of a Rugby League Cup Final poster, designed forTransport for London in 1934.

Rugby League Cup Final – Poster. Transport for London, 1934.

The First World War

Britain’s Effort‘ is the most popular item viewed in Jisc MediaHub last month. For more details on this wonderful cartoon take a look at last October’s Most Popular blog post! Also proving very popular is the search for ‘First World War cinema’. During the First World War (1914-1918) the popularity of cinemas grew quickly, along with cinema stars such as Charlie Chaplin. However, the war also had a negative impact on cinemas, with many being damaged or destroyed here in the UK and over on the continent. Below is an image taken on the 9th October 1918 showing some men of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment in the wrecked interior of a German cinema in Cambrai. This item  is part of the Imperial War Museum’s First World War Collection available via the Culture Grid.

Image of three members of the patrol of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment in a wrecked interior of a German cinema theatre in Cambrai. Taken during the First World War on the 9th October 1918.

Ministry of Information First World War Official Collection. IWM First World War Collection, 1918.

Another popular item is a short report from Gaumont Graphic created in 1929 entitled ‘In Memory of the Victims of War‘, which shows a memorial service held in Berlin for the victims of the First World War.

Logic and Ethics

Not only do people search for people, things, events in Jisc MediaHub, but they also search for concepts and systems such as ‘logic’ (8th most popular subject this month) and ‘ethics’. If you carry out a search on the subject ‘logic’ you get back programmes from the Logic Lane series in Jisc MediaHub. This is a series of films tracing the development of philosophy at Oxford University from the 1930s to the early 1970s, featuring eminent figures such as Sir Alfred Ayer, Bernard Williams, Iris Murdoch and Sir Isaiah Berlin.

When searching under the subject ‘ethics’ many of the results are interviews from radio broadcasts. These are part of the London Broadcasting Company/Independent Radio News audio archive, consisting of 7,000 reel-to-reel tapes in a collection that runs from 1973 to the mid-1990s and relating to news and current affairs. Topics include the question of press freedom on the one hand and people’s privacy on the other, as well as sleaze in UK politics. Examples include: Princess Diana photographed in gym and one of several interviews on the Nolan Report, where he gives recommendations of his report on sleaze in UK politics.

North Sea Oil Sites

One very topical popular item is the news report on the auctioning of North Sea oil sites back in 1971, which was shown on ITV’s News at Ten. Oil and gas reserves in the North Sea was one of the issues raised as part of this year’s Scottish Referendum, which was held on the 18th September.

Still of a news report on the auction of North Sea oil sites, which took place in 1971. The image shows the auction delegation sitting in front of a map of the North Sea.

North Sea Oil Sites. ITV Late Evening News, 1971.

It is very interesting to hear about the process of auctioning oil sites, especially as it has such a bearing on Scotland’s future, particularly since the debate over oil revenues around the Scottish Independence Referendum which took place in September. The reporter in this ITV Late Evening News film says that “the North Sea can be stormy, but is politically calm“, which is of great importance to oil and gas companies. It was also reported that the Treasury was £37 million richer as a result of the sale of the plots in the North Sea.

Donald Campbell’s Bluebird Raised from Seabed

Another popular item is a news report on the raising of the wreckage of Donald Campbell’s ‘Bluebird’, which was used in an attempt by Campbell to break his own world water speed record back in 1967 in Coniston Lake. It ended in disaster when the craft somersaulted out of control, resulting in the crash and the loss of Sir Donald Campbell’s life. This short report includes an explanation of how the wreckage was brought to the surface and to the shore of the lake. ‘Bluebird’ will be restored through a volunteer-led project and shown at a local museum as a symbol of British endeavour.

Still from a news report on the raising of the wreckage of Sir Donald Campbell's 'Bluebird' from Comiston Lake. Image shows diver Bill Smith who discovered the wreckage back in 2000. Report by ITN in 2001.

Donald Campbell’s Bluebird Raised From Seabed. ITN, 2001.

Interview: Professional Shoplifter

A particularly fascinating and entertaining entry in our top ten most popular items this month is this interview with a professional shoplifter, as you don’t normally get to hear from people who shoplift for a living!

Still from an interview with a professional shoplifter, who is wearing a suit and sunglasses. Taken from the News at Ten, 1970.

Interview: Professional Shoplifter. ITV Late Evening News, 1970.

The questions asked as well as the answers are brilliant! Examples include: “What are your credentials for this job?“; “… You have spent 13 years in jail, so it might be said that you weren’t a very good shoplifter.“; and “to the petty thief it [closed circuit television] is a deterrent, but to people like myself this is a joke.


One of the most intriguing search terms from last month is the rather enigmatic ‘holes’! One example of a search result our 8th most popular search term will find is a photograph of a coal hole during the strike of 1926, taken by Barrie Whittamore. It is great to be able to find out, by reading the description on the ‘Picture the Past‘ website, that the man in the hole is called Ernest Preston.

Image of a coal hole during the 1926 miner's strike, showing four miners sitting around the hole and one miner in the hole. From the 'Picture the Past' Collection.

Coal hole, during 1926 strike. Picture the Past Collection, 1926.

I particularly like the magnifying glass feature on the ‘Picture The Past’ website! We also have our own version on the Jisc MediaHub website, offered where possible. See the image below for an example.

Lal Kafir Images in Pakistan

This Lal Kafir images in Pakistan of carved men and horses, from the Royal Geographical Society is another very popular item. As you can see, it is possible to zoom in to see specific areas of the image on the Jisc MediaHub website. Of the 63,670 image records MediaHub hosts 61,903 of them are zoom-able, so there is a 97% coverage. Those which are not zoom-able are either too small or have been uploaded by users and so do not support the zoom tool.

Detail of an image showing Lal Kafir carvings of men and horses in Pakistan. Photograph taken in 1918.

Detail from ‘Lal Kafir Images in Pakistan’. Royal Geographical Society and IBG, 1918.

It is also possible to see where this image was taken on a map. This feature is only available if there is specific location information for the item. Jisc MediaHub uses two types of location data:

  • Coordinate based – 68,286 records have at least one geographic coordinate associated with it, of which 10,200 are considered unique locations and are visible on the ‘Explore By Place‘.
  • Text based – 148,932 records have a “place” associated with them, a word rather than a coordinate, of which 129,969 have at least one country associated and the remaining 18,963 have other forms of location associated (area, city, region etc.).
Lal Kafir image and a Google map overlaid showing where the image was taken, in this case Pakistan, on the Jisc MediaHub website.

Lal Kafir Image and Google Map showing where the image was taken. Jisc MediaHub, 2014.

Jisc MediaHub also has a “locations” crowdsourcing feature just beneath the map thumbnail of an item if it is not sure whether a particular location is correct. Users can help Jisc MediaHub improve location data associated with a record by telling us whether the suggested location is relevant e.g. ‘France International Cat Exhibition‘.

This feature was developed using the Unlock service, which enables you to extract placenames and locations from a text and turn those placenames into coordinates on the map. These locations tend to be pretty good but we know they aren’t always perfect, so the “locations” crowdsourcing feature enables Jisc MediaHub to validate these suggestions.

As you can see from the highlights above and in previous months there is always a diverse range of subjects and types of materials, but there are also some general themes that emerge. It is really interesting to explore how the most popular search terms, items and subjects change each month. You can also further explore Jisc MediaHub in other ways, such as by collection, by place, and by time.

If you would like a closer look at what people have been searching for and viewing, just take a look at the Most Popular page on Jisc MediaHub. We would also love to hear your thoughts on why some of these items are popular – just let us know in the comments below or share your theories on Twitter with the hashtag #MediaHubTop10.



Sep 012014

We are pleased to announce that enhanced video is  now available for many of the subscription collections in Jisc MediaHub. These include over 23,000 videos from AP Archive, Getty (moving images),  IET.tv, ITV News and a subset of Wellcome Library videos. There are a further 37,100  videos from content originally delivered via NewsFilm Online.

The video was originally delivered at a resolution based on a specification created for the earlier Film and Sound Online and NewsFilm Online services, which then became collections within Jisc MediaHub. By transcoding these videos, using the high resolution files created during the digitisation process, into formats suitable for the web, EDINA can now deliver in enhanced definition, showcasing the high-quality media available from Jisc eCollections.

When will this enhanced video be included in Jisc MediaHub?

Transcoding at 480p is complete for AP Archive, Getty (moving images), IET.tv and ITV News and these are now available.

Transcoding of the NewsFilm Online videos is now complete and the Wellcome Library videos will be made available later on in the year.

What changes will I notice when I use Jisc MediaHub?

Where video has been enhanced you will notice the video on the full record page will appear larger and clearer. This is due to a 178% increase in image area of each video which will be transmitted at a bit rate of 2Mb/s.

Examples & Demonstrations

Below you will find screenshots and examples demonstrating the benefits of the video enhancement process.

Larger video player

These two screenshots show the larger video player that now appears on the record page for an enhanced video.

before enhancement

before enhancement

after enhancement

after enhancement

For the following examples move the slider on the widgets to compare how these materials looked before and after the enhancement process:

Fewer compression artifacts


A sharper image


Increased detail



 September 1, 2014  Posted by at 1:00 pm JISC MediaHub No Responses »
Aug 042014

It seems extraordinary to us now that the assassination of an unpopular Archduke in a relatively obscure country could have started the most significant war the world had ever known. A hundred years ago, on the 28th June 1914, a group of six teenage Serb terrorists set out to kill Archduke Franz Ferdinand during his visit to Sarajevo. They were protesting about the annexation of Bosnia by the Austro-Hungarian Empire to which the Archduke was heir.

Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, June 1914: IWM First World War (via Culture Grid)© IWM (Q 91848)

Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, June 1914: IWM First World War (via Culture Grid) © IWM (Q 91848)

The image above shows the Archduke departing from the Town Hall with his wife, Sophie. A short time later they would be shot dead by the 19 year old Gavrilo Princip. This act upset the balance of power between the two major alliances in Europe and set in train a series of  events, known as the July Crisis which would lead  to the outbreak of war a few weeks later. Princip was later to say that if he had known the final outcome of the murder he would never have proceeded.

Yugoslavia Special Report – Historical Look at the Balkan Crisis: Visnews: compliation from 28/6/1914 onwards

For an overview of why the Balkans region has been a focus of unrest for centuries, click on the Reuters film above which explains how the state of Yugoslavia was born in 1918.

Meanwhile Britain was undergoing social change which threatened the old order of aristocratic landowners. Trade unions were forming to protect workers’ rights and there had been several years of industrial strife. These factors had given Germany the opportunity to win more trade and British industry was losing out. Click on the image below to watch a cartoon which shows the British workman fighting back. This may have been produced as propaganda at the beginning of the war.

Animated cartoon of German Industrialist V British Workman: Gaumont Graphic c. 1914

Animated cartoon of German Industrialist V British Workman: Gaumont Graphic c. 1914

On 23rd July 1914, King George V and Edward, the 20 year old Prince of Wales spent time inspecting the the newly formed Grand Fleet. This was clearly a sign that tensions were high but it was unlikely any of the British public would have been aware war was so imminent and at that point the British Cabinet were doing all they could to ensure neutrality. Unfortunately the countdown to war had already started.

King George Visits Grand Fleet

King George Visits Grand Fleet: Gaumont Graphic Newsreel: 23-07-1914

Observers in the North  East of Scotland would have noticed something was afoot: A local photographer off the coast of Wick captured this image of battleships which were a presence in the area during WW1. It’s probable these ships would subsequently be involved in the Battle of Jutland in 1916 when the Grand Fleet fought the German  Navy’s High Seas Fleet, resulting in great loss of life.

 A local photographer off the coast of Wick captured this image of battleships which were a presence in the area during WW1 Home fleet, Wick Bay: The North Highland College (Johnston Collection)  The Wick Society c.1915

Home fleet, Wick Bay: The North Highland College (Johnston Collection) The Wick Society c.1915

On the 4th August 1914 Britain finally declared war on Germany following the German invasion of Belgium. The Kaiser had feared being caught in a pincer movement between France and Russia and needed Belgium to give him safe passage in order that he could attack France. Belgium refused and the German troops flooded in despite the Kaiser’s attempts to call them back at the last moment.

The following propaganda cartoon was made in 1918 to show Britain and the Empire’s contribution to the war effort. It portrays the Kaiser’s warmongering activities in a comical way.

Kaiser Wilhelm prepares to invade Belgium ImperialWar Museum (films) 1918

Kaiser Wilhelm keeps an eye on Britain as he prepares to invade Belgium: IWM (films) 1918

In early August 1914  many thousands of men came forward to enlist and fight for their country. Everyone was told the war would be over by Christmas and volunteers signed up with no expectation of a protracted conflict. Click on the clip below to watch crowds of volunteers queuing to enlist outside the War Office.

Recruiting in August 1914: Gaumont Graphic Newsreel : 10-08-1914

Recruitment took place across the country and was boosted by the numbers of unemployed men who were looking for a wage. After some intial training these inexperienced troops were despatched to face an uncertain future on the Western Front.

Volunteers drilling in the courtyard of Burlington House: IWM (images) 1914-1918

Volunteers drilling in the courtyard of Burlington House:
IWM (images) 1914-1918


No one had wanted war and yet ultimately it had seemed impossible to avoid. All  the nations who took part were hugely fearful for the future. David Grey, Britain’s Foreign Secretary famously expressed his despair at the time:

The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.

Europe would have changed irrevocably by the time the First World War finally ended and made a lasting impact on the lives of millions of people; whether they were casualties or survivors of this terrifying conflict.

Further Links:



Jul 212014

Current Developments

  • MediaHub Mobile App (iOS – for iPhone/iPad)
  • Filtering of Collections by ‘attribute’ e.g. exploring only Jisc-licensed content or only content that requires no login.
  • Suggested formats for citing video, audio and images.
  • Better resilience.
  • Higher quality videos.
  • Better usage statistics in line with COUNTER recommendations.
  • HTML User guides.
  • Better tool to upload images.
  • Bulk uploading as well as existing uploading of individual images.

Under Exploration

  • Searching in MediaHub for Multimedia content (images, video, sound) deposited in the Jorum Learning Objects Repository.
  • MediaHub Mobile App for Android.
  • Users can create and share their own Media Trails.
  • Linking to related material in other online services.
  • Institutional log in URLs (“targeted URLs”) that direct users via the preferred log in mechanism, direct to media items.
  • Embedding video and audio content from MediaHub in web pages.
  • Interoperability with reading list software.
  • Users can contribute moving images and sound through an embedded YouTube
  • Plugins for VLEs including Moodle.
  • A Content-Development Strategy to meet user needs.
  • Simplifying the login screen.


January 2014
  • Advanced Search: Updated interface, including sort by proximity
  • Users can contribute content
  • Crowd-sourcing metadata
  • Zoom tool for images
April  2013

  • Simpler classification of collection types
  • Advanced Search: time/date, people
  • My MediaHub: bookmarking, commenting, tagging
September 2012
  • Explore by Place
  • Embedding of MediaHub search into your website
August 2012
  • Explore Newsfilm
December 2011
  • Explore by Learning Materials: now including Reviews
  •  Interactive Guided Tour accessible via the Help page.
  • New metadata and better display of data on Full Record Page
  • Improved Display of Brief Records Page
October 2011
  • Personal preferences in My MediaHub
  • Combining and re-running previous searches in My MediaHub
  • “Show all” similar and recently viewed items
  • Searches that match any one or more words
  • Help guides
August 2011
  • Advanced Search: title/description, subject, media type, collection and collection type indexes
  • Most Popular: Items, searches
  • My MediaHub: search history, recently viewed items, marked items
  • Sharing and social networking via external services such as Twitter
  • Machine-to-machine interface: SRU and OAI-PMH
June 2011
  • Explore by Subject
  • Explore by Collection
  • Explore by Time
 July 21, 2014  Posted by at 12:03 pm Other Tagged with:  No Responses »
Jun 302014

This is the third post looking at your most popular search terms, items and subjects that people have been browsing and searching on in Jisc MediaHub. Clicking through to the ‘Most Popular’ page allows you to take a closer look at the most recent popular items. Here is a selection of this month’s most popular.

Image of Jisc MediaHub's "Most Popular" page, captured on Tuesday 17th June 2014.

Jisc MediaHub’s “Most Popular” page, captured on Tuesday 17th June 2014.

The Chip Shop

One particularly fascinating item, which is the third most popular item in MediaHub, is an ITV Lunchtime News report aired back in 1984 on ‘The Chip Shop‘.  This was a new BBC Radio 4 show for computer buffs which broadcast software games, educational and technical material. The  information was broadcast through a series of clicks, bleeps and squeaks which was taped by the listener and then fed into their computer.

Image of a man playing a computer game back in 1984.

The Chip Shop. ITV Lunchtime News, 1984.

This is a very interesting idea, and surely was very cutting edge at the time. The noises being played over the airwaves is very reminiscent of those heard when loading up Spectrum games!

Image Collections

The viewing of images from various image collections available via Culture Grid has been particularly popular this month. Collections include that of the Kirklees Image Archive (an image database containing over 60,000 images), which is the fourth most popular subject search, Vads (an online resource for  the visual arts), which is the fifth most popular subject search, and Portable Antiquities Scheme – Finds (a database containing images and data of artefacts found by members of the public), which is the ninth most popular subject search.

An example of an image from the ‘Portable Antiquities Scheme – Finds’ Collection is this Roman figurine found in Sussex. The high-quality images and information on the artefacts such as what time period they are from, what they are made of and where they were found are impressive and fascinating.

Image of a Roman horse and rider figurine

Image of a Roman horse and rider figurine. Portable Antiquities Scheme, 2006?

The eighth most popular subject searched is ‘museum objects’, which brings back a collection of images from the Fitzwilliam Museum, such as coins, porcelain and prints. Access to such images and information are of course invaluable for anyone who cannot see the objects in real life.

A war theme

There are a number of searches, items and subjects with a war theme, from World War 1 posters through to an image of a Young Afghan Mine Victims Recover At Hospital For War Victims In Kabul.

World War 1 posters

The fascinating collection of WW1 posters (the sixth most popular search) is available via Culture Grid and they really bring home how difficult a time it was for everyone, not just the soldiers. An example of a poster is Women of Britain Say ‘Go!’, from the Imperial War Museum image collection.

Image of a WW1 poster saying 'Women of Britain say - "Go!"

Women of Britain say – “Go!” IWM First World War, 1915.

The Spanish Civil War

The Spanish Civil War is another popular search, and here again there are example of posters available on MediaHub via Vads. An example is ‘Campanya Contra L’Atur Forços UTC‘ from the Vads Collection: Imperial War Museum Spanish Civil War Poster Collection.

Image of a Spanish Civil War Poster with the text "Campanya Contra L´Atur Forços UTC"

Campanya Contra L´Atur Forços UTC. Imperial War Museum.

The use of posters seems to be one of the most important ways of communicating to a nation certainly in the first half of the 20th Century. ‘Poster’ itself is the third most popular subject this month.

A health theme

Health is another clear theme to emerge in this month’s ‘most popular’ lists. This includes: nurse; nursing; mental health; and health.

AIDS posters

Another sort of poster which people have also recently be looking at are those on AIDS, with this being the second most popular subject searched for in Jisc MediaHub in June. An example below is a colour poster showing hands spelling out World AIDS Day in sign language.

World AIDS Day poster showing hands spelling out World AIDS Day in sign language.

Hands spelling out World AIDS Day in sign language. Wellcome Library, 19uu.

In the news

There is always at least one item which appears on the ‘most popular’ lists due to an event having been recently reported on in the news. In this case, it is a news report on Maya Angelou as tenth most popular item, due to the African-American writer, poet, dancer, actress, and singe recently passing away. This news item, taken from Channel 4 Early Evening News, reports on Maya having written an inaugural poem for President Elect Bill Clinton which she will perform at the ceremony. Watch it to discover the items or ‘familiars’ she needs around her to write something that comes from deep within!

News report still showing Maya Angelou in conversation

Maya Angelou. Channel 4 News, 1993.

As you can see from the highlights above there is a diverse range of subjects and types of materials, but there are also some general themes that emerge. It is really interesting to explore how the most popular search terms, items and subjects change each month. You can also further explore Jisc MediaHub in other ways, such as by collection, by place, and by time.

If you would like a closer look at what people have been searching for and viewing, just take a look at the Most Popular page on Jisc MediaHub. We would also love to hear your thoughts on why some of these items are popular – just let us know in the comments below or share your theories on Twitter with the hashtag #MediaHubTop10.

Jun 032014

We would love to know how you have been using resources from Jisc MediaHub for your learning, teaching or research activities.

What have you been doing with Jisc MediaHub resources?
Graphic artists talking: Getty (moving images) 29-10-2008

Have you selected any favourite Jisc MediaHub film clips, images or sound files to incorporate into your work? If so, please let us know what you have been doing with them.

You can also include your own resources too,  by uploading them to Jisc MediaHub via our new User Upload facility.

Help to inspire others by telling us about your great ideas and we will put them on our website. It doesn’t have to be complicated – in fact the simplest ideas often work the best.

Get Creative!
London Outdoor Office: Getty (still images) 03-07-2008

Why not let loose your creative streak and share your story with everyone. Tell us all about how you have used JISC MediaHub resources by completing our short template which you can access here, or fill in below:

 June 3, 2014  Posted by at 1:08 pm JISC MediaHub, Other No Responses »
May 272014

This month there are two surveys that Jisc MediaHub users should keep an eye out for and may want to let students and colleagues know about.

Firstly, we are currently running our annual Jisc MediaHub User Feedback survey for 2013/14. You will see a link on the main menu next time you browse Jisc MediaHub and you may be asked to complete the survey via a pop up box during your next visit. We really value all of your comments and feedback from these surveys – they help us understand what we are doing well, what we could do better, and how you use Jisc MediaHub in your own practice.

The second survey is running as part of Project Enriched Playlistsa new project funded by Jisc, and is open to anyone working with audio-visual collections including (but not limited to) Jisc MediaHub users. The BUFVC are running a short survey to find out how audio-visual collections in Jisc MediaHub might be developed for Higher Education (HE) into ‘enriched playlists’.

They are really interested to hear the views of the following people from any/all subject areas:

  • Students
  • Researchers
  • Lecturers
  • Librarians
  • Support staff

All participants who submit a completed survey will be entered into a prize draw to win an iPad mini 16GB (Wi-Fi). Follow the link to take the survey.

This project will help us understand and document how HE would like to use and get the most out of Jisc MediaHub’s moving image, audio and stills collections. Both the BUFVC project team and the Jisc MediaHub team would be very grateful for your help. Please complete the survey by Friday 13 June 2014.

Find out more about the project via the project page, or contact Hetty Malcolm-Smith, Project Manager at BUFVC, directly via email.


 May 27, 2014  Posted by at 3:30 pm JISC MediaHub Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »
Apr 252014

We are delighted to announce Jisc MediaHub now includes the most important digitised commercial radio archive in the UK; the LBC/IRN Archive. Bournemouth University’s Media School was funded by Jisc to carry out the digitisation work. You can browse this new external collection, which is accessed from BUFVC, via our ‘Explore by Collection‘ page.

First commercial radio station opens London Broadcasting Opens: ITV News, 1973

First commercial radio station opens
London Broadcasting Opens: ITV News, 1973

Commercial radio began in Britain when the London Broadcasting Company (LBC) and Independent Radio News (IRN) received their licences in 1973. This digital archive features 4000 hours of news bulletins, vox-pops, phone-ins, documentaries and current affairs programmes dating from 1973 to the mid -1990s.

In addition the archive makes an important contribution to charting the history of radio broadcasting, offering an alternative view to the BBC’s archive collection and featuring a variety of content that delineates the listening tastes and social mores of the time period.

Commercial radio begins broadcasting in London in 1973 Commercial Radio: ITV News: 08-02-1973

Commercial radio begins broadcasting in London in 1973
Commercial Radio: ITV News: 08-02-1973

This will be of interest to anyone studying, teaching or researching media related subject areas, giving access to eyewitness reports of moments in history as well as broader analysis of news events in discussion programmes and public information broadcasts.

Highlights from this collection include coverage of the whole Thatcher era of government -from 1979 t0 1990- and reports, documentaries, phone-ins and vox-pops relating to the National Miners’ Strike of 1984 t0 1985.

Click on either of the images above to watch original ITV news reports on the start of commercial radio broadcasting in London.


68 (1)



Apr 172014

Thirty years have now gone by since the beginning of the 1984 Miners’ Strike. It remains the bitterest industrial dispute in living memory and marked a turning point in the power relationship between the trade unions and the government; the consequences of which have helped shape our economy today.

This post uses a range of Jisc MediaHub resources to examine how the strike progressed. If you are carrying out your own research you will find many hours of relevant material on this topic in the Newsfilm collections as well as the Amber Films collection and the LBC/IRN radio archive collection. You can access all of these via the ‘Explore by Collection’ page.

Mining in the UK has always been a dangerous job, where each has depended on the other for their safety underground. In addition lives could be cut short by emphysema and black lung disease; illnesses brought about by long term exposure to coal mine dust. As a result mining communities were traditionally close knit as is shown in the following film made about the future of mining in the year before the strike began.

Centenary of the Durham Miners' Association. The News From Durham: Amber Films 1983

Centenary of the Durham Miners’ Association. The News From Durham: Amber Films 1983

The News from Durham (a documentary made by Amber Films) was based around the centenary of the Durham Miners’ Association in 1983. It shows miners and their families gathering to celebrate and show their solidarity in what they knew would be difficult times ahead. The miners would be fighting for more than just their jobs; it was for their way of life and their communities.

Background to the Strike:
Poster from a government campaign to recruit miners. Come into Mining Imperial WarMuseum (images)  c1942

Come into mining – the miner’s the skilled man the government will always need
Imperial War Museum (images) c1942

Britain’s industrial revolution had been powered by the mining industry over many generations but following nationalisation in 1947 mining had gradually  become unprofitable due to oil imports and the birth of the nuclear power industry. The following film from Channel 4 News looks at the background to the National Union of Mineworkers and why it eventually became left wing.

A young Arthur Scargill rises within the NUM Yorkshire Miners: Channel 4 News  07-01-1985

A young Arthur Scargill rises within the NUM
Yorkshire Miners: Channel 4 News 07-01-1985

The increasing militancy of the miners led them to strike over pay in 1971; their first national action since 1926. The resulting electricity cuts and  Three-Day Week caused humiliation for Ted Heath’s government which was eventually brought down in 1974. A decade later the Conservative Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, was determined to crush the NUM should they oppose plans for the restructuring of the coal industry. Careful preparations were made by stockpiling coal well in advance to ensure electricity supplies were not interrupted.

The next move in the government’s battle plan was to appoint Ian MacGregor as the new head of the National Coal Board in March 1983. He was a controversial figure due the reputation he had earned  as a ‘hatchet man’ during his last job at British Steel where he had made over 90,000 staff redundant in order to make the company more profitable.

Arthur Scargill describes the NCB Reports and Accounts as an exercise in duplicity Where are we going?: Amber Films 1983

Arthur Scargill describes the NCB Reports and Accounts as an exercise in duplicity
Where are we going?: Amber Films 1983

Amber Film’s ‘The Future for Miners: Where are we going?’ was produced for the NUM during 1983 to discuss the crisis in the coal industry. It provides a valuable background to how beleaguered the miners were at this time and their thoughts about the future. In it Arthur Scargill, then President of the NUM, talks about a secret hit list of 70 pits for closure: an allegation which was to have consequences for him a short time later. In fact the miners had been used to many pit closures over preceding decades, however in 1974 the NCB produced a report called ‘The Plan for Coal’ in which they confidently forecast an expansion of the coal industry until the end of the century. As a result the miners were deeply suspicious of the Thatcher government’s motives in appointing Ian MacGregor who was already regarded as an asset-stripper.

The Strike Begins:

The strike began in early March 1984 after the NCB announced its intention to close 20 pits. There would be no national ballot – a decision which was to contribute to Scargill’s eventual downfall. Some mining areas (such as Nottinghamshire) did not support the strike: they mistakenly believed their pits were safe. NCB Chairman, Ian MacGregor, wrote to all members of the NUM to tell them Scargill was deceiving them and there was no secret hit list; however documents recently released by the National Archives reveal otherwise.

This ITV News report shows how flying pickets were sent to non-striking pits to persuade them to join the strike; causing much division and violence. The NCB were granted an injunction by the High Court against secondary picketing by the NUM, however this proved ineffective. Police from other parts of the country (especially the Met) were brought in to control the situation but their presence was greatly resented as they were not local and had little understanding of mining communities.

The next news clip gives a flavour of these tensions. Yorkshire miners from Knottingly colliery tried to picket Nottinghamshire mines but were frustrated in their efforts by the Police. Click on the image below to hear them talk about their experiences.

Picketing miners talk about Police interference Miners Strike/ Day 16: Channel 4 News  27-03-1984

Picketing miners talk about Police interference
Miners Strike/ Day 16: Channel 4 News 27-03-1984

In this ITV News clip you can watch Arthur Scargill’s bravura performance when asked to condemn the violence of flying pickets.

The Battle of Orgreave:

The worst violence of the strike took place at the Orgreave coking plant on 18 June 1984, when up to 10,000 picketing miners clashed with 5,000 police in a bloody confrontation. The miners were trying to blockade the plant to prevent coke being transported to British Steel. That day huge police reinforcements had been brought in along with dogs, police horses and riot gear; whereas the miners were clad in light summer clothing which gave them no protection. Never before in the UK had police in riot gear attacked citizens exercising their right to picket – it was a watershed moment.

The following extensive unedited rushes from ITN give an indication of the atmosphere on the day:

A miner who has been beaten with a truncheon is taken away by the Police at Orgreave Miners Strike Rushes: ITN Rushes: 28-12-1984

A miner who has been beaten with a truncheon is taken away by the Police at Orgreave
Miners Strike Rushes: ITN Rushes: 28-12-1984

Both police and miners were injured that day but arrested miners could not be succesfully prosecuted due to lack of evidence. Today the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign is calling for a public enquiry into the police brutality which took place.

‘The Enemy Within’

On 19th July 1984 Margaret Thatcher addressed the Conservative back bench 1922 Committee on the striking miners, during which she described them as ‘the enemy within’:

We had to fight the enemy without in the Falklands. We always have to be aware of the enemy within, which is much more difficult to fight and more dangerous to liberty

A short time later she gave the following interview to ITV News in which she said the government had given the miners ‘the best deal in history ……and the best investment in the future they’ve ever had’ Click on the image below to listen in full.

Margaret Thatcher is interviewed on the Miners' Strike ITV News  02-08-1984

Margaret Thatcher is interviewed on the Miners’ Strike
ITV News 02-08-1984

The following month David Jenkins, the controversial new Bishop of Durham, took the opportunity to make an inflammatory speech about the strike in which he argued why the miners ‘must not be defeated’ and that the government were ‘indifferent to poverty and powerlessness’. Click here to listen to his words via our LCB/IRN collection.

Meanwhile miners’ families were starting to suffer great hardships. Everyone had hoped the dispute would be resolved after a few months but as winter approached the cold weather and increasing poverty was starting to take its toll . Miners’ wives had mobilised to form support groups such as ‘Women Against Pit Closures’. They set up kitchens in community centres to feed the strikers’ families and many had also joined in the picketing.

End of the Strike

The miners eventually returned to work on the 5th March 1985; a whole year after the strike began. For most of them it was a very emotional time; they were not sure what they had achieved despite having faced so many difficulties.

Maerdy Lodge miners demonstration at the end of the Miners'Strike Getty (still images)  05-03-1985

Maerdy Lodge miners demonstration at the end of the Miners’Strike
Getty (still images) 05-03-1985

In the following clip, from the  Channel 4 Special ‘The Miners Decide‘, Welsh miners speak passionately about what the strike meant to them. Arthur Scargill blamed the end of the strike on a hostile government, judiciary and Police together with the media and a year later was to say the NUM had not been fighting an employer but the Tory government and the state machine.

In this overview made by Channel 4 News you can hear a report on the long term legacy of the dispute and how it had weakened ties between the NUM and the rest of the trade union movement. The human cost of deprivation endured by miners’ families was very great and would have ongoing consequences in the following years and across generations. This Channel 4 Special looks at the village of Grimethorpe a year after the strike ended and its effects on the mining community. A further clip from ITV News shows the effects of the strike on the Nottinghamshire village of Wellbeck where the community had suffered from divisions between striking and non-striking miners.

The mining community of Wellbeck talks about how the strike has affected their lives Wellbeck Retrospective: ITV News: 03-03-1985

The mining community of Wellbeck talks about how the strike has affected their lives
Wellbeck Retrospective: ITV News: 03-03-1985

By the end of the 1980s trade union power was significantly weakened by legislation which limited the extent of industrial action. It is now illegal to carry out secondary picketing and police have special powers to stop a mass picket where they think there is a danger of serious public disorder. Today trade union membership has dwindled to less than half its total in 1980 and it is unlikely we will see industrial conflict on the level of the Miners’ Strike again. However, the recent strike by London Underground workers signals a possible return to using strikes as a method of solving industrial disputes.

The UK coal mining industry continued to decline and was privatised in 1994. Today only three deep coal mines currently remain open from the 170 pits which employed 190,000 people in 1984.


Further Links:

Now We See What Was Really At Stake In The Miners’ Strike: Guardian review article by Seamus Milne 12/03/14

Nicholas Jones Archive and Blog

Cabinet Papers reveal ‘secret coal pits closure plan’: BBC News article 03/01/14

National Archives: Newly released files from 1984 include miners’ strike

Thatcher vs the miners: official papers confirm the strikers’ worst suspicions: Channel4 blogpost 03/01/14

The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign

In search of Arthur Scargill: 30 years after the miners’ strike

Margaret Thatcher and the Pit Strike in Yorkshire: BBC News article 08/04/13 following the death of Baroness Thatcher

BBC Radio 4: The Reunion: The Miners’ Strike:   Those divided by the picket line discuss the legacy of the strike 30 years on

The Women of the Miners’ Strike: ‘We caused a lot of havoc’ : Guardian article 07/04/14

Kellingley and Thoresby deep mines to hit 1300 jobs: BBC News article 10/04/14 reporting on the closure of two of the three remaining deep mines belonging to UK Coal

Taking part in industrial action and strikes: a guide from Gov.UK

Coalfields Regeneration Trust:  Charity founded in 1999 dedicated to improving the quality of life in Britain’s former mining communities


Mar 312014

Recently I went on a visit to the first ever BFI Mediatheque in Scotland, which is located in Bridgeton Library at the Olympia, Glasgow. The BFI Mediatheque is a free resource that lets you make new film discoveries and get reacquainted with old favourites, free of charge. All you need to do is log on to a viewing station and you can chose from a range of highlights from the BFI National Archive and partner archives across the UK.

Bridgeton Library

Bridgeton Library moved to its new home on the ground floor of the former Olympia cinema complex, back in December 2012. It is a bright and welcoming space, which has zoned areas, such as a training suite, children’s library and the BFI Mediatheque room. It also has a “Turning Pages” station, onto which the library is very keen to add local content, thereby encouraging the public to interact with new technology. Bridgeton is a deprived area on the east side of Glasgow, which is in the process of being re-developed and rejuvenated.

Photo of the Olympia Building, where Bridgeton Library is located.

Bridgeton Library at the Olympia, Glasgow, 2014.

BFI Mediatheque

The BFI Mediatheque @ Bridgeton Library was launched just over a year ago, with its official public opening being held on Friday 22nd February. It contains over 2,000 films, including a specially commissioned collection of Scottish film and television from the BFI National Archive and Scottish Screen Archive, covering more than 100 titles of Scottish interest. Highlights include street scenes in Glasgow from 1901, early colour footage of tartans from 1906 and 1950s colour travelogues recording Scotland’s epic landscapes.  A list of the Scottish Reels films is available, as well as a full list of film titles currently available to view in Mediatheques around the country. In addition, there is a hard-copy of the catalogue at Bridgeton Library.

In Bridgeton Library’s BFI Mediatheque in both the search and browse functions results from the Scottish Reels collection appears at the top, due to it being of more local interest. In total, there are 77 collections containing such items as feature films, TV programmes and documentaries. The BFI add 18 to 20 new items every 2 months and items can be suggested by users, as long as the material is British.

Photograph of one of the BFI Mediatheque viewing stations at Bridgeton Library

BFI Mediatheque at Bridgeton Library, Glasgow. 2014.

There has been a very good uptake for the Scottish BFI Mediatheque, but there is some room for improvement. Many researchers and students use the resource, especially those studying film and media. People find it easy to use the resource once they have a go. Even older people who do not have experience of using the internet can get to grips with the resource quickly. Some introductory workshops have been run and these have been very well received.

There is a real focus on getting more of the general public, and school children especially, to use the resource. With the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence in mind, work has been undertaken on the development of guides and resources for pupils, for example putting together WW1 resources for schools.

An events programme, called ‘Discover Film at Bridgeton Library BFI Mediatheque‘ has been running from November and finishes in June this year. This includes ‘Page to Screen’ held on the first Monday of the month to enable people to discover the secrets of great screen adaptations and the original works they are based on and ‘Reel Essentials’ held on the second Thursday of the month which introduces key moments, movements, themes and genres in British Film and Television. Unfortunately, there has not been as great a take-up as hoped so far. Another issue to be addressed is the filling of identified gaps in the collections, especially items on the local area.

Using the BFI Mediatheque

There are two main ways of using the resource.

  1. Browse archived collections. There is a brief biography for each item. You can view the item on the full screen or you can hit escape and do further research whilst watching.
  2. Detailed search – Filtering your search using basic or advanced terms. Title; Year; Director; Cast; Subject Term; Subject Region or nation.  Subject terms range from ‘Advertisements’ through to ‘Youth Culture’.

They also provide suggestions on what you might like to look at (‘Why not try…’).

The BFI Mediatheque room is built to BFI’s specification, with ten viewing stations available. In general, you don’t have to book to use a viewing station, but it may be best to if there is a group. Opening hours are the same as that for Bridgeton Library.

BFI Mediatheques give everyone easy access to a diverse range of film and television, in many cases rarely seen since their original release or broadcast. There are 8 BFI Mediatheques in the UK, each with their own collection of local interest brought together in partnership with local film archives. To find out where your nearest BFI Mediatheque is located and what collections they hold take a look on the BFI website.

Items of Scottish Interest in MediaHub

If you are not able to visit the BFI Mediatheque at Bridgeton Library or would like to see more items of Scottish interest then take a look at MediaHub’s Films of Scotland collection. This contains 125 items (50 hours in total) from the Scottish Screen Archive at the National Library of Scotland, some of which forms part of the Scottish BFI Mediatheque’s Scottish Reels collection. One of the most coherent local and national film collections in the UK, Films of Scotland charts the changing face of Scotland from the 1930s to 1982. One example is a film called ‘Scotland for Fitness‘ made in 1938 for the Empire Exhibition, part of a campaign to improve the fitness of the Scots.

Image showing a hill walker in a kilt walking along the banks of a loch. Taken from the short film 'Scotland for Fitness', shot in 1938.

Scotland for Fitness. Films of Scotland, 1938.

There are also items on Scotland found in other Jisc MediaHub collections. As the Commonwealth Games is taking place this year in Glasgow one particularly interesting item is a ‘Commonwealth Games Preview‘ from the ITV Late Evening News Collection, which reports on the 9th Commonwealth Games which was held in 1970 in Edinburgh.

Image of Meadowbank Stadium, Edinburgh just ahead of the 9th Commonwealth Games in 1970.

Commonwealth Games Preview. ITV Late Evening News, 1970.

There are a wealth of resources available on Scotland and the rest of the UK, which can be easily accessed. We hope that this post encourages you to go and visit one of the BFI Mediatheques, as well as explore more of what MediaHub has to offer.

 March 31, 2014  Posted by at 10:17 am JISC MediaHub Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »