Fascist Newspapers: the tale of an archive placement student

Emily Fisher is currently on placement in the Labour History and Archive Study Centre, in this blog, she tells us about her placement.

Emily FisherI’m a third year student at the University of Central Lancashire, studying Modern World History. For one of my third year modules I am doing a work placement. I chose to go to the People’s History Museum in Manchester as I wanted to gain an insight into the life of an archivist, whilst working alongside historical artefacts.

During my placement I have been listing and cataloguing British Union of Fascist newspaper cuttings spanning from 1927 to 1981. This has been extremely invaluable to me as I am focussing my dissertation on anti-Fascist newspaper coverage. It has also been interesting to learn about an era in British history that is not taught very often in schools, colleges or universities. Reading through all of the newspaper cuttings I have learnt that Fascism in Britain was rather popular, particularly amongst the youth, and middle class men and women, peaking in the mid-1930s with a membership of 50,000. It was also very intriguing to learn that the British Union of Fascists was highly supported by the Daily Mail and Lord Rothermere, with one article titled, “Hurrah the Blackshirts!”

Working in an archive has made me realise just how hard archivists work to preserve some very delicate historical artefacts, whilst helping the general public engage with the vast amount of collections available. I find it very important to have archives available as it allows people to look into the history that has essentially shaped their future.

Overall, I have found the placement extremely interesting and I would recommend anyone to go and be a volunteer at the People’s History Museum. The staff are very warm and welcoming, and the amount of pamphlets, pictures, newspaper cuttings, publications, letters etc, is extremely impressive.

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