historical archival research

Media Researcher – often anonymous but rightly so.

Media researcher

Undertaking media research often means signing a non-disclosure agreement. Being silent on research undertaken is important for many projects.

Anonymous and rightly so

It is understandable why this is the case. Many media companies spend years on specific projects. Talking about it on social media or elsewhere could jeopardise the deployment of extensive resources. For example, a competitor could copy the idea.

Sometimes non-disclosure includes that my input does not appear in production credits. Such instances are not a concern. Many clients have presented my work satisfied with the results. It is a warm feeling to know my research is enriching their intellectual property.

Social media posts often seek to illuminate what an individual or organisation has achieved. Not all those contributing to that success are credited. This is true for me despite working as an individual.

Seeking an independent researcher for media

Many seek my services because I am able to provide an unbiased viewpoint. This may simply enrich their knowledge on a topic. Essentially my duty is to provide information based on empirical research and it is a highly rewarding one.

My media research has involved projects for mainly film, television, radio and design agencies. Experience to quickly grasp the essence of subjects in historical research helps me here. Adapting to client needs in media sectors is similar.

Topics and media research

Topically, media research has mostly included music, companies, individuals and major historical events. In this work I have used archival, audio recordings, secondary printed materials and internet sources. These sources are used frequently in my independent historical research also.

Many in media have excellent research skills evident in projects I assist. Archival research tends to be where I provide help to media clients. Cataloguing methods means finding information is difficult for non-regular users of an archive. Also, familiarity with official records often means that I extrapolate critical elements more efficiently.

The archives I use most frequently are the National Archives, British Library and Imperial War Museum.

Please get in touch with me from the media

If you are working in media and think that hiring an independent researcher with archival and historical knowledge will help then please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss your project here.

Researcher at archives

An unusual job researcher…

Archive researcher is an unusual job in many ways. Many will know I am based in the United Kingdom. Many of my clients need my archive researcher services from abroad so I never meet them. We do have very detailed email communication instead. This is a very important part of my job that I enjoy. Over ten years typing away means I have learned to type quickly though!

Email is a good way to form a working relationship as an archive researcher but I also like talking to my clients. Usually this is using the old-fashioned telephone. However, I like to use video conferencing or calling software also. There are many different versions with Skype and Facebook proving to be popular. Please get in touch here if you would like to call and discuss a project.

It is common for clients to start their research then seek an archive researcher to help. This is a very good start for the relationship between my clients and I. When there is already work on a project I am adept at picking up the research. Sometimes I can help clients find new research sources. Please contact me here if you need help with an on-going research project.

More than one archive researcher?

An archive researcher works often with other researchers on projects with a client. Sometimes a project can benefit from having more than one archive researcher. In these circumstances I am happy to work with another archive researcher. Most cases this has happened has been on book projects. Communication is important and this is one of my main skills.

History and media

History is often the focus of my archive researcher but I work in many areas. Media has begun to be as popular. In the past I have worked for a number of well-known media organisations producing film and television. If you are a media company looking for an archive researcher in the United Kingdom then please contact me here.

Most of my archive researcher work is self-directed once the project outputs have been agreed. It does allow freedom to work by oneself in certain circumstances. It is crucial to ensure that communication with the client is maintained. Reporting is therefore a crucial part of my work. During the course of a project I am happy to report and demonstrate progress. If this sounds good for you then please contact me here.

Hiring an archive researcher

Many find the prospect of hiring an archive researcher a daunting prospect. This is because it is not something that is common. The project that you are considering may need a researcher or you may be able to do some of the research yourself. Please feel free to get in touch with me here if you would like to and discuss your needs. I will be happy to provide any advice or assistance.

Researching at an archive

As an archive researcher most of my work involves working at archives in the United Kingdom. Familiarity with an archive and their catalogue can help speed the research process along. At the National Archives I have been researching there for over fifteen years. My extensive experience using different sources, such as microfilms, means the research process is not impeded. This is why it can be beneficial to hire a professional archive researcher.

My professional qualifications come from historical research. It appears to me that research skills gained in this field are very valuable to clients. This is because a number of disciplines come to me when they need an archive researcher. If you need an archive researcher with these skills then please get in touch here.

Service record research

Service record research

A service record from the British armed services form an immensely engaging part of my research work. Individuals, institutions and media organisations often seek my expertise in decoding a service record. Over the past ten-years I have been researching conflicts from the 1700s to the present day. This can be using military service records issued by the Ministry of Defence.

Getting a service record

For some, the army, navy or air force service record is an important task to engage with their ancestor. For those that are seeking to find a service record for an ancestor, going to the Ministry of Defence website is the best place to start. Here is a link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/requests-for-personal-data-and-service-records

If you are seeking an ancestor that served prior to the First World War then a paid website might help you also.Their service record, enlistment or discharge papers may be available online via this paid service. Once you have this record, I can help you understand it more fully. Please contact me by clicking here.

Decoding a service record

The service record itself is often made of abbreviations for different places, duties and units which contain the relevant information. Looking at the service record for the first time can be rather bewildering but decoding is my speciality so please get in touch if you require assistance by clicking here.

If one analyses the service record then one can see which unit an individual served with, where and for how long. The service record can include where an individual enlisted, where they resided, casualty status and some medical information. A service record usually includes promotions, reprimands and periods on leave. The service record can be analysed by oneself and there are websites that can help you with some of the terminology for you. For some this can be a frustrating task. Using my expertise can help you and make it an easier one. Please click here to get in touch.

Once the service record has been decoded then I use the information to explore the catalogue at the National Archives. This will yield the available files for the period of the service record. Usually the vast majority, if not all, of the period of service has a file. It is common, however, at the start or end of a service record to have little detail. When personnel are training or demobilising record keeping was not a priority. This is because of the grouping of personnel from many different units.

Undertake the research of a service record with assistance

If it is the case that you would like to undertake the research yourself then I can take you through the service record decoding and then provide you with the file references for the National Archives. Once again, the information in the files at the National Archives can be difficult to interpret so please let me know if you need assistance with this stage here.

A note on a service record for different periods

During the conflicts over the nineteenth century, including the Boer Wars, information on an individual tends to be limited to location, pay and their enlistment details which can have a signature and next-of-kin details.

Those service records for the First World War have more detailed unit activity than the nineteenth century. These files at the National Archives are often referred to as “war diaries”. However, during the bombing of London during the Second World War some military records for the First World War were destroyed but many did survive.

For the Second World War the “war diary” is usually made up of monthly reports with generally more information than World War One. Each report tends to have a section on major events of unit activity.  A section on the number of people in the unit is also usually present. Sometimes there is a section with relevant documents for that month.

Finding photographs researching a service record

Photographs can be found in the war diaries from time to time when researching a service record. These come in several broad categories. Reconnaissance photos are found in planning documents in the monthly reports in the “war diaries”. For example, landscapes or buildings feature often. In units with specific tasks, such as engineering or service corps, photographs of construction or transport are present. In a recent case I researched in February 2018 there were photographs liberating North Africa during the Second World War. It was not practice for individual photographs to be taken for unit “war diaries”.

Other documents found researching a service record

Other documents are often attached to the monthly reports in the “war diaries” such as maps, movement orders or exercise or operation documents. In moments where an individual is training, one can see, for example, some of the exercises that they participated in. In those times of front-line service then one can see how the unit they were serving with formed part of larger military operations. There are sometimes excellent reports of engagement with enemy forces within the war diaries. Written after the conclusion of an operation, these provide much detail. One can also see maps and more routine aspects of military activity, such as movement orders. These sometime contain lists of the equipment and vehicles that required to be transported. This is often very illuminating as one can appreciate the scale of the tasks involved.

Before you start research on a service record…

Before starting the research on a service record it is important to recognise that the war diaries are not comprehensive sources of information. They do not record the daily activities of every person serving in the unit. Neither do they record the names of all those serving but officers do tend to be named. Despite this, the “war diaries” remain the most detailed source of information for those seeking to find out what their ancestors undertook as part of their active service.

If an individual with an army service record has served for several years then there can be a number of files to examine. With most army service records of around four years, particularly for the Second World War, there are usually around 1,000 pages. Part of my research service is to take photographs of these and send them as a digital download.

Please get in touch for help with a service record

Please get in touch here if you would like more information here on stage in the process of obtaining, decoding and researching a service record and I will be happy to help.

 

World War Two Researcher

As a World War Two researcher over the past decade I have worked on a considerable number of aspects of the conflict. The main archives that I use as a World War Two researcher are the National Archives and the Imperial War Museum. Both are located in London in the United Kingdom.

Hiring a World War Two researcher for your own project can be a daunting prospect. It could be a very specific topic that you are seeking for your needs as an individual or as an organisation. Please be assured that as a World War Two researcher I have developed an extensive knowledge of the conflict. I would be delighted to assist you with your research.

A World War Two Researcher for Individuals

For most individual clients the most frequent work as a World War Two researcher is that of completing the history of a person in one of the armed services. Over the past ten years army, navy and air force cases have been explored in all the major theatres of war.

In terms of the British army, North Africa and Italy are where a fair proportion of my work as a World War Two researcher is. More recent interpretations of the conflict from the British perspective have highlighted that British Prime Minister Winston Churchill thought the Suez Canal was vital for victory. This view was shared among the Allies. Defeating the Axis forces in North Africa before moving up Italy to Germany was pursued. Many serving in the British army therefore engaged in this programme.

Histories of naval personnel have seen me research D-Day, arctic convoys and the isles of Greece as a World War Two researcher. Of all the armed services, naval personnel are often more difficult to explore. Sometimes the service record has shore bases but not vessels served on. Nonetheless, in most cases this can be resolved.

The air force played a key role in the defence of Britain during the early years of the war. Many of my cases regarding service histories as a World War Two researcher focus on this period. Many of the records for this passage of the conflict have been digitised and viewed regularly. However, training facilities for pilots and other airmen attended require my attention. This helps as a World War Two researcher to ensure that the entire course of service is represented.

A World War Two Researcher for Organisations

Many organisations have a wider set of circumstances than individuals for their need to hire a World War Two researcher. Last year as a World War Two researcher I explored the network of different radio facilities in Western Europe. These played a significant supporting role not only to aircraft but also to ships navigating in waters patrolled by Axis U-boats. It has been exceptionally engaging to learn of the varying qualities of wavelengths and transmitters. Also the sometimes quite extraordinary locations that these were deployed.

Most recently my work as a World War Two researcher has seen me examine the role of Special Operations Executive (SOE). This includes interplay with their American counterpart the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). In this work many diverse locations across occupied Europe have been explored. This revealed some tension between the Allied intelligence communities existed despite there being a common foe. However, it would be wrong to suggest this dominated the relationship. But it certainly played a role in how resources and personnel were deployed in the conflict.

Another facet of my work as World War Two researcher has been to determine how British embassies and consulates functioned during the Second World War. This has been quite demanding work. This is owing to the fact that there are a great many records to examine in this regard. Most of this work has centred upon how there was a “business as usual” ethnic among Civil Servants. They had to maintain certain functions during a time of great upheaval globally. Diplomacy did not cease to function and actually, in some cases, it increased exponentially. Britain and her Allies sought to cement relationships with many countries that were not actively engaged in combat roles. These were, however, supplying resources to the Allied cause.

Use Archival Researcher as your World War Two researcher

If you are in need of a World War Two researcher and think I may be able to assist you with your project then please click here to contact me or please feel free to give me a call or for a free quote on 07734739167 or +44 7734739167 or email me: dr.maslen@archivalresearcher.co.uk

Refugee Research in 2018

Over the course of my career as a historical researcher I have focused intently on refugee research. Most recently I have been helping undertake refugee research for a book regarding a Jewish family that were separated as a consequence of the German occupation of the Netherlands during World War Two. My role in this piece of refugee research was to help the author undertake some refugee research in London at the National Archives. This aspect was exploring how refugees made their way to the United Kingdom using a variety of different vessels to make their way to a number of British ports. Jewish refugees from the Netherlands made this journey under great duress under desperate circumstances as the Nazi authorities closed in on Jews still living in the Netherlands. Some family members in the book were found through refugee research to have met their fate in the Holocaust. Furthermore, my help in this refugee research was also helpful in identifying where some of the refugees lived during their stay in the United Kingdom.

In 2016 and 2017 it was also my pleasure to work on refugee research for a number of clients that were seeking to find out where their ancestors had migrated from. My refugee research was, once again, focused at the National Archives and the British Library in London where I explored many refugee groups that had made their way to the United Kingdom during the nineteenth century. Such refugee research was rather challenging as it focused more on political refugees from many of the revolutions that occurred in mainland Europe, especially those around 1848. Despite the United Kingdom not being one of the main reception countries, my refugee research was able to identify several important movements and highlight for my clients some of the circumstances and processes that their ancestors would have undergone to enter the country.

Some of you reading may ask when my interest in refugee research began. This was back in 1996 when, under Professor Panikos Panayi at De Montfort University in Leicester in the United Kingdom, I began to take an interest in refugee research in my undergraduate studies. Our course was rather forward thinking in terms of historical topics and it was one the first courses in the United Kingdom where refugee research, race and ethnic studies and other aspects of migration formed part of the syllabus during the mid-1990s.

One of the most interesting books on refugee research I first read is by Michael Marrus and it is called ‘The Unwanted’ which initially published by Oxford University Press in 1988. This book opened up the world of refugee research for me because it highlighted some of the main movements of refugees that had occurred and defined some of the main characteristics of study. It is a book that I highly recommend on refugee research if one would like an excellent overview. One of the most engaging aspects that I found in this book was the refugees generated as a consequence of the First World War. It was evident to me very quickly that this conflict has so many aspects that up until that I was rather ignorant of, particularly the scale of human displacement in Central Europe. Indeed, as I am sure many of you might remember, the focus of historical writing presented at pre-university level tended to be on the military aspects of the First World War and particularly trench warfare. Aspects such as refugee research were not, if my memory serves me correctly, at the forefront.

Once I had completed my undergraduate degree I opted to remain at De Montfort University for my first postgraduate Masters Degree in Modern History to pursue refugee research. One of the most enticing topics that I came across during my undergraduate studies on refugee research was the European Voluntary Worker programme following the Second World War that I discuss more fully below as it would form my PhD research and first major publication. For my main thesis of refugee research I focused on the communities in the city of Leicester that had formed as a consequence of the European Voluntary Programme. My refugee research found that the Polish, Serbian and Ukrainian nationalities appeared to be the largest groups in the city with all three having religious sites and social establishments. For my refugee research I trained in oral history and conducted a number of in-depth life interviews to get a better understanding of some of the cultural practices and histories of each refugee community. For those that are seeking to embellish their refugee research then I would highly recommend this process but one must, of course, undertake the appropriate training at a recognised establishment and proceed with as much sensitivity as possible. My refugee research on each community tended to find that the 1960s and early 1970s tended to be when each community had most cultural activity being undertaken although there had been continuous activities.

Since then I have read, worked and published in the field of refugee research a great deal. It would not be until 2011 that I would publish my first work on refugee research for Lambert Academic Publishing which was centred on Britain’s European Voluntary Worker Programme following the Second World War. The book explores how a contract labour programme selected potential recruits from among a pool of over a million refugees using a number of techniques. These hoped to select not only those that were likely to be fittest for manual labour but also those among the population of refugees that were causing political difficulties for the British occupation authorities as well as the British Government. Essentially, my refugee research found that the refugees were being used by the negotiators from the Soviet Union as a stumbling block in post-war negotiations that were determining the future of Europe. It was therefore prudent for the British Government to begin to make an indent of the issue of the refugees and provide something a further example to other countries thinking of accepting more refugees. Despite their endeavour there were a number of flaws in the programme, such as misleading information given to refugees on the number of years that they would have to work in Britain before being able to remain permanently or migrate onward, some rather tawdry employment roles and, of course, accommodation that ought to have been of a higher standard. Nonetheless, it was possible through my refugee research that there were some quite extraordinary developments in the accommodation sector, propaganda to ease social integration and some efforts with civic society that were worth uncovering.

Using Archival Researcher for your Refugee Research

If you have some refugee research that would like to undertake then please give a call to discuss your project and obtain a free quotation on 07734739167 from inside the United Kingdom and +44 7734739167 from outside or email me: dr.maslen@archivalresearcher.co.uk

 

 

Historical Researcher in 2017

As a historical researcher working in London and the United Kingdom I engage with many different topics and time periods at a variety of archives and libraries. This is owing to the fact that I work as a historical researcher with private individuals, companies and organisations on a number of diverse projects.

In the last year as a historical researcher in London my topics of research included some international history such as developments in British embassies in the Ottoman Empire, trade and shipping in East Asia in the nineteenth century and construction in the West Indies during the eighteenth century.

Some engaging research was also undertaken as a historical researcher on twentieth century Britain including developments of deportation of politically undesirable individuals, the reception of refugees, the history of block printing in England and disturbances in the prison system by inmates.

Going a little further back in time, I worked on an exciting project as a historical researcher on trade from the port of London in the fifteenth century, punishment in the British army in the eighteenth century and nursing in Britain in the nineteenth century.

As always, military history featured prominently this year as a historical researcher, with both World War One and World War Two occupying most of my time. From life in the trenches during World War One, I did some historical research on the life of several soldiers that fought on the Western Front in 1916 and 1917. Given the centenary remembrance of this conflict, it has been particularly poignant as a historical researcher to undertake this duty.

Using Archival Researcher as your Historical Researcher

If you are in need of a historical researcher and think I may be able to assist you with your project then please feel free to give me a call or for a free quote on 07734739167 or +44 7734739167 or email me: dr.maslen@archivalresearcher.co.uk

History Research

DR Hywel Maslen History Researcher

Dr Hywel Maslen History Research

Undertaking history research in London in the United Kingdom it is also important to me to spend some time exploring history research abroad.

This year I decided to leave London for the summer and spend some time in Rome to explore history research in a city seen by many as one of the most historic cities in Europe. Certainly the number of fellow tourists in Rome in August seem to share that view!

Through the quite intense heat in Rome this summer, it was possible to see how history research informs many of the main attractions and their visitors. Many of the guides that can help you explore Rome use the latest history research to embellish their tours which was very pleasing to engage with. They are constantly updating their presentations to ensure that, year on year, they can deliver the most recent developments in history research to ensure even returning tourists can increase their understanding of this wonderful city.

Furthermore, history research was evident in many of the static signs and brochures that were available in the main attractions that had been updated in the Spring of 2017 for the pending summer season when many from overseas, like myself, plan their trips to Italy.

This thirst for the latest history research was evident outside Rome. I travelled through the country from Switzerland. It was possible to see the churches in the northern lakes, at the towers in the quite beautiful city of Bologna and in the well-trodden attractions in Florence, all had taken the quieter winter months to use the most current history research to keep things fresh at their attractions and sites.

Use the Archival Researcher for your History Research

If you have a need to update the history research for your current project, organisation or attraction then please do not hesitate to contact me so that I can help you ensure that you have the most current history research.

For advice on any history research or a free quote then contact me on 07734739167 if you are in the United Kingdom or +44 7734739167 from outside the United Kingdom or please email me: dr.maslen@archivalresearcher.co.uk

 

Dr Hywel Maslen independent researcher image of Newark WaterfrontOver the last three years it has been my pleasure to have been working at the University of Nottingham with the Newark Heritage Barge CIO as part of the Connected Communities programme funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) on the project ‘Trade and Traffic on the River Trent c1850’. Dynamic work of the Newark Heritage Barge, and historians at the University of Nottingham, developed interest in researching the River Trent in more detail. For those that do not know much about the Newark Heritage Barge then you can visit the site by clicking this link here.

It was clear when I first visited Newark a few years ago for the project that there were already groups of people active in the community that were passionate about preserving the heritage of their local waterways.

Dr Hywel Maslen independent researcher image of Newark Waterfront

It had not always been so. Their determination to create interest stemmed from a period of stagnation. If one visits Newark it becomes immediately clear that the River Trent largely defines more than the name the town. A number of attractive bars, restaurants and modern flats either side of the castle are converted from former vessels or premises used to store and sell the goods carried on the river.

It was therefore apt that the sun shone brightly on these lovely buildings on the 27 June 2015 when the waterways heritage day took place to showcase current research and projects. The day itself was started with a morning hosted by Wendy Freer who is an expert on the life of people living and working on Britain’s waterways during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Philip Riden, who steers the project, took to the podium first to share his expertise on the history of the waterways in the East of England before 1600. His talk delivered an excellent backdrop for the audience to appreciate the extent to which these have contributed to the historical development of the region. Rob Wheeler then took the helm to guide us around the rivers and canals surrounding Lincolnshire from the start of the early modern period.

r Hywel Maslen independent researcher image of Crane for Leicester Trader

When in the water, Newark Heritage Barge can be many things at different times: a meeting point for boat enthusiasts, a floating centre for education and waterways heritage museum. This rather intriguing characteristic was not missed by the department of design at De Montfort University you can view through this link here. Rosemarie Fitton and Nicky Harding from the department explained how they directed a project whereby students submitted designs that the barge might utilise in the future. I do not think I was alone in relishing the prospect of some of the incredible designs becoming reality.

Robin Stonebridge from the Chesterfield Canal Trust then spoke about their impressive project to build Dawn Rose a cuckoo boat. This type of craft is unique to the Chesterfield Canal and was different because of the fact it used a sail to navigate up the River Trent to Torksey. Perhaps the most striking fact was that Dawn Rose was made only using hand tools as would have been available at the time similar craft were built. You can click a link to find out more information here.

After a light lunch – and many thanks to Margaret – there followed a heritage walk on the river bank to the dry dock where the Newark Heritage Barge, named Leicester Trader, is undergoing repairs. The walk itself has been designed by the Newark Heritage Barge and takes in the stretch of the river predominantly in the centre of Newark, past the castle and town lock, up towards the old Trent Navigation Company building which has recently been converted into a licensed premises.

Dr Hywel Maslen independent researcher image of Les Reid

Leicester Trader is currently out of water having some significant repairs. For those not in-the-know, a boat has to undergo an inspection every 7 years for safety and insurance reasons. I was immediately struck at how big she looks out of the water. Skipper of the Leicester Trader, Les Reid, then took us through the process in detail.

It remains to me to thank everybody that attended and, of course, cross my fingers that such interest can be maintained once Leicester Trader returns to the River Trent. I am sure any of you that are reading this blog and are interested can get in touch with me here, at the University of Nottingham or the Newark Heritage Barge directly. After several years of the project there are hopes that it can continue. I shall, of course, keep you informed of any progress here.

It is not often that I stray from talking about things other than archive research on this blog. However, over the last few months there have been a number of personal connections to the terrible effects of the earthquake in Nepal.

I thought it might be not too out of place to mention that there are numerous wonderful charities and organisations that are working to help those affected by the tragedy. One of these is the International Disaster Volunteers who are working with a number of communities in areas that have been struck hard by this quite staggering natural disaster.

Two of my personal friends are working for the organisation and I thought it would be a nice thing if I put a link on this blog so that people can see their work and, hopefully, make a contribution to it. Andy and Emma – I hope your work goes well.

http://www.idvolunteers.org/news/nepal-earthquake-response

There has been little respite in discussions in recent years regarding the proficiency of the English language that immigrants should possess or attain, as well as the consequences for the United Kingdom should large numbers of immigrants fail to learn the language. Politicians have been at the forefront of the debate that has continued into the current period of General Election campaigning in 2015.

In the last few weeks, the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, used an audience in Heswall to stress new immigrants must speak English. He also advocates legislating to ensure all workers in the National Health Service have a sufficient proficiency in the English language. The United Kingdom Independence Party leader, Nigel Farrage, has suggested that immigrants are discouraged from learning English, in part, because official documents are printed in several languages. Owing to growing concerns, the Conservative Minister, Nicky Morgan, has recently called for an inquiry into the impact of immigration on schools where large numbers of pupils speak no English. She also reportedly told the Chief Inspector of the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED), Sir Michael Wilshaw, that it was not helpful for him to warn schools regarding the ‘influx’ of immigrants.

This debate has been of great interest to me because of my research that I published into the instruction of the English language to immigrants following the Second World War. In 1947, under Clement Attlee’s post-war Labour government, a contract-labour scheme was launched to recruit workers from the inmates of Allied refugee camps in occupied Europe. The European Voluntary Worker (EVW) programme brought 100,000 people to the UK, with the majority being from countries that were being occupied by the Soviet Union, as well as Italy and Yugoslavia.

Many only tend to know that the programme imposed strict conditions on the immigrant workers which contractually tied them to government work contracts for a period of three-years. Volunteers were limited to a number of industries and prevented from changing jobs without official permission. The punishment for failing to comply with these conditions was deportation back to the challenging conditions in Allied refugee camps.

Yet the EVW programme heralded a new approach in state-sponsored immigration where a great deal was done to prevent social tension. A volunteer could only take a job if there was no British worker available. They were accommodated in state hostels to reduce tension in the local housing market. Pioneering techniques in propaganda and a favourable press campaign explained to the public why foreign workers were essential to the economy and the process of reconstruction. Social clubs were established in the government hostels,  and contacts with civic society were pursued across the country to help the foreign workers settle.

Teaching English was seen by the state as an important aspect of the programme that would help the volunteer workers to integrate into society. Classes started as soon as they arrived into one of the reception camps and continued throughout the duration of the programme. The government used a number of methods of instruction recommended by experts, with local education authorities, employers and civil society all having an input.

Although I might have missed it, there does not appear to have been any media interest in using the EVW programme in a historical context when reporting about the background of the involvement of the state in English language instruction to immigrants so I thought a brief footnote on this blog might be of interest. This also comes as a surprise to me because the themes of European migration, austerity and generally rising immigration were pertinent in 1947 as they are in 2015. True, the programme had merits and flaws which I discuss in my book. The current discussion on the issue is one I continue to follow with the focus on those efforts to ensure that greater consideration is given to pursuing an enlightened and balanced course for those effected.