Social Science blog

49 posts categorized "Social Sciences"

21 March 2014

The Annual Equality Lecture

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This year we will hold the fourth annual Equality Lecture with the British Sociological Association on the 30 May. This series has been a brilliant way for leading sociologists and social scientists to present their research on key issues in equality to a public audience. This year, we are delighted that our speaker will be Dr Tom Shakespeare, a senior lecturer in medical sociology at the University of East Anglia and disability rights advocate. Tom will be talking about ‘Enabling Equality: from disabling barriers to equal participation’ to explore what it takes to achieve equality for disabled people, in the era of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and ‘welfare reform’.

Tom’s research interests centre on disability studies and bioethics and his publications include: The Sexual Politics of Disability (1996), Genetic Politics (2002) and Disability Rights and Wrongs (2006). He has worked at the World Health Organization in Geneva where he helped write and edit the World Report on Disability (WHO 2011). Tom has been involved in the disability movement for 25 years.

Jon Legge TWS head shoulders SMALL
Above: Dr Tom Shakespeare. Photograph © Jon Legge.

Last year, the speaker at this event was Professor Danielle Allen, from the Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton, who spoke about what is needed from society in order for an egalitarian model of politics to be successful. Her talk ‘The Art of Association: the formation of egalitarian social capital’ is available via YouTube and below:


In 2012, Professor Danny Dorling, Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography at the University of Oxford, spoke on the subject of ‘What’s so good about being more equal?’ Much of Danny’s work is available on open access via his website: Danny’s lecture is also available via YouTube.

The first speaker in the series was Professor Richard Wilkinson, Professor Emeritus of Social Epidemiology at the University of Nottingham and co-founder of The Equality Trust, who spoke on the topic of the best-selling book (co-authored with Professor Kate Pickett) The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone'. The first lecture in the series was hugely popular and was a fantastic start to the whole series.

This year Tom's lecture will be accompanied by live subtitles provided by STAGETEXT. For more information and a link to the booking options, please visit the British Library’s What’s On pages.

Useful information

Remember that books by the speakers listed here are available via the British Library’s collections. Begin searching here and find out about how to get a reader pass here. The British Sociological Association lists their events here.

14 March 2014

Beyond Nature versus Nurture

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On the evening of 11th March we held the public event ‘Beyond Nature versus Nurture’ which examined how the field of epigenetics has enabled scientists and social scientists to gain clearer idea of how environmental factors get ‘under the skin’ to change the way genes are expressed and cells behave. The evening examined how the dichotomy of nature / nurture as two opposed explanations for human behaviour and outcomes cannot be upheld with the knowledge we now have from the life sciences and social sciences. It showed how the sciences and social sciences can usefully work together to better understand differences between individuals and groups of people. The event was part of the series of events that have been organised to support the ‘Beautiful Science: Picturing Data, Inspiring Insight’ exhibition at the British Library (free, and on until 26 May).

George Davey Smith, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Bristol, was our first speaker for the evening. He introduced the audience to the different factors which can influence the expression of genes, from events at the cellular level of the individual, to the experiences of our ancestors, which have been of particular interest to those working in epigenetics (see also Hughes’ article, below). In particular, Davey Smith described how ‘chance’ and random events in an individual’s life may account for health outcomes that could not easily be predicted by epidemiology. He talked about how the element of ‘chance’ in human life is an issue for other disciplines which aim to understand life trajectories, health and make predictions about outcome. The element of chance and unpredictability in human life seemed an optimistic line of enquiry to pursue given the constant bombardment of stories about known ‘risks’ in our press and media! George’s work has also considered the complexity of the interactions that development and environment can have on human health outcomes over a lifetime and how these factors are often hard to dissect.

Panel and Audience WEB

Above: panel and audience at 'Beyond Nature vs. Nurture' on 11 March 2014. © The British Library Board.

Nikolas Rose, Professor of Sociology and Head of the Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine at King's College London, began his talk with a brief history of the nature versus nurture dichotomy, tracing the influence of this particular conceptualisation on the development of (for instance) eugenic policies in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He described the lasting and negative effects of controversial concepts such as eugenics on the relationship between the life sciences and the social sciences. Yet, Rose was optimistic for the future of the relationship between the disciplines, citing developments in epigenetics and epidemiology as exciting and with considerable potential for the different disciplines to work together. He described his own recent work about the impact of urban living on the individual psyche which takes into account the external environment of the city and its impact on the internal environment of the body. This project, which immediately made me think of Georg Simmel’s, ‘The Metropolis and Mental Life’, offers potential for finding transformative ways for the life sciences and social sciences to work together.

Thus, overall, the messages of the evening were optimistic ones. Many of us left thinking about the potential for more interdisciplinary events at the British Library and were rather less concerned than we may have been before about the potential damage we have done to our bodies (thinking that we may be one of the lucky ones that ‘chance’ favours!). I was reminded to really not pay too much attention to all the press interpretations of research on ‘risk’ (a message also clear in one of our previous ‘Myths and Realities’ events), but to rather consider the evidence from well-established epidemiological research about factors that can affect health risks and outcomes (such as smoking and lung cancer). It also seemed about time to dig out those A level Biology text books, as my scientific colleague kindly told me that stochastic pretty much means ‘random’. I’m going to have to look up DNA methylation though…!

Thanks to our speakers, and to the chair, Professor Jane Elliott, Head of the Department of Quantitative Social Science, for a stimulating evening at the British Library.

Further reading

Davey Smith, George. (2012) ‘Epidemiology, epigenetics and the ‘Gloomy Prospect’: embracing randomness in population health research and practice’. International Journal of Epidemiology, 40(3) pp. 537-562. Available online:

Hughes, Virginia. (2014) ‘The Sins of the Father’. Nature. V. 507. 6 March 2014. pp. 22 – 24.

Renton, Caroline. L. & Davey Smith, George. (2012) ‘Is Epidemiology ready for epigenetics?’ International Journal of Epidemiology, 41(1) pp.5-9. Available online:

Rose, Nikolas. (2012) ‘The Human Sciences in a Biological Age’. Theory, Culture and Society, 0(0) pp. 1 – 32.

25 February 2014

My notes from a conference

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Robert Davies, Engagement Support Officer for Social Sciences at the British Library, writes:

In January, I was pleased to attend the one day conference ‘Working with Paradata, Marginalia and Fieldnotes: The Centrality of By-Products of Social Research’ at the University of Leicester.

The conference was convened by the University of Leicester, the National Centre for Research Methods (Novella Group) and the Institute of Education. The aim of the day was to provide an opportunity ‘for dialogue across disciplines and research paradigms: across the social sciences and humanities, historical and contemporary data, primary and secondary resources, quantitative and qualitative approaches’.  The programme and range of speakers truly reflected this aim.

On arrival one of my fellow delegates asked me the question:

‘So which area of interest brings you here?’

To which I responded:

‘Well, I suppose, I come at this from two directions; as a former conservator of manuscripts and printed books I understand marginalia, as an Engagement Support Officer for Social Sciences I am fascinated by how we might re-use more recent ‘secondary data’ to help understand contemporary society, but I am not sure what Paradata means.'

So what do we mean by marginalia and paradata?  To quote Henrietta O’Connor:

‘…[they are] material collected as part of, supporting or in addition to the research process.  Annotations and augmentations revealed through the analysis of original documents.  By-products, non-standard ‘data’, ephemera, letters, pictures, notes.’

Speakers and delegates went on to consider methodologies for undertaking the analysis of marginalia and field-notes (such as the application of narrative analysis); the potential ethical implications of undertaking secondary analysis of ‘historic’ surveys and following up with the subjects of those surveys; how the analysis of marginalia and field-notes can cast a light on what we understand to be ‘acceptable’ research practices at any given point and how such perceptions shift over time. It included discussion of the latest technological developments which can, and are, being used to collect paradata during large telephone and on-line surveys to understand low response and drop-out rates and to make appropriate adjustments to the surveys as they progress; how individuals may feel that data is being collected by ‘stealth’; and the potential for, and difficulties of, including cognitive and behaviour coding in surveys.

The conference concluded with an examination of the marginalia and notes of the writer Vernon Lee (Violet Paget). It examined the importance of capturing marginalia during digitisation projects and the sustainability of data which is ‘born’ digital (regardless of whether the digital content is generated through digitisation projects of ‘historic’ material or via large national household surveys).

In the spirit of the conference, to gain alternative perspectives on the day I thoroughly recommend reading Llordllama’s Research Ramblings and viewing a storify by Dr Helen Kara of the tweets posted on the day.  I hope the bibliography below may be of some use (although it is a very small selection of the books and articles available on the subjects covered during the conference).


Andrews, M.; Squire, C.; Tamboukou (editors) Doing Narrative Research, Sage, 2008.  British Library shelfmark: YC.2012.a.10037

Crone, R.; Halsey, K.; Owens, W.R.; Towheed, S. (editors) The History of Reading.  vol. 1. International perspectives, c.1500-1990. vol. 2. Evidence from the British Isles, c.1750-1950. vol. 3. Methods, strategies, tactics. British Library shelfmarks:
Volume 1 - YC.2013.a.1041; Volume 2 - YC.2013.a.1042; Volume 3 - YC.2013.a.1043

Elliott, H.; Ryan, J.; Hollway, W.  Research encounters, reflexivity and supervision, International Journal of Social Research Methodology, Issue 5, Volume 15, pp 433-444. (2012)

Gillies, V.; Edwards, R. Working with archived classic family and community studies: illuminating past and present conventions around acceptable research practice.  International Journal of Social Research Methodology, Issue 4, Volume 15, pp 321-330. (2012)

Groves, R. M.; Heeringa, S. G. Responsive design for household surveys: tools for actively controlling survey errors and costs.  Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series A, Statistics in society. VOL 169; NUMBER 3, (2006),pp 439-457.

Kirgis, N.;  Lepkowski, JM. “Design and Management Strategies for Paradata Driven Responsive Design: Illustrations from the 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth,” in Improving Surveys with Paradata: Analytic Use of Process Data, Krueter, F. (editor). New York: J.W. Wiley & Sons, (2013).

O'Connor, H.; Goodwin, J. Revisiting Norbert Elias's sociology of community: learning from the Leicester re-studies. The Sociological review. VOL 60; NUMBER 3, 2012, pp 476-497.  Blackwell Publishing Ltd , 2012.

O'Connor, H.; Goodwin, J. Through the interviewer’s Lens: Representations of 1960s Households and Families in a Lost Sociological Study, Sociological Research Online, Volume 15, Issue 4, (2009).

Turner, Malgorzata New perspectives on interviewer-related error in surveys : application of survey paradata (2013), University of Southampton, Thesis available via the British Library Electronic Theses Online System (EThOS).

Other Resources

The Research Ethics Guidebook: A resource for social scientists Online 

Developing Generic Ethics Principles for Social Science: An Academy of Social Sciences Initiative on Research Ethics

UK Reading Experience Database 1450 -1945

11 February 2014

Sport in the archive – remembering London 2012

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Andrew Rackley, a collaborative doctoral student at the British Library and University of Central Lancashire writes:

I have a confession to make: I am a bit of a Luddite. I don’t really get technology. I graduated as a historian, a medieval one at that, before qualifying as an archivist. My mother was a librarian and my father a paper maker, so books are kind of 'my thing'. Of course I maintain a web-presence, I have a Twitter account, although it’s a little on the quiet side; I subscribe to Facebook, have done for a decade, not that it helps me understand quite why I do so; and I even have a smart-phone, which I’m fairly sure operates a considerable number of IQ points higher than myself. So how did I find myself at the British Library working towards a PhD entitled ‘Archiving the Games: collecting, storing and disseminating the London 2012 knowledge legacy’, a project that is principally interested in digital archives? The answer is quite simple really: I like sport.

As I write, I find it hard to disassociate myself from the excitement surrounding the opening of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Not everyone will share in my enthusiasm, the Winter Olympics sometimes feels like it’s considered the less glamorous cousin of the Summer Olympics – winter is to Eddie the Eagle as summer is to Usain Bolt – no disrespect to Eddie or the Winter Games of course; maybe it is just that the UK hasn’t had quite as much success on the snow and ice as it has the track and field. On Sunday, Great Britain secured a first medal on snow, matching the haul from Vancouver in 2010, where Team GB took home one solitary medal (albeit gold). In fact, over the twenty-one Winter Olympics to date Britain has claimed a total of twenty-three medals compared to the sixty-five obtained on home soil in 2012 alone. Beyond this, Britain has never hosted the Winter Olympics, whereas no other city has played host to the three summer Games that London has.


Above: Great Britain’s Amy Williams won gold for the Skeleton at the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games in 2010. By jonwick04 [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Which brings me neatly back to London, where I now find myself, still hardly able to believe that eighteen months have disappeared since waving goodbye to the Olympics. During this time, there has been a lot of talk about legacy, often about how it has not yet delivered one (see also Donavan, 2012), but little attention has been paid to the documentary residue of the Games; that body of material, both analogue and digital, that resides in our museums, libraries and archives as testament to the nation’s heritage. This is where my interest lies. This is London 2012’s knowledge legacy.

There are many issues surrounding the archiving of an occasion such as the Olympic Games, not least of which is the scale of the event. London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games were just under six weeks in the execution, but over a decade in the planning, during which time a multitude of records in a great variety of formats were created. Alongside many physical records held at The National Archives, a vast amount of digital material is also available including the British Library’s Web Archive, which includes Winning Endeavours, a page devoted to digitizing images from London’s Olympic history, and the People’s Record – a website dedicated to documenting the efforts of community groups around the UK as they entered into the Olympic spirit and joined in with the Cultural Olympiad. In addition, the British Library’s Sport & Society website takes a look at the Olympics through the lens of the social sciences, suggesting many different uses to which records of sport can be put, many of which are not always obvious.

The Olympic flame may now be burning bright in Sochi, but the legacy left to London doesn’t reside solely in the stadiums, housing or participation the media constantly reminds us of. There are many stories waiting in memory institutions, in the knowledge legacy, that serve to demonstrate how important sport can be to bring people together and unite communities. The scope of the records generated by the Olympics may have presented challenges for collection and storage, but the sheer variety of content available to disseminate to researchers is what makes these records a fantastic resource.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I believe the Curling is about to start, and I do like a bit of sport.

Further information and references

For extensive collections on sport, from Eddie the Eagle to Usain Bolt to curling, please search the British Library’s catalogue here: Explore the British Library.

Donovan, T. (9 August 2012) London 2012: Olympics Job Legacy 'falls short'. BBC News.

For a Google Search on Olympics Legacy articles, click here.

About the author: Andrew Rackley is a collaborative doctoral student at the British Library and the University of Central Lancashire. His research principally focuses on how a national institution, such as the British Library, documents a Mega-Event like the Olympics, and his interests include sport and the relationship between memory and archives. Follow him on Twitter @andy_rack.


15 January 2014

Harper Collection of Private Bills

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Jennie Grimshaw, Lead Curator for Social Policy and Official Publications at the British Library, writes about one of the unique online resources available at the British Library for the study of the legislative process in the eighteenth century. Find out more about our e-resources here.

The Leeds Intelligencer, 10 November 1772, notes that “On Friday 30th ult died Robert Harper, Esq. of Lincoln’s Inn, Counsellor at law, who is deservedly supposed to have been one of the most able conveyancers in England for more than half this present century. He was deeply versed in the laws of his own country, and well acquainted with the history of the modern and ancient nations.”

Robert Harper (1699?-1772) was the eldest son of Samuel Harper of Farnley, Yorkshire. He was admitted to Lincoln’s Inn in 1717, after which his legal career spanned fifty years. He practised as a conveyancer, specialising in legal matters concerning transfer of real property. As a natural outgrowth of his work as a conveyancer, he also developed an extensive practise in drafting Private Bills. Between 1732 and 1762 altogether 1,238 private acts received Royal Assent, of which 458 or 37% were drawn by Harper. His speciality was private estate acts of which he drew 350, or 56% of the total in this group. Up to 1754 he drew the same percentage of all inclosure acts, but when the inclosure movement gathered pace, Harper continued to draw only the same number of bills (between two and six each session), so his overall percentage for inclosure acts drops to 31%. He appears to have taken an interest in bills other than his own, and noted the time and place of committee proceedings upon them. In the absence of an officially printed list, he compiled his own list of standing orders. For estate bills, he drew up his own ‘Memorandums’ of procedure with marginal comments and corrections (Lambert, 1971).

Above: Lincoln's Inn, London. Image via Wikimedia Commons [Public Domain]

Robert Harper did not act exclusively as agent for all the bills with which he as associated. In 1762 and 1766, John Rosier and George White, both clerks in the House and agents, were responsible for printing bills with which Harper was concerned and which he had probably drafted (Lambert, p. 49). The probability is that he often worked with, or employed, collaborators within Parliament. He was also a favourite client of Samuel Richardson, printer to the House, who left him a mourning ring in his will. From 1705 both the Lords and the Commons required printed copies of private bills to be delivered to them. An attorney responsible for drafting, promoting and managing up to 20 bills per session, and who could select his printer, was thus a valued customer and source of income.

The estate bills and other papers in the Harper collection shed light on eighteenth century family life and disputes, which are not so very different from cases coming before the courts today. They include papers relating to the case of John Addison (see the below image) ‘a lunatic without lucid intervals’ who contracted debts and was fleeced by two unscrupulous lawyers. Care of his estates was eventually granted to his younger brother George, who brought bills before the House of Lords in successive sessions for the sale of the estates for the payment of John’s debts. John and George’s sisters and their husbands then entered the scene and opposed the sale on the grounds that the bills made no provision for payment of monies owed to them, amounting to £661 and 14 shillings, plus interest and legal costs. They argued that the bill only made provision for payment of debts contracted after their bother’s lunacy, which would deprive them of their fair share of their late parents’ estate. Any monies remaining after the settlement of the debts would be given to George to administer on his brother’s behalf, and the sisters feared it would be mismanaged, leaving John destitute. Sheila Lambert reports that the bill was abruptly rejected at third reading, and no more was heard of the case (Lambert, p. 115-116).

Harper-000007-p1.jpg WEB
Above: 'The Case of the Daughters of Francis Addison Esq; and Margaret, his wife' 
© The British Library Board.

At the end of his life Robert Harper began the enormous task of indexing his collection of Parliamentary and other papers – private bills in various states, drafts of judges’ petitions and various related manuscript and printed items.  On his death his library passed to his son, Samuel, an employee of the British Museum, who offered it at auction in 1802, shortly before he died. His former colleague Joseph Planta, then principal Librarian, obtained a copy of the fifty-seven page catalogue, went to the sale and purchased material on behalf of the Museum.  The Museum thus acquired parts of the collection; other parts have been lost or have made their way into other libraries. Unfortunately the Museum did not acquire the manuscript indexes to it; these are in the volume of Harper MSS at Lincoln’s Inn.

The Museum removed many bills from the main Harper volumes and used them to help form its own set of private bills or acts bound up, until 1727, under the title “Private Acts” and from then until 1814 under that of “Private Bills”. With the aid of the indexes Sheila Lambert was able to reconstruct the content of Harper’s original collection and ascertained that almost the whole of the Museum’s set of Private Acts/Bills up to 1767 belonged to it. Without Harper’s collection, the Library’s holdings of eighteenth century Parliamentary papers would be much poorer.

Harper’s papers are a unique resource for the study of the legislative process in the eighteenth century.  Additionally they contain valuable information on many of the private acts with which Harper was involved and so offer material for the study of local and family history.  No other copies of many of the bills in this collection are known. They are now available online in full text as part of the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers, 1688 - offered by Proquest and available onsite at the British Library.

Find out more about our e-resources here.


Lambert, Sheila. Bills and Acts: legislative procedure in eighteenth century England. Cambridge University Press, 1971.

Rydz, D.L. The parliamentary agents: a history. Royal Historical Society, 1979.

Jervis, David, Cheffins, Richard H.A. and Cunningham, Arthur. Parliamentary papers in the British Library. In Workings of Westminster edited by Dermot Englefield. Dartmouth Publishing, 1991, p. 163-180


12 December 2013

Stories from the Empire: Privy Council Cases 1917-1920

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In this guest post Alex Giles from City University, London, investigates stories from the empire from a socio-legal perspective, through researching Privy Council cases 1917-1920 


Photo (1)vols

Volumes in the series catalogued as Appeal Cases Heard Before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (shelf mark pp1316). Copyright British Library Board.

The British Library holds a collection of bound volumes of Privy Council cases from 1861 to 2007 (PP1316). Looking at just four years of these at the height of the British Empire makes fascinating reading. Although the final judgments of all Privy Council cases are currently freely available online from 1809 to 2013 on BAILLI (British and Irish Legal Information Institute) or COMMONLII (Commonwealth Legal Information Institute), these cases are often worth reading in full... In other words their Records of Proceedings, judgments of lower local courts, witness testimonies and attached exhibits can really add to our understanding from a socio-legal perspective of this, the final court of appeal for the British Empire and its peoples.

In any one year during the  period 1917 – 1920 a small group of “English” law lords in Whitehall, who made up the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, were deciding on approximately 140 cases originating from all parts of the world such as Canada, Australia, India, the Far East, Africa and the West Indies. The breadth of cases is quite staggering; from ancestral land and inheritance disputes in India using local Hindu matakshara Law or Mohammedan Law, to large commercial cases involving hydro-electric power or mining interests in Canada or Australia. Press and publishing disputes, personal injury, breach of contract for the sale of pig iron, insurance cases, workers’ compensation, licensing of a pub in Adelaide, patents, matrimonial and family, liability for fire damage to a rubber plantation, wills and probate – all with their own peculiar local flavour. One day they would be deciding on who should be running the local temple or muth in a Bengal village1, the next deciding on who owns vast tracts of territory in S. Rhodesia following the Matabele War and the fall of King Lobengula (a very interesting case which includes whole speeches by Cecil Rhodes2).


Map contained within the records of proceedings in courts below in  Judicial Committee appeal cases decided 1917 - 1920. BL pp1316. Copyright British Library Board.

Some cases in this set are still considered “good law” and are cited or mentioned in recent cases for example [1919] UKPC 136 Taylor v Davies3 regarding trusts4, or [1919] UKPC 825, which was recently cited in a case about HIV/Aids drugs patents6. Lawyers or law students may wish to read the entire original case in such instances.

Others’ interest could be in a particular subject area such as Sugar Cultivation in Queensland and the status/role of non-European workers ([1919] UKPC 1187), or Railways in India ([1919] UKPC 1308). These often lengthy cases give primary source details through witness statements and other documentary evidence which incidentally paint a picture of workers’ and peasants’ lives, the caste system, local language and customs of the time.

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Photograph of an unknown person contained within the records of proceedings in courts below in Judicial Committee appeal cases decided 1917 - 1920. BL pp1316. Copyright British Library Board.

Sometimes the final judgments that we have of these cases are lengthy and informative, other times they can be so brief as to give no indication whatsoever of what the case was about. For example in [1919] UKPC109 the final judgment simply tells us:

“Their lordships will humbly advise His Majesty that this appeal should be dismissed with costs.”

So, without looking at the full case we wouldn’t know that this involved a complex family matrimonial dispute: A Christian man marries a Buddhist girl for her dowry. On the morning of the marriage instead of sending the kumarihamy (woman who dresses the bride) he goes and asks her parents for the balance of the dower. This offends the Singhalese parents whose custom is to pay the dower after the marriage ceremony before the assembled guests. There follows a long drawn out and tragic dispute; disinheritance, theft, general nastiness and sadly no mention of love or affection between the couple. Instead the original district judge sides with “the Respondents who were Christians and could not bear false witness” as opposed to “the Appellants who were Buddhists” and “not above it”. Fortunately a later judge is more discerning in weighing up the evidence, and comes to a more balanced decision, but from a socio-legal perspective what is interesting is the effect this has on their lives - which is recorded through their witness statements - and also the snapshot it gives us of a certain section of family life and the role of women in Ceylon at the time.


Volumes from this collection can be requested from shelf mark PP1316 for use in the Social Science Reading Room. For guidance on ordering and further information see the British Library web page Privy Council Appeal Cases. 


Alex Giles LLB, studied law at Sheffield University, and the College of Law. He currently works for City University London in their City Law School libraries. 


1. [1919] UKPC 104 Mahunt  Damodar Ramanuj Das v Chemai Tihari (Appeal No 135 of 1917) Bengal [ 28  October 1919] 

2. Special Reference as to the Ownership of the Unalienated Land in Southern Rhodesia (Reasons) v JCPC [29 July 1918] (JCPC)   [1918] UKPC 78 (29 July 1918)

3. [1919] UKPC 136 Isabella Taylor v Robert Davies (Appeal No 51 of 1919) Ontario [19 December 1919] 

4. Cited:  Bagus Investments Ltd. V Kastening [2012] W.T.L.R. 1675 and Williams v Central Bank of Nigeria [2012] 3 W.L.R. 1501

5. [1919] UKPC 82 The Attorney General for the Dominion of Canada v The Ritchie Contracting and Supply Company Ltd (Appeal  No 160 of 1915) Canada [31 July 1919]

6. Merck Sharp Dohme Corp v Teva Pharma BV [2012] EWHC 627 (Pat)

7. [1919] UKPC 118 Addar Khan v John Mullins (Appeal No 78 of 1919) Queensland [2 December 1919]

8. [1919] UKPC 130 The East Indian Railway Company v Major Andrew Torton Kirkwood (Appeal No 92 0f 1919) Bengal [15   December 1919]

9. [1919] UKPC 10 Mengeltina Allahakoon v Selina Marguerita Abeyesekara (Appeal No.45 of 1917) Ceylon [6 February 1919]

19 November 2013

A final note on the iPod generation

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Abiola Olanipekun recently finished an internship at the British Library. In her final blog post she summarises her previous posts about the iPod generation and bids adieu!

In my final months at the British Library I have been a busy bee! I have written a series of blog posts about the Reform reports on the ‘iPod generation’ which were published in 2007 and 2008. If you have not read my previous posts, please take a look at the links below:

For the 1st one, click here.

For the 2nd one, click here.

For the 3rd one, click here.

If you wish to find out more, please visit our Management & Business Portal for in-depth pieces by Reform and others that will stimulate your brain juices!

Once you’ve done that folks, I hope you might read my final post.

The series of reports analysed the situation for the classes of 2005 and 2006 and made predictions about the financial future for people of my generation. The reports wrote about how the 18-34 generation may pay higher taxes than previous generations, will need to support a generation of long-living retirees, have lost the ‘benefits bargain’ and are generally in a dire mess when it comes to a healthy financial future. You may find this to be pessimistic, but in my own case, as a 26 year old living alone in London, I feel the unsettling reality of some of the findings and predictions in this set of reports.

Despite this, I am determined to take a guarded view and not be completely devoid of optimism. It is also possible to take a retrospective view, since a few years have passed since the publication of the reports: there have been changes to the economy since 2008 and while, for example, the number of graduates in non-graduate jobs has recently been reported to have risen, ONS data also shows that in the last quarter, employment levels have improved.

I like to think that maybe prospects might change and who knows, maybe we will come to read fewer articles about the iPod generation being financially challenged!

In the meantime, I hope that you all found what has been documented in these blogs useful – the Reform reports or what I have written or maybe both?! (Just being hopeful!). Thanks for reading.

Postscript: Abiola recently started a new job working in communications. We wish her the best of luck!

12 November 2013

Calling all Spare Rib Contributors!

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In this post Polly Russell highlights the Library's work to assess the feasibility of digitising the complete run of Spare Rib magazine and asks Spare Rib contributors to get in touch.


Members of the Spare Rib Collective Preparing Issue No. 25 in June 1974. From Right to left, Marsha Rowe, Rosie Parker, Rose Ades, Marion Fudger (nee Slade). © Martin Ward, reproduced with kind permission from Marsha Rowe

Few titles sum up an era and a movement like Spare Rib. The magazine ran from 1972-1993 and for many women was the debating chamber of feminism in the UK.

The British Library has recently embarked on a pilot project to assess the feasibility of digitising the complete run of Spare Rib magazine.

Although the entire run of the magazine has always been available to readers at the British Library and other libraries, digitising the copies and making them freely available online would transform access for researchers and the wider public. As Spare Rib is still in copyright, in order for this project to go ahead it is crucial for the British Library that the majority Spare Rib contributors (including illustrators and photographers) grant permission for their material to be digitised and made available online for non-commercial use. 

The contributors and Spare Rib collective members we have spoken to date have been very positive but we still need to contact a great number of former contributors to ask their permission to digitise their content.

The British Library is undertaking a feasibility study to see whether this will be possible. Without sufficient permissions to digitise the project will not go ahead.

If you were a contributor to Spare Rib then we want to hear from you! Please fill in our online form with your information


This project follows the success of our ‘Sisterhood & After’ Women’s Liberation Oral History archive and website which was launched at the Library earlier this year, as well as a sell-out conference which debated the history and future of the feminism. For more information on this project go to

Polly Russell, British Library