Researching animals with historical newspapers

Posted on April 24th, 2014 by The British Newspaper Archive

Hannah Velten recently got in touch to tell us how she uses The British Newspaper Archive to research a rather niche subject – the history of animals within society.

Show us what you’re researching at the moment by emailing press@britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

 

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One day it could be a toad emerging from a rock or a person kicked by a horse – I never know what I’m going to find when I log into The British Newspaper Archive each day. My goal is simply to unearth a nugget of animal history related to the day’s date.

Kicked by a horseThere’s no academic rigour involved: I type ‘animal’ into the search area, specify the date, with a year chosen at random, and wait to see what comes up. Some days the search only reveals one entry and some days I’m overwhelmed with tens of pages, but I will pick a story from page one.

 

Animal History Daily on Twitter

I should explain this rather odd behaviour… I’m tweeting a story every day during 2014, using the hashtag #AHD, and exploring the details behind the 140-characters in a weekly blog post.

Why? Because I’m rather obsessed with our historical interaction with animals and at the end of 2013, while promoting my book Beastly London: A History of Animals in the City, I felt that after seven years of research and writing it would be fun to find further inspiration by serendipitous means.

 

A Tail without a Pig!

My first story got me hooked. It’s not a pleasant one, but it’s surprising, jovial and beautifully provincial, proving animals were once so much a part of everyday life:

 

Article about a tail without a pig

 

Royal Cornwall Gazette - Saturday 01 January 1820
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

View the whole newspaper page

 

To give you an idea of the variety of animal stories I find, here are several of my favourites from the ones I’ve covered so far – they give an amazingly quirky insight into social history.

 

Fall of a ‘Baldwin Pony’

This is an example of an extreme circus animal act that sadly went wrong. It led to a RSPCA-backed court case where the charge of cruelty was eventually dropped.

 

Article about the fall of a Baldwin pony

 

Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper - Sunday 03 March 1889
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

View the whole newspaper page

 

A Too Clever Dog

Another court case, but this time involving a dog bite and an oddly proud owner.

 

Article about a 'too clever dog'

 

Sheffield Independent - Saturday 19 February 1853
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

View the whole newspaper page

 

Sheep as Mascot

A buried sheep lives on to become the mascot of the coal tippers at Swansea Docks.

 

Article about a sheep mascot

 

The Daily Herald - Tuesday 19 January 1926
Image © Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

View the whole newspaper page

 

Elephants in the River

This article records the rescue of menagerie elephants from a river when their caravan tipped over.

 

Article about an elephant rescue

 

Bury and Norwich Post - Wednesday 16 February 1842
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

View the whole newspaper page

 

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Visit Hannah’s blog Animal History Daily: Random Titbits from the Archives to see more of her fascinating finds.

 

 

Wartime St George’s Day advert

Posted on April 23rd, 2014 by The British Newspaper Archive

St George’s Day and the anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth both fall on 23 April.

 

‘There will be justice and victory’

This patriotic advert from Ford was published in The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer to mark the day during World War Two.

It states that ‘wherever the tongue of Shakespeare is spoken, there will be justice and victory’.

 

St George's Day advert

 

View the whole newspaper page

The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer – Thursday 22 April 1943
Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

 

New 1 month subscription – only £9.95

Posted on April 17th, 2014 by The British Newspaper Archive

 

You can now purchase a 1 month subscription to The British Newspaper Archive for just £9.95.

The new subscription is less than half the price of our old 30 day package and you can view more newspaper pages.

 

Buy a 1 month subscription

 

Unlimited access for under £10

The new 1 month subscription is great value for money, giving you unlimited access* to all of our historic newspapers.

Take a look at how it compares to the old 30 day package:

 

1 month subscription

 

Discover amazing stories from the past

Your subscription will let you to search, view and print fascinating articles published in British and Irish newspapers between 1710 and 1954.

With thousands of newspaper pages added every week, there’s always something new to discover at The British Newspaper Archive.

 

Buy a 1 month subscription

 

*Subject to our standard fair usage policy of 3,000 pages per month. For more information, please read our Terms & Conditions

135,000 newspaper pages added

Posted on April 10th, 2014 by The British Newspaper Archive

Thousands of extra newspaper pages were added to The British Newspaper Archive in March, including a brand new title – the Evening Despatch.

 

Search the newspapers

 

24 other titles were updated this month, including the Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette, the Dublin Evening Mail and Nottingham Evening Post. You’ll find a full list of recent additions provided below.

 

The Nottingham Evening Post

 

Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – 1769, 1801, 1804, 1805, 1806, 1810, 1812, 1814, 1815, 1816, 1817, 1818, 1819
Birmingham Daily Mail, The – 1881, 1882, 1891, 1906, 1915
Birmingham Gazette – 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917
Cambridge Independent Press – 1889
Cheltenham Chronicle – 1886, 1894, 1895, 1899, 1900
Derby Daily Telegraph – 1889
Dover Express – 1895
Dublin Evening Mail – 1827, 1828
Edinburgh Evening News – 1905, 1906
Evening Despatch – 1915, 1917, 1918
Evening Telegraph – 1879, 1880, 1882, 1884, 1886, 1890, 1892
Gloucester Citizen – 1912, 1934, 1941
Kendal Mercury – 1870
Leamington Spa Courier – 1840
Liverpool Daily Post – 1875, 1876, 1906
Newcastle Journal – 1893, 1917
Nottingham Evening Post – 1904, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1911, 1912, 1915, 1917, 1919, 1920, 1922, 1938, 1939, 1946, 1949
Reading Mercury – 1873
Salisbury and Winchester Journal – 1788, 1789
Sports Argus, The – 1917, 1918
Stamford Mercury – 1827, 1832, 1846
Sussex Agricultural Express, The – 1891, 1893, 1945
Western Gazette – 1865, 1907, 1909, 1929
Yorkshire Evening Post – 1915, 1929, 1930, 1936, 1937, 1939
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, The – 1870, 1937

Here & Then: our brand new mobile app

Posted on April 8th, 2014 by The British Newspaper Archive

You can now view fascinating articles, images and adverts from The British Newspaper Archive through your iPhone for free.

Download ‘Here & Then’ from the iTunes store

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New title: the Evening Despatch

Posted on April 2nd, 2014 by The British Newspaper Archive

 

WW1 editions of the Evening Despatch now online

The Evening Despatch was published in Birmingham throughout World War One. Over 4,000 pages from newspapers published in 1915, 1917 and 1918 have just been made available to search online.

Search the Evening Despatch
 
 
The Evening Despatch
 

Newspaper pages added every week

Thousands of extra pages are added to The British Newspaper Archive each week. We’ll be adding more from the Evening Despatch soon, so be sure to check the recent additions regularly.

See what’s been added in the last 30 days
 

Top 5 April Fools in history

Posted on April 1st, 2014 by The British Newspaper Archive

 
Search The British Newspaper Archive for the words ‘April Fool’ and you’ll find hundreds of examples of ‘hilarious’ pranks that were staged on 1 April in the past. We’ve selected our favourites for you to enjoy.

 

WW1 football ‘bomb’

A ‘bomb’ was dropped on German troops during the First World War. After scrambling to take cover, the men discovered it was actually a football with the words ‘April fool!’ written on it.

A football is dropped as an April Fools joke during WW1

View the whole newspaper page

Coventry Evening Telegraph – Friday 16 April 1915
Image © Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

 

Turning water into wine

On 1 April 1878, the New York Graphic announced that Thomas Edison had invented an amazing new machine. The invention was said to turn water into wine and earth into food.

Thomas Edison allegedly invented a machine to turn water into wine in 1878

View the whole newspaper page

Western Gazette – Friday 03 April 1914
Image © Local World Limited. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

 

Giving birth to rabbits

While this hoax didn’t happen on April Fools’ Day, it was definitely one of the strangest pranks of all time. In 1726, Mary Toft tricked doctors into believing that she had given birth to nine rabbits.

Mary Toft convinced doctors that she had given birth to rabbits in 1726

View the whole newspaper page

Ipswich Journal – Saturday 12 November 1726
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

Singing loud for all to hear

A supporting actor was once persuaded to sing loudly during the female star’s love scene. According to this article, the more the audience yelled the ‘louder he tra-la-la’d’.

Nina Boucicault's performance was drowned out by an April Fools Day joke

View the whole newspaper page

Northants Evening Telegraph – Saturday 13 April 1901
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

Great wasp swarm

Hundreds of New Zealanders stayed indoors on 1 April 1949 after a radio station announced that a mile-wide wasp swarm was heading towards Auckland.

A mile-wide wasp storm was reported on April Fools Day in 1949
View the whole newspaper page

Evening Telegraph – Friday 01 April 1949
Image © D.C.Thomson & Co. Ltd. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

Virginia Woolf’s suicide note

Posted on March 28th, 2014 by The British Newspaper Archive

English writer Virginia Woolf committed suicide on 28 March 1941. She struggled with depression and was deeply affected by the Second World War.
 

‘I cannot go on’

Woolf left a touching note for her husband, saying ‘I owe all my happiness to you, but cannot go on and spoil your life’.

Read the full transcript of her letter, as printed in the Gloucestershire Echo:

Virginia Woolf's suicide note, printed in the Gloucestershire Echo

View the whole newspaper page

Gloucestershire Echo – Saturday 19 April 1941
Image © Local World Limited. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

 

The abolition of slavery

Posted on March 25th, 2014 by The British Newspaper Archive

The slave trade was abolished in the British Empire on this day in 1807.

The Bury and Norwich Post reported that the Bishop of Landaff thought slavery was ‘so barbarous and inhumane that the abolition of it would be recorded in Heaven.’

Newspaper report about the abolition of the slave trade

Bury and Norwich Post – Wednesday 01 April 1807
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

View the whole newspaper page

 

Your newspaper discoveries: Court cases, suicide and an obituary

Posted on March 20th, 2014 by The British Newspaper Archive

Alex Daley got in touch this month to tell us about the fascinating information he’s uncovered in the Hastings and St Leonards Observer.

What have you found in the newspapers? Email press@britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk to let us know!

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As a self-confessed social and family history buff I was delighted to be asked to undertake a research project into the history of my employer, East Sussex law firm Gaby Hardwicke Solicitors, as part of its celebrations to mark its 125th year.

Gaby Hardwicke was founded in Hastings in 1889, so as a major part of the project I consulted local newspapers for details of court cases and other news reported that year. What I uncovered was a fascinating array of cases and news, ranging from comic to tragic, to outright bizarre.

 

Furiously driving a pony at 12 mph

Alongside the familiar reports of burglaries and assaults, quirky cases involving speeding ponies, drunken horsemen, unlicensed hawkers, rogue railway porters and animal theft were regularly heard in the Hastings courts.

The below example of Patrick Hurley, who was fined for driving his pony and cart at a wild 11 or 12 miles an hour, is a case in point.

Hastings and St Leonards Observer 5 January 1889

Hastings and St Leonards Observer – Saturday 05 January 1889
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

View the whole newspaper page

A sad case of suicide

But the local Hastings newspapers also contain their share of tragic cases, including those who suffered the indignity of being hauled before a court for attempting suicide. As astounding as it sounds, attempting suicide was a crime in England and Wales until 1961.

The case of Rebecca Shelley, shown below, is just one of a number of attempted suicide cases heard before the Hastings courts in 1889.

Hastings and St Leonards Observer - 16 February 1889

Hastings and St Leonards Observer – Saturday 16 February 1889
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

View the whole newspaper page

 

Newspaper obituary

The British Newspaper Archive was also invaluable when I wanted to trace background information about the former partners of Gaby Hardwicke Solicitors.

Here’s an obituary of Gaby Hardwicke founder Dr Frederick Goodwin, which appeared in the Hastings and St Leonards Observer in February 1897:

Hastings and St Leonards Observer - 13 February 1897

Hastings and St Leonards Observer – Saturday 13 February 1897
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

View the whole newspaper page

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Visit Gaby Hardwicke’s dedicated history section to read more of Alex’s newspaper discoveries and research into the firm’s history.