“Lonely Hearts” killer unearthed in the newspaper archive

Posted on February 9th, 2016 by Violet

In case you’re tempted to take out a “Lonely Hearts” ad this Valentine’s Day, be warned: according to the newspaper archive you’d be wise to stay vigilant.

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In fact, as the Aberdeen Journal suggested in 1949:

 
Unfortunately, the famous Lonely Hearts murders in New York were not an isolated incident.

William Sanchez d’Epina Hepper was born in Gibraltar in 1891. He spent most of his life living in London, working as a clerk for the BBC and allegedly spying for the United States.

In 1954, Hepper killed one of his daughter’s friends, 11-year-old Margaret Spevick, who went to his Brighton studio to sit as a model for one of his paintings. Hepper went on the run, sparking a nationwide search and one of the first televised public appeals.

 
“I have never seen Mr Hepper and he only wrote to me by means of my nom de plume. But I am proud to say I admired him,” one woman said, in the Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazettte, 10 February 1954. “I am sure that he must be suffering from something like a ‘black-out’ or he would have come forward by now.”

 
Hepper was tracked down in a boarding-house on the Spanish border on the day that newspaper was published. The Aberdeen Evening Expressreported on the 21 July 1954 that during his trial, Hepper collapsed and pleaded insanity.

He claimed that he was distraught to find out that his wife had been a prostitute before they had married, and the discovery had led to his mental demise. He was, he stated, “suffering the cruellest moral tortures that a man can suffer”.

 
“I feel as if I had been stabbed in the heart. With such a background how can you doctors expect my health to improve?”

One Dr Gainsborough was asked if he believed the accusations in the letter, to which he replied “No. I thought they were all nonsense.” The doctor resolved that while Hepper did display some obsessional tendencies, he believed he was in “a paranoiac state” and not “certifiably insane.”

Hepper was executed at Wandsworth prison on the 11 August 1954.

It’s a Woman’s Life! A celebration of the ATS, inspired by Dad’s Army

Posted on February 5th, 2016 by Violet

As the film adaptation of the beloved BBC television series Dad’s Army is released today, many critics have applauded the film’s new take on women’s involvement in the war. Far from being the running gag of the little woman heard but never seen, Mrs Mainwaring has stepped up to take centre stage, leading a group of women in the Auxiliary Territorial Service.

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The role that these women played, whether acting as telephonists in France to or cooks in the home counties, was crucial to the war effort. As a tribute to the women of the ATS we took a look in the newspaper archive to find them in action…

Aberdeen Journal - Thursday 01 December 1938 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Aberdeen Journal – Thursday 01 December 1938 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Gloucester Citizen - Tuesday 12 September 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Gloucester Citizen – Tuesday 12 September 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Newcastle Chronicle - Saturday 10 June 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Newcastle Chronicle – Saturday 10 June 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Daily Record - Tuesday 18 July 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Daily Record – Tuesday 18 July 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Liverpool Daily Post - Saturday 17 February 1940 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Liverpool Daily Post – Saturday 17 February 1940 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Wednesday 19 July 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Sheffield Daily Telegraph – Wednesday 19 July 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Daily Record - Wednesday 25 January 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Daily Record – Wednesday 25 January 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Sheffield Evening Telegraph - Friday 06 October 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Sheffield Evening Telegraph – Friday 06 October 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Manchester Evening News - Thursday 31 August 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Manchester Evening News – Thursday 31 August 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

Explore the archive

 

A plot to kill the king: The Spa Fields riot of 1816

Posted on January 29th, 2016 by Violet

A calamitous plot to kill the king, uncovered by Regency Spies (published by Pen & Sword this month) author Sue Wilkes…

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, places like Chalk Farm and Spa Fields in London were the scene of mass meetings of Radicals campaigning for parliamentary reform.

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In 1816, Henry Hunt, one of the most famous reform activists, was invited to speak at Spa Fields by a group called the Spencean Philanthropists, whose chief members were Arthur Thistlewood, Dr James Watson and his son, Thomas Preston and John Hooper. The Spenceans were followers of Thomas Spence, who advocated the common ownership of all land.

thistlewood newgate5

The Stamford Mercury (22 November 1816) reported that the first meeting on the 15th November passed off peacefully, although some of Lord Castlereagh’s windows were broken (Castlereagh, the Foreign Secretary, was loathed by many of the lower classes).

However, the next meeting at Spa Fields, on 2 December 1816, was not so peaceful. The Spenceans hoped to use the gathering as a ‘test-run’ for a full-scale rebellion, to gauge how much popular support they might command.

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Henry Hunt arrived just before 1pm in a ‘handsome tandem’. He believed that the meeting’s main agenda was to discuss the Prince Regent’s answer to a petition from the ‘distressed manufacturers and mechanics of London’ (Norfolk Chronicle, 7 December 1816), which Hunt had sent to the Prince.

While Hunt gave an impassioned speech at Merlin’s Cave pub, a breakaway group of protesters, led by the Spenceans, began ‘a scene of outrage and tumult’ (Chester Courant, 10 December 1816).

dr watson newgate4

Thistlewood tried to provoke the people to attack the Tower of London, but they ran away. Dr Watson’s son Jem led a mob towards Smithfield, and shot a man in a gunsmith’s shop. However, the authorities, alerted by their spies, had plenty of constables, troops and horses on the alert. Although several shops were attacked and windows broken, no major damage occurred. A man called John Cashman was later hanged for committing a robbery during the riot.

Thistlewood, Dr Watson, Preston and Hooper were charged of plotting to kill the king, seizing the Tower of London, and planning to levy war against the king: high treason. But they were acquitted when it transpired that most of the evidence against them was based on spy and informer testimony. In 1820, however, Arthur Thistlewood and several accomplices were hanged following an audacious plot to kill the British cabinet – the Cato Street Conspiracy.

Why British Empire was a good thing… according to contemporary newspapers

Posted on January 26th, 2016 by Violet

A recent study showed that 44% of people in Britain people think that “we should be proud of British colonialism”. Considering the Empire’s sketchy past of violence and massacres, this was a shock result.

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At the time, as today, people were mainly supportive of British rule overseas, though it would be fair to assume they didn’t know the full extent of the chaos it wrought. For some, the empire’s steady decline after World War 2 would have been incomprehensible.

Cambridge Daily News - Monday 09 January 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Cambridge Daily News – Monday 09 January 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

But it wasn’t all bad in the Empire on which the sun never sets. British rule overseas did bring some good things into existence…

1. A great opportunity for fancy dress

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Tuesday 25 May 1909 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette – Tuesday 25 May 1909 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Derbyshire Courier - Tuesday 31 May 1910 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Derbyshire Courier – Tuesday 31 May 1910 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

2. An excuse to attend fancy dinners…

Cambridge Daily News - Monday 09 January 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Cambridge Daily News – Monday 09 January 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

3. …and make long speeches

Cambridge Daily News - Monday 09 January 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Cambridge Daily News – Monday 09 January 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

4. Endless possibilities for eye-catching graphics

Dundee Courier - Thursday 20 September 1900 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Dundee Courier – Thursday 20 September 1900 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What have you found on the British Empire? Drop us a line in the comments below…

“This is the head of a traitor, Edward Marcus Despard!” The plot to kill George III, by Regency Spies author Sue Wilkes

Posted on January 22nd, 2016 by Violet

While researching her new book Regency Spies (published by Pen & Sword this month), Sue Wilkes uncovered the story of a desperate plot to kill George III and overthrow the British government…

reg spies highrescover1

Colonel Despard (1751–1803) has gone down in history as the leader of a wildly impractical, hopeless scheme. Despard was the leader of a group known as the United Britons, which had links with rebel Irishmen. Unfortunately for their plans, some members of the group were government spies, who reported their every move.

On 19 November 1802, the Morning Post reported the arrest of Colonel Despard and 29 others at the Oakley Arms in Lambeth. After several months in prison, on 25 January 1803 Despard and his fellow prisoners were tried for high treason by a Special Commission at the Sessions House (next to Horsemonger Lane Gaol), Newington. The prosecution alleged that the men planned to seize the Bank of England, the Tower of London, armouries (and grab the weapons stored there), make ‘Insurrection Rebellion and War’ on the kingdom, and kill the king. They all pleaded ‘not guilty’.

Despard had a distinguished military career , Lord Nelson appeared as a character witness on his behalf. But the court found Despard and John Wood, Thomas Broughton, John Francis, James Sedgwick Wrattan (Wratten), Arthur Graham and John MacNamara guilty of treason. They were sentenced to be hanged by the neck, ‘but not till you are quite dead; then to be cut down, your bowels taken out, and cast into the fire before your faces; your heads to be taken off, and your bodies quartered’(Memoirs of the life of Col. E. M. Despard, 1803).

Despard newgate vol3

The Morning Chronicle (22 February 1803) gave an account of the execution of Despard and his accomplices on 21 February. The night before the colonel’s execution, a prison officer heard him exclaim: ‘Me, they shall receive no information from me, no! not for all the gifts, the gold, and the jewels, in the possession of the Crown’ . Who else was part of the conspiracy?

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An ‘immense’ crowd gathered to see the doomed men’s final moments. The men’s sentences had been commuted to hanging, followed by beheading. The executioner’s assistant severed Despard’s head. Jack Ketch held it up for all to see, and cried: ‘This is the head of a traitor, Edward Marcus Despard!’.

In Despard’s parting speech to the people, the colonel said he hoped that the ‘principles of freedom, of humanity, and of justice, will finally triumph over falsehood, tyranny, and delusion’. Some contemporaries believed that Despard was ‘framed’ by the government’s spies. Whatever the truth, Despard took his secrets with him to the grave.

The cure to “Zeppelinitis”: German airships attack Britain for the first time on this day in 1915

Posted on January 19th, 2016 by Violet

On the night of the 19th January 1915, two German Zeppelins appeared out of the dark on the Norfolk coast and conducted the first airship attack on British soil. They had set out for Humberside, but strong winds had seen them divert to the areas around Great Yarmouth, Sheringham and King’s Lynn.

It would be the first of over 50 Zeppelin attacks on the UK. Strategically, they proved largely ineffective, with night raids and bad weather conditions making it difficult to target specific areas. The large, lumbering airships, that would materialise out of the darkness accompanied by an “eerie throbbing sound”, became widely known as baby-killers.

Nottingham Evening Post - Wednesday 20 January 1915 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Nottingham Evening Post – Wednesday 20 January 1915 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Western Mail - Thursday 21 January 1915 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Western Mail – Thursday 21 January 1915 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Western Daily Press - Saturday 23 January 1915 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Western Daily Press – Saturday 23 January 1915 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Four people were killed during that first attack on Norfolk, while another 16 were injured. While the low number of casualties meant that many people declared the attacks a failure, it did draw attention to the country’s lack of air defence, and eventually lead to the formation of the RAF.

Dundee Courier - Friday 22 January 1915 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Dundee Courier – Friday 22 January 1915 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Friday 22 January 1915 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser – Friday 22 January 1915 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Birmingham Mail - Thursday 21 January 1915 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Birmingham Mail – Thursday 21 January 1915 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Despite the attacks, the British public were determined to remain stoic. Newspapers published articles advising readers not to bow down to the opposition’s attempt to spread “Zeppelinitis”, as well as cartoons depicting the airships as more of a novelty item than any real threat.

Western Daily Press - Friday 22 January 1915 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Western Daily Press – Friday 22 January 1915 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Daily Mirror - Friday 22 January 1915 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Daily Mirror – Friday 22 January 1915 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Daily Mirror - Friday 22 January 1915 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Daily Mirror – Friday 22 January 1915 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

But will it make her “more acceptable to the other sex”? Women are granted degrees in Britain on this day in 1878

Posted on January 15th, 2016 by Violet

On 15 January 1878, a meeting was held at the University of London to decide whether women should be awarded degrees by the institution. The next day, the meeting was documented in the London Evening Standard. In an article discussing the importance of education for all, the typo in the subheadline was hopefully someone’s idea of a joke…

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The article goes on to record the views of a number of speakers. We’ve picked out a few of our favourites…

H.M. Bompas: Concluded that “no amount of training or examination would turn a man into a woman or a woman into a man”

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Thomas Tyler: Would a B.A. render women “more acceptable to the other sex?”

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

J.G. Fitch: Women not admitted to Oxford and Cambridge only “because residence was a necessary condition”

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Mr. Creek: Assured that “a large percent of those who had passed in honours has also entered into the bonds of wedlock”

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Dr. Quain: Stated that “no proposal could be more injurious to the University”

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Mr. Blackwood: The proposal “would be injurious to women themselves”

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Sir William Jenner: Would rather follow his daughter “to her grave than allow her to go through such a course of study”

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

W.H. Harford: Would “regard it as a distinction if a daughter of his were able to fit herself for taking part in the world”

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The result?

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Historic #gymspiration from the newspaper archive!

Posted on January 11th, 2016 by Violet

So you’re all set for your morning jog when suddenly you realise that it’s raining. It’s getting cold. You can’t find your trainers and you forgot to charge your iPod. Thinking of giving up and crawling back under the sheets for a few extra minutes in dreamland?

Well stop right there!

We’ve had a look in the newspapers for our favourite pictures of gymnasiums through the ages, guaranteed to get you back up and running!

Western Morning News - Friday 18 November 1938  © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Western Morning News – Friday 18 November 1938 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette - Wednesday 21 September 1938 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette – Wednesday 21 September 1938 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Manchester Evening News - Thursday 23 May 1940 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Manchester Evening News – Thursday 23 May 1940 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail - Monday 31 August 1953 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail – Monday 31 August 1953 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Dundee Evening Telegraph - Saturday 07 January 1950 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Dundee Evening Telegraph – Saturday 07 January 1950 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

Sketched at the Girls' Gymnasium of the People's Palace, Mile End, drawn from life by Paul Renguard - The Graphic - Saturday 28 December 1895 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Sketched at the Girls’ Gymnasium of the People’s Palace, Mile End, drawn from life by Paul Renguard – The Graphic – Saturday 28 December 1895 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

Evening Despatch - Thursday 07 December 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Evening Despatch – Thursday 07 December 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The Graphic - Saturday 18 January 1908 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The Graphic – Saturday 18 January 1908 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Dundee Evening Telegraph - Monday 19 March 1928 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Dundee Evening Telegraph – Monday 19 March 1928 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

But, as always, someone had to go and ruin it. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this pleasure goes to The Illustrated Police News, which here features an image depicting the dramatic death of a “bright and promising girl” in a Victorian gymnasium.

Maybe it would be a better idea to go back to bed after all.

Illustrated Police News - Saturday 15 April 1899 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Illustrated Police News – Saturday 15 April 1899 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Coupon Monday: Rationing is introduced in Britain on this day in 1940

Posted on January 8th, 2016 by Violet

On the 8th of January 1940 rationing was introduced in Britain. With over 70% of the food supply imported before WWII, the government decided to safeguard against any plots to starve Britain into submission by introducing the rationing scheme.

The Ministry of Food’s explanation for the scheme was published in a number of newspapers:

Daily Record - Monday 08 January 1940

Daily Record – Monday 8 January 1940 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The new scheme was well documented across the newspapers…

Manchester Evening News - Monday 8 January 1940 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Manchester Evening News – Monday 8 January 1940 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Daily Mirror - Monday 8 January 1940 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Daily Mirror – Monday 8 January 1940 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Lancashire Evening Post - Monday 8 January 1940 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Lancashire Evening Post – Monday 8 January 1940 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

But there was reassurance that even the royal family was doing their bit for the war effort:

Daily Mirror - Monday 8 January 1940 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Daily Mirror – Monday 8 January 1940 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

How to live to 100 : History’s centenarians reveal their secrets

Posted on January 4th, 2016 by Violet

And so, as with every New Year, we welcome the quinoa-packed saucepans, virtuous jars of coconut oil and the herbal remedies which, we hope, will push out the carbs and caffeine binges of last year. The supermarket queue displays a thousand promises of health, wealth and well-being from slim, smiling models.

But in a world where a simple glass of red wine can have a thousand conflicting effects from self-declared health experts, what’s the real secret to longevity? Well, why not take a look at the evidence? Here are sage words of advice from some of history’s centenarians…

 

Mrs Caroline Trickey

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Saturday 15 March 1930

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette – Saturday 15 March 1930 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

“If you want to live to be a hundred be happy and satisfied. I have always tried to keep in the best of spirits. I’ve been contended with my lot, and never eat more than I want.”

And there’s one more thing we can all take away from Caroline Trickey’s schedule:

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Saturday 15 March 1930 a

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette – Saturday 15 March 1930 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

 

Miss Fanny Daniel

North Devon Journal - Thursday 28 October 1926

North Devon Journal – Thursday 28 October 1926 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The North Devon Journal reported that:

‘In answer to a question as to her views on modern inventions, Miss Daniel laughingly remarked that they were “all very wonderful,” and informed us that the first ride she had in a motorcar was last March, and she heard the wireless for the first time a few weeks ago. “This wireless,” she added, “is a funny thing, but I reckon it’s all wonderful.”’

She advised that “Early rising, plenty of hard work, and plenty of good food, are the things that make you live to a good old age… I have always had substantial food- my people used to kill a bullock for the house, so you see I lived well.”

 

 

Mrs Sophia Ellis

Cornishman - Wednesday 14 September 1927

Cornishman – Wednesday 14 September 1927 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

“My breakfast consists of two pieces of bread and butter, with a cup of tea; for dinner I have meat and vegetables, sometimes a pasty; bread and butter for tea, and a cup of tea after I am in bed. We hear a lot about the injurious effect of tea, but I have been a tea-drinker all my life.”

When asked to what she attributed her long life, Sophia Ellis said: “Hard work and plain living”.

“I was left with seven children after my husband died, and it was a battle to get along. It meant hard work. This is the secret to health and long life. You can take it from me”

 

 

Mrs Elizabeth Ferris

Bristol Evening Post - Wednesday 08 March 1939

Bristol Evening Post – Wednesday 08 March 1939 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

“I don’t mind smoking,” said 104 year old Elizabeth Ferris, “although I have never smoked myself. I often make fun of girls who use lipstick and powder, though I don’t suppose they do any real harm.” Though her eyes weren’t good enough for reading, she did have the Evening Post read to her every day.

 

 

Mr Zaro Agha

Perhaps the most unusual of our list, Zara Agha was allegedly one of the world’s longest living humans. Born in Turkey, Agha claimed to have fought in six wars, including the Battle of Plevna when he was 100. He spent his post- centennial years touring Britain and the US.

Dundee Evening Telegraph - Friday 29 June 1934

Dundee Evening Telegraph – Friday 29 June 1934 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

According to the Dundee Evening Telegraph, Agha didn’t smoke or drink and ate a largely vegetarian diet. Dr Serge Voronoff asked him to take part in his controversial monkey gland treatment, which claimed to rejuvenate the patient by injecting tissue from a primate’s testicles, but Agha refused, stating that he “never felt younger”.

Agha died at the alleged age of 160. Doctors suggested he was at least 40 years younger, but the truth is still unknown.

 

 

Mrs Bridget Henley

Perhaps the soundest piece of advice comes from 102 year old Bridget Henley…

 

Fife Free Press, & Kirkcaldy Guardian - Saturday 07 October 1933

Fife Free Press, & Kirkcaldy Guardian – Saturday 07 October 1933 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED