BBC Memoryshare

>> An introduction to Memoryshare
>> View Memories
Memoryshare aims to be a living archive of personal memories from 1900 to the present day. This is really engaging and accessible social history, contributed by BBC viewers and listeners across the UK. Anyone registered with can contribute to Memoryshare either by submitting their own stories or commenting on stories posted by other users. Memories can be browsed by date or by subject.
Highlights include

Sgt Pepper 40th Anniversary

Sgtpepper >> Radio 2 60s Season: Sgt Pepper’s 40th Anniversary
>> Wikipedia: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Tomorrow is the 40th anniversary of the release of The Beatles’ seminal Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.
Surprisingly, there is no dedicated content on The Beatles’ (usually excellent) site to mark the occasion, but Radio 2 have invited original Sgt Pepper studio engineer Geoff Emerick to go back into the studio with some of today’s biggest artists to re-record the tracks and demonstrate the techniques used to record the album. You can hear the results in a Radio 2 documentary on Saturday from 2000.
We’ll have video footage of exclusive performances from bands including Kaiser Chiefs, Magic Numbers, Stereophonics, Bryan Adams, The Fray and Razorlight online from 2100 on Saturday.
Digital TV viewers will also be able to watch these performances by pressing red from any BBC TV or Radio channel from 2100 on Saturday 2 June until Saturday 9 June.
>> Oxford DNB: The Summer of Love
Meanwhile to mark the anniversary, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography have created a range of free ‘Summer of Love’ content including an interactive Sgt Pepper album sleeve. Click on 40 of the historical figures featured on the album’s iconic sleeve, to be taken straight through to the full biography for that person.

STOP PRESS: OK, so last Thursday there wasn’t any dedicated Sgt Pepper content on The Beatles’ official site – That’s because it launched on Friday on the anniversary!
>> You can find the official site for the 40th anniversary of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band here.

Slave Trade Petition

>> Parliament and the British Slave Trade 1600-1807
Sunday also marks the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the British Slave Trade act. To coincide with that the Parliamentary Archives have launched a site showcasing a digital version of the biggest surviving anti slave trade petition.
People are invited to go online to look for their ancestors so that the views of the living relatives can be included in a more elaborate site which is due to launch in May. See also:
>> BBC Radio 3: Abolition Season

BRITs / Valentines Podcasts

>> BRITs on Radio 2
>> Win a guitar signed by the winners and nominees
>> BRITs: Official Site
Tonight from 2100-2230 Dermot O’Leary is live from the backstage enclosure at Earls Court talking to the winners and nominees at this year’s BRITs. I’ll be hiding in the backstage enclosure taking pictures for Radio 2’s BRITs minisite so keep an eye on our BRITs pages later to see Dermot hob-nobbing with the stars. You can also win a guitar Signed by all of Dermot’s star guests.
Also mentioned today:
>> Queen of Hearts & King of Clubs Valentines podcasts
Top-notch reference source The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography has been offering selected audio biogs of notable figures in podcast form since the start of 2007. Why not send your beloved a Barbara Cartland (Queen of Hearts) or Bobby Moore (King of Clubs) Valentine-friendly podcast!

Gunpowder Plot

Guyfawkes >> The Gunpowder Plot
   Remember, remember the fifth of November
   Gunpowder treason and plot
   We see no reason
   Why gunpowder treason
   Should ever be forgot!

I’ve never seen a film recreating the events of the Gunpowder Plot, but a quick glance at the first sentance on this site – "Assassination, intrigue, persecution, spying, mass murder and finally a plot to blow up Parliament" – shows that this story has the all the makings of a historical Hollywood blockbuster! The site has been created to mark the 400th anniversary of the failed plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Using original documents from the period held in the archives of the Houses of Parliament, the site builds an interactive timeline of events leading up to the the plot.
It tells a good story very well, and does so in two versions – the normal adult site, and a special version aimed at 7-14 year olds (using mock-Elizabethan trading cards as illustrations!)

Bonfire Night Links

FireworksThis year I’ve not been able to find one definitive site with a complete list of all the big firework displays taking place around the UK, but one of the better lists can be found at Fireworks magazine’s site. It’s also worth doing a postcode search on the BBC Where I Live site as many BBC local pages are carrying details of organised displays. If you’re planning on hosting your own fireworks event, then safety is paramount, so be sure to check out

The UK Firework Review has comprehensive info for anyone arranging their own display, with impartial reviews of a huge range of foreworks, extensive advice on safety (going beyond the fireworks code) and a space to exchange information with like-minded fireworks enthusiasts.

The BBC H2G2 site has a useful feature on the origins of Bonfire Night and the Gunpowder plot.

Hookery Cookery provides Bonfire Night Recipes including Houses of Parliament Soup, Treason Toffee and Creamy Ember Jackets

Or If you prefer staying home and keeping warm, Cyber Fireworks has a range of virtual displays set at various American landmarks: Just click around the screen to launch different fireworks – very pretty and a lot quieter than the real thing!

September 11 Web Archive

Wayback >> The September 11 Web Archive
This is one of the first attempts at creating a historical archive of how the web responded to a particular event. In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 the team behind the Internet Archive set about identifying sites which were documenting or reflecting the momentous events of that day.
A searchable archive of 2,300 sites was created covering the period between September 11 and December 01 2001.
You can search or browse the entire archive, read analysis of the online response to the attacks or click See What People Could Do On The Web to visit the archived version of a random site.

Who Do You Think You Are

Family_history >> Who Do You Think You Are
Each new series of BBC One’s celebrity genealogy programme prompts fresh interest in online family tree research, so I make no apology for a repeat plug for the BBC’s excellent family history pages.
Investigating your family tree remains one of the most popular online pastimes, but it can be an intimidating process for those who are new to the world of genealogical research.
The BBC site is designed to be helpful to beginners and experienced users alike. As well as information about the current series, there’s a complete beginners toolkit for getting started with genealogical research. Family history expert Dr Nick Barratt provides articles and standalone video tutorials which explain the basics of tracing your roots with case studies, extensive links, and a useful interactive tool called Bloodlines, which lets you plot your own family history on a scrolling timeline which details key events from the early 1800s to the present day.
In addition a section called Your Photos invites you to dig out (and upload) old family photos which may have lasting social or cultural interest. From steam railways to royal visits, sporting events, workplaces or family occasions you’ll find a fascinating mix of images from the early 20th century up to the 1960s.

How Posh is Your Surname?

>> Surname Profiler
When I first mentioned this site last year, there was massive interest – so much so that they struggled to cope with the surge of traffic. At launch the Surname Profiler allowed users to search for a surname and see where in the British Isles that name was most common in 1881 and 1998. Recently the site has added statistics which rank each surname by social status. Apparently only 3% of Britons have higher-status surnames than Mendoza, whereas Wright is a much more middle-ranking name!

BBC Virtual Museum

>> BBC Virtual Museum
This site ties in with BBC 2’s People’s Museum programme which is currently running as part of Museums and Galleries Month. The programme travels the UK in search of hidden treasures and lesser known exhibits from museums around the country.
All 73 artefacts showcased during the programme will feature in the virtual museum, but you get to vote on which exhibits get pride of place in the top-floor exclusive gallery.
Today’s shortlist includes a set of original designs for the Titanic and the actual couch used by Sigmund Freud to analyse all his patients!