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The Battle of Britain

In 1940, Britain stood alone following the fall of France. With the German army poised across the channel, only the RAF could prevent the Luftwaffe from gaining the air supremacy needed to successfully mount the expected invasion. Historian Richard Marks looks at how the RAF’s systems and equipment allowed them to prevent the invasion

£5 for access pass (members: £4 for with coupon)

Please note:  for licensing reasons this content is only accessible until 31 Jul 2024

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Getting the Most out of the Maps Website

If you like to better understand the lives of your ancestors and enjoy old maps - you will almost certainly enjoy this workshop! The workshop will explore the country's foremost online map collection. The National Library of Scotland, which hosts the maps website, holds over two million cartographic items, making it the largest collection of maps in Scotland and one of the largest in the world. There are several separate collections of maps within the library's holdings, namely the Bartholomew Archive and the Graham Brown Collection. At the library, there are maps relating to many different kinds of landscapes, such as estates, counties, railways, maps which show the trenches of World War I, and alpine areas.

Craig Statham, takes us on a tour of the maps, shows how they can help us understand the environment our ancestors lived in, and explains how to get the most information from them.

£5 for three month access pass (Free to members here )

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Understanding Old Handwriting

Sooner or later, every family historian has to tackle the challenge of deciphering old handwriting. This course will look at the structure of documents from the 17-19th centuries, which are of most use to family historians, and teach attendees how to read the various handwriting styles used. Examples of handwriting and documents are provided.

Joan Dils, course tutor, is a well-known local historian in Berkshire and President of the Berkshire Local History Association. She taught history and local history for the schools of continuing education at both Reading and Oxford Universities.

£30 for three month access pass (Members: £24 with coupon)

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Five generations at the Fairmile Hospital

The Fair Mile Hospital (before 1948 known by a succession of different names) was until relatively recently Berkshire’s county lunatic asylum. If the term ‘lunatic asylum’ sends shivers of dread down your spine, be ready to adjust your perceptions. Consider the alternatives and try to understand that the Victorian asylum system was a well-founded effort to tackle mental illness head-on through compassion, diligent care and research. No mental institution was ever entirely sweetness and harmony.  However, these places made possible valuable and largely unrecognised advances in mental health care.

Ian Wheeler’s illustrated talk examines Fair Mile’s foundation, growth and methods through the eyes of ten of its former employees. All were members of his family, and their service spanned over a century

£5 for three month access pass (Members: £4 with coupon)

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