This week we have added 108,648 new pages to The Archive. We have added one brand new title, the Bicester Herald and updated seven of our existing titles, covering the cities of London and Newcastle, and the counties of Cumbria and Oxfordshire.
Using such titles as the Westmorland Advertiser and Kendal Chronicle, updated this week on the archive, you can discover local as well as national news. This week, the year 1832 was added to the Westmorland Advertiser and Kendal Chronicle, a year of much political import. June 1832 saw the passing of the Great Reform Act, which gave the vote to all upper middle class men, and abolished rotten boroughs.
1832 also saw the passing of the Anatomy Act. Before this act was passed, doctors and medical students were only allowed to dissect the bodies of executed murderers. Naturally, this meant that bodies were in short supply, which led to a boom in the illegal trade of corpses.
Spurred in part by the outrage following the activities of the London Burkers, a gang who drugged and murdered their victims near St Leonard’s in Shoreditch and sold the bodies on for research purposes, the Anatomy Act gave licence to doctors, teachers of anatomy and medical students to dissect donated and unclaimed bodies.
However, the Anatomy Act was not supported by all. Many feared that it created a distinction between the rich and the poor, as the poor were sometimes unable to pay for burials, which made their dead potential fodder for medical research.
Indeed, an article in The Westmorland Advertiser and Kendal Chronicle published in December 1832 appears to put some weight behind these fears. It reports on the tragic suicide of Mary Ann Chapman, known as ‘Handsome Poll,’ a prostitute who drowned herself in the London Dock.
Mary Ann’s friends, having ‘begged, with tears and the greatest decorum, to be allowed to pay a mark of respect to their companion, by burying her in consecrated ground,’ had raised the large sum of £3 with which to bury her. However, the Coroner was set on making an example, the newspaper reporting: ‘The spirit of the Anatomy Bill would not be acted up to if the body was not given up.’
In spite of her friends’ protestations, Mary Ann’s body was sent to the hospital for dissection, as ‘any ressurectionist might claim the body as a friend, and afterwards sell it.’ You can read about the death of Mary Ann Chapman here.
|Bicester Herald||1855-1876, 1879-1896, 1898-1917|
This week we have updated some of our recently added titles.
You can learn more about each of the titles we have added to this week by clicking on their names. On each paper’s title page, you can read a FREE sample issue, learn more about our current holdings, and our plans for digitisation.
|Norwood News||1946-1954, 1956-1958|
|Newcastle Journal||1990, 1993-1994|
|Soulby’s Ulverston Advertiser and General Intelligencer||1848, 1875-1890, 1892-1909|
|Cumberland & Westmorland Herald||1871-1891, 1902-1911|
|Westmorland Advertiser and Kendal Chronicle||1832|