This week we have added an impressive 136,680 brand new pages to The Archive. We have added four brand new titles, and updated eight of our existing titles, with new pages spanning the length and breadth of the British Isles.
Our new titles this week represent the north and the south of the country. We have two new Scottish titles, which are the Arbroath Guide and the Perthshire Constitutional and Journal. The Arbroath Guide was a local weekly paper, published on Saturdays, covering local events, people and news. It began publication in 1842 and ceased printing in 1978, and we have over 30,000 pages of this newspaper available to search. Meanwhile, the Perthshire Constitutional and Journal began life as a weekly title, ‘published early every Friday morning,’ before shifting to a biweekly publication schedule.
Representing the south this week are our two other new titles. We have published the Express (London), which was a daily evening newspaper published in the mid Victorian era by William Anselm Jones. Also new this week is the Sheerness Times Guardian. Starting life as the Sheerness Times in 1868, this newspaper covers Sheerness and its environs, including the Isle of Sheppey, Chatham, Rochester, Sittingbourne, Milton and Faversham. It was a weekly publication, produced on Saturdays, and survives today as the Sheerness Times Guardian.
We have updates to four of our Scottish titles this week, with extensive updates to the Broughty Ferry Guide and Advertiser, as well as the North British Daily Mail. We are also delighted to add more late twentieth century content to the Staffordshire Sentinel, as well as more pages to our recent addition, the Sun (London). Rounding off our updated titles this week is the Newcastle Journal.
All of our new titles this week cover the year 1868. 1868 was the year that Great Britain saw its last public execution – that of Fenian Michael Barrett, sentenced to death for his part in the Clerkenwell explosion, which killed 12 and injured 120, in an attempt to free a fellow Irish Republican Brotherhood member from Clerkenwell Prison. However, newspapers at the time show how Barrett was very nearly not the last man to serve his capital punishment under the eyes of the public.
Barrett was given an alibi for the time of the bombing – putting him miles away in Scotland. However, the Express (London) reports on 25 May 1868:
The Home Secretary’s decision in this case should take nobody by surprise. The condemned man’s guilt has been established by evidence conclusive to Judge and jury, whose verdict and sentence have been corroborated by the inquiries substantially made. Neither during the inflated speech in Court, nor in the letter to the Glasgow alibi-witness has the prisoner denied that his was the hand which fired the fatal barrel.
It was announced that Barrett would be hanged the following day, causing ‘groups of idlers to assemble in front of Newgate,’ the prison where he was being held, and the location of his forthcoming execution. Barriers were put up between Newgate Street and Ludgate Hill, which ‘is usual on such occasions,’ and ‘touting for seats was observed in several cases this morning; and in more than one instance it was said the places were all ‘reserved.”
A publication execution from 1864 | Illustrated Police News | 19 August 1899
The Sheerness Times Guardian on 30 May 1868 gives a full account of the day’s proceedings. The condemned man had ‘passed a quiet night, and that he seemed to meet his punishment with firmness.’ Despite the impression given by the Express (London), the Sheerness Times Guardian reports that Londoners greeted the last public execution with ‘the most complete apathy:’
It seemed on Monday night that the crowd assembled to witness the hanging of Michael Barrett would have been very large, for at 11 o’clock there were from 1,500 to 1,800 persons present, and the public-houses in the neighborhood drove a roaring trade, some of their customers being about as unpleasant looking scoundrels as ever gloated on the gallows. There were very few women among them; but of these an unusually large proportion were young and bonnetless girls…Instead of the throng within the slight barriers..they seemed to diminish. There was no struggling for places; there were few, it any, ribald songs…
As the night passed, the public houses closed, and dawn broke, a crowd of approximately 2,000 people awaited Michael Barrett outside Newgate. At five to eight the death bell began to toll, Michael Barrett was led out, and ‘paid the penalty of his monstrous crime, and save the suspension of the body for an hour, London’s last public execution was over.’
|Arbroath Guide||1844-1845, 1847-1872, 1875-1882, 1884, 1886-1887, 1890-1892, 1895-1896, 1900-1905, 1907-1920, 1922, 1924, 1927-1928, 1930-1932, 1934-1949, 1951-1959|
|Perthshire Constitutional & Journal||1835-1839, 1843, 1850, 1859-1869, 1872, 1877, 1894, 1896-1900, 1902, 1904, 1908-1909, 1911, 1913, 1915|
|Sheerness Times Guardian||1868-1875|
This week we have updated eight 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 Lothian Courier||1969-1973|
|Sun (London)||1844, 1848, 1850|
|North British Daily Mail||1848, 1857, 1860, 1877-1878, 1892, 1895-1897, 1899-1900|
|Broughty Ferry Guide and Advertiser||1906-1920, 1931-1959|