London cabbie George Smith arrested for drunk driving in 1897

Posted on September 9th, 2014 by The British Newspaper Archive

The first person to be arrested and charged for driving under the influence of alcohol was George Smith, a London cabdriver.

Charged with drunk driving on 10 September 1897

This article from the Morning Post reported that at about 00:45 on Friday 10 September 1897, Smith’s vehicle ‘swerved from one side of the road to the other, and ran across the footway into 165 New Bond Street’.

George Smith admitted that he’d had ‘two or three glasses of beer’ and apologised, stating that ‘it is the first time I have been charged with being drunk in charge of a cab’. In fact, it was the first time anyone had been charged with the offence.

 

George Smith charged for drunk driving in 1897
Morning Post – Saturday 11 September 1897
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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‘You motor-car drivers ought to be very careful’

Smith was fined 20 shillings and told ‘you motor-car drivers ought to be very careful, for if anything happens to you – well, the police have a very happy knack of stopping a runaway horse, but to stop a motor is a very different thing.’

 

Search newspapers from the Victorian period

 

Top tip: Searching newspapers from a particular date, such as World War One

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

This step-by-step guide will show you how to search newspapers from a specific date range (such as World War One) at The British Newspaper Archive.

Watch this short video tutorial or follow the steps below:

 

Search the newspapers

 

How to search newspapers from World War One

  1. The easiest way to limit your search to a particular date range is to use the advanced search. You can get to this by clicking the ‘advanced search’ button on the homepage.
  2.  
    Find The British Newspaper Archive's advanced search from the homepage

     

  3. Type the words you’re looking for into one of the boxes at the top of the form. We’re looking for a person called Charles Whitelaw.
  4.  
    Using the advanced search at The British Newspaper Archive

     

  5. Scroll down the page and then enter the date range you want to search. We know that Charles Whitelaw died during World War One, so we want to search newspapers printed between 1914 and 1918.
  6.  
    Searching British newspapers from World War One

     

  7. You could choose to search a much wider date range, or limit your search to one particular day in history. You can leave the rest of the boxes empty and click the ‘search’ button.
  8.  

  9. On the left-hand side of the results page, you’ll see the date range we’ve selected. You could click the ‘X’ button to remove the date filter from your search. You’ll then see results from the whole collection of historical newspapers.
  10.  
    Filter your search results by a date range

 

Search the newspapers

 

Sheridan Smith on WDYTYA: Newspapers reveal a shocking arson story in her family tree

Posted on September 4th, 2014 by The British Newspaper Archive

You can find fascinating information about your ancestors at The British Newspaper Archive. Sheridan Smith did just that during her Who Do You Think You Are? episode, uncovering a story about her great-great-grandfather Benjamin Doubleday.

 

Benjamin Doubleday and the fire at the Woodman Inn

On Friday 5 July 1895, the Sheffield Daily Telegraph reported that a fire had taken place at the Woodman Inn. The newspaper stated that Sheridan Smith’s great-great-grandfather was seen at the scene and ‘appeared in a dazed condition’.

It seems that the fire had started in one of the bedrooms. The newspaper article reports that a bed was on fire and ‘a heap of what appeared to be rubbish and paper was alight’.

 

Sheridan Smith's great-great-grandfather was mentioned in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph.

Sheffield Daily Telegraph – Friday 05 July 1895
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Sheridan Smith learnt her ancestor was charged with arson on WDYTYA

Benjamin Doubleday was suspected of setting fire to his house in order to claim insurance money. An article from the Sheffield Evening Telegraph shows that Doubleday was charged with attempted arson at the Sheffield City Police Court on Tuesday 26 November 1895.

The newspaper article records the case put forward in defence of Sheridan Smith’s ancestor by Mr A Howe. His statement reveals that Benjamin’s wife had left him and that they had moved most of their possessions out of the house.

Howe argued that ‘surely there could be no attempt to defraud the Insurance Company, because there were so few things in the house’. The Sheffield Evening Telegraph reported that Benjamin Doubleday was found not guilty two weeks later.

 

Benjamin Doubleday's defence in 1895

Sheffield Evening Telegraph – Tuesday 26 November 1895
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Search old newspapers for your ancestors’ stories

There are more that 8.5 million newspaper pages available at The British Newspaper Archive, dating from 1710-1954. Every single word is searchable, so they’re incredibly useful for local history, social history and family tree research.

Some of our customers have even found photos of their ancestors in the newspapers. Try searching for the names in your family tree today.

 

Search for your ancestors

 

Historic headlines: Great Britain joins World War Two on 3 September 1939

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

Not only does 2014 mark the 100th anniversary of World War One, it is also the 75th anniversary of the start of World War Two.

 

Newspaper headlines from the beginning of WW2

Britain declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939, following Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland on 1 September.
 

Search newspapers from World War Two
 

Take a look at the newspaper headlines from Sunday 3 September, announcing that Britain was at war once more.

The Nottingham Evening Post announces the start of WW2

Nottingham Evening Post – Sunday 03 September 1939
Image © Local World Limited. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

View the whole newspaper page

 

The Derby Daily Telegraph announces the start of WW2

Derby Daily Telegraph – Sunday 03 September 1939
Image © Local World Limited. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

View the whole newspaper page

 

The Gloucester Citizen announces the start of WW2

Gloucester Citizen – Sunday 03 September 1939
Image © Local World Limited. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

View the whole newspaper page

 

Portsmouth Evening News prints WW2 pictures

Alongside the newspaper’s announcement that Britain was at war with Germany, the Portsmouth Evening News also printed pictures from the first day of World War Two.
 

The Portsmouth Evening News prints WW2 pictures on the first day of World War Two

Portsmouth Evening News – Sunday 03 September 1939
Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

View the whole newspaper page
 

The Portsmouth Evening News announces the start of WW2

Portsmouth Evening News – Sunday 03 September 1939
Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

View the whole newspaper page

 

Read more articles from 3 September 1939

 

How to reproduce images from The British Newspaper Archive

You are welcome to share newspaper snippets on your own website, blog and on social media websites.

Please make sure you mention that the image has come from www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk and also include the image’s copyright reference.

If you have a question about sharing images from The British Newspaper Archive or would like to use them for a commercial purpose, please get in touch with us by emailing press@britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

 

Lady Harberton, cycling and the ‘Rationals’ scandal

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

Michelle Higgs, author of A Visitor’s Guide to Victorian Michelle Higgs England, has uncovered lots of fascinating stories by searching our historical newspapers.

She got in touch to tell us about Lady Florence Harberton and her fight for Victorian women’s freedom to wear practical clothing.

 

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It might surprise you to know that until the 1870s, it was rare to see unaccompanied middle or upper-class women walking in the streets. This was because they ran the risk of being mistaken for prostitutes, so Britain’s towns and cities were a no-go area for the respectable.

A Victorian woman in Rational clothingGradually, the look of the streets changed and by the 1880s and 1890s, it was far more common to see unmarried women and girls shopping or eating out, using omnibuses and trains, or taking part in the new craze of cycling.

Victorian women and the bicycle

Bicycles helped to cement and extend women’s new-found freedom. Their clothing, made up of cumbersome long skirts and tight corsets, was however completely impractical for cycling.

The Rational Dress Society, founded in 1881, campaigned against tightly-fitted corsets, high-heeled or narrow-toed boots and shoes, and heavily weighted skirts which rendered healthy exercise almost impossible.

Victorian ‘Rational’ dress for cycling

The Society advocated divided skirts as a more practical form of clothing, but its President and co-founder, Lady Florence Harberton, went further.

When cycling, she wore full ‘Rational’ dress, which was a shorter skirt worn over voluminous trousers (‘knickerbockers’).

It was not widely adopted because of the ridicule the wearer had to endure from the public. Female cyclists frequently chose to wear divided skirts or shorter skirts with breeches underneath instead.
 

The Birmingham Daily Post describes the Rational Dress Society in 1881.

Birmingham Daily Post – Friday 27 May 1881
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Lady Florence Harberton and the Rationals scandal

In 1899, Lady Harberton brought a court case against a hotel landlady after she was refused entry to the public coffee room because she was wearing her ‘Rationals’.

According to the Liverpool Mercury, the landlady ‘thought it was best in the interests of the good order in her house that ladies wearing rational costumes should not be admitted into the public room, which would be crowded with men of all sorts, some of whom would make jokes at the expense of the lady as to the size of her ankle’.
 

The Pall Mall Gazette reported Lady Harberton's court case in 1899

Pall Mall Gazette – Wednesday 05 April 1899
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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In the end, the case was dismissed. In his book BBC Scrap-Books Volume 1 1896-1914, Leslie Baily states that following the court case, Lady Harberton commented:

‘I admit that it is probably certain that women will never ordinarily wear knickerbockers. But mark this – short skirts for walking-wear will be a boon that ought to be easily attained, and once attained, cherished like Magna Carta in the British Constitution’.

How right she was!
 

The Western Times reported that the Rationals court case had been dismissed.

Western Times – Friday 07 April 1899
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Lady Harberton’s obituary in the Evening Telegraph

Lady Florence Harberton died in 1911. She was remembered in her obituary as ‘the enthusiastic and undaunted advocate of dress reform’.
 

Lady Florence Harberton's obituary in the Evening Telegraph

Evening Telegraph – Wednesday 03 May 1911
Image © D.C.Thomson & Co. Ltd. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

View the whole newspaper page

 

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Michelle has written another blog for The British Newspaper Archive about her discoveries. Learn about the case of the poisonous Bath buns

You can buy a copy of A Visitor’s Guide to Victorian England by Michelle Higgs from Pen & Sword Books.

 

160,000 newspaper pages added from 1787-1954

Posted on August 13th, 2014 by The British Newspaper Archive

Thousands of English, Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh newspaper pages were added to The British Newspaper Archive in July. We hope you’ll enjoy exploring them!

 

Search the newspapers

 

Eight extra newspaper titles

You’ll now find copies of eight brand new newspaper titles at The British Newspaper Archive, including the London Evening Standard, Glasgow’s Daily Record and the Surrey Comet.

 

Learn more about the new titles

 

Thousands of new articles, adverts and illustrations to explore

The Gloucester Journal, Motherwell Times, Southern Reporter and 40 other newspaper titles were also updated this month.

You’ll find a full list of recent additions below.

 

The Surrey Comet's newspaper archives are online at The British Newspaper Archive

 

Aberdeen Journal – 1897

Biggleswade Chronicle – 1912

Birmingham Daily Mail – 1918

Coventry Herald – 1877, 1880, 1881, 1882, 1883, 1884, 1886, 1887, 1889

Daily Record – 1914, 1915

Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald – 1854

Dundee Advertiser – 1891, 1898

Durham County Advertiser – 1830

Fife Herald – 1824, 1826, 1883, 1888

Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate & Cheriton Herald – 1912, 1914, 1917, 1918, 1919, 1920, 1923, 1925, 1927

Gloucester Citizen – 1910

Gloucester Journal – 1814, 1815, 1816, 1847, 1848, 1849, 1864, 1877, 1878, 1900, 1904, 1908, 1916, 1921, 1931, 1937, 1938

Grantham Journal – 1935, 1938

Hartlepool Mail – 1891

Hastings and St Leonards Observer – 1890, 1923

Illustrated Times – 1869

Kent & Sussex Courier – 1908

Kentish Gazette – 1870

Lake’s Falmouth Packet and Cornwall Advertiser – 1864

Lancashire Evening Post – 1901, 1903, 1906

Leamington Spa Courier – 1919

Leeds Intelligencer – 1809

Lincolnshire Chronicle – 1910

Lincolnshire Echo – 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939

London Evening Standard – 1860, 1861, 1862, 1866, 1867

Luton News and Bedfordshire Chronicle – 1918, 1954

Luton Times and Advertiser – 1877

Morpeth Herald – 1901

Motherwell Times – 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1915, 1916

Newcastle Evening Chronicle – 1915

North Devon Journal – 1835, 1877

Northampton Mercury – 1910

Northern Whig – 1869, 1870

Nottingham Evening Post – 1939

Salisbury and Winchester Journal – 1787

Sheffield Daily Telegraph – 1894

Sheffield Evening Telegraph – 1917

Southern Reporter – 1879, 1885, 1886, 1930, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1938, 1941, 1942

Staffordshire Sentinel – 1912

Staffordshire Sentinel and Commercial & General Advertiser – 1869

Sunday Post – 1916

Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette – 1921, 1922, 1933

Surrey Comet – 1854, 1855, 1856, 1857, 1859, 1860, 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865, 1866, 1867, 1868, 1869, 1870

Surrey Mirror – 1927, 1934, 1944, 1949, 1950

Sussex Agricultural Express – 1867, 1888, 1894, 1897, 1928, 1930, 1933, 1937, 1938

Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser – 1847, 1871, 1872, 1873, 1877, 1878, 1879, 1880, 1920, 1923

Watford Observer – 1864, 1865, 1867, 1869, 1870

Western Daily Press – 1910, 1912

Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald – 1910, 1911, 1919, 1920

Yorkshire Evening Post – 1916, 1924, 1928, 1935

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer – 1878, 1883

 

8 new titles, including the London Evening Standard

Posted on August 7th, 2014 by The British Newspaper Archive

We’re thrilled to report that we’ve just started digitising the newspaper archives of eight new titles. There’s much more to come, but take a look at what’s already available online.

 

1) London Evening Standard

Search the London Evening Standard's newspaper archives

 

11,000 pages from the London Evening Standard are now available to search at The British Newspaper Archive.

Current coverage: 1860, 1861, 1862, 1866, 1867

 

Search the London Evening Standard

 

2) Daily Record

Newspaper archives for Scotland's Daily Record are available at The British Newspaper Archive

 

8,000 pages from Glasgow’s Daily Record are already online, with more editions from the World War One period coming very soon.

Current coverage: 1914, 1915

 

Search the Daily Record

 

3) Surrey Comet

The Surrey Comet's newspaper archives are online at The British Newspaper Archive

 

6,000 pages from the Surrey Comet have already been added to The British Newspaper Archive.

Current coverage: 1854, 1855, 1856, 1857, 1859, 1860, 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865, 1866, 1867, 1868, 1869, 1870

 

Search the Surrey Comet

 

4) Watford Observer

Watford-Observer

 

1,000 pages from the Watford Observer are currently online at The British Newspaper Archive.

Current coverage: 1864, 1865, 1867, 1869, 1870

 

Search the Watford Observer

 

5) Northern Whig

The Northern Whig's newspaper archives are being added to The British Newspaper Archive

 

2,000 pages from the Northern Whig are already online. The newspaper was printed in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Current coverage: 1869, 1870

 

Search the Northern Whig

 

6) Newcastle Evening Chronicle

Search the archives of the Newcastle Evening Chronicle at The British Newspaper Archive

 

2,000 pages from the Newcastle Evening Chronicle have been made searchable, with more editions from the World War One period coming very soon.

Current coverage: 1915

 

Search the Newcastle Evening Chronicle

 

7) Falmouth Packet and Cornwall Advertiser

Search Lake’s Falmouth Packet and Cornwall Advertiser at The British Newspaper Archive

 

200 pages from Lake’s Falmouth Packet and Cornwall Advertiser are now available to search at The British Newspaper Archive.

Current coverage: 1864

 

Search Lake’s Falmouth Packet and Cornwall Advertiser

 

8) Biggleswade Chronicle

 

The Biggleswade Chronicle's newspaper archives are being added to The British Newspaper Archive

 

200 pages from the Biggleswade Chronicle have already been added to The British Newspaper Archive.

Current coverage: 1912

 

Search the Biggleswade Chronicle

 

The Manchester Courier takes a different view of World War One

Posted on August 4th, 2014 by The British Newspaper Archive

The Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, like other British newspapers, reported that Britain joined the First World War on 4 August 1914.

The Courier makes for especially fascinating reading because it reported the news in a very different way.

 

Manchester Courier: ‘Keep your country out of a wicked and stupid war’

Many newspapers included an advert encouraging unmarried men between 18 and 30 years old to join the Army on 5 August 1914.

This example is taken from another title printed in Manchester, the Manchester Evening News.
 
WW1 advert printed in the Manchester Evening News

Manchester Evening News – Wednesday 05 August 1914
Image © Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

View the whole newspaper page

 

Instead of including the advert above, however, the Manchester Courier devoted a whole page to an announcement from the Neutrality League.

The announcement encouraged Englishmen to ‘DO YOUR DUTY… keep your Country out of A WICKED and STUPID WAR’.
 
An announcement from the Neutrality League in the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser

Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser – Wednesday 05 August 1914
Image © Local World Limited. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

View the whole newspaper page 

 

Did Germany declare war on Britain during World War One?

The Manchester Courier also differed in the way it reported the declaration of war. The newspaper stated that Germany declared war on Great Britain at 7pm on 4 August 1914, before Britain’s declaration was made at 11pm.
 
The Manchester Courier reported that Germany had declared war on Britain first during the First World War

Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser – Wednesday 05 August 1914
Image © Local World Limited. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

View the whole newspaper page

 

Read more news from the Manchester Courier

 

Is this the Illustrated Police News’ best illustration?

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

If you’ve ever explored the Illustrated Police News at The British Newspaper Archive, you’ll know it’s full of fantastically melodramatic images and stories.

We think we may have come across our favourite illustration so far.

Victorian ladies attacked by an octopus

This image graced the front page of the Illustrated Police News on Saturday 17 October 1896. It depicts four Victorian ladies attempting to flee from the sweetest-looking octopus we’ve ever seen.

Octopus attack depicted in the Illustrated Police News

Illustrated Police News – Saturday 17 October 1896
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Have you found something better in the Illustrated Police News?

Let us know if you find an illustration that can rival the Victorian octopus. You can post an image or a link in the comments below, or post it on The British Newspaper Archive’s facebook page.

 

Search the Illustrated Police News

 

Historic headlines: Great Britain joins World War One on 4 August 1914

Posted on July 30th, 2014 by The British Newspaper Archive

Following an ultimatum to withdraw German troops from Belgium, Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914. Monday 4 August 2014 will mark the 100th anniversary of the start of Britain’s involvement in World War One.

Front pages from the start of World War One

The news that Britain had joined World War One featured prominently in many of the newspapers printed the following day.
 

Search newspapers from World War One

 

Here’s a selection of the newspaper headlines announcing Britain’s involvement in WW1.

The front page of the Birmingham Gazette, announcing Britain's involvement in World War One

Birmingham Gazette – Wednesday 05 August 1914
Image © Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

View the whole newspaper page

 

Headline of the Daily Herald at the start of World War One

Daily Herald – Wednesday 05 August 1914
Image © Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

View the whole newspaper page

 

An advert for the army featured on the front page of the Birmingham Daily Mail on 5 August 1914

Birmingham Daily Mail – Wednesday 05 August 1914
Image © Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

View the whole newspaper page

 

The Evening Despatch announced that England was at war with Germany in 1914

Evening Despatch – Wednesday 05 August 1914
Image © Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

View the whole newspaper page

 

The front page of the Taunton Courier on 5 August 1914

Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser – Wednesday 05 August 1914
Image © Local World Limited. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

View the whole newspaper page

 

Reproducing images from The British Newspaper Archive

You are very welcome to share images from our newspapers on your own website, blog and on social media websites.

Please make sure you provide a link to www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk and also include the image’s copyright reference.

If you have any questions about sharing images from The British Newspaper Archive, or would like to use them for a commercial purpose please get in touch with us by emailing press@britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk