This week we have added 113,786 new pages to the Archive. We have a bumper crop of new titles, which total six in all. We have added four new Irish titles, including the People’s Advocate & Monaghan, Fermanagh & Tyrone News, the North Down Herald & County Down Independent, the County Down Spectator & Ulster Standard and the Fermanagh Herald. These titles span the years 1876 to 1912.
Another of our new titles this week is London publication the Acton Gazette, for which we have added just under 20,000 pages. We are also excited to release our first year from the Jewish Chronicle – 1896 – a London-based Jewish weekly newspaper, which is the oldest continually published Jewish publication in the world. We will be adding the years 1845-1911 to this publication, so make sure to watch out for further updates from the Archive.
Using our new addition, the Acton Gazette, we can explore the rather curious tale of Chung Ling Soo (real name William Ellsworth Robsinson). Chung Ling Soo was a famous American musical hall magician of Scottish descent who begun performing at the age of 14.
In 1918 the Acton Gazette was awash with anticipation for his coming appearance at the Chiswick Empire. The newspaper notes his ‘wide world reputation,’ describing his set as follows: ‘He begins with his marvellous manipulations in the Willow Pattern Plate. In part II the magician gets to work in real earnest, demonstrating with confident ease how to sleep in the air. Bewlidering experiments, such as the birth of a pearl, the mystic bottle, and the creation of a butterfly, follow in mystifying succession.’
However, Chung Lung Soo’s successful run in London music halls was to come to an abrupt and tragic end in March 1918. Whilst performing his final act – the ‘Condemned to Death by the Boxers’ illusion – at the Wood Green Empire, he was accidentally shot, with the bullet passing through his body. The Daily Mirror relates:
‘Mr Soo had a china plate with which he was supposed to deflect the bullets. He had been doing the trick for nine years. When the bullets were fired Mr Soo usually staggered, and when he fell on Saturday night we thought it was the usual performance. He then called out, ‘Oh, my God.’ Upon going to him we found that a bullet had passed through him.’
It is understood that the deception in the trick was that the bullets did not leave the guns, but by a device in the mechanism remained in the weapon. Why on this occasion the bullet was projected is not at present known.
Soo was buried at East Sheen Cemetery; his death had been caused by a build up of gunpowder residue in the gun barrel, which led to the bullets being fired in the normal way. An accidental ruling was given. Upon his death, the public and his fellow magicians were stunned to realise that Soo was not in fact Chinese, and his words upon being shot were the first words he had spoken on stage in English.
|People’s Advocate and Monaghan, Fermanagh, and Tyrone News||1876-1905|
|North Down Herald and County Down Independent||1898-1929, 1931-1938|
|County Down Spectator and Ulster Standard||1904-1912|
|Acton Gazette||1886, 1918-1920, 1967-1980|
This week we have updated three 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.
|Reading Evening Post||1966-1967, 1977-1979|
|Staffordshire Sentinel||1920-1929, 1942|
|Staines & Ashford News||1992|