This week we have added 110,830 new pages to The Archive. We are delighted to welcome two specialist titles, Justice – ‘the oldest socialist journal in the British Islands,’ and the Tablet, a Roman Catholic newspaper. We also have one further brand new addition, the Portadown News from County Armagh in Northern Ireland.
We have also updated two of our existing titles, the West Middlesex Gazette and the Staffordshire Sentinel. This week we have added the years 1930 to 1938 to the Staffordshire Sentinel, with 28,000 new searchable pages.
Founded in January 1884, the Justice was the weekly newspaper of the Social Democratic Federation. Its first editor was C L Fitzgerald, with the byline ‘Organ of Social Democracy.’ Indeed, it claimed that ‘No other journal in Great Britain dare put the case of the workers against the confiscating classes as Justice will put it.’ The Justice ran until 1925 when it was renamed the Social Democrat and became a monthly publication until its closure in 1933. On the Archive you can access the full run of Justice editions from 1884 to 1925.
One of the early pioneers of British socialism was Arts & Crafts designer William Morris, who as well as being a textile designer, poet and novelist, was also an influential social activist. Using the Justice, it is possible to trace his formidable influence upon the British Socialist movement.
In March 1896, months before his death, the Justice published a letter from William Morris. He writes in it: ‘Society (so-called) at present is organised entirely for the benefit of a privileged class; the working class being only considered in the arrangement of so much machinery.’ Upon his death in October of the same year, he was much mourned, and the Justice carries an advert for a public meeting to be held at Holborn Town Hall in his memory.
In 1909, over ten years after his death, Morris’ legacy appears to be as strong as ever. S V Amstell writes about the building ‘our Walthamstow comrades have erected to the memory of William Morris,’ Walthamstow being Morris’ birthplace. Amstell believes it to be ‘the first hall built in England dedicated to Socialism,’ and it was able to seat 300 to 400 people.
The hall was built entirely using voluntary labour: ‘Our comrades devoted the whole of their spare time to the building of their future home, and they worked as only men work who are filled with a great idea, and without the incentive of gain.’ Moreover, Amstell highlights the influence of Morris upon his comrades: ‘Our comrades are poor; but there is not a man or woman in our movement today who has not been inspired by the works of Morris.’
In 1923, after much social change and on the cusp of the first ever Labour government, Morris is still cited as an inspiration for the socialist movement. Fred H Gorle writes in an article entitled The Message of William Morris how ‘Morris gave British Socialism hope, as indeed, the finding of his Socialism gave him hope.’ He ends his article by observing: ‘We think that the British Socialist movement would do well to keep the words and visions of William Morris fresh before it. He is their most precious possession.’
The Sketch | 7 October 1896
|Tablet||1843-1851, 1855-1864, 1866-1880|
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.
|West Middlesex Gazette||1894-1895, 1923-1925|