New pages added to The Lichfield Mercury | The British Newspaper Archive Blog


Hot Off The Press – New Titles This Week

This week we have added 108,256 pages to the Archive. We have added two brand new titles – the Gorey Guardian, published in Wexford, and the Bray People, published in Wicklow. Both these titles cover the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. We have also added new pages to the New Ross Standard and to the Lichfield Mercury.

We have added just under 26,000 new pages to the Lichfield Mercury, thanks to our ongoing partnership with Trinity Mirror (Reach plc). These pages span the years between 1929 and 1991, and through them, we can discover the fascinating relationship between Lichfield and one of the city’s ‘most illustrious sons,’ Samuel Johnson.

Samuel Johnson was a preeminent poet, essayist and moralist of the eighteenth century, and is best known for his seminal work A Dictionary of the English Language. The work, which took Johnson seven years to complete, is widely considered as one of the greatest works of scholarship of all time. Johnson completed it unaided, and its influence helped to standardise the English language as we know it today.

Samuel Johnson was born in Lichfield in 1709, and the city has celebrated the link for hundreds of years since. In 1929 the town celebrated the 220th anniversary of his birth, with the customary procession and wreath-laying at his statue. However, not everybody was aware of his legacy, as the Mayor of Lichfield noted: ‘He was a great a man, and he was still a great man today: but there were so many who knew so little about the greatness of their fellow citizen.”

Indeed, the article from the 20 September 1929 laments how there were not so many visitors to Johnson’s house, for it ‘was never more attractive at the present time.’ However, the same article notes that the value of Johnson memorabilia, such as autographs, had risen, and articles from the 1960s demonstrate the enduring legacy of Johnson within his home city, the below picture showing the  255th anniversary celebrations.

Lichfield Mercury | 25 September 1964

 In 1966, however, the great Doctor was not accorded with the same respect. The Lichfield Mercury reports that ‘jokers recently daubed his statue with black tar-like paint – and then planted the paint pot on top of his head.’ Fingers were pointed at raucous football fans celebrating England’s World Cup win over Germany.

Lichfield Mercury | 19 August 1966

Workmen from the City Surveyor’s department were called to clear up the mess, but the job had to be passed on to specialist cleaners. The Lichfield Mercury wryly comments: ‘And so, yet again, Lichfield’s famous son has to suffer the indignity of a good old-fashioned clean-up – and in public too. No wonder he looks fed-up with the whole business.’ But Johnson’s legacy was not forgotten, and in 2009 the city celebrated the 300th anniversary of his birth. This year, of course, will mark the 310th anniversary of that particular occasion, and Dr Johnson will no doubt be celebrated once more.

New Titles
Years Added
Gorey Guardian 1994-2006
Bray People 1988-1997, 1999-2002, 2004-2005
Updated Titles

This week we have updated two of our existing 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 Added
New Ross Standard 1966, 1978-1979
Lichfield Mercury 1929-1931, 1942, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1971-1973, 1985-1986, 1988-1989, 1991

Register now and explore the Archive

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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