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“Lonely Hearts” killer unearthed in the newspaper archive

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. Search the newspapers In fact, as the Aberdeen Journal suggested in 1949:  Aberdeen Journal – Monday 07 March 1949© THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.   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

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

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… 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

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Meet the Content Lead of The British Newspaper Archive

Find out what goes on behind the scenes at The British Newspaper Archive in our series of Q&As with the team who work here. We sat down with Content Lead Amy Sell to find out who she is and what she does.   What does your job involve? I help people discover The British Newspaper Archive and understand how amazing the collection is by writing emails and blog posts, managing our Facebook page and Twitter feed and producing handy video

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Charles Dickens and a ‘diabolical’ crime in Kent

The lovely people at history magazine Bygone Kent got in touch to share the shocking stories they’ve uncovered about Charles Dickens’ life in Higham, Kent. We’d love to hear about your own discoveries – email press@britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk to tell us about them.   **************   A ‘diabolical attempt’ to overturn the carriage of Charles Dickens while it drove through his home village has been discovered by local historian and journalist Andrew Rootes, editor of Bygone Kent. The incident was uncovered in

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19th-century medical fraudsters who got caught out

Caroline 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.   ************** 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

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

We’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

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Thrilling elopement story found in 19th-century newspapers

  While researching A Visitor’s Guide to Jane Austen’s England, author Sue Wilkes discovered an amazing romance which could have appeared in an Austen novel. We love hearing about what you’re finding in the newspapers. Tell us about your own discoveries in the comments section below.   **************   Heiress Augusta Nicholson, a most intrepid young lady, showed great ingenuity when she fell in love with handsome John Giles, a penniless comedian. Miss Nicholson was a ward of chancery and

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Twiggy on Who Do You Think You Are? – Grace Meadows in the newspapers

Twiggy used historical newspapers during her WDYTYA? episode to research the life of her great-great-grandmother, Grace Meadows.   Grace Meadows charged with stealing bank notes The York Herald printed the following article about Twiggy’s ancestors on Thursday 9 July 1874. Grace Meadows and her 14-year-old daughter Lucy were charged with stealing ‘three Bank of England notes for £20 each’ from Lucy’s employer. The newspaper article states that Twiggy’s ancestors were initially discharged as there was no evidence. Grace Meadows was said

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‘Dear Boss’ letter: how Jack the Ripper got his name

On 27 September 1888, in the midst of a series of horrific murders in Whitechapel, the Central News Office in London received a letter, signed by ‘Jack the Ripper’. Known as the ‘Dear Boss’ letter because of the way it was addressed, the letter changed the way British newspapers reported the Ripper murders.   Read newspapers from 1888   Facsimiles of the ‘Dear Boss’ letter in the newspapers The name ‘Jack the Ripper’ reached the British press and general public

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London cabbie George Smith arrested for drunk driving in 1897

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

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