The Easter Rising: As documented in the British newspapers, 1916

Posted on March 22nd, 2016 by Abigail Rieley

Next month sees the marking of the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising. Irish nationalists headed a campaign to end British rule in Ireland during a time when the outcome of World War 1 was uncertain. We take a look at how the events of 1916 were documented in the British press at the time.

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News of the Rising started to filter through to the British newspapers on Tuesday April 25th 1916. A smattering of local papers managed to squeeze in the late news that at least 12 lives had already been lost, and that Irish rebels were in control of parts of the city. By the weekend, eyewitnesses had been found and the papers were full of vivid accounts of the unfolding events which sound like something straight out of Rebellion. On the Saturday, the Aberdeen Evening Expressannounced “Women Assist Rebels – 19 persons killed”.

In a piece drawing largely on accounts in the Belfast Telegraph they described the attack on Dublin Castle that formed a pivotal and controversial moment in Rebellion, the shooting dead of an unarmed police officer.

What have you discovered in the newspaper archive? Let us know in the comments below…

No milk for the baby: Lent, from the historic Irish newspapers

Posted on March 16th, 2016 by Violet

The end of Lent is nearly in sight, so for those of you who’ve managed to abstain from a chocolate bar or cheeky tipple, here’s some inspiration to help you through the final days…

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As a predominantly Roman Catholic country, Lent has been of national significance in Ireland for hundreds of years. As the Waterford Chronicle reported on 25 February 1860, “The Chapels of our city were densely crowded with the Faithful, anxious to commence the Holy Season of Lent by participating in the religious ceremony of the distribution of the Blessed Ashes.”

So began almost six weeks of strict abstinence. This was no private nod to the calendar, newspapers even printed Lenten regulations. Everyone had to abide, and the call went far beyond declining a treat or two.

According to tradition, children older than seven were not allowed milk during Lent. Younger children had only a little, and babies were to cry “three times” before they received any milk on fast days. Even the babes were tougher than your average adult today.

Examples of these regulations can be gleaned from a number of late 19thcentury Irish publications, which published the dictates of Paul Cardinal Cullen, Archbishop of Dublin, &c., Primate of Ireland as a matter of course.

This has been abbreviated from lists printed with various adaptations in the Cork Examiner and Dublin Courier (in 1859 and 1870 respectively) – though it appeared in myriad publications over those decades:

  • Persons bound to fast are allowed to take only one full meal, of meagre fare.

(You were also allowed a small snack, but you had to remain hungry at all times).

  • We grant permission to use flesh meat in Lent at one principal meal only, on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays.
  • As secret societies are the cause of great evils, tend to promote impiety and infidelity, and are injurious to the public good, the Roman Pontiffs have excommunicated* all who engage in them
  • Drunkenness, a vice degrading in itself, and the occasion of innumerable evils, the reading of lascivious poetry and romances, immodest representation in degraded theatres, improper dances, so repugnant to the purity of the Christian morals, are to be avoided, not only during Lent, but at all times.
  • Eggs are prohibited on all Fridays and the first and last Wednesdays in Lent; on all other days they are allowed to those who are bound to fast, at the one principal meal.
  • Fish and flesh meat cannot be used in the same meal on any day during Lent.
  • Persons under their twenty-first year, or broken down by old age, or suffering from sickness, or engaged in hard labour &c. are exempted from fasting. Such as require a dispensation, can apply to any of the parish priests, provided there be just reasons for doing so.
  • Dispensations obtained without proper cause are to no avail.

(So unless you actively opted out, you were in for the ride)

  • The faithful are exhorted to sanctify this holy season by prayer… For forty hours.
  • The faithful are exhorted to pray for the welfare of the Pope, now a prisoner in Rome, and to beg of God to deliver him from the hands of his sacrilegious enemies.
  • (The faithful were also required to pray for France.)
  • The faithful are commanded, under the threat of excommunication, to receive, each in his own parish church, the Holy Eucharist.
  • During Lent works of piety and charity are to be performed… such as providing Catholic education for Catholic children, thus preserving them from the immeasurable evils of mixed schools.

Sounds doable, right?

Apprentice saves drowning man: A curious trend in the newspaper archive

Posted on February 26th, 2016 by Violet

Sometimes a search through the archive turns up some  baffling search results. In this case, it was the incredible regularity of instances where apprentices have been heralded for their bravery in rescuing drowning people.

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This frequency begs the question: what makes an apprentice such a good person to have around treacherous waters? Let us know your theory in the comments below…

Hull Daily Mail - Wednesday 27 October 1926

Hull Daily Mail – Wednesday 27 October 1926 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette - Monday 07 November 1910

Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette – Monday 07 November 1910

Dundee Courier - Wednesday 13 June 1945

Dundee Courier – Wednesday 13 June 1945 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Tuesday 05 June 1928

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer – Tuesday 05 June 1928 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Chelmsford Chronicle - Friday 14 September 1894

Chelmsford Chronicle – Friday 14 September 1894 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Dundee Evening Telegraph - Wednesday 09 February 1916

Dundee Evening Telegraph – Wednesday 09 February 1916 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Wednesday 11 May 1927

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer – Wednesday 11 May 1927 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

How to be loved: Life lessons from The Athlone Sentinel

Posted on February 23rd, 2016 by Violet

There’s a lot to be learned from history. Thankfully, the newspapers are one way that those who came before us were able to record their advice to future generations.

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One title in particular caught our eye. The Athlone Sentinel offered a wealth of advice on everything from being a man to the importance of white hands.

The value of energy

“He who, by any intellectual and moral energy, awakens kindred energy in others touches springs of infinite power, gives impulse to faculties to which no bound can be described- begins an action which will never end.

“One great and kindling thought from a retired and obscure person, may live when thrones are fallen, and memory of those who filled them obliterated: and, like an undying fire may illuminate and quicken all future generations.”

12 June 1840

Advice to the ladies

“Let then the ladies in the morning use pure water as a preparatory ablution; after which they must abstain from all sudden gusts of passion, and particularly eschew envy, as that gives the skin a sallow paleness.”

How to be loved

“When this child, about six years old, was asked what made everybody love her? she replied “I don’t know, indeed, papa, unless it is because I love everybody.”

12 June 1840

Advice to men in debt

“Beware of feelings of despondency. Give not place for an hour to useless and enervating melancholy. Be a man.”

12 June 1840

Advice to unmarried ladies

“If you sing indifferently, hesitate not a moment when you are asked; for few persons are competent judges of singing, but everyone is sensible of a desire to please.”

Actually, they had quite a wealth of guidance for the spinsters among us…

 

The missing men of Singapore: Remembering the “worst disaster” of British military history

Posted on February 16th, 2016 by Violet

From the 8th to the 15th February 1942, the Empire of Japan invaded Singapore, one of Britain’s largest military bases in the South East. The move, that would see 85,000 British, Australian and Indian troops taken prisoner of war, was dubbed the “worst disaster” in British military history by Winston Churchill.

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Back in Britain, the newspapers were filled with reports of missing troops and families appealing for information. Many of these men had been taken prisoner, but some had been killed in the conflict.

Aberdeen Journal - Wednesday 15 April 1942

Aberdeen Journal – Wednesday 15 April 1942 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Aberdeen Weekly Journal - Thursday 12 March 1942

Aberdeen Weekly Journal – Thursday 12 March 1942 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Aberdeen Weekly Journal – Thursday 12 March 1942 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Aberdeen Weekly Journal - Thursday 12 March 1942

Aberdeen Weekly Journal – Thursday 12 March 1942 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Sunday Post - Sunday 12 April 1942

Sunday Post – Sunday 12 April 1942 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Aberdeen Weekly Journal - Thursday 12 March 1942

Aberdeen Weekly Journal – Thursday 12 March 1942 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Aberdeen Journal - Monday 23 March 1942 - the Andersons - appear to have been held in the same camp

Aberdeen Journal – Monday 23 March 1942 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Aberdeen Weekly Journal - Thursday 12 March 1942

Aberdeen Weekly Journal – Thursday 12 March 1942 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What have you found in the newspaper archive? Let us know in the comments below…

Love knows no bounds: Anglo-American wedding photos from the historic newspapers

Posted on February 12th, 2016 by Violet

It’s nearly Valentine’s Day and love is in the air at the British Newspaper Archive. Everyone loves a wedding, but even more exciting is the wedding of couples who have found each other against the odds, such as being born thousands of miles apart.

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Here’s a selection of our favourite photos of Anglo-American weddings from the archive, featuring couples who met despite being born on opposite sides of the Atlantic, as well as All-American duos who tied the knot on British soil.

Francis and Marianne

Gloucester Journal - Saturday 10 March 1945

Gloucester Journal – Saturday 10 March 1945 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

Captain Kelton and Elizabeth

Daily Mirror - Thursday 13 December 1917 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Daily Mirror – Thursday 13 December 1917 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

Earl and Josephine

Arbroath Herald and Advertiser for the Montrose Burghs - Friday 27 August 1948 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Arbroath Herald and Advertiser for the Montrose Burghs – Friday 27 August 1948 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

Philip and Emily

Daily Mirror - Wednesday 15 July 1914 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Daily Mirror – Wednesday 15 July 1914 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

John and Isobel

Dundee Evening Telegraph - Friday 29 July 1938 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Dundee Evening Telegraph – Friday 29 July 1938 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

Donald and Dorothy

Western Morning News - Wednesday 12 April 1944 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Western Morning News – Wednesday 12 April 1944 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

Miles and Gertrude

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Friday 06 July 1928 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer – Friday 06 July 1928 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

Harvey and Daphne

Western Morning News - Tuesday 08 June 1943 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Western Morning News – Tuesday 08 June 1943 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

Hugh and Ruth

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Friday 20 November 1931 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer – Friday 20 November 1931 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

“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.

16 (1024x778)

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…