Final Reflection – Amy Anderson

a) What have been the major obstacles you have faced in putting a research project together?

Although it is excellent that a vast variety of the primary material I will use in my dissertation – newspapers, periodicals, and satirist journals – can be accessed online (especially with fluctuating Covid-19 restrictions), I have found scouting specific material very overwhelming, and I believe that this will be an issue I will be faced with later on down the line. Moreover, I have found condensing my research questions and specific aims and objectives rather difficult. I faced great apprehension over missing out on something crucial or making my research questions too specific or too broad. I have found knowing what to read rather challenging though fear of wasting time on something that may not be relevant.

b) What strategies have you adopted to overcome these obstacles?

Honing in on which specific press publications to use in my dissertation with the help of my supervisor, whilst developing an effective methodological approach, has made accessing primary material online less of a challenge, and has set me up for the deeper research I will undertake over the summer and in the next academic year. In addition, the support and advice given by the History librarian on advanced search tools and keyword searches have made navigating the ‘Aladdin’s cave’ that is the newspaper database easier. Speaking to my peers and my supervisor has helped greatly in developing my research aims/questions, and consequently, this has helped in knowing what to read. The university library have also been very accommodating in regard to this.

c) What has this taught you about approaching your dissertation?

Working by yourself can often cause you to overthink. This results in unnecessary confusion. Thus, though a dissertation is often assumed to be an exclusively individual piece of work, knowing when and who to ask for help and guidance is very important – whether this be your supervisor, librarian, or classmates.

d) Which aspects of the HISU9X6 module have been the most useful in helping you get your project ready to start?

The module itself has been brilliant. I was always a little confused, as were the people who I discussed the module with (friends studying history at other universities, friends in other subjects, family, etc), as to why we were encouraged to start looking at our dissertations at this stage in our undergraduate studies. But, after completing the module, I can’t imagine having to prepare for our dissertations without it. Although I still have some anxiety about the process, which I think is only natural – the seminars, discussions, and assignments in 9X6 (showing examples of previous students’ work was very helpful for completing the assignments) have been imperative for my understanding of what it takes to write a dissertation. This module has made something scary and rather alien, seem familiar. In addition, finding a supervisor at this stage and developing initial rapport with them has made the process far less daunting. I am excited for my dissertation, and I am looking forward to spending the summer researching and developing my subject!


Session 3 – Annotated Bibliography – Amy Anderson

Primary Sources:

“The Queen”, The Northern Star, Saturday 12th October, 1839

Using the instruction provided for this session, this source was accessed via the Library Subject Guides and the ‘British Library Newspapers 1600-1950’ resource. This newspaper archive, rich in material, will be imperative to my research, and by refining my searches with key words such as ‘Prince Albert*’ and specific dates such as ‘2nd May 1851’, this will provide me with a more concise collection of material to work with.

The Northern Star, and more specifically, the article entitled “The Queen” provides clear clarification of the xenophobia Albert experienced in Britain. This account, written in speculation of the Queen’s engagement, not announced until November 1839, gives a glimpse into how Albert was tainted by Britain’s distaste for Germans long before it was certain he was to marry the Queen, and before he took up permanent residence within Britain. With The Northern Star being a Chartist and radical paper, there is no doubt that this type of account is exclusive, and The Northern Star thus, worth investigating more.

“H.R.H.F.M.P.A at it again!”, Punch, 12th July 1855 

Using the methods provided by Jordanova in “Approaching Visual Materials” in Gunn and Faire’s book, a lot can be gained from this caricature, especially when considering the wider context, and Albert’s reputation in the British media prior. This source somewhat contradicts ideas of The Great Exhibition of 1851 being a complete turning point in Albert’s public image in the media. Albert is once again painted in a deceitful light by Punch. The hidden messages concealed within the clever illustrations of Punch’s material never fail to provide an abundance of information about wider opinions, and will therefore furnish the focal point of my research.

(Image taken from The Victorian Web, accessed Monday 1st February 2021, but Punch’s own Archive and The British Museum also provide caricatures of this nature)

Secondary Sources:

Fredeman, William E, “A Charivari for Queen Butterfly: ‘Punch’ on Queen Victoria”, Victorian Poetry, Vol. 25, No. 3/4 (1987): 47-73.

Despite this articles main focus being on the image of Queen Victoria in such periodical, Fredeman provides useful information on the rise of Punch throughout the Victorian period, and the strong satirist relationship it would come to have with British royalty. Along with this, the article teases the reader on Punch’s unmerciful attacks on Albert. Albert attempted to settle into the British monarchy in conjunction with the birth of Punch and his foreign ways and Saxe-Coburg ties, Fredeman hints, provided endless content for the “Anti-Albertianism” that spread like wildfire throughout the country. This article was found when searching JSTOR specifically for articles on Punch’s early publications on royalty.

Wilson, A. N, Prince Albert: The Man Who Saved the Monarchy, London: Atlantic Books, 2019.

This book is one of only few modern biographies of the German Prince, and Wilson’s sincere praise and appreciation for Albert as a figure who not only invigorated the British monarchy, but one in which looked out for the British people in a way no British royal had ever done before, is refreshing . This book is my own personal copy. The fifteenth chapter – “The Great Exhibition of 1851: The Making of the Modern World” – provides intricate detail on Albert’s involvement in the The Great Exhibition of 1851 and the negative reaction this got from the British press . This chapter provides useful insight into Wilson’s own opinion about the true nature of this scrutiny and how he believes Albert as a figure was at a forefront. Secondly, through extracts from such publications as The Times, The Illustrated London News, and the Spectator, Wilson is able to show a clear shift in Albert’s image in the British press after the roaring success of The Great Exhibition of 1851 which opens the floor for further and deeper investigation into the particulars of Albert’s public image in the media throughout his time in the British monarchy.

Introduction – Amy Anderson

Hello, my name is Amy. I come from a small place up in Moray called Speyside. I would love to do my fourth-year dissertation on the early Victorian monarchy, specifically focusing on the Prince Consort, Albert. I am excited to discuss potential routes to go down and explore different ideas with a supervisor. I am also intrigued to hear everyone else’s topics. Online learning has definitely been a new experience and one in which took a bit of getting used to. Nevertheless, by the end of Semester 5 online learning was becoming second-nature. I, like most people I imagine, miss university learning pre-Covid, but I am excited to get started with new the semester.