19th-century medical fraudsters who got caught out

Posted on February 18th, 2015 by The British Newspaper Archive

CarolineCaroline Rance, author of The Quack Doctor and What the Apothecary Ordered, got in touch to show us some of the shocking medical tales she’s unearthed.

We’d love to hear about your own discoveries – email press@britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk to tell us about them.

 
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Whatever you search for in The British Newspaper Archive, chances are the articles you find will be close to adverts promoting cures for every kind of disease. Some brands were sold in good faith and became stalwarts of the family medicine cabinet.

But the pages of nineteenth-century newspapers also hold the more sinister side of the medicine trade – the fraudsters who purposely sold worthless treatments for a quick profit. The following charlatans used some inventive means to get one over on the public, but savvy patients saw through their tricks.

1. Cornelius Bennett Harness

Cornelius B Harness advertised his Electric Corset as ‘the very thing for ladies’. Fortunately, it didn’t really carry an electric current; it was supposed to be magnetic (though that’s doubtful too).

In 1893, Harness was the subject of a devastating exposé in the Pall Mall Gazette, entitled ‘The Harness Electropathic Swindle’. Disgruntled patients sent in their experiences, others voted with their feet, and his fortune dwindled to nothing.

Leeds Mercury – Saturday 10 December 1892
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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2. Dr Alfred Field Henery

Henery (real name John Osterfield Wray) cashed in on the medical phenomenon of spermatorrhoea – a largely imaginary condition of the male reproductive organs said to end in impotence, insanity and death. He promised a discreet cure by galvanic electricity and Life-Preserving Drops.

In 1864, a soldier called Montague Clarke realised the treatment was useless and refused to pay. Henery tried to blackmail him by threatening to tell his family that masturbation had caused his ‘filthy’ disease. Clarke, however, promptly had him arrested and Henery got two years’ imprisonment for conspiracy to defraud.

An advert from Dr Henery's treatment was printed in the Era in 1864

The Era – Sunday 23 October 1864
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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3. The Bennett brothers

The three Bennett brothers, under the name of Dr Watters, ran the official-sounding ‘British and Foreign Ear Dispensary’, claiming to cure deafness. They also operated under other names and addresses, in the hope that patients who weren’t cured by one alias might try another.

This system could break down if they forgot which customer had already seen which brother. One patient, Mary Scattergood, recognised the ‘doctor’ who had conned her in the past, and managed to get the whole business shut down.

An advert for Dr Watter's treatment was printed in the Cheltenham Looker-On in 1858

Cheltenham Looker-On – Saturday 08 May 1858
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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4. Maria Owen

Newspapers dubbed Maria Owen ‘The Bogus Lady Doctor’. She would knock on people’s doors pretending to be from the local hospital, charge them for medicine (vinegar and water) and then disappear.

Owen diagnosed a woman called Mrs Cooper with heart disease in 1890. As the family had no money for medicine, Owen suggested borrowing some from a friend. Mrs Cooper’s husband agreed, but came back with a policeman. Other offenses emerged and Owen got 12 months hard labour.

Birmingham Daily Post – Wednesday 19 February 1890
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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5. Cameron the Piss-prophet

Urine-casting, once an important part of medieval medicine, later became the province of dubious ‘piss-prophets’. In the early nineteenth century, Dr Cameron claimed he could name any disease from the colour, smell and taste of anonymous urine samples. Whatever the diagnosis, his treatment involved strong laxatives containing mercury, making the patient feel worse than ever.

One unsatisfied customer, left in agony by the pills, sent a messenger with a bottle of urine. After tasting it, Cameron diagnosed a bad back, and was not amused when the messenger revealed that the urine had come from a donkey!

Advertisement headed 'Inward Complaints' in the Morning Chronicle 3 Sept 1817

Morning Chronicle – Wednesday 03 September 1817
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Visit Caroline’s website to buy copies of her books and learn more about her research.

 

400,000 newspaper pages added, including the Sunday Mirror

Posted on February 17th, 2015 by The British Newspaper Archive

There are lots of new stories to explore at The British Newspaper Archive this month. More than 400,000 newspaper pages from 1745-1954 were added in January, helping us reach our 10 million page milestone.

 

Search the newspapers –>

 

39 new titles, including the Sunday Mirror from WW1

The additions include copies of the Sunday Mirror from 1914-1918, then known as the Sunday Pictorial. The national newspaper printed fascinating weekly news, photographs and illustrations from World War One.

The Dublin Evening Post, Oxford University and City Herald and Sporting Life are among the other titles added recently. You’ll find a full list of last month’s additions below, with the new titles highlighted in bold.

 

A copy of the Sunday Pictorial (now known as the Sunday Mirror) from 1916.

 

Aberdeen Journal – 1781 – 1783

Aberdeen People’s Journal – 1863, 1882, 1884, 1892

Advocate: or, Irish Industrial Journal, The – 1850, 1853 – 1854

Allnut’s Irish Land Schedule – 1850 – 1859, 1861 – 1870

Ashton Weekly Reporter, and Stalybridge and Dukinfield Chronicle, The – 1857

Athlone Sentinel – 1836 – 1854, 1856 – 1861

Bedfordshire Times and Independent – 1859 – 1866, 1868

Belfast Mercantile Register and Weekly Advertiser – 1850 – 1869

Belfast Protestant Journal – 1844 – 1850

Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Chronicle – 1822 – 1829, 1831, 1834, 1838, 1846, 1848, 1851 – 1870

Beverley Guardian – 1856 – 1857

Biggleswade Chronicle – 1919, 1928 – 1941

Birmingham Journal – 1825 – 1829, 1857

Brecon Reporter and South Wales General Advertiser – 1863 – 1866

Brighton Gazette – 1856 – 1870

Bristol Mirror – 1808 – 1832

Bristol Times and Mirror – 1839, 1842 – 1846, 1860 – 1862, 1868 – 1869

Burnley News – 1927

Carlisle Journal – 1801, 1814 – 1815, 1818 – 1819, 1849, 1867

Carlisle Patriot – 1816

Catholic Telegraph – 1852 – 1855, 1858 – 1859, 1861, 1863 – 1867

Cavan Observer – 1857, 1860, 1862

Chelsea News and General Advertiser – 1865 – 1870

Clonmel Herald – 1838 – 1839

Cobbett’s Weekly Political Register – 1809

Connaught Watchman – 1853 – 1858, 1862 – 1863

County Chronicle, Surrey Herald and Weekly Advertiser for Kent – 1834, 1865

County Courts Chronicle – 1856, 1858, 1865

Coventry Standard – 1836, 1840, 1842, 1845 – 1850, 1853, 1855, 1857 – 1858, 1860

Coventry Times – 1889

Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – 1873, 1875 – 1877, 1879, 1890 – 1891

Current Prices of Grain at Dublin Corn Exchange – 1860 – 1861

Daily Mirror – 1916 – 1917

Daily Record – 1918

Derbyshire Courier – 1837 – 1858, 1860, 1862, 1884 – 1887, 1890 – 1893, 1895, 1899, 1913

Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser – 1889, 1950

Dorset County Chronicle – 1825, 1830 – 1853, 1855 – 1862

Dublin Builder, The – 1867, 1870

Dublin Courier – 1766

Dublin Evening Packet and Correspondent – 1828 – 1835, 1837 – 1840, 1856 – 1857, 1859, 1861

Dublin Evening Post – 1780, 1818 – 1819, 1826, 1829, 1833, 1852, 1854 – 1855, 1866 – 1868

Dublin Medical Press – 1861, 1866 – 1867

Dublin Mercantile Advertiser, and Weekly Price Current – 1839 – 1841, 1844, 1855 – 1856, 1861 – 1864

Dublin Morning Register – 1825 – 1834, 1836, 1839 – 1843

Dublin Observer – 1831 – 1836

Dublin Weekly Herald – 1841 – 1842

Dublin Weekly Register – 1818 – 1823, 1827 – 1832, 1834

Dundee Advertiser – 1880, 1885

Dundee, Perth, Forfar, and Fife’s People’s Journal – 1863, 1871 – 1873, 1879 – 1881, 1884, 1889, 1892

Edinburgh Evening Courant – 1828 – 1829, 1851 – 1852, 1856 – 1859, 1861, 1864, 1866, 1868

Elgin Courant, and Morayshire Advertiser – 1855

Enniskillen Chronicle and Erne Packet – 1842 – 1843, 1845 – 1859, 1861 – 1870

Falkirk Herald – 1887

Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate & Cheriton Herald – 1891 – 1892, 1898 – 1900, 1903 – 1906

Galway Mercury, and Connaught Weekly Advertiser – 1850 – 1851

Galway Patriot – 1835

Glasgow Courant – 1745, 1758

Gloucester Journal – 1891

Gloucestershire Chronicle – 1835 – 1836, 1889

Gloucestershire Echo – 1885 – 1887, 1928 – 1929

Grantham Journal – 1942 – 1949, 1951 – 1953

Greenock Advertiser – 1846, 1848, 1853, 1858, 1863, 1868

Hackney and Kingsland Gazette – 1869 – 1871

Hampshire Chronicle – 1854 – 1863, 1865 – 1870

Hartlepool Mail – 1923

Hastings and St Leonards Observer – 1954

Hereford Times – 1864

Highland Sentinel – 1861

Ilkley Gazette and Wharfedale Advertiser – 1868 – 1869

Inverness Courier – 1835, 1864, 1866

Ipswich Journal, The – 1772

Irish Racing Book and Sheet Calendar, The-  1823, 1826, 1834, 1865, 1867 – 1869

Kentish Gazette – 1839

Kentish Independent – 1855 – 1866

Kerry Examiner and Munster General Observer – 1851 – 1853

Lancashire Evening Post – 1917, 1924

Leeds Patriot and Yorkshire Advertiser – 1829 – 1832

Leicester Chronicle – 1905

Limerick and Clare Examiner – 1848

Lincolnshire Echo – 1908, 1916 – 1917, 1942, 1946

Luton Times and Advertiser – 1915 – 1916

Marylebone Mercury – 1857, 1860 – 1862, 1865 – 1869

Meath People, and Cavan and Westmeath Chronicle – 1857 – 1858, 1862 – 1863

Newcastle Chronicle – 1770 – 1776, 1778 – 1779, 1781, 1831 – 1832, 1855

Newry Herald and Down, Armagh, and Louth Journal – 1858

Orkney Herald, and Weekly Advertiser and Gazette for the Orkney & Zetland Islands – 1860 – 1870

Oxford Chronicle and Reading Gazette – 1837 – 1845, 1848 – 1859, 1866 – 1869

Oxford University and City Herald – 1806 – 1822, 1825 – 1830, 1845 – 1854, 1856 – 1870

Police Gazette – 1858

Portsmouth Evening News – 1934, 1950

Roscommon Journal, and Western Impartial Reporter – 1828, 1845 – 1864

Salisbury and Winchester Journal – 1769, 1780 – 1782, 1784, 1862, 1865

Salopian Journal – 1861

Scottish Banner – 1860

Sheffield Independent – 1901 – 1902

Shetland Times – 1878

Shields Daily Gazette – 1868

Skibbereen & West Carbery Eagle; or, South Western Advertiser – 1867 – 1870

Sligo Champion – 1839, 1844, 1846 – 1851, 1854 – 1858, 1860 – 1864, 1866

South London Chronicle – 1861

Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier – 1823, 1825 – 1827, 1830, 1832, 1841 – 1844, 1847, 1851 – 1858

Sporting Life – 1859 – 1870

Sportsman, The – 1865 – 1870

Staffordshire Advertiser – 1817 – 1829, 1833 – 1834, 1840 – 1842, 1844 – 1845, 1848 – 1864, 1866 – 1870

Statesman and Dublin Christian Record – 1841 – 1843

Sunday Mirror – 1915 – 1918

Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette – 1953

Surrey Mirror – 1926

Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser – 1810 – 1813, 1815 – 1816, 1818 – 1819, 1822 – 1824, 1828 – 1830

Teesdale Mercury – 1863

Tipperary Free Press – 1833 – 1835, 1837 – 1845, 1847 – 1848, 1850, 1869 – 1870

Tipperary Vindicator – 1859, 1864 – 1866

Tralee Chronicle – 1852, 1856 – 1857, 1860, 1863, 1867 – 1869

Ulster Gazette – 1850 – 1869, 1871

Ulster General Advertiser, Herald of Business and General Information – 1842, 1846 – 1848, 1851, 1860, 1862 – 1866, 1868 – 1870

Vindicator – 1839 – 1842, 1845 – 1848

Waterford Chronicle – 1828, 1844 – 1847, 1849

Waterford Mail – 1825 – 1826, 1828 – 1831, 1851 – 1852, 1854 – 1855

Waterford News – 1848 – 1850, 1853 – 1856, 1858, 1860 – 1863, 1865 – 1869

Weekly Vindicator – 1848, 1851 – 1852

Wells Journal – 1906, 1918, 1921, 1927, 1931, 1949

West London Observer – 1855 – 1870

Westmeath Journal – 1824 – 1834

Wexford Conservative – 1832 – 1842, 1844 – 1846

Wexford Independent – 1836, 1838 – 1842, 1858 – 1859, 1861 – 1871

Windsor and Eton Express – 1813 – 1819, 1821 – 1822, 1824 – 1831, 1833 – 1834, 1836, 1838, 1840 – 1843, 1847 – 1848, 1850 – 1851, 1859

Worcestershire Chronicle – 1844 – 1845

Yorkshire Evening Post – 1922

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer – 1877, 1954

 

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6 terrible love tips from history’s lonely hearts

Posted on February 13th, 2015 by The British Newspaper Archive

Lonely hearts columns aren’t a modern phenomenon. Search our historical newspapers and you’ll find numerous examples of ‘matrimonial advertisements’ from the 1800s and 1900s.

The notices can often make for amusing reading. We’ve collected together a few of our favourites to provide you with some tips for finding love. You may or may not want to take the advice…

 

1) Be overly specific and insulting

An American woman advertised for a husband in 1920, advising that he ‘can have any colour hair except red’. She also specified that he must not be ‘fresh from Ireland’.
 
An advert for a husband in the Lancashire Evening Post in 1920

Lancashire Evening Post – Monday 29 November 1920
Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

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In 1933, a newspaper claimed that a Nazi was searching for a woman ‘rectangular in body and soul’. His advert stated that no ‘dancing dolls’ should apply.
 
Nazi advert for a wife, printed in the Gloucester Citizen in 1933

Gloucester Citizen – Tuesday 14 November 1933
Image © Local World Limited. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

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2) Use emotional blackmail

A German architect placed this advert in 1894. It was worded it as if it had been written by his son, a ‘very pretty little boy, age a year and a half, who has had the misfortune to lose his dear mamma’.
 
A matrimonial advert mentioned in the Leeds Times in 1894

Leeds Times – Saturday 12 May 1894
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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3) Be brutally honest about what you need

When searching for a wife in 1832, a man from Dorset bluntly stated that ‘I do not want a second family. I want a woman to look after the pigs while I am out at work’.
 
An amusing advert for a wife was mentioned in the Dorset County Chronicle in 1832

Dorset County Chronicle – Thursday 23 August 1832
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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A student placed this romantic notice in a French newspaper in 1863. He declared that he wished to meet ‘a young lady who will advance him money to finish his university career’.
 
A curious marriage advertisement was reported by the Bedfordshire Times and Independent in 1863

Bedfordshire Times and Independent – Tuesday 04 August 1863
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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4) Describe your best assets

In this advertisement from 1899, a Japanese woman said she had ‘cloud-like hair, a flowery face, willow-like waist and crescent eyebrows’.
 
A Japanese matrimonial advert was published in the Dover Express in 1899

Dover Express – Friday 10 March 1899
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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5) Go on about your ex

A woman searching for a second husband in 1931 specified that he ‘must be a Naval man like her first’. This, she said, was because he was ‘one of the best and I think there is none to beat them’.
 
The Portsmouth Evening News printed a widow's advert for a new husband in 1931

Portsmouth Evening News – Friday 21 August 1931
Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

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6) Never give up your search

This final notice appeared in 1924, describing a 106-year-old woman’s search for a husband. She stated that she was looking for the type of man she used to meet in the ‘good old Victorian days’.
 
A 106-year-old woman's search for a husband was reported by the Dundee Courier in 1924

Dundee Courier – Saturday 01 November 1924
Image © D.C.Thomson & Co. Ltd. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

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Have you found any entertaining lonely hearts stories in the newspapers? Tell us about them in the comments section below.

 

 

10 million newspaper pages are now fully searchable

Posted on February 11th, 2015 by The British Newspaper Archive

Just a month after hitting the 9.5 million page milestone, we’re very pleased to announce that there are now 10 million historic newspaper pages available at The British Newspaper Archive.

The website launched with 4 million pages in November 2011, which means there’s now 150% more to explore. If you’ve not searched the collection for a while, it’s definitely time to try again.

 

Search the newspapers –>

 

10 million newspaper pages at The British Newspaper Archive

More to search and a great-value subscription

It’s not just our coverage that has improved over the last few years. In 2011, a 30 day package was £29.95, but a 1 month subscription is now just £9.95.

Our subscriptions give you access to the whole collection of historic newspapers and you can keep the pages you view forever by saving them to your computer or printing them out.

 

View our subscription options –>

 

Thousands of pages are digitised every week and we’ve added some fantastic content in the last few months. Here are just some of our highlights – please do tell us yours in the comments section below.

Copies of the Daily Mirror and Sunday MirrorSearch the Daily Mirror's newspaper archive online

Did you know that you can search the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror from 1914-1918 at The British Newspaper Archive? The national newspapers provide fascinating daily news, photographs and illustrations from the First World War.

58 new Irish newspapers

We’ve been working hard on expanding our collection of newspapers from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in the last few months. At launch, seven Irish newspaper titles were available, but now you can search a total of 65.

Newspapers from World War Two

You can now search more than 350,000 pages from 1939-1945 at The British Newspaper Archive. 60 newspaper titles are already online, including the Aberdeen Weekly Journal, Lancashire Evening Post and Kent & Sussex Courier.

 

What would you like to see digitised? You can suggest and vote for newspaper titles by using our feedback forum.

 

How to search The British Newspaper Archive for a person’s name

Posted on January 20th, 2015 by The British Newspaper Archive

Newspaper articles can provide incredible detail about peoples’ lives, whether you’re looking for your ancestors or researching a particular character from history.

Watch this short video tutorial or follow the steps below to see how you can search the newspapers for a person’s name:
 

 
 

Search for a person’s name –>

 

Searching newspaper articles for an ancestor or person from history

 

  1. Enter the name of the person you’re looking for in the search bar at the top of the homepage. Put a double quote mark on each side of the name and click the ‘search’ button.
     
    The quote marks will make your search results more relevant because they tell the website that you’re looking for a phrase. This means your results will only include articles in which these words appear next to one another.
     
    Use double quote marks when searching newspapers for  an ancestor or person from history.
  2.  
     

  3. You may need to try alternative names to find the person you’re looking for. In this example we’ve included a middle name in our search, but Richard James Howard’s name might not have been included in an article in that exact way.
     
    Richard could have been referred to as Mr R Howard, Mr Howard or Richard Howard, so it’s worth searching for a few of these variations.
     
    If you’re looking for a woman, remember that she may have been recorded as the wife or daughter of somebody, rather than by her own name.
     
    Try some different name variations when you're searching The British Newspaper Archive for an ancestor or person from history.
  4.  
     

  5. You can also use extra information you know about the person to focus your results. In this example, we know that Richard Howard was a chimney sweep so we’ve entered that in the search bar too.
     
    Putting a + mark before the name you’re searching for will tell the website that while we’re interested in reports about chimney sweeps, they must always include the name ‘Richard Howard’.
     
    You can use extra information about your ancestor or the person you're searching The British Newspaper Archive for to focus your results.

 

 

Search for a person’s name –>

 

 

Local newspapers, football match reports and the 1908 FA Charity Shield

Posted on January 14th, 2015 by The British Newspaper Archive

BrianLast year, we donated 100 subscriptions to Wikipedia’s volunteer editors to help expand public information about historical topics.

Brian Chapman has worked with Wikipedia for over five years and made around 42,000 edits to the online encyclopedia. He got in touch to tell us about one of the pages he’s improved with the help of our newspapers.

 

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When I heard about the collaboration between The British Newspaper Archive and Wikipedia, I jumped at the chance to take part. I’ve long been fascinated by the history of football at the turn of the 20th century, with the decline in amateur players and the development of professionalism.

For such a complicated history of soccer, Wikipedia allows editors to bring together a variety of sources into a cohesive article, providing a more comprehensive account than a single person could achieve. I thought I would share a bit more about one of the articles I’ve been working on, covering the 1908 FA Charity Shield.

 

The development of the Football Association Charity Shield

Today the Football Association (FA) Community Shield (renamed in 2002 from the Charity Shield) is played between the winners of the Premier League and the FA Cup, but that was not always the case.

I knew that it had been formed out of the decline of the Sheriff of London Charity Shield, a previous competition in which an amateur team played a professional one, but historic newspapers reveal that the FA actually intendeded it to be a direct replacement.

The following articles from the Sheffield Evening Telegraph, printed on 22 February 1908, are particularly telling about the controversy that surrounded this change. While the FA Charity Shield was announced in one article, the following story was about the decline of the Sheriff of London Charity Shield.

The introduction of the FA Charity Shield, reported in the Sheffield Evening Telegraph in 1908.

Sheffield Evening Telegraph – Saturday 22 February 1908
Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

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Match report: Manchester United vs Queens Park Rangers

While it might be possible to find basic details about historical football matches (such as dates, players and results) in traditional reference works, it is very difficult to get hold of match reports.

The style of reporting at the time meant that only newspapers local to each team published football match reports. With online access to more than 300 newspaper titles at The British Newspaper Archive, this sort of detail can now be easily tracked down.

Unusually for the Charity Shield, the match between Football League winners Manchester United and Southern League champions Queens Park Rangers (QPR) went to a replay after a 1-1 draw. What I didn’t previously know was that QPR’s goalkeeper Charlie Shaw saved a penalty from George Stacey.

The first leg was described in the following article, published in the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser on 28 April 1908.

The result of the FA Charity Shield in 1908, reported by the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser

Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser – Tuesday 28 April 1908
Image © Local World Limited. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

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The 1908 Charity Shield replay

The replay took place on 29 August 1908 and resulted in a 4-0 victory for Manchester United. It was the first time that the game was played as the traditional season opener of the Football League.

Of course, the competition didn’t remain the same. A fixture between the Football League and the Southern League only continued to just prior to the First World War. During the war period, the two leagues were merged. A few different types of fixtures were then tried, including the one we all know today – the champions of the top league playing the FA Cup winners.

A really unexpected find in the newspaper archives was the following article from the Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, published on 3 October 1908. It documents which charities benefited from the replay and first leg of the 1908 Charity Shield. We can see that more than £1,000 was raised.

The result of the 1908 FA Charity Shield was reported in the Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer – Saturday 03 October 1908
Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

View the whole newspaper page

 

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You can read more of Brian’s research about the 1908 FA Charity Shield at Wikipedia. We’d love to hear about what you’ve been using the newspapers to research too – please tell us in the comments section below.

 

9.5 million newspaper pages now fully searchable

Posted on January 7th, 2015 by The British Newspaper Archive

There are now 9.5 million historical newspaper pages available to explore at The British Newspaper Archive, with more than 200,000 having been added in December.

There’s still plenty more to be scanned and we’ve already started chasing the next milestone – 10 million pages!

 

Search the newspapers

 

18 new titles, including Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Chronicle

Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Chronicle was one of Britain’s leading sports newspapers in the nineteenth century. You’ll now find copies of the publication from 1830 – 1850 online at The British Newspaper Archive.

Thousands of pages from 17 other new titles were also added, including copies of the Derbyshire Courier, Galway Mercury and Connaught Weekly Advertiser, Roscommon Journal and Western Impartial Reporter and the Walsall Observer and South Staffordshire Chronicle. You’ll find a full list of recent additions below, with the new titles highlighted in bold.

 

Bells Life in London and Sporting Chronicle

 

Aberdeen People’s Journal – 1889 – 1890, 1893

Aberdeen Weekly Journal – 1914

Advocate: or, Irish Industrial Journal – 1848 – 1849, 1851 – 1852, 1855

Aldershot Military Gazette – 1860

Allnut’s Irish Land Schedule – 1860

Athlone Sentinel – 1835, 1855

Bedfordshire Times and Independent – 1927

Belfast Mercantile Register and Weekly Advertiser – 1843, 1846, 1870

Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Chronicle – 1830, 1832 – 1833, 1835 – 1837, 1839 – 1845, 1847, 1849 – 1850

Biggleswade Chronicle – 1921 – 1927, 1944 – 1946, 1948, 1950 – 1951, 1953 – 1954

Burnley Express – 1942, 1954

Bury and Norwich Post – 1852

Cavan Observer – 1858 – 1859, 1861, 1863 – 1864

Clonmel Herald – 1832, 1837

Connaught Watchman – 1851 – 1852, 1859 – 1860

County Courts Chronicle – 1850

Coventry Herald – 1913, 1915

Derbyshire Courier – 1921 – 1922

Downshire Protestant – 1857

Drogheda Journal, or Meath & Louth Advertiser – 1823 – 1827

Dublin Evening Mail – 1843 – 1844

Dublin Evening Packet and Correspondent – 1836, 1844 – 1845, 1851 – 1855, 1858, 1860, 1862

Dublin Medical Press – 1860, 1862 – 1863

Dublin Mercantile Advertiser, and Weekly Price Current – 1823 – 1837, 1842, 1845 – 1846, 1851 – 1854, 1857 – 1860, 1865

Dublin Morning Register – 1835, 1837 – 1838

Dublin Weekly Register – 1833, 1835 – 1838, 1841, 1847 – 1850

Enniskillen Chronicle and Erne Packet – 1827, 1839

Farmer’s Gazette and Journal of Practical Horticulture – 1850 – 1855, 1861 – 1865

Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate & Cheriton Herald – 1902, 1929, 1932, 1934

Galway Mercury, and Connaught Weekly Advertiser – 1844 – 1849, 1852 – 1855, 1857 – 1860

Galway Patriot – 1836 – 1839

Gloucester Journal – 1808

Hastings and St Leonards Observer – 1905 – 1906

Hibernian Journal; or, Chronicle of Liberty – 1795

Inverness Courier – 1818 – 1823, 1827 – 1834, 1836 – 1843

Irish Racing Book and Sheet Calendar – 1827 – 1833, 1835 – 1837, 1840 – 1841

Journal of the Chemico-Agricultural Society of Ulster and Record of Agriculture and Industry – 1849, 1852 – 1854, 1856 – 1865, 1867

Kerry Examiner and Munster General Observer – 1840 – 1848, 1854

Leicester Chronicle – 1910

Limerick and Clare Examiner – 1846 – 1847, 1849 – 1855

Limerick Reporter – 1841 – 1849

Lincolnshire Echo – 1899 – 1900, 1910, 1912 – 1913, 1915, 1918, 1920 – 1921, 1923, 1925 – 1926, 1944 – 1945

Middlesex Chronicle – 1915, 1917

Motherwell Times – 1889

Newcastle Chronicle – 1865

Newry Examiner and Louth Advertiser – 1836 – 1838, 1840, 1842

Norfolk Chronicle – 1830

Northampton Mercury – 1905

Oban Times, and Argyllshire Advertiser – 1868 – 1870

Rochdale Observer – 1917 – 1918

Roscommon Journal, and Western Impartial Reporter – 1829 – 1843

Sheffield Independent – 1906, 1908 – 1909

Shetland Times – 1874 – 1877, 1879 – 1884, 1886 – 1907

Sligo Champion – 1840 – 1843, 1845, 1853, 1859, 1865

Statesman and Dublin Christian Record – 1844 – 1846

Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser – 1814, 1817, 1825 – 1827, 1831 – 1832

Tipperary Free Press – 1826 – 1832, 1836, 1846, 1851, 1858, 1860 – 1864

Tralee Chronicle – 1851, 1853 – 1855, 1861 – 1862, 1864 – 1866, 1870

Ulster General Advertiser, Herald of Business and General Information – 1849, 1859, 1861

Walsall Observer, and South Staffordshire Chronicle – 1914 – 1918

Waterford Chronicle – 1827, 1829 – 1835, 1837 – 1838, 1840 – 1843, 1848, 1851 – 1863, 1868 – 1870

Waterford Mail – 1827, 1842, 1853, 1857

Wells Journal – 1905, 1907 – 1910, 1913 – 1917, 1919 – 1920, 1922 – 1926, 1928 – 1930, 1932 – 1948, 1950

Westmeath Journal – 1823

Wexford Conservative – 1843

Wexford Independent – 1830, 1837, 1857, 1860

Wiltshire Independent – 1855

Windsor and Eton Express – 1812, 1832, 1835, 1837, 1844 – 1846, 1849, 1852 – 1853, 1855 – 1858, 1860 – 1862

Worcester Herald – 1842 – 1845

Worcestershire Chronicle – 1842 – 1843

Wrexham Advertiser – 1862, 1865

 

The story of the 1914 Christmas Truce, as reported by WW1 newspapers

Posted on December 19th, 2014 by The British Newspaper Archive

Kate ColeAfter watching Sainsbury’s Christmas advert, Kate Cole was inspired to research the real story behind WW1’s Christmas Truce.

She used The British Newspaper Archive to unearth the experiences of soldiers on the Western Front in 1914.

 

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In December 1914, during first year of World War One, a remarkable event known as the Christmas Day Truce occurred in small pockets along the Western Front. 100 years later, one of Britain’s largest grocery shops has released a Christmas advert re-enacting the famous truce.

With the Sainsbury’s advert appearing on my television virtually every day since mid-November, I decided to do my own research into the Christmas Truce to determine what actually happened. I have done this by using the many local and national newspapers that have been digitally preserved by the excellent British Newspaper Archive.

Attempts to secure an official Christmas truce in 1914

Throughout the length and breadth of Britain, newspapers reported Pope Benedict XV’s attempts to secure a 12-hour Christmas truce on all sides. By 11 December 1914, it was thought that Germany was willing to have a truce.
 
The Birmingham Daily Mail reported that the Pope's attempts to secure a Christmas Truce in 1914 looked favourable.
 
Birmingham Daily Mail – Friday 11 December 1914
Image © Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

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Just a few days later, newspapers including the Exeter and Plymouth Gazette were reporting that the Pope’s attempt had failed. While the article below mentions that Russia had refused the truce, it’s interesting that of the many reports I’ve read from the beginning of December, none directly confronted Russia for opposing the truce.

Only one newspaper mentioned the (glaringly obvious) reason behind Russia’s refusal –that the date of Christmas in the Orthodox Church was not the same as that observed in the Roman Church. The absence of a reason in the majority of reports is unwitting testimony, showing that the Allies didn’t always see eye-to-eye on matters of the war.
 
The Exeter and Plymouth Gazette reported that the Pope's attempt to secure a Christmas Truce in 1914 failed.
 
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette – Monday 14 December 1914
Image © Local World Limited. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

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Newspapers printed British soldiers’ Christmas Truce reports

By Wednesday 30 December, the story of the unofficial Christmas Day Truce started to reach Britain. Soldiers’ letters to their loved ones arrived and were often sent to local newspapers, then filtering through to other local and national newspapers.

You’ll find a selection of the images and reports I’ve found about Christmas in the trenches in 1914 below. The stories vary in detail, showing that the Christmas Truce was not uniform with a set beginning and end.
 
The Daily Mirror printed a photo from the Christmas Truce in 1914.
 
Daily Mirror – Friday 08 January 1915
Image © Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

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A soldier's letter from the Western Front, describing the 1914 Christmas Truce, was printed in the Gloucester Journal
 
Gloucester Journal – Saturday 02 January 1915
Image © Local World Limited. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

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An illustration of the 1914 Christmas Day Truce was printed in the Nottingham Evening Post
 
Nottingham Evening Post – Saturday 02 January 1915
Image © Local World Limited. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

View the whole newspaper page
 
A report about the WW1 Christmas Truce, published in the Liverpool Daily Post
 
Liverpool Daily Post – Thursday 31 December 1914
Image © Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

View the whole newspaper page
 
This report about World War One's Christmas Day Truce was published in the Aberdeen Journal.
 
Aberdeen Journal – Friday 01 January 1915
Image © D.C.Thomson & Co. Ltd. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

View the whole newspaper page

 

Each sector of the Western Front seem to have had their own version – some only allowing the burial of the dead on Christmas morning before hostilities began again, while others continued their truce though the entire festive period.

Some reports also mention that football matches occurred during the Christmas Truce. A soldier’s letter printed in the Gloucester Journal stated that ‘higher up the line – you would scarcely believe it – but they were kicking a football about between the trenches’.

The Christmas Truce was a remarkable World War One event. Even though the Pope was not successful in arranging a formal truce, the soldiers themselves achieved what generals, politicians and religious leaders could not.

 

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Visit Kate’s blog, Essex Voices Past, to read more of her historical research.

 

Join us for a week of prize giveaways, starting on Saturday 27 December

Posted on December 18th, 2014 by The British Newspaper Archive

Giveaway week at The British Newspaper ArchiveWe’ll be giving away some fantastic prizes and celebrating the different types of research our newspapers can help with next week.

Simply check The British Newspaper Archive’s Facebook page at 12pm (GMT) every day from Saturday 27 December – Friday 2 January to take part.

 

Visit The British Newspaper Archive’s Facebook page

 

Win some great prizes with The British Newspaper Archive

There are lots of exciting gifts on offer, whether you’re interested in genealogy, local history, studying World War One, the history of sport, crime research, women’s history or something completely different.

It doesn’t matter where you live; our week of competitions is open to everyone. Take a look at what you could win on our Facebook page each day:

 

Saturday 27 December – Family history

 

Sunday 28 December – Local history

  • £50 voucher to spend on books from The History Press, including their local history titles.
  • English Heritage edition of Monopoly, worth £29.99.

 

Monday 29 December – Sports history

  • Bicycle Design: An Illustrated History by Tony Hadland and Hans-erhard Lessing, worth £24.95.
  • The Final Over: The Cricketers of Summer 1914 by Christopher Sandford, worth £18.99.
  • Beastly Fury: The Strange Birth of British Football by Richard Sanders, worth £9.99.

 

Tuesday 30 December – Crime research

  • 1 month subscription to Findmypast which will let you explore their Crime, Prisons & Punishment records, worth £9.95.
  • Beggars, Cheats and Forgers: A History of Frauds Through the Ages by David Thomas, worth £12.99.
  • The Complete Jack the Ripper by Donald Rumbelow, worth £9.99.

 

Wednesday 31 December – World War One research

 

Thursday 1 January – Women’s history

  • £50 voucher to spend on books from The History Press, including their women’s history titles.
  • Votes for Women playing cards, worth £5.
  • Votes for Women pin badge, worth £4.99.

 

Friday 2 January – Tell us what you’re researching

 

Visit The British Newspaper Archive’s Facebook page

 

230,000 newspaper pages added from 1765-1953

Posted on December 15th, 2014 by The British Newspaper Archive

Thousands of historical newspaper pages were added to The British Newspaper Archive in November, including 19 brand new titles. We hope you enjoy exploring these additions.
 
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19 new titles, including the Aberdeen Weekly Journal

You’ll now find editions of the Aberdeen Weekly Journal and the County Chronicle, Surrey Herald and Weekly Advertiser for Kent online, as well as 17 extra Irish titles.

45 other titles were also updated, including the Newry Examiner and Louth Advertiser, Northampton Mercury and Salisbury and Winchester Journal. A full list of recent additions is provided below.
 
Search old newspaper copies of the Aberdeen Journal

 

Aberdeen People’s Journal – 1891, 1894, 1896 – 1897

Aberdeen Weekly Journal – 1915 – 1919, 1939 – 1945

Advocate: or, Irish Industrial Journal – 1856 – 1860

Athlone Sentinel – 1834

Bedfordshire Times and Independent – 1951

Belfast Mercantile Register and Weekly Advertiser – 1840 – 1841

Biggleswade Chronicle – 1942 – 1943, 1947, 1949, 1952

Bradford Observer – 1836

Bucks Herald – 1901

Catholic Telegraph – 1856 – 1857, 1860, 1862

Clonmel Herald – 1828 – 1831, 1833 – 1836, 1840

County Chronicle, Surrey Herald and Weekly Advertiser for Kent – 1837

Coventry Standard – 1914 – 1918

Dorset County Chronicle – 1824, 1828 – 1829

Downshire Protestant – 1855 – 1856, 1862

Drogheda Conservative Journal – 1837 – 1848

Dublin Evening Mail – 1838

Dublin Evening Packet and Correspondent – 1841 – 1843, 1846 – 1850

Dublin Medical Press – 1846, 1848, 1850 – 1859, 1865

Dublin Monitor – 1840

Dublin Weekly Register – 1839 – 1840, 1842 – 1846

Dundee, Perth, Forfar, and Fife’s People’s Journal – 1914 – 1917

East London Observer – 1863 – 1868

Enniskillen Chronicle and Erne Packet – 1813, 1824 – 1826, 1828 – 1838, 1840 – 1841, 1844

Falkirk Herald – 1875, 1885

Farmer’s Gazette and Journal of Practical Horticulture – 1845 – 1846, 1856 – 1860, 1866, 1868 – 1870

Galway Vindicator, and Connaught Advertiser – 1845, 1856 – 1857, 1869

Gloucester Journal – 1892, 1899

Hamilton Advertiser – 1862 – 1870

Hartlepool Mail – 1927, 1933

Hertford Mercury and Reformer – 1913, 1916 – 1918

Hibernian Journal; or, Chronicle of Liberty – 1784, 1807 – 1808

Ipswich Journal – 1795, 1799

Irish Racing Book and Sheet Calendar – 1860

Kentish Gazette – 1774

Leicester Daily Mercury – 1875 – 1876, 1890

Limerick Evening Post – 1829, 1831, 1833

Limerick Reporter – 1839 – 1840, 1855 – 1858, 1861 – 1870

Lincolnshire Chronicle – 1911

Lincolnshire Echo – 1905, 1909

Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser – 1878

Newry Examiner and Louth Advertiser – 1834 – 1835, 1839, 1846 – 1850, 1854, 1859, 1862, 1864 – 1869

Northampton Mercury – 1942 – 1943, 1947 – 1953

Northern Whig – 1832 – 1851, 1855 – 1856, 1859 – 1861

Perthshire Advertiser – 1918

Portsmouth Evening News – 1908, 1922

Rochdale Observer – 1914 – 1916

Roscommon Messenger – 1848 – 1870

Salisbury and Winchester Journal – 1765 – 1768, 1772 – 1773

Sheffield Independent – 1822, 1827

Sligo Champion – 1867 – 1868

Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier – 1845 – 1846, 1848 – 1850

Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette – 1918, 1931

Sussex Agricultural Express – 1926

Tamworth Herald – 1877, 1912

Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser – 1910, 1930

Tipperary Free Press – 1852 – 1857, 1859, 1865, 1867 – 1868

Tralee Chronicle – 1843 – 1850, 1858 – 1859

Ulster General Advertiser, Herald of Business and General Information – 1858

Waterford Chronicle – 1864 – 1865, 1867

Waterford Mail – 1824, 1832 – 1841, 1843, 1858, 1860 – 1870

Western Daily Press – 1908 – 1909, 1911

Wexford Independent – 1843 – 1856

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer – 1874, 1889

 
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