I’ve often found scouring old newspapers from the war a great resource. Yes, of course, a lot of it was propaganda, but the beauty is the immediacy. One can see how events were being reported, which in itself is often fascinating. Furthermore, there are always so many wonderful little nuggets to be found: cinema listings, adverts, health tips, jokes, weather reports – all of which help root both fiction and non-fiction to that moment in time. One of my favourites was an ad in the Times of Malta from the spring of 1941 after the first German blitz on the island. It was from a military tailor and said, ‘We were blasted well out but we are blasted well open again.’
So I was really thrilled to be sent a new collection by Thomas Walker who runs Historic Newspapers. No more slogging up to the newspaper archive in Collindale for me – now I can simply go online and look up pretty much whatever I want. Along with Paperless Archives and other online archives, this is going to prove very useful indeed.