Flick through our family’s Victorian photo album and you’ll see plenty of stiff and starchy studio poses – ladies in their bonnets and shawls, gents with three piece suits and top hats. So it comes as a surprise to turn the page and find this fine fellow, clad only in a swimsuit and sporting a chest full of medals.
For years, it had been a mystery as to exactly who this swimmer was. The provenance of the photo album – and facial similarity to others in the Shipley family – suggested to me that he might be one of four Shipley brothers: Frederick, Harry, William or George. But if so, which one?
Winning those medals could have been a newsworthy event, I reckoned, so I turned to The British Newspaper Archive online in the hope of finding a trace. There are 14 medals pinned to his swimsuit, hopefully one might merit a mention in the local newspaper. Continue reading Diving into The British Newspaper Archive