Scotland's First Daily Newspaper | The British Newspaper Archive Blog


Hot Off The Press – New Titles This Week

This week we have added 73,766 new pages to The Archive, with the addition of three brand new titles. We are delighted to have added Liverpool based publication the Northern Daily Times, with pages covering the mid-nineteenth century and one thousand issues added.

Northern Daily Times | 7 October 1853

We also continue to augment our Scottish holdings, with new publications the North British Daily Mail and the East of Fife Record joining The Archive this week. The North British Daily Mail was launched in 1847 and in 1901 was incorporated into the Daily Record, which we also hold on The Archive. The North British Daily Mail was Scotland’s first daily newspaper and was published in Glasgow.

Our final new title this week is the East of Fife Record. A weekly newspaper published in Anstruther, we have the years 1870 to 1917 available to search on The Archive.

Meanwhile, we continue to add modern pages to the Aberdeen Press and Journal and the Aberdeen Evening Express, adding the year 1996 to both titles. We have exciting additions this week also to the Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser. This short-lived publication appeared on Tuesday and Friday mornings and was founded by Samuel Franceys in 1832. This newspaper took a conservative, Protestant tone, and closed some twenty years later after its first issue was published.

The year 1870 saw the death of novelist Charles Dickens. Using our new title the East of Fife Record, our blog this week takes a look at how the famous writer’s death was reported.

On 10 June 1870 the East of Fife Record reports: ‘Charles Dickens, the distinguished novellist, died yesterday, suddenly from an attack of paralysis, at his country residence in Gashill [Gad’s Hill], near Rochester…Mr Dickens was only 58 years old, having been born in 1812.’

East of Fife Record | 10 June 1870

A week later, the same newspaper gives an account of the last few months of Dickens’ life. According to the report, he had been living at Oxford Street, a bustling thoroughfare then as it is today. However, Dickens was ‘singularly insusceptible to the nuisance of noise,’  and it was there that he engaged in writing his final, unfinished novel, Edwin Drood. During these last few months he had mingled with royalty, the monarch, Queen Victoria, inviting him to Buckingham Palace where she gave him her own work – Our Life in the Highlands – signed from ‘Victoria R to Charles Dickens.’

Graphic | 18 June 1870

There were signs of his impending demise – his beard and hair appeared ‘more grizzled,’ and he was to be seen ‘latterly dragging one leg wearily behind him.’

But what was the cultural impact of Charles Dickens’ death? One of the most prolific and successful writers of the Victorian era, he is remembered as such within the pages of the East of Fife Record, which on 17 June 1870 provides this impassioned eulogy, in particular highlighting his universal appeal to readers from all backgrounds:

In the death of Charles Dickens it has been truly said that never was [an] English writer more widely read or more thoroughly appreciated, more entirely, so to speak, taken to the hearts of his readers of all classes, from the humblest to the highest. Wherever the English language is read or spoken, there is the name of Charles Dickens familiar as a household word. From the palace to the cottage, from the ‘stately homes of England,’ to the emigrant’s hut in Australia or in the forests of Canada. his works were welcome guests.

Indeed, Charles Dickens was a celebrity much like we know today. His successful tours of America secured him a truly global audience, causing his ‘every reader,’ according to the East of Fife Record, to feel ‘a personal bereavement – as if some loved and honoured member of the household had gone to rest.’

Illustrated Police News | 16 June 1870

On 24 June 1870 the same newspaper reports how Dickens left £70,000 to £80,000 to his family (approximately £4 to £5 million in today’s money), with his fellow novelist Wilkie Collins preparing to finish Edwin Drood on Dickens’ behalf. However, Dickens left no sense of how he wanted his final work to finish, and so, its ending remains one of the biggest mysteries of fiction.

Date Range
Northern Daily Times 1853, 1856-1857, 1859-1861
North British Daily Mail 1852, 1858, 1870-1871, 1875, 1882, 1888, 1898, 1901
East of Fife Record 1870-1917

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

Date Range
Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser 1832-1833, 1835-1836, 1838-1850, 1854-1856
Aberdeen Press and Journal 1996
Aberdeen Evening Express 1996

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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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