The African American Civil Rights Movement

Fifty years ago, in March 1965, the events at Selma, Alabama marked a turning point in the progress of the African American Civil Rights Movement. In this blogpost we will take a look at why the Selma Marches proved to be so significant and the background against which they took place.

A hundred years before the watershed events of 1965, the United States was coming to terms with the after effects of the American Civil War. The United States Constitution had been altered to abolish slavery via the Thirteenth Amendment, and this was passed and ratified before the close of 1865. However, there remained huge opposition to this measure in the Southern States where laws were introduced to severely restrict the civil rights of black people. The Jim Crow laws segregated the black population from white people and measures were also taken to prevent them from exercising their right to vote.

The Rabbit’s Foot Company of Pat Chappelle Placards of Negro Theatrical Company. Royal Geographical Society c.1908

Racial segregation operated across all areas of public life. The image above shows an advertisement for an all black vaudeville company which was run by Pat Chappelle at the beginning of the 20th century. He became famous for the excellence of the entertainment he provided despite the problems of performing to segregated audiences.

The US Army also practiced segregation; however, when the USA joined WWII in 1941, there was a need to enlist as many black people as possible to increase the available manpower. Frank Capra was tasked with producing a documentary style propaganda film which would motivate young black men to join up and fight for a nation which subjected them to oppression. The resulting film, ‘The Negro Soldier’, was very well received (click on the image below to watch in full) and portrayed African Americans in a heroic way, which was successful in influencing public opinion. Racial segregation within the army finally ended in 1948.

The Negro Soldier. Imperial War Museum (films) 1944

The Negro Soldier. Imperial War Museum (films) 1944

The Civil Rights Movement started to gather momentum during the Fifties and Sixties when cultural changes, following the end of WWII, brought about a greater awareness of the rights of the individual.

In December 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man, after being ordered to do so by the bus driver. This incident, small in itself, catalysed the Montgomery Bus Boycott (Alabama) and started Martin Luther King‘s involvement with the Civil Rights Movement. Black people’s refusal to use the buses caused an economic crisis in the city, forcing the authorities to recognize them as a powerful force. Those involved in the boycott formed the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) and they chose the 26 year old Martin Luther King to be their leader.

Civil Rights Legend Rosa Parks Getty (still images) 01-12-2001

Civil Rights Legend Rosa Parks
Getty (still images) 01-12-2001

A couple of years later the Civil Rights Movement came to the attention of the world’s press through the conflict at Little Rock Central High School, Arkansas. The Supreme Court had outlawed segregation in schools in 1954, however the Southern States continued to resist this legal ruling. In September 1957 Little Rock was due to accept its first intake of 9 black students, but there was a huge amount of hostility to this and an angry mob gathered by the school to prevent the students entering.

Police attempt to control a rowdy mob outside Little Rock Central High School Honours for a Great Innings: British Gaumont News 30-09-1957

Police attempt to control a rowdy mob outside Little Rock Central High School
Scenes from Little Rock: Honours for a Great Innings: British Gaumont News 30-09-1957

Black people and newspaper reporters suffered verbal abuse and violence over several days and this threatened to become a constitutional issue. For a short while the Arkansas Police were forced to restrain the ferocious mob (a role they did not relish as many were sympathisers), before President Eisenhower eventually despatched paratroopers to uphold federal law. Click on the image above to watch a compilation of film clips taken during this period. Start watching at 1minute 34 seconds into this British Gaumont clip.

Bayard Rustin speaks at the Civil Rights March in Washington 1963 Civil Rights March: ITV News 28-08-1963

Bayard Rustin speaks at the Civil Rights March in Washington 1963
Civil Rights March: ITV News 28-08-1963

The famous March on Washington took place on 28th August 1963, the main aim of which was to help President Kennedy’s Civil Rights Bill through Congress.  Over 200,000 black and white Americans took part in a peaceful demonstration. Click on the image above to see footage of the march and hear Bayard Rustin (one of the chief organisers) speak about what they hoped to achieve. The last speaker of the day was Martin Luther King, who delivered his now legendary “I have a dream” speech, which remains one of the greatest speeches of the 20th Century.

A landmark achievement took place 10 months later when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act 1964. This made racial segregation and discrimination illegal, as well as any attempt to restrict voter registration rights.

Malcom X Interview: ITV News 10-07-1964

Malcolm X warns about a potential blood bath in America. Malcom X Interview: ITV News 10-07-1964

Malcolm X, a muslim preacher, was another charismatic black leader who emerged at this time. Malcolm X held extreme views, believing that nothing short of separating blacks from whites (separatism) would allow black people to live fully independent lives. Click on the image above to hear him warn in July 1964 about the violence which might erupt as a result of the fast pace of social change in the USA.  He moderated his more extreme views following a visit to Mecca, where he realised that Islam could be a force for racial toleration. He was assassinated 7 months later on 21st February 1965 and it is generally believed that Nation of Islam (a group to which he had previously belonged) carried out the killing.

Martin Luther King talks about the Civil Rights Movement during a visit to the UK Luther King Interview: ITV News 21-09-1964

Martin Luther King talks about the Civil Rights Movement during a visit to the UK
Luther King Interview: ITV News 21-09-1964

In September 1964 Martin Luther King came to the UK to talk about his book ‘Why We Can’t Wait’. During an interview he was asked whether, as a moderate, he was worried about the effect extremist movements would have on his cause. Click on the image above to hear his response.

Martin Luther King speaks at City Temple Hall, London Negro Equality: ITV News 07-12-1964

Martin Luther King speaks at City Temple Hall, London
Negro Equality: ITV News 07-12-1964

The basic thing about a man is not …..the texture of his hair or the colour of his skin, but his eternal dignity and worth

Martin Luther King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for civil rights and social justice. On his way to Oslo to collect the prize he stayed in London, where he delivered a number of speeches on “Negro equality”. Click on the image above to see a clip from the speech he gave at City Temple Hall. This is followed by another piece of film taken on a different occasion (possibly a debate at the Oxford Union), of Malcolm X speaking of how ideas about race can no longer be seen from a European perspective.

Three months later, violent events in Selma (Alabama) would focus world attention on the continuing struggles of the Civil Rights Movement. The proposed marches from Selma to Montgomery were intended as a peaceful protest against the continuing discrimination which existed to prevent black people from voting. The Governor of Alabama, George C.Wallace, was determined the marches should not happen. The first march ended on the Edmund Pettus Bridge (a short distance from the starting point) when State Troopers attacked unarmed marchers with tear gas and clubs. When pictures of beaten bodies were broadcast across the world, many felt this represented a turning point for the Civil Rights Movement.

James Reeb is interviewed before the second Selma March. He died the next day following an attack. Selma Marchers: Alabama: ITN Reports 10-03-1965

James Reeb is interviewed before the second Selma March. He died the next day following an attack by white segregationists.
Selma Marchers: Alabama: ITN Reports 10-03-1965

The second march took place two days later and was supported by many white groups, including a band of clergymen who had been attending a conference. Martin Luther King led the march to the end of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, but no further so as not to violate a court injunction put in place by Governor Wallace. The State Troopers again blocked the way ahead but the marchers stopped to pray and then turned around and returned. There was no violence at this point, but later in the evening three clergymen were beaten by white segregationists on leaving a non-segregated restaurant. By coincidence, one of these clergymen (James Reeb) had been interviewed by ITN earlier that day, however he died from his injuries hours later. Click on the image above to watch ITN coverage of the day’s events.

Martin Luther King is interviewed as he marches ITN Reports : 24-03-1965

Martin Luther King is interviewed by Peter Woods during the Third Selma March
Selma March Takes Place: ITN Reports 24-03-1965

The Third Selma March began on 21st March and this time President Johnson did everything possible to protect the marchers, since Governor Wallace had refused to do so. The State troops were put under federal control and the US Army was brought in along with FBI agents and Federal Marshalls. Click on the image above to watch an ITN news report made during the march, which includes an interview with Martin Luther King.

The clip shows how segregationist propaganda was used along the way, in the form of billboards linking Martin Luther King to Communism and dropping leaflets calling on white employers to sack their black workforce. None of this could prevent the 54 mile march from being successfully completed and it is regarded as one of the greatest achievements of the African American Civil Rights Movement.

The resounding impact of this historic march provided the impetus for the passing of the Voting Rights Act in August 1965. This legislation protected all African Americans’ right to vote by banning literacy tests and minimising the fear of intimidation through federal supervision of the voting process. By removing this barrier to equality African Americans were able to participate in public and political life to a far greater extent and ensure their voices were much more widely heard.

Further Links:

Exploring Jisc MediaHub – October 2015 Most Popular

So many connections can be made between this October’s most popular items, searches and subjects. This makes for a particularly fascinating journey, and one in which you can totally immerse yourself. It’s like playing a computer game, only better as you can choose which path to take, gaining insights and knowledge along the way. Take a look at last month’s most popular page and start you own amazing journey! You never know where MediaHub will take you!

A screenshot of Jisc MediaHub's "Most Popular" webpage, captured on Tuesday 27th October 2015

Jisc MediaHub’s “Most Popular� page, captured on Tuesday 27th October 2015

Hip Hop!

Arts, culture and entertainment is always a popular subject, with specific searches and items within this theme also appearing in the most popular lists. One example is hip hop, which was the second most popular search in October. There are some fantastic images showing hip hop style, music, dance and culture from the PYMCA Collection. Below is an image showing 90’s hip hop fashion in full effect; Timberland boots baggy jeans puffa waistcoat London c. 1990. This photograph is one of many taken by Normski, who himself is a British rapper, DJ, photographer and businessman, known for his work as a BBC television presenter.

An image of a group of young men wearing 90's hip hop fashion, including Timberland boots, baggy jeans, and puffa waistcoats. Photograph taken in London 1992.

90’s Hip Hop Fashion. PYMCA, 1992.

Normski has taken photographs of other hip hop artists, including De La Soul, Public Enemy and Run DMC and these can also be found in MediaHub. The second most popular item is an image of UK grime artists Terra Danja Crew , created by another photographer Fraser Waller. It is well worth remembering that you can easily find items from the same contributors, creators and collections by just clicking on the links in the description part of the record, found on the left-hand side of the screen. If you would like an idea of what hip hop dancing looks like watch this short report on France’s Hip Hop Revival.

There are a few reasons why hip hop may have proved so popular last month. Let us know what you think the most likely reason for its popularity is!

  • A new film called NG83: When We Were B-boys documenting Nottingham as the unlikely centre of break dancing in 1980’s Britain, as reported by the BBC and the Nottingham Post.
  • The recent film Straight Outta Compton, a biographical drama directed by F. Gary Gray about the rise and fall of the Compton, California hip hop group N.W.A.
  • Numerous hip hop/rap artists playing upcoming gigs, including Public Enemy and Grandmaster Flash.

One item many themes

Some items can come under numerous themes. This is especially the case with the Gaumont British News Reports (“Presenting the world to the world”), which are always fascinating. Of course, we can never tell which particular short item within the news report is of most interest. Last month the seventh most popular item is the 1937 news report entitled King and Queen Drive to St Paul’s for Empire Day. Of particular poignancy in this news report is the item ‘Child Refugees Come to Britain’ about Basque children arriving in England from Spain to escape the Spanish Civil War.


King and Queen Drive to St Paul’s for Empire Day. Gaumont British News, 1937.

What the reporter says during this item applies just as much now as it did back then, with there being “a constant stream of refugeesâ€� which is “the price of war paid by those who should know nothing of its horrorsâ€� and is “a grim reflection of our civilisation.â€� Maybe now it can be said that fortunately the focus of attention is more concentrated upon refugees rather than upon “the fighting men, field warfare and bombing raids.”

Another item in this news report is on the visit by Prince and Princess Chichibu to a Japanese garden party and sports meeting at Hurlingham Gardens, London. This links in perfectly to October’s third most popular search ‘Japan’.

Japan Past, Present and Future

Japan is a country of contrast – of old and new, tradition and technology. It is a truly fascinating place, which of course is reflected in the wide variety of items you find when searching for ‘Japan’ in MediaHub.

Today’s Japan

Recent Japanese culture is represented by, amongst other items, images from the PYMCA Collection, such as a photograph of two girls in sunglasses and of a view of a Tokyo street with neon shop and advertising signs.

However, today’s Japan has also kept it’s traditions. There are some wonderful Getty images of Shinto Shrines, including one of the Yasaka Shinto Shrine, Kyoto and the one below showing a procession of Shinto Priests. The images are so full of detail. What makes them even better is the MediaHub zoom functionality. Try it out for yourself and go ‘Wow’!!

An image showing a procession of Shinto Priests wearing the white costume of Kanda-Matsuri, walking towards a Shinto temple.

Procession of Shinto Priests wearing white costume of Kanda-Matsuri. Getty Images, 2007.

There are also great images from Wellcome Images of the Kanpo Pharmacy, Toyama, Japan, which sells Chinese traditional medicine (or Kanpo), exquisitely wrapped in the Japanese tradition.

Japan and history
Interested in Japanese history? Then take a look at a range of Japanese artefacts found in MediaHub, such as this Japanese coin CM.1681-1918 from the Fitzwilliam Museum Collection, Cambridge and this early 18th Century Japanese fan, from the Fitzwilliam Museum Open Data Services Collection.

The highly intricate level of detail is so characteristic of Japanese workmanship, and there are no better example of this than the many images of okimono (small decorative objects) and netsuke (tiny decorative vessels and sliding bead fastenings) found in MediaHub. They are such a joy to behold! Below is an example of a stained ivory okimono of a barefoot artisan holding a bottle vase from the Meiji period (1868 to 1912).

An image of a stained ivory okimono of a barefoot artisan holding a bottle vase from the Meiji period.

Okimono. Black Country History (via Culture Grid).

Japan and technology

Since the second half of the 20th Century, Japan has been known for technology and innovation. (Notice too that ‘science and technology’ is October’s most popular subject.) There are numerous reasons for this, including Japan’s status as an island nation with limited natural resources (according to the ever-fascinating CIA World Factbook, some 73% of Japan is not suitable for habitation, agriculture or industry), and the country’s large population (it is the 10th largest country in the world by population) with several very densely populated cities.

In both the areas of transport and housing (see below) Japan has led the way in developing energy-efficient, green technology. This may come, in part from Japan’sa culture of respect towards tradition and nature with many of the values and traditional festivals of Japan grounded in the Shinto and Buddist faiths. Shinto regards many natural phenomena, such as rocks, trees, rivers, as sacred, whilst Buddhism also focusing on respect and the sacredness of nature and animals. That cultural background gives the importance of preserving the natural world a different type of priority.

Image of a mini household plumbing system used as a demonstrator of heat exchange technologies.

Innovative household technology being demonstrated in Japan (Japan pioneers new generation of ‘green’ houses. Getty (Moving Images), 2009.)


Japan is also more directly impacted by extreme weather and natural phenomena than many nations – the country is in a volcanic region and frequently experiences seismic activities, whether significant tremors or substantial earth quakes. The impact of such natural disasters, the legacy and long term effects of Hiroshima, and incidents like the recent Fukushima disaster may all also have intensified Japan’s ecological focus. In MediaHub there is a very interesting presentation discussing the accident at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant, following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011, from a safety-critical systems viewpoint.

With Japanese manufacturers particularly aware of the importance of more green technologies, there is a real focus on innovative designs and products. This interesting report from 2008, entitled Japan races to build a zero-emission car. Have a watch and find out if the predictions about ‘green’ cars have been proven correct.

A news report from 2008 on how in the race to build to develop an affordable, high-performing and emission-free car, Japan is way ahead of the pack.

Japan races to build a zero emission car. Getty (Moving Images), 2008.

Of course, we can’t talk about transport in Japan without mentioning its world-renowned bullet trains! Watch this bullet train crossing a river. There is also a great image of Rumi Yamashita, Japan’s first female bullet train driver.

With regards to housing, watch this short report Japan pioneers new generation of ‘green’ houses. Here the aim is “to use as little energy as possible and to save natural resources, such as water.â€�
Japan has a lack of natural resources at its disposal, so many of its companies are devising a new range of cutting-edge, eco-friendly products.

Mobile technology

Mobile technology is the eighth most popular search. Japan is again the centre of innovation when it comes to mobile phones, both in the realms of technology and design. Look at this wonderful image showing how mobile phones are becoming fashion accessories.

An image showing a campaign girl of mobile phone giant Sony Eriksson at a display of colorful interchangeable jackets for the company's mobile phones during the Wireless Japan exhibition in Tokyo 20 July 2007.

Mobile phones become fashion accessory. Getty (Still Images), 2007.

It is absolutely fascinating to see how mobile phones have evolved over the years. Below is a photograph of a Vodafone transportable mobile phone with accessories from 1985!

An image of a transportable mobile telephone, complete with accessories and instruction manual, by Vodafone, 1985.

Vodaphone transportable mobile phone with accessories, 1985. Science Museum (via Culture Grid), 1985.

The decreasing size of mobile phones is only one area of change within the portable telecommunications industry. In the beginning it was seen as technology for business people, but it was not long before it’s appeal widened to the mass market, even though there were limitations, as reported here in Mobile phones grow up by getting smaller. With the advent of 3G and now 4G technology, the communications industry is moving fast. In MediaHub you can find excellent presentations on mobile technology  provided by IET.TV, including one on 3G: The Real Issues and Exploitation of smart mobile technology.

Scientific Exploration

As well as science and technology, scientific exploration was a popular subject this month. If you search for this subject you will get back many items from the Royal Geographical Society with IBG, including this amazing example of Lake Yamanaka from the summit of Mt. Fuji.

A landscape photograph of Lake Yamanaka from the Summit of Mt Fuji, showing mountains and lake with two people in foreground.

Lake Yamanaka from the Summit of Mt Fuji. Royal Geographical Society with IBG, 1907.

Another closely-related popular theme is nature (the seventh most popular subject). Here is a fantastic short film taken in 1922 showing Vesuvius in eruption. It shows just how destructive nature can be – and how brave the camera man is!


Cats was the tenth most popular search last month, which may well be because on the 29th October it was National Cat Day. Carrying on with the Japanese theme, here is a Japanese painting A Sleeping Cat.

An image of a Japanese guache painting entitled A Sleeping Cat.

A Sleeping Cat. Wellcome Images, early 19th Century.


Nerve cell communication was the ninth most popular search. There are some wonderful illustrations and animations of nerve networks from Wellcome Images and Getty Images, which really bring to life medical and biomedical science. Below is an animation of a nerve impulse travelling from the cell body to the synapse via the axon.

An animation of a nerve impulse traveling from the cell body to the synapse via the axon.

Nerve impulse. Getty (Moving Images), 2008.

The popularity of this search may be due to the new research findings that bacteria can communicate in a similar way to nerve cells in the human brain.  The original paper was published June this year in the journal Nature. An earlier, related study was carried out at the University of Edinburgh. These research findings represent a major breakthrough as insights into how bacteria “talk” to each other may help experts halt their growing resistance to antibiotics.

And finally!!

Here we come full circle – from Japan back to hip hop, with two teenagers looking mean, or rather looking like they have hip hop attitude!

An image of two Japanese teenagers wearing hats and looking mean.

Teenagers looking mean. PYMCA, 2003.

We hope you have enjoyed this journey and that it has inspired you to discover other items in MediaHub. The possibilities really are endless. If there are any comments you would like to make you can leaving your comments below or share your tweets with the hashtag #MediaHubTop10. Remember as well that you can add your comments or responses on the items themselves! See the May 2015 Most Popular blog post for details on how to do this.

Exploring Jisc MediaHub – August 2015 Most Popular

Take a look at MediaHub’s Most Popular page this August and you will see a very varied and interesting range of items, searches and subjects. It seems to have been a very much people-oriented month. History (people and places), politics, art and health are other themes which run through the most popular lists. Here we delve a little deeper into what people have wanted to find in MediaHub.

Screenshot of Jisc MediaHub's Most Popular page, captured on Thursday 27th August 2015

Jisc MediaHub’s “Most Popular� page, captured on Thursday 27th August 2015


People, both past and present, feature heavily this month in the most popular searches and items lists. Here is a selection.

Brian Hope-Taylor

The second most popular search is on Dr Brian Hope-Taylor, an artist, archaeologist, broadcaster and university lecturer, who made a significant contribution to the understanding of early British history. He was a fascinating character, who didn’t go to university until starting a PhD at the age of 35 and helped to promote the use of aerial photography in archaeology, having been in the RAF during WWII. In MediaHub there are several Anglia Television programmes in which Dr Hope-Taylor appears or presents. These include The Devil’s Ditches which is about his 1973 excavation of a section of the Devil’s Dyke, due to be removed to accommodate a new motorway, near Newmarket in Cambridgeshire; The Fight for York Minster which is an appeal film for the York Minster restoration fund, and several episodes from the ‘Who Were The British?’ series.

Johann Sebastian Bach

A particularly great resource is the Culverhouse Classical Music Collection, which comprises over 50 hours of copyright-free classical music and associated scores, covering much of the core repertoire plus rarer pieces from the 17th to the 20th centuries. Those searching for Johann Sebastian Bach (the third most popular search) can enjoy a selection of eight of his concertos, perfect to listen to for study, pleasure or both! Examples include  Bach. Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, and Bach. Brandenburg Concerto No 3. Bach’s popularity in MediaHub last month may be due to some of his work being performed in recent and upcoming concerts as part of the BBC Proms 2015.

Vladimir Putin

President Vladimir Putin is another very popular search. Search results show how Russia’s role in world politics has changed in the years since the Cold War, and tracks Putin’s engagement on the world stage from his early shift from the KGB to politics in the 90s, into his presidential terms. News footage and images show Putin meeting many World Leaders, indicating some of the ways that Russia has been presented and steered by him, especially with regards to economic and military policy.

A photograph of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin shaking the hand of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich at a meeting in Kiev on April 27, 2010.n 2010.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (L) with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich. Getty (still images), 2010.

Harold Nicolson

Another person in the political sphere who appears in MediaHub’s most popular items list is Sir Harold George Nicolson (1886-1968) who was was an English diplomat, author, diarist and politician. In this short film from British Paramount News, Harold Nicolson MP, Vice-Chairman of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, speaks in 1938 about the Sudeten crisis, with Germans living in the border areas of Czechoslovakia (the Sudetenland) demanding a union with Hitler’s Germany, the Czechs refusing and Hitler threatening war. This is a really interesting report as Nicolson first tells viewers “what Great Britain has said to Germany is this”, and goes on to directly address Germany, saying that “we have a very great interest, and will always have an interest, in preventing violence triumphing over law… If you resort to force we will meet you by force.” It’s hard to imagine a politician today delivering a speech in such an eccentric and direct manner, but somehow it makes the message much more powerful.

Another interesting item on the theme of war is that from Gaumont British News, which includes reports on HM The King Inspects Raid Damage at Coventry, Armoured Might For Desert War and Italian Submarine at Tangiers. In watching news reels from the Gaumont British News collection you can really tell the difference between news reporting then and now, from the kind of language used and how it is delivered to the music that accompanies it. A lot of this may be down to the fact that these reports were produced to show in cinemas, being shown twice-weekly between 1934-59.

A screenshot from a news report on HM the King inspecting German bombing raid damage on Coventry Cathedral in 1940.

HM the King Inspects Raid Damage. Gaumont British News, 1940.


Politics in general has been a very popular subject last month. Both the current Labour party leadership contest has triggered a much higher interest in politics than usual over the summer parliamentary recess. There are many news reports and images covering political events both home and abroad ready for you to access through MediaHub. It is certainly the place to come and find out about Italian politics in particular. There are many images of Italian politicians and political rallys as part of the GovEd Communications collection. It comprises of over 15,000 images by photographer Francesco Troina covering architecture, design, engineering, media and travel & tourism. Below is an image taken at a political rally held on No Berlusconi Day (or Nobday) in Rome in December 2009. The Nobday was the first political rally, against the Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, to call for the premier’s resignation that was organised exclusively by word of mouth and via Facebook, blogs and tweets, with no political party’s involvement.

An image taken from the protest, No Berlusconi Day (or Nobday), held in Rome in December 2009. The Nobday is the first political rally against the Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to call for the premier's resignation.

Political rally Nobday _02. GovEd Communications (Francesco Troina), 2009.


Place is another theme which has been very popular in the top ten searches and items of August. The second most popular item is A Coastal View on the east side of the Island of Raasay. This photograph was taken in 1917, looking northwards from Rubha na’ Leac, Inverness-shire. It is part of the BGS GeoScenic collection, an archive containing images from the vast collections of geological photographs held by the British Geological Survey, and whose images you will find in MediaHub by searching for the sixth most popular subject ‘geological’.

An image taken in 1917 of a coastal view on the east side of the Island of Raasay, looking northwards from Rubha na' Leac, Inverness-shire.

A Coastal View on the east side of the Island of Raasay. BGS GeoScenic, 1917.

Below is a fascinating image taken in around 1935 of The Trinkie, which is a cold-water swimming pool on the southern outskirts of Wick in Caithness, Scotland. Notice the people in the pool with barrels! The natural North Sea water pool does still seem to be in existence, and gets scrubbed and painted yearly, thanks to the “Friends of the Trinkie“.

An image taken c. 1935 of The Trinkie, an outdoor swimming pool just off the North Sea and located just south of Wick, Scotland.

The Trinkie, generations will recall sunlit hours spent in this place where the young and not so young enjoyed themselves, oblivious to the temperature of the cold North Sea. The North Highland College (Johnston Collection), c. 1935.

Another place which is featured in the most popular items list is the Quayside of Newcastle. This 16 and a half minute film looks at the city and the decline of it’s shipping industry. The film was produced as part of the Newcastle Quayside Exhibition, organised by Amber Associates and the Side Gallery in 1979. It would be great to find out why this item was popular in August. If you know or have any ideas do let us know by leaving your comments below or share your tweets with the hashtag #MediaHubTop10. Indeed, we welcome any comments or theories on our most popular items. Remember also that you can choose to add your comments or responses on the items themselves! See the May 2015 Most Popular blog post for details on how to do this.


It is always wonderful to see art work as part of the most popular items in MediaHub. The Death of Hector is a particularly spectacular example. It is one of two tempura panels painted by Biagio d’Antonio c.1490–1495 and shows a scene from Homer’s Iliad relating to the Seige of Troy.

An image of a tempura panel called 'The Death of Hector' by Biagio d'Antonio c. 1490–1495, which depicts a scene from Homer's Iliad showing the Seige of Troy.

The Death of Hector. The Fitzwilliam Museum, 2008.

The MediaHub zoom feature really does improve the viewing experience, especially when there is a lot of detail. You can see the results below, with a close-up of the foreground of the painting. Try this brilliant feature for yourself!

A close-up of a tempura panel called 'The Death of Hector' by Biagio d'Antonio c. 1490–1495, which depicts a scene from Homer's Iliad showing the Seige of Troy.

The Death of Hector. The Fitzwilliam Museum, 2008.

Another very different kind of art found on MediaHub’s Most Popular page is that of pop art. The tenth most popular item is a News at Ten report from an American Pop Art Exhibition which was held at the Tate Gallery in London in 1968. Some very interesting views are expressed on whether Roy Lichenstein‘s work should be considered art, a debate which still goes on today!

An image taken from an ITV News at Ten report on an American pop art exhibition being held at the Tate London in 1968.

Pop Art Exhibition. ITV Late Evening News, 1968.

This news item coincides with BBC Four Goes Pop, a week-long celebration of Pop Art across BBC Four, Radio and Online from the 21st August to the 30th August 2015. It also coincides with the ARTIST ROOMS: Roy Lichenstein exhibition running until the 10th January at Edinburgh’s Modern One (Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art), just down the road from EDINA.


One particular health issue of interest last month is the superbug MRSA (meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). In MediaHub you can find images of the bacteria, as well as reports on the MRSA crisis in hospitals and measures to tackle it.

A screenshot taken from an animation showing the structure of multiple-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

MRSA. Getty (Moving Images), 2008.

Another popular item related to health is that of a very short film of Marie Curie at Work, shot back in 1924. Marie Curie was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity and was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. She was, in fact, the first person and only woman to win two Nobel Prizes (for Physics in 1903 and later for Chemistry in 1911) and is still the only person to win Noble Prizes across multiple sciences. It is also the case that there are 5 Nobel Prizes in the Curie family! It is wonderful to be able to see her in action, which somehow makes you realise even more what a great scientist she was.

Last but not least!

The most popular item is a short moving image of a futuristic dashboard of a Ford Explorer complete with GPS system, as shown at the Detroit Auto Show back in 2008. It’s popularity is likely due to it being used in our MediaHub iOS webinar presentations. The new MediaHub iOS App is free to download and enables you to use MediaHub on the move through your iPhone or iPod Touch. The webinar shows you some of the features of the app and how you might use it in your own teaching, learning or research.

A screenshot of a futuristic dashboard of a Ford Explorer shown at the Detroit Auto Show in 2008.

Dashboard of Ford Explorer. Getty (moving images), 2008.

We hope you have enjoyed taking a closer look at Jisc MediaHub’s most popular for August 2015 and look forward to finding out what other items, searches and subjects become popular in the coming months. Thank you for continuing to use MediaHub and bringing to people’s attention the wonderfully diverse resources it provides access to.

30th Anniversary of Live Aid

This year it is the 30th anniversary of one of the greatest rock shows ever to have taken place  – Live Aid. On the 13th July 1985 the world’s most successful rock musicians performed in London’s Wembley Stadium and Philadelphia’s John F. Kennedy Stadium in aid of people affected by famine in Ethiopia, Africa.

Tickets for the Wembley concert were £25 – a lot of money back in 1985! Despite this, the 72,000 places available were quickly sold out. Some people wanted to attend for the charity, some for the music, and some for both reasons. Also, as one woman said in a short news report, Band Aid Rock Show, “It’s making history”. It certainly did!

A photgraph of the crowd in front of the stage at the Live Aid charity concert, Wembley Stadium, London, 13th July 1985.

Live Aid Stage1985. Getty (Still Images), 1985.

There are many great images from Live Aid found in Jisc MediaHub, which really capture how special the event was. Tens of thousands attended the two concerts, with millions more watching on TV, making it the biggest benefit concert in history.

A photograph of the crowd at the Live Aid charity concert, Wembley Stadium, London, 13th July 1985.

Waving Fans at the Live Aid Charity Concert. Getty (Still Images), 1985.

It was a ground-breaking event in a number of ways. An estimated 1.9 billion people from 150 countries watched both concerts live, so it is one of the largest-scale satellite link-ups and television broadcasts of all time.  The 16 hour pop marathon began at midday on the 13th July in Wembley Stadium, with the London finale taking place just before 10pm, while the Philadelphia concert continued until 4am (British time).

Live Aid saw top musicians and recording artists come together for one cause. The image below shows, left to right, George Michael, event organiser Bob Geldof, Bono, Paul McCartney, Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Jody Watley, Andrew Ridgeley and Howard Jones.

British pop acts gathered on stage for the finale of the Live Aid charity concert at Wembley Stadium in London, 13th July 1985.

Live Aid Finale. Getty (Still Images), 1985.

There are several really informative radio reports on the famine in Ethiopia, the organising of Live Aid, the event itself and the impact it had. Some examples are reports on Bob Geldof after Ethiopia Trip, Live Aid concert plans, Live Aid Concert, and Bob Geldof on Live Aid. These are all part of London Broadcasting Company/Independent Radio News Audio Archive Collection. The archive consists of 7,000 reel-to-reel tapes in a collection that runs from 1973 to the mid-1990s, and is the most important commercial radio archive in the UK.

Reports on the famine in Africa

The landmark Live Aid concerts were inspired by the need to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia. There are several news reports in MediaHub on the 1984 famine. The report below, from a relief camp in Korem in Ethiopia, shows the desperate situation facing the Ethiopian people. Thanks to the raising of awareness and funds, some aid was being provided, but the distribution of food and clothing was being hampered by the lack of transport.

Film still showing a young child wrapped in a cloth shivering in the cold in an Ethiopian relief camp

Ethiopia. ITV News, 1984.

Another report on the Ethiopian famine shows that there were many more thousands of people who were not even able to get into the relief centres.

A year after Live Aid there was a famine in Western Sudan, and within these ITN Sudan famine rushes there is an interview with Bob Geldof on this desperate situation and what he intended to do to help.

Band Aid charity single “Do They Know it’s Christmas?”

The actual famine relief fund and awareness-raising effort started a year before Live Aid in 1984 when Bob Geldof saw images on television of the starving in Ethiopia. He called up Midge Ure, singer of the group Ultravox, and as a result co-wrote the song ‘Do They Know it’s Christmas?’. The single was recorded by a “super group” of fellow musicians under the name of Band Aid. The news report below shows some of the stars recording the song and the accompanying photo shoot.

Film still of Simon Le Bon, Tony Hadley and Sting around a mike singing "Do They Know It's Christmas?"

Ethiopia Charity Record. ITV News, 1984.

Proceeds from the sale of the single (tens of millions of pounds, huge amounts in 1984) went to pay for shipping costs for all aid sent to drought stricken areas of Ethiopia, provided money saved by charities was used on further supplies for famine victims, as this Band Aid Relief  News at Ten report details.

Honouring Bob Geldof

In 1986 Bob Geldof was given an Honorary Knighthood for his humanitarian work. He also received a Man of Peace award in 2005, which was presented at a ceremony in Rome’ s Capitoline Hill by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni. This award was in recognition of Geldof’s dedication to African issues, calling for debt cancellation and fair trade. As well as helping to organise Live Aid, Geldof organised the Live 8 concerts on 2nd July 2005  in cities around the world, including London and Rome, to raise awareness about Third World poverty.

Live 8 consisted of 10 concerts featuring over 1000 musicians from across the globe and asked people not for their money, but for their voice. These concerts were very deliberately scheduled to coincide with a high profile G8 conference and summit which was being held in Scotland, with Live8 publicising the Make Poverty History campaign which also held protests and marches across the UK around the G8 talks, including a protest in London addressed by Nelson mandela.

Singer/campaigner Bob Geldof being presented with a peace award by Mikhail Gorbachev in Rome 2005.

Singer/Campaigner Bob Geldof gets Peace Award. AP Archive, 2005.

Other charity concerts

Since Live Aid there have been a number of other charity concerts that show similar ambition and scale. Here are some examples which are found in MediaHub.


NetAID was a charity set up by the UN and Cisco Systems to fight extreme poverty.  To launch the new anti-poverty initiative three concerts were held across the world, including one at Wembley Stadium, London on October 9 1999, in which George Michael performed.
A photopgraph of George Michael performing on stage at NetAID.

George Michael Performs Live on Stage at NetAID. Getty (Still Images), 1999.

AIDS awareness

As well as charity concerts in aid of famine and poverty, there have also been concerts (at all scales) to raise awareness of AIDS. MediaHub coverage of these include radio reports on the Concert of Hope held on World AIDS Day and organised by the National AIDS Trust (World AIDS Day Charity Concert), and the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS awareness organised by the three remaining members of Queen in memory of their lead singer who died of AIDS in 1991 (Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert; Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness; Roger Taylor and Brian May on Freddie Tribute).

Closer to home

There have also been a number of concerts and other events for the Prince’s Trust, a charity that supports 13 to 30 year-olds in the UK who are unemployed or who are struggling at school and at risk of exclusion. The charity was started by Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, back in 1976. Below is a news report on a rock concert to celebrate 10 years of the Prince’s Trust and to raise money for the charity.

Still from a news report showing the Prince and Princess of Wales, surrounded by British rock stars, cutting a cake celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Prince's Trust.

Rock Charity Concert. ITV Late Evening News, 1986.

Other supporters of the charity included Michael Jackson, who presented Princess Diana and Prince Charles with a ‘Bad’ tour jacket and framed CDs at a Prince’s Trust charity event in London, and Barry Manilow, who became a goodwill ambassador for the charity.

Live AID setting the precedent

There has been some significant and fair criticism of the Band Aid, particularly evident around the 30th anniversary re-recording in aid of Ebola relief efforts – see for example Bim Adewunmi’s November 2014 Guardian article – ranging from the peculiarity of a Christmas lyrics for a country with a substantial Muslim population, the allegation that the lyrics promote a helpless and inaccurate image of both Ethiopia and Africa, to concerns about the absence of African performers in any of the Band Aid line ups, particularly the most recent release. However, there is no doubt that many of these criticisms partly reflect the huge success and enduring cultural memory of Live Aid and Band Aid in raising awareness and publicity – as well as a substantial amount of money (estimated at around £150 million to date) – that was genuinely beneficial for Ethiopia and the other African nations that the Band Aid Trust has continued to support since its inception.

Although there have been many benefit concerts around the world, Live Aid remains the greatest, due to its ground-breaking nature. If you were lucky enough to be at Live Aid or have vivid memories of the day it took place thirty years ago do let us know by leaving a comment. Hopefully, this post will bring back lots of wonderful memories. If you were not there, I hope you enjoy finding out about it and other charity concerts which are covered in Jisc MediaHub.

Exploring Jisc MediaHub – May 2015 Most Popular

It is great to have the opportunity to look more closely at what has been most popular in Jisc MediaHub over the past month. There are always fascinating themes running through the top 10 searches, items and subjects. In May 2015 the most active theme was ‘unrest, conflicts and war’, with the Rwandan Genocide, Spanish Civil War and Bloody Sunday being specific examples. Other notable themes are health, the environment and places. The month of May also brings with it several timely areas of interest, including May Day and VE Day. There was also a particular interest in the North Highland College’s Johnston Collection, as shown by the popularity of the subject ‘human interest’.

A screenshot of Jisc MediaHub’s “Most Popular� page, captured on Wednesday 27th May 2015.

Jisc MediaHub’s “Most Popular� page, captured on Wednesday 27th May 2015.

So, we begin our exploration of the May 2015 themes with our second most popular subject, after ‘environmental education’.

Unrest, Conflicts and War

This is a consistently active theme in MediaHub. Last month’s most popular lists all include searches, subjects and items on the Rwandan Genocide, a mass slaughter of Tutsi  and moderate Hutu in Rwanda by members of the Hutu majority from April 7 to mid-July 1994, resulting in an estimated 500,000–1,000,000 Rwandans being killed.  This interview from Channel 4 Early Evening News with Alvaro de Soto,  Adviser to the UN Secretary General at the time, talks about the Rwandan Civil War, genocide and the displacement of the Tutsi in Rwanda. Another popular item is this News At Ten report from the city of Goma in Zaire (now part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo) which appeared to have been completely abandoned and was only a few miles away from the refugee camps where a million displaced Rwandans had fled to.

Image of Rwandan refugees in a refugee camp near Goma, Zaire.

Rwanda: Civil War. ITV News, 1996.

Bloody Sunday has been another popular search, likely because of ongoing interest in judicial process around the original event, as well as continued debate of the associated inquiry.

Bloody Sunday was an incident which took place on 30th January 1972 in the Bogside area of Derry, Northern Ireland. British soldiers shot 26 unarmed civilians during a protest march against internment (imprisonment without trial). Interest this month may well reflect press attention in the run up to June 15th, which marked the fifth anniversary of the publication of the report of that Inquiry into what happened that day. The Inquiry was chaired by Lord Saville and ran from 1998 to 2010 at an estimated cost of over £2 million, making both it’s findings and the process of undertaking the Inquiry the subject of debate and controversy.

In Jisc MediaHub there are a lot of resources – particularly news coverage – including footage from Bloody Sunday, reports on the Bloody Sunday Inquiry and anniversary events. Below is one example of these, a photograph of a march in Londonderry on 3rd February 2002, where thousands gathered to retrace the steps of the Bloody Sunday marchers thirty years before.

A photograph of some of the thousands gathered in Londonderry 03 February 2002, to retrace the steps of the Bloody Sunday marchers of thirty years ago.

Thousands gather in Londonderry 03 February 2002, to retrace the steps of the Bloody Sunday marchers of thirty years ago. Getty (Still Images), 2002.

The sixth most popular search is ‘Spanish Civil War‘ (which took place from July 1936 to April 1939), with some very interesting search results, including posters from the Imperial War Museum Spanish Civil War Poster Collection found in the VADS/CultureGrid collection, news reports on the conflict such as Spanish Civil War 7th Edition (Gaumont British News collection), interviews with people who were there, and even commemorative plaques and sculptures! The sculpture below is of ‘La Pasionaria‘, Dolores Ibarruri (1895-1989), who was a Spanish communist who came to symbolise Republican resistance against fascism during the Spanish Civil War. It can be found in the City of Glasgow. On its pedestal it says it

pays tribute to the courage of those men and women who went to Spain to fight fascism / 1936-1939 / 2,100 volunteers went from Britain; 534 were killed, 65 of whom came from Glasgow.

Photoograph of the sculpture called 'La Pasionaria', a stylised female figure, representing Dolores Ibarruri, in a long dress, standing with legs apart and arms raised.

La Pasionaria VADS Collection: Public Monuments and Sculpture Association. Culture Grid.

This image is part of the National Recording Project (NRP) of the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association,  providing images and textual information giving core data on over 9,000 public sculptures and monuments in a geographical area covering 75% of Britain. This collection is part of VADS: the online resource for visual arts.


The environment – and environmental education – was a very popular subject area in May. A very wide range of environmental issues are covered in MediaHub, from pollution and climate change through to wildlife, natural phenomena and landscapes. In particular the images in our collections show how amazing the natural world is, for example the 2007 photograph of Antarctic icebergs shown below. There are also items in MediaHub directly covering the negative effects people are having on the planet, such as the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill off the Alaskan Coast in 1989.

A photograph of icebergs stranded in a shallow bay and an emerald pool of water in the Antarctic Peninsula.

Icebergs on the Antarctic Peninsula. Getty (Still Images), 2007.

‘Cheetah’ was the eighth most popular search last month. Here is a wonderful still image taken from a short film of a mother Cheetah standing guard over five young cubs in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. If you take a look at the record for this item you will notice the MediaHub location feature. This enables you to easily see where the Serengeti is located and click through to other items in MediaHub which have the same location.

An image of a mother cheetah on a mound in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, standing guard over five cubs

Mother Cheetah and Cubs. Getty (Moving Images), 2007.


Italy, London and the more specific King of Prussia Hotel in Heanor are all popular places people have searched for in Jisc MediaHub. Heanor is a town in Derbyshire, where The Market Hotel on the Market Place was, until the outbreak of World War 1, called the King of Prussia when its name was changed for obvious reasons. In October 2009, the hotel had another revamp and is now just called The Market. As always with such specific and individual items it would be great if to find out why this particular image below was so popular last month! Just let us know in the comments below or share your theories on Twitter with the hashtag #MediaHubTop10.

A photograph of The King of Prussia PH, Market Street, Heanor, c 1890s.

The King of Prussia PH, Market Street, Heanor, c 1890s. Picture the Past (via Culture Grid).

Many people in May searched for items on Italy, probably as a result of the current migration crisis across the Mediterranean, particularly triggered by instability and conflict in Syria, Lybia, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Sudan and surrounding areas. Try selecting “Newsfilm” when you search MediaHub for footage around those countries to get a sense of historical context to the current spike in migration. Looking further at MediaHub’s substantial resources on the history and politics of migration and the UK , I was surprised to discover that women were only able to apply for visas to bring in their husbands or fiances in 1983 (under the British Nationality Act), before then only men could bring over their spouse from another country. Of course the law, processes, tests and costs of citizenship have, of course changed a great deal since then and continue to be the subject of animated public debate.

But for some people searching for this month maybe, like me, Italy has a special place in their hearts and they were planning to go on holiday there. Below is a still image taken from the wonderful short film showing a ceremony and football match which took place in Italy in 1931. I recognise the place where the football was being played as the Piazza Vecchio in Florence, as I have just visited there!  What a wonderful backdrop and just look at those stripy shorts!!

A still image taken from a short film showing a football match being played in the Piazza Vecchio in Florence, Italy in 1931.

Football in Costumes – Ceremony in Italy. Gaumont Graphic, 1931.

“May Specific” Items

There are always popular searches, subjects and items very specific to the time of year, and May is a particularly busy month for these. Victory in Europe (VE) Day was the Public Holiday celebrated on the 8th May 1945 to mark the end of World War II. Below is an image of a triptych, showing civilians gathered under the trees outside Buckingham Palace celebrating VE-Day. According to correspondence held by the Imperial War Museum this painting was one of several offered by the artist, Leila Faithfull, to the War Artists Advisory Committee, they purchased it for £45.

An image of a painted triptych showing civilians gathered under the trees outside Buckingham Palace to celebrate VE Day

VE-Day Celebrations Outside Buckingham Palace. Imperial War Museum, 1945.

There are another couple of May-related popular items. One is a short film called All Around the May Poll, showing people going to vote in the General Election of 1929 and the masses of people in London awaiting the results – the title is a clever play on words! The other item is a short piece of film reporting May Day in Havana, back in 2007, which shows thousands of Cubans taking part in the traditional May Day festivities in Revolution Square.

A image of Cubans in a May Day rally in Revolution Square, Havana.

May Day in Havana. Getty (Moving Images), 2007.


‘Health’ was another popular subject last month, especially the programme called Outbreak! Case Studies in Clinical Infection: Commensals and Pathogens which provides visual, written and spoken descriptions of the many organisms which may be present in and on the body. The film, which is one of our restricted access medical materials, is part of the University of Sheffield Learning Media Unit collection which covers a wide range of subjects and programmes, and is useful across the academic subject range, including medicine, bio-medical science, chemistry, life sciences, biology, sociology, environmental and earth sciences, archaeology, music, law, geology, civil engineering, English language and the performing arts.

And finally…

You may have noticed that the eighth most popular subject is ‘human interest’ and wondered what results this would return. If you try searching for this you find, amongst other items, a large and fascinating collection of photographs from the North Highland College Johnston Collection. This collection represents the work of three generations of Caithness photographers who captured images of life in and around the area between 1863 and 1975, and so provides a unique record of this part of the far north of Scotland, its industries and people. Many of the photographs are studio portraits, including the one below of three children taken in around 1905.

A photograph of three children - one girl in white suit and hat, and her two brothers in black sailor suits with white collars, taken circa 1905.

Three children – one girl in white suit and hat, and her two brothers in black sailor suits with white collars. North Highland College, 1905.

It is really interesting to look at old photographs to see what people used to wear and what different locations used to look like, especially considering that at that time not many had cameras.  It certainly makes you realise how we take for granted the ability to take photographs, and not just using cameras but also our mobile phones! If you have any interesting photographs, old or new, why not  share them via the Jisc MediaHub community?

Did you know that you can also leave your own comments on interesting images, videos, or sound items? To view or add your own comments to an item just view the full record page – for example the photo above – and click on the “Comments” tab. From there you can either read what others have commented, or you can add your own comments to an item. If you are already logged in you just add your own comment and click “Submit”, otherwise you’ll be taken to the login box before seeing the comment form. You can choose to make your comments private, or you can share them with the whole MediaHub community.

As always, we would love to hear your thoughts on why some of the items above are popular, as well as in what ways you are using what you have found in MediaHub – leave your comments below or share your tweets with the hashtag #MediaHubTop10, alternatively you could choose to add your comments or responses on the items themselves!

MediaHub Celebrates Eurovision at 60

This week the 60th Eurovision Song Contest takes place in Austria and we thought we would mark the anniversary for the contest with a look back over Eurovision’s history as captured in Jisc MediaHub.

Image of Scooch rehearsing at Eurovision 2007

Eurovision Song Contest 2007 – Dress Rehearsal Finals
(Getty Images, 11-05-2007)

The first Eurovision Song contest took place in Lugano, Switzerland with only 7 countries taking part, each performing two songs. This quite genteel first “Eurovision Song Contest Grand Prix” began what would become both a cult and mass media phenomenon. But that event also marked a significant moment in international event broadcasting. In fact behind all the glitter and high camp of Eurovision is a sophisticated broadcast network which works together to provide the infrastructure for broadcasting and negotiating the rights to large scale broadcasting events such as the Olympics, the FIFA World Cups, and, of course, the Eurovision Song Contest.

Before the glitter: the emergence of Eurovision

The European Broadcast Union began life in 1950, and saw a group of broadcasters working together to exchange news and current affairs footage. Initially, that exchange took place through physical copies being swiftly transported around Europe by plane but in May 1959 an experiment began trialling use of the “Eurovision Network” to exchange news even more quickly between 10 participating countries. A 1959 Roving Report (ITN Source, 1959), hosted by Robin Day, shows how that network worked, and the kinds of live events being broadcast in parallel across Europe, including the State Opening of Parliament and the coronation of Pope John XXIII.

Screenshot of the Roving Report

“Calling Brunssum…”  Broadcasters from across Europe call into a Eurovision Network meeting.
“Robin Day presents a report”, Eurovision News (Roving Report, 27-05-1959)

Every day during the experiment a large scale conference call would take place at 3pm to discuss the footage to be exchanged, and this would then be broadcast over the “Eurovision Link”, using relay links (requiring support from some 500 technicians) which literally relayed the broadcast signal from region to region at scheduled times of day.  The Eurovision Link enabled the exchange of key broadcasts or news footage from across Europe, whether being broadcast live or transmitted as a daily digest of footage to all of those broadcasters participating in the network. Whilst it is now commonplace to watch events as they happen, live on TV or the internet, the Eurovision Link was a huge achievement at a time not only before the internet, but also prior to the use of Satellite dishes for television broadcast. As Jan Rengelink, the Programme Commissioner of Netherlands TV, puts it in a live interview over the Eurovision Link (between London and Holland): “it is an enormous but also expensive achievement”. Rengelink notes though that daily exchanges also raises issues associated with switching from one country to another, of organisation,expectations, timing, and language.

Watching the daily conference calls (from minute 5:35) in this wonderful Roving Report is not only reminiscent of some of the complex etiquette of modern conference calls but also brings to mind the rhythm and traditions of Eurovision Song Contest voting: countries ring in and awkwardly greet each other before efficiently exchanging information – although in this case it is news footage to be shared rather than the awarding of Eurovision points.

Despite huge technological developments the Eurovision Network was still being used to distribute news footage between European news broadcasters in the 1980s, as demonstrated in a fascinating 1988 documentary, “A Day in the Life of ITN”,  which looks behind the scenes of Television news reporting.

Screenshot from A Day in the Life of ITN

The Eurovision Network, discussed from minute 3:30 in the film, A Day in the Life of ITN (ITN Non-released, 1988)

Technical standards have moved on a long way since the 1980s but the European Broadcasting Union’ s technical infrastructure are still an essential part of day-to-day European broadcasting. For instance in this 2001 edition of the ITN Early Evening News both the lead and second stories have been provided through the EBU network, as is evident from the Shotlist:

Screenshot of the Early Evening News clip and the associated Shotlist

The Shotlist from this 2001 newsclip shows the credit for one of several clips provided by EBU broadcasters, in this case a fire report from EBU Netherlands. EARLY EVENING NEWS: PROGRAMME AS BROADCAST (Programmes as Broadcast, 01-01-2001)

The collaborative use of news footage like this enables European broadcasters to share the burden of reporting on events that will have relevance and interest across Europe and beyond, since the EBU also includes members and associate members that extend far beyond the EU and include Turkey (since 1950), Israel (since 1957), and Egypt (since 1985). Whilst the use of these clips enables real time reporting on world events, it also means that when it comes to archive copies of programmes there are lots of different international rights holders – so if you do find yourself watching the news clip above you will see the message “For copyright reasons we are currently unable to show this section of newsfilm”, but you will hear the audio in common with clips from other agencies, this was newly created by UK based journalists and then dubbed over the footage from EBU Netherlands.

Indeed, the Eurovision Network is seen as so essential that when the Greek state broadcaster ERT was shut down in 2013 due to the Euro crisis, the EBU set up a makeshift studio the same day to ensure continuity of access to news gathering and the relaying of broadcasts. And, just as they innovated in 1950, the EBU continue to look to the future of broadcast media, as evident in this Institution of Electrical Engineers Seminar on broadcasting, from 2005, on plans for developing digital terrestrial broadcast frequencies, from Phil Laven then Director of the Technical Department of the EBU.

Screenshot of Phil Laven talking on RRC-06 from, 2005

RRC-06 and beyond… (IET, 01-06-2005)

Important as that technical change and innovation, the support for member organisations, and the EBU infrastructure may be, this post is about Eurovision and for most of us that means the Eurovision Song Contest.

Douze Points

The first Eurovision Song Contest, in Lugano in 1956, wasn’t the live event that we are used to watching synchronously across Europe. The contest features two songs for each of the seven countries who were represented: the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Belgium and Switzerland. The contestants wore evening dress, performed with an orchestra led by their choice of conductor, and the winner was decided by a Jury who never revealed their scores (according to Simon Barclay’s The Complete and Independent Guide to the Eurovision Song Contest 2010), nor the order that the entries came in, they just declared the first ever winner, 32 year old Lys Assia from Switzerland. To get a sense of the look of that first contest, this clip from May 1956 showing film stars leaving London for Cannes, gives a great sense of high fashion at the time:


(ITV Late Evening News, 02-05-1956)

That entire first Eurovision Song Contest was complete, with the winner announced, within 1 hour 40 minutes – less than half the length of recent Eurovision finals – partly thanks to a recommended song length of three and a half minutes. However, by 1958 that recommendation had become a strict Eurovision rule, with songs required to be no longer than 3 minutes, a move triggered by a particularly long Italian entry, “Corde della mia chitarra” by Nunzio Gallo, at the second contest. At 5:09 minutes Gallo’s entry remains the longest song in Eurovision history. By contrast this year’s Finnish entry “Aina mun pitää” (I always have to) by Finnish punk rock band Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät is a mere 1:28 minutes long and the shortest entry to have ever been entered.

Eurovision Expands

Sadly, Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät won’t be performing on Saturday though as it lost out on a place in the first Eurovision Semi Final on Tuesday. Indeed the growth in participant countries means that, since 1993, there have been a range of qualifying stages added into the competition from a pre-qualifying round in Ljubljana for Eastern European countries, to a relegation system, then a points based relegation system based on the previous five years performances. By 2004, as new member states were joining the EU, Eurovision was still growing with 36 countries participating. To cope with the numbers a new system was devised using semi final stages to refine the final show into something of a more watchable length (usually around 25 performances), and (with a few subsequent modifications) that is the system that remains in place today. This year, across three live shows, 40 countries will be competing, just under the record of 43 participants, in both 2008 and 2011. So, how did 7 countries become 36 and then 40+?

The EBU has welcomed new broadcasters over the years, expanding the network across and beyond Europe, but internal changes in Europe have had a particular big impact on the expansion of Eurovision. When the EBU was founded in 1950, east and west Europe were in the midst of the cold war. The EBU and their Eastern Bloc counterpart, Intervision, were both founded after the collapse of predecessor organisations International Radio and Television Organisation (founded 1946) and the International Broadcasting Union (founded 1925) in which both sets of broadcasters had been involved. Competition between the networks’ continued into the world of song, with Intervision organising a rival to the Eurovision Song Contest in 1961 in the shape of the the Sopot International Song Contest which then became the Intervision Song Contest, which ran until 1988. When the Intervision network merged with the EBU in 1993 which introduced a huge range of new contestants (hence those qualifying rounds in Ljubljana).

Complex politics and Eurovision have always gone hand in hand, from beginning revolutions in Portugal (1974), public protest over gay rights legislation in Russia in 2009, to this year’s entry from Armenia, a super group called Genealogy who have been brought together from across the Armenian diaspora. Their song “Face the Shadow” has already undergone a name change from “Don’t Deny”, in response to allegations that the lyrics are political and intended to make a statement to mark the centenary of the Armenian Genocide.

Image of Russian gay rights protestors

Participants in a gay rights protest in Moscow
(Getty Images, 16-05-2009)

And it’s not just the songs or the audience contest that gets political, it’s the contestants too. When Dana (Scallon), an 18 year old school girl, won Eurovision for Ireland in 1970 she became a pop sensation which endured until she decided to make a move into politics as an independent candidate running for President of Ireland in 1997 (she came third), then standing and winning a seat as a Member of the European Parliament. Dana isn’t the only winner to make an unlikely career switch though: in 2004 Ukraine won the contest with “Wild Dances” by Ruslana (Lyzhychko), a classically trained conductor and pianist whose Eurovision stage show included skimpy Xena: Warrior Princess style outfits, whips and flames. Ruslana supported the Orange Revolution in Ukraine and has capitalised on her Eurovision fame, remaining a prominent voice in politics, most recently as part of the 2013-14 Pro-EU “Euromaiden” protest movement.

Things aren’t always so serious in the world of Eurovision though so, to finish, lets address some of those eternal Song Contest questions…

Isn’t all the voting political?

One of the frequent complaints about Eurovision is that voting is politically motivated, making it an unfair contest. This argument tends to arise when the UK doesn’t perform well. And, since there hasn’t been a UK winner since Katrina and the Waves’ “Love Shine a Light” brought Eurovision to Birmingham in 1997 it’s as regular a part of Eurovision media coverage as the annual critique of the UK entry.

But is the voting really all that biased? In a recent paper for the Journal of Applied Statistics (Blangiardo and Gianluca Baio, 2014) found only a mild positive voting bias, although their findings on increased votes for English language songs may explain why so few songs are performed in any other language in recent contests.

At the first Eurovision Song Contest the jury didn’t disclose the points or placings of the Eurovision entries, but things have moved on since then. The positions of competing countries have been public since 1962, and the live points boards have been an (often unintentionally hilarious) feature of the contest for a long time, revealing who has received points from 1 to 10, as well as the highest possible mark of 12 (douze) points. No one actually gets awarded or is announced on the night as having “Nil Points”, but the phrase for losing entries with absolutely no points has become part of Eurovision legend nonetheless.

Tele voting (phone calls, texts and email votes) were trialled in 1997 and by 1998 all countries were participating although back-up juries were created in parallel, as a failsafe in case of problems with the voting system. However, the juries of music professionals (one jury for every participating nation, each with five jury members) have never quite gone away and now, as part of the rehearsal process and press cycle around Eurovision, special performances take place for the juries the day before each Eurovision Semi Final or Final. The rankings of the contestants by the juries are combined with the results of the televoting to reach the final number of points that each country awards. Those juries do make a difference to the results, as was evident in controversy around the release of jury scores following the 2014 Eurovision final as a particularly risqué presentation of Poland’s entry, “My SÅ‚owianie – We Are Slavic” by artists Donatan and Cleo, was placed far higher by public votes than by jury members.

Does Ireland really always win?

Despite the not entirely justified cynicism around voting, there are many cliches about Eurovision that are true. There really is a rule about how many people can be on stage at once: 6 people, no animals. Young female singers are disproportionately likely to win: in fact 39 of 63 Eurovision winners having been solo women – and the average age (mean, median, and modal) of those winners was 23 years old. In fact in 1969 when four songs, including Lulu’s “Boom Bang-a-Bang”, shared first place all of those winners were women performing on their own, and only one was over 30. And Ireland, with seven wins, is easily the most successful country to perform at Eurovision, with Johnny Logan the most successful Eurovision winner with 3 wins as either performer or writer to his name.

This clip captures the background to Logan’s first win (as a performer) in 1980, including an interview with writer Shay Healy and the winning song, “What’s another year”: “1980 Eurovision Song Contest – Victory for Ireland“(London Broadcasting Company / Independent Radio News audio archive, 20-04-1980). After two more wins for Logan in 1987 (as performer and writer) and 1992 (as writer), Ireland found itself in the unprecedented position of having won Eurovision three times in a row (1992-4) before winning again in 1996. That honour also proved expensive as it meant Ireland hosting the show four times in five years, starting with a venue in the unlikely rural town of Millstreet, as captured in this wonderfully odd interview: “Eurovision Song Contest venue in rural Ireland” (London Broadcasting Company / Independent Radio News audio archive, 13-05-1993), before moving the production to Dublin.

However, arguably Ireland’s most successful Eurovision contribution was actually the half time show they provided when hosting in 1994. A performance of traditional and modern Irish dance styles set to an upbeat celtic score would go on to become the (still) phenomenally successful Riverdance, which made dancer and choreographer Michael Flatley a household name and led to an explosion in the global popularity of Irish dancing.

Image of dancer Michael Flatley and his company of Irish dancers

‘Celtic Tiger’ At Wembley Arena
(Getty Images, 18-04-2006)

Isn’t it all a bit naff?

Whilst Eurovision may boast cutting edge technology, complex politics and some very quirky entries it is also often accused of being a bit naff and a bit dated. Indeed this 1998 clip sees Janet Street Porter explain why Eurovision has two very different audiences: a mainstream Saturday night TV audience, and a cult audience enjoying the in-jokes, the irony, the campness.

Screenshot from interview with Janet Street Porter


Eurovision is consistently one of the most watched non-sporting TV events in the world with hundreds of millions of viewers each year with sponsorship, week long television coverage, year round web activity, and spin off contests from Junior Eurovision (in which all performers are under 18 and must also write their own songs!), to the Eurovision Dance Championships. Despite this popular appeal the contest simultaneously occupies a more counter cultural space most famously with LGBT communities, but also with many appreciating the event in a wholly post modern ironic way (currently the mainstream UK experience), as well as those enjoying it, perhaps most subversively of all, on an entirely earnest fan basis. That peculiar blend of mass and cult phenomenon gives the contest a unique character that persists no matter how cynical the song selections may be, no matter how much stunt staging and costuming occurs, and no matter how tactical the voting. For some of us, that character and quirkiness is a huge part of the charm which is why on Saturday night, as Charpentier’s Te Deum announces the opening of the contest, there will be parties throughout Europe with fans gathering to celebrate the Eurovision Song Contest in all of it’s strange glittery wonder.

And if you are a Eurovision fan celebrating this weekend (as I will be), or have other highlights from the pop culture year to share, why not add your images to Jisc MediaHub? For instance, I added my image of a lego model of the Eurovision 2014 venue using the My MediaHub Upload feature:

Image of a lego Eurovision Stadium

LEGO Eurovision Island: Queen Margrethe of Denmark prepares to greet fans, by MediaHub User Nicola Osborne

No matter whether or not you usually watch or enjoy Eurovision, 60+ years of collaboration in broadcasting is certainly an impressive achievement for Eurovision and the ambitious broadcasters who first decided to create a continent-wide network for sharing the news. It will all be about the glitter, reigning winner Conchita Wurst, and the performance of UK hopefuls Electro Velvet on Saturday night, but all year round the delivery of live events, news and sports depends on the technical collaboration behind the sequins.

See also

  • More discussion of technical challenges facing broadcasters can be found in this IET video: “I’m a broadcaster – get me out of here“, featuring David Wood, then Head of Technology at EBU.
  • Hear Scott Fitzgerald, the 1998 UK entrant (performing the song “Go” by Bruce Forsyth’s daughter), comment on what he thinks is wrong with Eurovision song selection processes: “Scott Fitzgerald on Eurovision Song Contest” (London Broadcasting Company / Independent Radio News audio archive, 14-04-1988).
  • Upload your own images – login to My MediaHub with your UK Federation details and go to your Uploads area.
  • Explore the official Eurovision Song Contest website, which includes a history of the contest.
  • Read up on the academia of Eurovision with Dr Eurovision, UK based fan and academic Eurovision expert Dr Paul Jordan whose PhD examined Estonian national identity and nation building through Eurovision.
  • Blangiardo M. and Baio, G. 2014. Evidence of bias in the Eurovision song contest: modelling the votes using Bayesian hierarchical models. In Journal of Applied Statistics, pp.2312-2322. DOI:10.1080/02664763.2014.909792
  • Find out if Martin O’Leary, a Swansea based Glaciologist using computational methods in his research, has succeeded in predicting the Eurovision winner – he has provided forecasts based on statistical analysis of Eurovision data since 2012.
  • Read more about the history of politics around performances at the Eurovision Song Contest in Sarah Lipkis’ excellent May 2014 blog post, Eurovision: How Politics Takes Center Stage, for the World Policy Blog.
  • Enjoy “My Lovely Horse” (via the Hat Trick YouTube channel), a parody Irish “Eurosong” entry created by Neil Hannon, of The Divine Comedy, for the “A Song for Europe” episode (Season 2, Episode 5) of Father Ted. The episode aired less than a month before the contest, at the height of the country’s Eurovision success in April 1996. Ireland’s real entry, “The Voice” by Eimear Quinn, won the 1996 contest.

A Recent History of Hung Parliaments and Coalition Governments

The imminent 2015 UK General Election is proving to be one of the most uncertain we have known; however in the recent past it was not uncommon to encounter hung parliaments where no single party had managed to gain the majority of seats. We thought it would be interesting to search through Jisc MediaHub for examples of where this had occurred, the personalities involved and what strategies had been used to form a working government.

Ramsay MacDonald: 1st Labour Prime Minister Who Is Who In Labour: Gaumont Graphic Newsreel    21-01-1924

Ramsay MacDonald: 1st Labour Prime Minister
Who Is Who In Labour: Gaumont Graphic Newsreel 21-01-1924

The general election held in 1923 resulted in a hung  parliament. Although most seats were won by Stanley Baldwin‘s Conservatives, Ramsay MacDonald went on to become the first Labour Prime Minister after forming a coalition with the waning Liberal party. The cartoon below shows the three candidates racing to the laurel crown: Baldwin with his trademark pipe; the Liberal leader, H.H.Asquith, being supported by David Lloyd George and Ramsay MacDonald being helped up the ladder to victory by the ‘working man’.

Cartoon impression of the 1923 General Election: The Political Race: Gaumont Graphic Newsreel: 03-12-1923

Cartoon impression of the 1923 General Election:
The Political Race: Gaumont Graphic Newsreel: 03-12-1923

Ramsay MacDonald’s term in office proved to be very short lived. Although he had some successes he found it increasingly difficult to keep Labour’s fragile coalition with the Liberals intact. This came to a head with the Campbell Case which led to allegations that the Labour Government was being influenced by communist groups. As the Bolshevik threat was a very real fear at the time, Conservatives and Liberals were able to unite and win a motion of ‘no confidence’ against Labour. Parliament was dissolved and another general election set for less than a year since the previous one. Click on the image below to see a very rudimentary animated carton drawn at the time.

Cartoon on the Oct 1924 General Election Gaumont Graphic Newsreel  27-10-1924

Cartoon on the Oct 1924 General Election
Gaumont Graphic Newsreel

A mere 4 days before the 1924 general election a huge scandal erupted following the publication of the Zinoviev letter by the British Press. The letter, purporting to be from a senior Soviet called Grigory Zinoviev, urged the British Communist Party ‘to stir up the masses of the British proletariat’  in order to  pressurise the British Government into strengthening relations with the Soviet Union. This was political dynamite and dashed any hope of victory at the polls by Labour; although it is now accepted the letter was a forgery.

Stanley Baldwin won a decisive victory and went on to form a majority Conservative government which ran to full term. For him the previous coalition had ultimately proved beneficial, despite the fact he was locked out of power during that time.

Mr Stanley Baldwin, who will lead the greatest Conservative majority since 1832 Gaumont Graphic Newsreel: 03-11-1924

Mr Stanley Baldwin, who will lead the greatest Conservative majority since 1832
Gaumont Graphic Newsreel: 03-11-1924

There was a lot of excitement around the 1929 general election which was the first to take place under universal suffrage. It was called the ‘Flapper Election’  as it was the first time all women aged 21 and over were allowed to vote. This was reflected in frivolous press coverage including the rapidly developing medium of newsfilm. Click on the clip below to see young women rushing to the polling station straight from the public baths and still in their 1920’s swimming costumes. This time Ramsay Macdonald’s Labour Party won the most seats but did not have a majority and were forced to enter into another coalition with the Liberals, who were now lead by David Lloyd George.

Flappers make their way to the polling station All Around The May Poll: Gamont Graphic Newsreel 30-05-1929

Flappers make their way to the polling station
All Around The May Poll: Gamont Graphic Newsreel 30-05-1929

A few months later the Wall Street Crash set off the chain of events which would lead to the Great Depression of the 1930’s. MacDonald’s Government had to try and find solutions for rising unemployment and struggled to cope with the economic crisis. There was great division between the parties about the best way to promote growth and safeguard those in need, and our own experience of  the 2008 financial crisis very much reflects the same problems.

The unemployed march to Hyde Park to demand removal of Dole restrictions Hunger Trek Ends: Gaumont Graphic Newsreel  31-10-1932

The unemployed march to Hyde Park to demand removal of Dole restrictions
Hunger Trek Ends: Gaumont Graphic Newsreel 31-10-1932

After the upheaval of the World War II, subsequent general elections resulted in majority governments. In fact it was not until March 1974 that another hung parliament arose, following Edward Heath’s narrow defeat by Harold Wilson. In this unusual situation neither the Conservatives nor Labour could have made a coalition agreement with the Liberal Party to enable them to form an overall majority.  Again, this general election was held against the background of an economic crisis including the Miners’ Strike and the Three Day Week.


Ted Heath grins uneasily as he leaves No.10. U.K.: Harold Wilson returns 10 Downing Street as Prime Minister after resignation of Edward Heath: Visnews 04-03-1974

Heath remained Prime Minister for a short while until his negotiations with the Liberals failed and he subsequently resigned. Harold Wilson was then invited to form a minority government. Click on the image above to watch scenes outside Downing Street as Edward Heath relinquished power. By this time he was an unpopular figure but nevertheless you may be surprised to witness  the amount of hostility shown by the gathering crowds. Nowadays access to Downing Street is restricted.

UK: Harold Wilson returns to Downing Street as Prime Minister after resignation of Edward Heath Visnews: 04-03-1974

UK: Harold Wilson returns to Downing Street as Prime Minister after resignation of Edward Heath
Visnews: 04-03-1974

This Labour minority government was not expected to last for long and Harold Wilson called another general election 7 months later at which Labour won a majority. Less than 18 months afterwards Wilson resigned unexpectedly, to be succeeded by Jim Callaghan until the next general election in 1979 when the Conservative’s swept to power with Margaret Thatcher.

Since then we grew used to a two party system in which UK politics was dominated by battles for power between the Conservatives and Labour. The global financial crisis of 2008 heralded a phase of great economic uncertainty which still continues today and  (along with changes to British society) has reshaped the political landscape. When Labour lost their majority in the general election of 2010  no single party had enough seats to form a government, resulting in the first Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition.

DavidCameron & Nick Clegg hold their first joint news conference Getty  (still images) 12-05-2010

DavidCameron & Nick Clegg hold their first joint news conference
Getty (still images) 12-05-2010

As we approach the General Election 2015 polling day we know the outcome is impossible to predict and we may already be at the forefront of an age of coalition governments which will change UK politics for the foreseeable future.

Further Links:



Exploring Jisc MediaHub – March 2015 Most Popular

It’s time to take a closer look at the most popular searches, subjects and items in March. Thank you very much for your interest in being in the front row of our fashion show which was the last post on the Jisc MediaHub blog, as shown by ‘fashion’ being the fourth most popular search term this month!

As always, there are a number of interesting themes running through last month’s most popular lists.

Screenshot of Jisc MediaHub's Most Popular page, captured on Friday 27th March 2015.

Jisc MediaHub’s “Most Popular” page, captured on Friday 27th March 2015.

Unrest, conflicts and war

By far the most popular search terms and subjects are centred around the First World War. From 2014 to 2018 the First World War Centenary  is being commemorated globally through a series of events and projects. IWM First World War Collection is proving to be a very popular resource, judging by its place as the third most popular search term. The subjects of the British Army and the Western Front during this time are a particular focus of MediaHub users searches at the moment. For instance, below is a photograph taken by Lieutenant John Warwick Brooke on the 29th May 2018 of the French infantry coming back through Passy-sur-Marne and passing a British regimental band resting by the roadside, at the Third Battle of the Aisne.

An image showing French infantry marching through Passy-sur-Marne and passing British infantry resting by the roadside. Taken on 29 May 1918 during the Battle of the Aisne.

The German ‘Blucher-York’ offensive 27 May – 4 June. IWM First World War (via Culture Grid), 1918.

A great collection which can be accessed through Jisc MediaHub is the First World War Poetry Digital Archive, an online repository of over 7000 items of text, images, audio, and video for teaching, learning, and research. Launched on 11th November 2008, the First World War Poetry Digital Archive (based at the University of Oxford) makes available to the general public a wide array of archival resources relating to literature of the First World War, including material from the Imperial War Museum Photographic Archive. There are many items showing war efforts on the home front (the seventh most popular subject), an example being this image of women painters working on the exterior of the District Railway at Hammersmith, London.


Eight female painters at work on various sections of the exterior of the District Railway, Hammersmith. First World War Poetry Digital Archive.

There are also some short films including Every little helps, a British propaganda film on food saving and producing activities in Ilford, Essex, 1918, which stresses the need for part-time work to win the war. The film collection holds an array of moving image items relating to the last three years of the war, and includes items from the Imperial War Museum Film and Video Archive.

Other popular subject terms relating to World War I are ‘destruction’ (a keyword used in the IWM First World War Collection to describe the devastation caused by the bombings) and ‘land warfare’. Air and water warfare are also covered in MediaHub, with one particular example also our seventh most popular item this month: a short film from 1918 showing German submarines and bi-planes in action.


Another clear theme in March’s most popular lists is that of ‘disaster’. The second (and sixth!) most popular search is the R101 Airship, which was one of a pair of British rigid airships completed in 1929 as part of a British government programme to develop civil airships capable of service on long-distance routes within the British Empire. Below is a short film showing the R. 101 flying over London before landing in Cardington, where it started its 200-mile maiden voyage in October 1929.

Screenshot of the R 110 Airship in the air, taken from a short film showing the airship's maiden voyage in 1929..

Britain’s million-pound monster comes to London. Gaumont Graphic Newsreel, 1929.

On the 4th October 1930 the airship departed from Cardington destined for Karachi which was at that time part of British India. This proved to be its last ever flight, as the airship nosedived and crashed southwest of Beauvais in France, killing 48 of the 54 passengers and crew. This disaster signalled the end of the British initiative to develop lighter-than-air aircraft.

Another kind of tragedy were the Notting Hill Riots of 1958, with an ITN report on the riots entitled ‘Notting Hill Riots Special‘ being the most popular item and the third most popular search. The short report looks at the grievances  which had caused the recent disturbances in West London.

Image of a man interviewing a shop owner following race riots in Notting Hill in 1958.

Notting Hill Riots Special. ITN, 1958.

Unfortunately, it is not only in 1958 when there were riots in Notting Hill. MediaHub has other short audio and visual news reports on disturbances in 1981, 1987, and 2008. One example is a radio interview with Alex Pascall, carnival organiser, on the aftermath of the Notting Hill Carnival in August 1987 where one person died (stallholder Michael Galvin) and one-hundred were injured following disturbances involving policeman and rioters.

‘Fire’ is the seventh most popular search, which brings back some very interesting items! There are many still images of fires, as well as of the equipment to put them out. Below is a fascinating article from 1910 showing a picture of a new fire engine and information on the fire stations in Sheffield. The Sheffield Fire Brigade’s Motor Escape Reg. No. W 1000, was purchased in 1907 for West Bar Green Fire Station.

Image of an article from 1910 about the Sheffield Fire Service, with an image of a newly-purchased fire engine and fire crew.Sheffield_Fire_Brigade_1910

Sheffield Fire Brigade’s Motor Escape Reg. No. W 1000, purchased 1907 at West Bar Green Fire Station. Sheffield Images, 1910.

There are also a number of videos and short news reports about fires in MediaHub, such as a Forestry Commission film (Forestry Commission Fire Exercise. ITN News, 1956) which brings to mind the very recent arson attacks on forest and grass land in South Wales. A 2011 Forestry Commission report, Wildfires in Wales specifically looked into some of the social factors that can lead to deliberate starting of wildfires like these. And thankfully fire and rescue equipment has moved on since 1910, with modern day fire fighters working with technologies far beyond Motor Escape Reg No. W 1000 in order to keep these fires under control.


Science is another hot topic this month, with both ‘forensic’ and ‘DNA’ being popular search terms. There is a huge variety of items available in these subject areas, ranging from computer-generated 3D animations through to talks and presentations. The digital images from the Wellcome Images collection are particularly impressive, including these beautiful and vastly magnified crystals of DNA repair protein.

Image of crystals of a DNA repair protein bound to DNA.

Crystals of a DNA repair protein bound to DNA. Bernard O’Hara and Renos Savva, Wellcome Images. Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons by-nc-nd 4.0 (


There are two very popular items from March with a political theme. The second most popular item is a news report from 1990  (‘World Has Been Swept by Change‘) from AP Television News on the changes which had taken place since Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in Russia five years previously.  The era of “perestroika” and “glasnost” had far reaching effects both nationally and globally.

Screenshot of Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan sitting side by side signing declarartions. 1990.

World has been swept by change. AP Archive, 1990.

One popular item, the ITN report on the Selma March, has been of particular interest this month due to March 7-25th marking the fiftieth anniversary of this landmark civil rights event, also highlighted in the recent Oscar nominated film ‘Selma’. This was a peaceful protest march between Selma and Montgomery, Alabama in 1965 for civil rights in America. It is hard to believe that the Selma to Montgomery marches highlighting racial injustice happened only 50 years ago given the progress that has been made, although recent events over police conduct in the USA show that tensions still remain around race and equality of treatment.

Image showing Martin Luther King at the head of the Selma March, 1965.

Selma march: takes place. ITN Reports, 1965.

Much closer to home, but also popular this month, is the question of Welsh devolution. The tenth most popular item is a report, made back in 1976 and looking at the future of the Welsh Assembly. The National Assembly for Wales was actually established quite a few years down the line with the creation of the Government of Wales Act 1998, which followed a referendum in 1997.

Arts, culture and entertainment

This theme is always very popular, in fact it is the fourth most popular subject searched. This month popular arts, culture and entertainment MediaHub content includes war art (the tenth most popular search term), music (ninth most popular subject), and a painting by Rossetti (fifth most popular item).

Music features heavily in MediaHub, with audio files as well as images of sheet music, instruments and scenes where music is played or listened to. Many traditional Scottish tunes are available to hear through the School of Scottish Studies Collection (University of Edinburgh), via Tobar an Dulchais. This website contains over 34,000 oral recordings such as folklore, songs, music, history, poetry, traditions, stories and other information. The material has been collected from all over Scotland and beyond from the 1930s onwards. One particular example is a tune called Lochaber no More,  played on the Highland bagpipes.

A particularly lovely popular item is an image of the painting entitled Girl at a Lattice by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, painted in 1862. This is part of the Fitzwilliam Museum Collection, in Cambridge (UK). Images from the collection cover a wide range of pictorial content drawn from the rich, diverse and internationally significant collections of The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, including major artists such as Canaletto, J.M.W. Turner, George Stubbs and John Constable. Every image is tagged by geographical location and a date or period, and many of the images are linked to contemporary social and political events.

Image of the painting 'Girl at a Lattice' by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1862.

Girl at a Lattice. The Fitzwilliam Museum, 2009.

The search term ‘war art’ brings back a lot of interesting results. Drawing and painting scenes in times of war was both necessary before the use of photography and filming was prevalent and, in some cases, therapeutic. There has now also been a move to use the negative effects of war for more positive ends, by making de-commissioned weapons into objects of art. Below is a short film on how the Mozambican Civil War, which  raged between 1977 and 1992, still remains present in the lives and thoughts of many – including artists who are converting weapons used in the conflict into creative works.


Making art from Mozambique’s relics of war. Getty (Moving Images), 2009.

And finally…

Here is a nice, happy item to finish this post on! The eighth most popular item is this short newsreel (one of our featured items last month) entitled ‘A Yorkshire Romance‘ about Sir William Sutherland M.P. marrying Miss Annie Fountain at Darton church, Barnsley. Mr. Lloyd George was present at the wedding and was afterwards made a freeman of the borough.


A Yorkshire romance. Gaumont Graphic, 1921.

This leads me on to wonder if there are particular items in Jisc MediaHub which make you feel happy? Do let us know and we can share them! Also, as always, we would love to hear your thoughts on why some of the items above are popular – just let us know in the comments below or share your theories on Twitter with the hashtag #MediaHubTop10.

Exploring Jisc MediaHub – January 2015 Most Popular

Welcome to the first Jisc MediaHub ‘Most Popular’ blog post of the year!  It’s great to see people taking a look at the ‘most popular’ items from last September. Some of the items which we picked out are still popular now! This month (January 2015) we take a look at the Most Popular page to find out what people are researching, learning or teaching about. As always it is fun to try and work out why these items may be popular and identify themes running through the most popular lists. If you have any theories of your own, can explain why something is popular or tell us why you searched for and used a particular popular item it would be fantastic to hear from you!

An image of the Jisc MediaHub’s “Most Popular� page, captured on Wednesday 21st January 2015.


A few of the most popular searches, subjects and items are to do with specific places. The second most popular search is Bexhill (Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex). In Jisc MediaHub, there are many images of various sights in Bexhill which are part of the English Heritage ViewFinder Collection (a selection of historic photographs from important collections of the National Monuments Record, the public archive of English Heritage). It is also interesting to note that by searching for ‘Collections Trust’  (the third most popular search term) you also get back items from the English Heritage ViewFinder Collection. Collections Trust is in fact an independent UK charity which delivers the online service Culture Grid.

Lancashire is another very popular place with specific relation to its cotton industry, as can be seen from the appearance of the search term “Lancashire” and “Cotton” and the subject ‘Cotton Mill’. An example of an item you get from searching “Lancashire” and “Cotton” is the photograph below of  Low Mill, Caton, Lancashire, a cotton mill established in 1784 and rebuilt in 1838 following a fire.

A photograph of Low Mill located in Caton, Lancashire, taken in 1956.

There are even more specific places of interest. A photograph of the exterior of the Canch Lido in Worksop, taken back in 1979, is the sixth most popular item.

A photograph of the exterior of the Canch Lido, taken in 1979.

The ninth most popular item is a photograph of “The Bunny Run” – Upper Bately Low Lane, Bately. It is a road which runs parallel with railway lines and was very popular with courting couples, hence the name! This item also links in to our next theme of …


The fourth most popular subject is ‘tram’, which may be topical due to Edinburgh trams having started running back in May 2014 and the Manchester tram network having just been extended. A particularly wonderful item is an image of a tinted postcard of an illuminated electric tram, which was specially commissioned to mark the occasion of the royal visit to Leeds of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra on 7th July 1908. This tram, decorated with 3,000 electrical lights, was particularly fitting as the royal couple were there to open the new electrical engineering wing of Leeds University.

Image of a postcard showing an illuminated electric tram for the Royal Visit of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. At the bottom of the potscard "Illuminated electric car. King's Visit July 7th, 1908. There are 3000 electric lights and requires 150 horse power to run it."

Another transport-themed item is a silent newsreel shot in 1919 of a motor cycle trial run from London to Exeter, which was the ninth most popular item. It shows cars having trouble going up Trow Hill, and the results of a collision between two motorcycles, where “neither of the riders were much hurt”.

Still of a news report showing cars taking part in the motorcyle and car trail run between London and Exeter which took place in 1919.


Both ’1930 fashion’ and ‘hairdressing’ are popular search terms (seventh and eighth consecutively). It is always fascinating to see how people dressed in years gone by, and to see that trends do indeed return! There are a number of photographs from the London School of Art. The photograph below is of a 1930′s evening dress. It shows a closer body fit associated with the 1930s; the waistline is at its natural level, and the hemline is at ankle length. This item is an example of the London College of Fashion – College Archive, found in VADS via the Culture Grid.

A photograph of a woman wearing an evening dress, taken in front entrance hall of Barrett Street Trade School, circa 1930.

Examples of creative hairstyling can be found in this short silent news report for ITN on the Hairdressing Festival, held at Seymour Hall in 1956. I particularly like the use of glitter and other accoutrements!

Still image taken from a news report, showing a woman putting glitter on a model's hair.

Arts, Culture and Entertainment

This is always a very popular subject term in Jisc MediaHub. This month we have terms from opposite ends of the spectrum – ‘Othello’ as the ninth most popular search and The ‘Beatles’ as the tenth most popular. Below is an image of the painting Othello by the French orientalist painter, Edouard Frederic Wilhelm Richter (1844-1913), found in VADS, via the Culture Grid.

An image of the painting 'Othello' by Edouard Frederic Wilhelm Richter (1844-1913).

Not that unsurprisingly there are a lot of items about The Beatles in Jisc MediaHub. A really fascinating item is the USA: Beatles on Tour in the Bible Belt, a news report about the Beatles tour of the American South, which was marred by protests after John Lennon managed to inflame America’s Bible Belt by stating that the Beatles were ‘more popular than Jesus Christ’.

still image showing to young women holding up a hommade placard saying "Go Home Beatles".

Wellcome Images, Madeley -  and Arcimboldo!

When I first saw ‘Madeley’ (the fifth most popular search) I immediately thought of Richard Madeley the television presenter! However, it seems that the Madeley in question is in fact George E. Madeley, who is linked to IC (the ninth most popular subject). (N.B there are actually one or two items referring to Richard Madeley in Jisc MediaHub!) ‘IC’ as subject brings back items from Wellcome Images, a collection with themes ranging from medical and social history to contemporary healthcare and biomedical science. IC refers to its Iconographic Collections. There are some really fascinating images from this collection. An example below is an image of a coloured lithograph printed by G.E. Madeley and published by T. McLean in 1830 of an apothecary.

A coloured lithograph of an Arcimboldesque figure comprised of different objects relating to pharmacy.

There are numerous coloured lithographs by G.E. Madeley which are of Arcimboldesque figures, i.e. figures composed of the attributes/elements of their trade. The term ‘Arcimboldesque’ comes from the Italian painter , Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593), who used fruit, vegetables, fish, books and other objects to create imaginative portraits, e.g. for Allegory of Summer he used summer fruits and flowers. Other examples of Madeley lithographs are those for entomologist, mineralogist and physiognomist. Why not look in MediaHub for other examples?

 And finally…

The tenth most popular item is a photograph of an Antarctic Christmas, which was taken in around 1903  and which had the original caption ‘Antarctic Xmas No.s 1 and 3 messes. Starboard side decorated for the occasion. Flashlight.’ Looking at this photo I think about what life was like for the men in such an inhospitable environment. It is great to see that they had some normality, even though we learn that Antarctic Christmas for the crew actually took place on June 23rd! The photograph has an eerie feel to it when you look at the double exposure of the dog in the foreground. There are other images of the same 1901-1904 Antarctic Expedition in MediaHub, one showing The Antarctic Theatrical Company in costume!


When you start looking in Jisc MediaHub you never know where you will end up! This became very apparent to me when I started looking at the Wellcome Images Collection, especially those with George E. Madeley as one of the subjects. This then lead me to search for Giuseppe Arcimboldo. If there are any journeys you have made through Jisc MediaHub, where you have either been sidetracked (in a good way!) or made a discovery or connection  you would not have otherwise made do let us know. We would also love to hear your thoughts on why some of the items above are popular – just let us know in the comments below or share your theories on Twitter with the hashtag #MediaHubTop10.

The Troubled History of the Berlin Wall


A View of the Brandenburg Gate through barbed wire of the first Berlin Wall c.1961 Roving Report: The Gilded Cage 19-06-1963

A View of the Brandenburg Gate through barbed wire of the first Berlin Wall c.1961
Roving Report: The Gilded Cage 19-06-1963

Twenty five years ago one of the most extraordinary barriers ever constructed was torn down by the people it was designed to oppress. The Berlin Wall was built in 1961 to prevent East Germans reaching West Berlin, but to understand why it was put up in the first place we have to reach back to events following the end of WWII.

In May 1945 much of the great city of Berlin lay in ruins following intense bombardment by the Allies as they closed in to destroy Hitler and the power of the Third Reich. The image below shows children playing in the bombed out city. This deceptively jolly newsclip gives a flavour of conditions at the time.

The British Army relocates 50,000 children to the Western Sector of Berlin Looking after the children of Berlin: Gaumont British News 08-11-1945

The British Army relocates 50,000 children to the Western Sector of Berlin
Looking after the children of Berlin: Gaumont British News 08-11-1945

In line with the Potsdam Agreement the city was divided into sectors; one for each of the four Allies (Britain, France, the Soviet Union and the USA). Over the next two years tensions grew as the Soviets showed little inclination to rebuild their part of the city. The Allies, however, wished for a thriving new German economy to help Europe recover from the huge cost of the war. In addition Berlin was located in the heart of East Germany, one hundred miles behind the Iron Curtain, in the midst of the Eastern Bloc which was inveterately opposed to Capitalism.

The Soviets disrupt train travel of  Allied forces and civilians to West Berlin: The Berlin Crisis: Gaumont British News:  08-04-1948

The Soviets disrupt train travel of Allied forces and civilians to West Berlin:
The Berlin Crisis: Gaumont British News: 08-04-1948

By April 1948 the Soviets had begun to make life difficult for those in West Berlin. This clip from Gaumont British News shows how they disrupted rail traffic for those travelling to the Western Sector across East Germany. Soon a blockade was in place preventing the delivery of food and other materials. The attempts of the Soviets to starve out the West Berliners were foiled by the Allied Forces who ensured regular air deliveries of essential supplies. Click on the image below to see a newsclip showing how this was done. The Cold War had now begun in earnest.

Allied Forces break the Soviet Blockade by flying in food supplies Food Planes Fly to Berlin: Gaumont British News: 05-07-1948

Allied Forces break the Soviet Blockade by flying in food supplies
Food Planes Fly to Berlin: Gaumont British News: 05-07-1948

Over a year later the blockade was lifted, but this was only the beginning of problems that grew from the troubled relationship between the Soviets and the Allies. The East Germans themselves were experiencing many difficulties living in a Communist state with a poor economy and a crumbling infrastructure. This dramatic 1953 newsclip tells how riots broke out in protest at government threats to reduce wages; they were quickly and cruelly repressed.

East Germans riot against demands for increased productivity  Riots In Berlin: Gaumont British News: 22-06-1953

East German workers riot against demands for increased productivity
Riots In Berlin: Gaumont British News: 22-06-1953

Throughout the 1950s the contrast between the economies of West and East Germany became increasingly pronounced. West Berlin was a thriving place to live with high wages and a good standard of living; despite being completely surrounded by the Iron Curtain. Those in East Berlin had little chance to improve their lives and faced restricted personal freedoms, so it was not surprising that by 1957 a million had crossed the border to the West through West Berlin.

Willy Brandt, the charismatic Mayor of West Berlin talks about hopes for the future Berlin Today: Roving Report   20-11-1957

Willy Brandt, the charismatic Mayor of West Berlin, talks about hopes for the future
Berlin Today: Roving Report 20-11-1957

As the years went by the situation became more extreme. East Germans left for West Berlin in their droves to live in transit camps and seek a better life. This interesting Roving Report (Berlin Today) was made on location in 1957 and documents how the people in both sectors were dealing with their problems. As one West Berliner put it : “If we’d spent the last ten years worrying we’d have gone mad by now”.

Map showing the postion of Berlin within Soviet occupied East Germany Roving Report: How Many Germanies? 13-05-1959

Map showing the postion of Berlin within Soviet occupied East Germany
Roving Report: How Many Germanies? 13-05-1959

Another Roving Report made in 1959 asks the question, ‘How Many Germanies?’. Prompted by the forthcoming Geneva Conference, the programme looks at what Germans want now. Students talk about how they can’t really remember when Germany was one country anymore and they would rather keep the status quo than risk any armed conflict arising from the reunification initiative then being promoted by Britain and the USA. The Geneva Conference did not succeed in its aims and by the summer of 1961 a crisis point was reached.

The Divided City

The Divided City: Roving Report: 07-06-1961

Click on the image above to watch the Roving Report documentary ‘The Divided City‘ which examines living conditions and political attitudes in East and West Berlin in June 1961. The documentary shows the huge divide in lifestyle between the East and West Germans. How could the thriving capitalist sector of West Berlin continue to exist within a Marxist-Leninist East Germany? It was an anomaly the Soviets wished to erase and by the 13th August the turning point had come. On that day 50,000 East German troops constructed the first barbed wire wall around West Berlin within a few hours.

Allied Troops face East German forces at Checkpoint Charlie as the first Berlin Wall goes up Roving Reports: The Gilded Cage  19-06-1963

Allied Troops face East German forces at Checkpoint Charlie as the first Berlin Wall goes up on 13-08-1961
Roving Reports: The Gilded Cage 19-06-1963

The original wall was eventually reinforced by a second one of brick and concrete which extended around the entire perimeter of the Western sector. The sole aim of the Berlin Wall was to stop East Germans reaching West Berlin and from there defecting to the West.

Crisis In Berlin 1

East German guards putting up a section of the first wire wall Roving Report: Crisis in Berlin: 23-08-1961

Click on the image above to watch another excellent Roving Report (Crisis in Berlin) which was broadcast on 23-08-1961. You will hear the reaction of West Berliners; many of whom criticised Britain, France and the USA for taking no actions over the Wall. The mayor, Willy Brandt, wrote to President Kennedy declaring:

Berlin expects more than words…

So why did the West not act more assertively ?  It was thought the Soviets would not go to all the trouble of building the Wall if they had serious plans to take over West Berlin, which had been a persistent fear for over a decade. Nevertheless the situation was balanced on a knife’s edge and it was recognised that any movement of aggression by one side could spark off another great conflict, which was to be avoided at all costs.

Hugh Gaitskell talks about the how the West should react to the Berlin Wall: ITV News: 12-09-1961

Hugh Gaitskell talks about the how the West should react to the Berlin Wall:
ITV News: 12-09-1961

Click on the image above to hear Hugh Gaitskell, the leader of the Labour Party, discuss the fears and dangers the newly constructed Wall now posed. In a further interview  on 6th Jan 1962 Hugh Gaitskell  declared the Berlin Wall was “an appalling advertisement for Communism”.

If I were a communist propagandist I would regard this as about the biggest embarrassment I had to face…..

Prosperous West Berliners visit one of their 18 theatres Roving Report: The Gilded Cage   19-06-1963

Prosperous West Berliners visit one of their 18 theatres
Roving Report: The Gilded Cage 19-06-1963

This 1963 Roving Report documentary likens life in West Berlin to being in a gilded cage. The difference in lifestyle between the two sectors was impossible to reconcile. The film is particularly interesting due to an interview with some British exchange students who also visited the Soviet sector. A few days later President Kennedy came to Berlin and made his famous speech ‘Ich bin ein Berliner‘ to demonstrate his continuing support for West Berliners.

A method used by East German spies for smuggling microfilm  Roving Report: The Spy Catchers 12-12-1963

A method used by East German spies for smuggling microfilm
Roving Report: The Spy Catchers 12-12-1963

At this time the Cold War was at its height. In West Germany alone it was estimated there were 16,000 communist spies, many of whom worked in the capital, Bonn. Another Roving Report (‘The Spycatchers’) looks at the extent to which the Civil Service had been infiltrated and contains a very interesting feature on the Spycatchers Museum which was a training ground for West German Intelligence. It’s no coincidence the James Bond franchise started in 1962 and John le Carre’s book ‘The Spy who came in from the Cold’ was first published in 1963.

The House of Checkpoint Charlie: A bubble car used in a successful escape attempt. Channel 4 Berlin Wall B'ground:  08-08-1986

The House of Checkpoint Charlie: A bubble car used in a successful escape attempt.
Channel 4 Berlin Wall B’ground: 08-08-1986

The Wall remained in force for over 28 years and became a symbol of great human suffering. Many East Germans continued to try and escape through or over the Wall; some were successful and others died in the attempt. Click on the image above to watch a fascinating clip about the House of Checkpoint Charlie which displays some of the methods used to escape to West Berlin.

A view of the notorious 'Death Strip' where many were gunned down as they tried to cross the Wall

A view of the notorious ‘Death Strip’ where many were gunned down as they tried to cross the Wall: Channel 4 News: Berlin Wall Opening: 1st Anniversary 08-11-1990

By the late 1980s Mikhail Gorbachev‘s policies of Perestroika and Glasnost were bringing about radical economic and social reform within the Soviet Union. He also ensured the Soviet Union no longer controlled the governments of other Eastern Bloc countries which resulted in the end of the Cold War. Along with many other Eastern Bloc states, East Germany experienced a peaceful revolution against Soviet Communism during 1989 which resulted in freedom of movement to the West. And so it was on 9th November 1989 the East Germans unexpectedly discovered they were allowed to cross the Berlin Wall……..

Ecstatic East Berliners start to tear holes in the Berlin Wall Channel 4 News: Programme as Broadcast  09-11-1989

Ecstatic East Berliners start to tear holes in the Berlin Wall
Channel 4 News: Programme as Broadcast 09-11-1989

This Channel 4 News programme shows the excitement and joy of the East Berliners as they struggled to understand the Wall was no longer a barrier to their freedom. Most young people under the age of 30 would never have crossed the Wall until this moment.

West Berliners pull down a section of the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate: East/West Germany: The Berlin Wall : ITV News 11-11-1989

A couple of days later ITV’s News at Ten showed West and East Berliners celebrating together after 28 years of separation. There had not been scenes like this since the end of WWII in 1945. The work of reunifying East and West Germany began immediately and was achieved in less than a year; however many worried the process was too rapid, as this Channel 4 News clip demonstrates. It would be many more years before Germany felt like one people again and some would argue the scars are still healing.


Further Links:

The Berlin Wall Memorial : The Berlin Wall (The City of Berlin’s official webportal)

Wikipedia: The Berlin Wall

BBC Radio 4:  Germany: Memories of a Nation  (major series)

Khan Academy: The Cold War

Guardposts and Gardens: Walking the Berlin Wall Trail

Berlin Wall app