Updates to Lancashire title the Heywood Advertiser | The British Newspaper Archive Blog


Hot Off The Press – New Titles This Week

This week we have added 153,688 new pages to our Archive. We have updated five of our existing titles, with additions to the Belfast Telegraph, cinema title The Bioscope, Norfolk based title the Eastern Daily Press and Welsh title the Western Mail.

We have one brand new title this week, the Sunday TribuneThe Sunday Tribune was a Dublin based newspaper, and you can now find 619 issues on the Archive, covering the years 1993 to 2002.

You can also find this week extensive updates to Lancashire title the Heywood Advertiser. We have added pages that cover the years 1856 to 1920, as well as the year 1974. Heywood is a town now in the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale, Greater Manchester, and historically part of Lancashire, an important manufacturer of cotton, with 67 cotton mills listed in the town in 1881. Using the Archive, it is possible to gain a unique glimpse into the town’s identity, and how it was shaped from the mid-nineteenth century onwards.

Heywood Advertiser | 29 March 1856

During the course of the nineteenth century, Heywood became home to a rather strange legend: that its inhabitants used to have tails. Consequently, Heywood acquired the moniker ‘Monkey Town.’ The nickname, ‘more funny than flattering,’ was thought by some to be ‘most un-Christian in its nature,’ and over the years letters and articles in the Heywood Advertiser offer much varied discourse as to its etymology.

One story in 1888 offers the following explanation: “A manufacturer in Heywood went down to the docks at Liverpool to see after some cotton being unladen when he saw a cargo of monkeys intended for a menagerie. After watching their caperings for some time he asked if he might take some of them with him to Heywood, and train them to act as ‘doffers’ in his mill.”

However, the explanation for Heywood’s intriguing nickname is probably a much simpler one: dialect. Heywood is a part of Heap, and locals would refer to Heap as ‘Ape, which could have led to name ‘Monkey Town.’

Heywood Advertiser | 16 June 1905

Whatever the townsfolk’s opinions of their unfortunate appellation, by 1916 some were thinking of it more fondly. In a letter to the editor in January 1916, a soldier with the Royal Artillery writes how he still manages to read the Heywood Advertiser, lamenting how he has ‘never had a chat with an Heywood lad since I joined the army.’ Whilst offering the latest news from the front, describing how the Tommies passed Christmas and New Year, and how he was a part of the Battle of Loos, he writes fondly of how he is ‘hoping to be in old “Monkey Town” before long, signing himself ‘One of the Monkeys, somewhere in France, January 1st.’ This term, reviled by some, had now become intrinsic to the identities of its inhabitants, a mark of pride and belonging for those exiled far from home, somewhere in the trenches.

Years Covered
Sunday Tribune 1993-2003, 2005

This week we have updated one of our recently added titles.

You can learn more about each of the titles we add to every 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.

Years Covered
Belfast Telegraph 1967-1972
Heywood Advertiser 1856-1862, 1864, 1868-1874, 1876, 1878, 1880-1884, 1886-1888, 1890, 1892-1893, 1895-1896, 1898-1910, 1912-1920, 1974
The Bioscope 1918
Eastern Daily Press 1892
Western Mail 1927

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You can keep up to date with all the latest additions by visiting the recently added page.  You can even look ahead to see what we’re going to add tomorrow.


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