Queen Mary, University of London Archives have recently completed a project to digitise The Palace Journals, the weekly newspaper of the People’s Palace, which was published between 1887 and 1893. The Journals are available to view online: http://www.library.qmul.ac.uk/archives/digital/palace_journal
The People’s Palace was a philanthropic endeavour to provide culture and education to the people of East London. It opened 125 years ago in 1887 and included facilities such as an entertainment hall, called ‘The Queen’s Hall’, a winter garden, swimming pool, library, tennis courts and gardens. The Palace Journals provide a unique contemporary account of the early years of the People's Palace and it's role in the East London community during the late Victorian period.
The Palace Journals include features about the People’s Palace, such as: news of clubs and societies, including the Debating Society, the Cycling Club and the Ramblers; and programmes for events, such as concerts, dog shows, flower shows, and lectures. Also included are articles on many different topics such as, ‘The Blunders of Elementary Education’, ‘Sensational Thrillers’, and ‘Strange Pets’. Many issues feature serialised stories by authors including Walter Besant and Edgar Allan Poe.
In addition, the Journals include advertisements, for products including Harness’ Electropathic Belts. These electric belts were claimed to ‘promote the circulation, assist digestion, and promptly renew exhausted nerve force’ whilst ‘the mind is maintained in a buoyant, cheerful state, and every faculty is stimulated to the highest condition of intellectual strength’!
A complete catalogue of the People’s Palace collection is also now available via the archives catalogue http://archives-catalogue.library.qmul.ac.uk/CalmView/TreeBrowse.aspx?src=CalmView.Catalog&field=RefNo&key=QMC%2FPP The archives of the People’s Palace include correspondence relating to the establishment of the institution, programmes for events such as concerts, minute books of societies, photographs, medals awarded to students, press cuttings and ephemera, dating from 1885 to the 1950's.