This week we have added 130,418 new pages to The Archive, including one brand new title the Strathearn Herald. A weekly newspaper published on Saturdays, we have so far added over 30,000 pages to this title and counting, with over 123 years of comprehensive coverage.
We have also updated six of our existing Scottish titles, with significant updates to the Arbroath Guide, a weekly local newspaper which began publication in 1843, as well as to the Perthshire Constitutional and Journal, which began life as a weekly title before shifting to a biweekly publication schedule.
We continue to supplement our holdings of the Aberdeen Press and Journal and the Aberdeen Evening Express – we have added the year 1997 to both titles. Rounding off the updates to our Scottish newspapers are additions to the West Lothian Courier and the North British Daily Mail.
Our final title to be updated this week is the Staffordshire Sentinel. Starting life in 1854 as the Staffordshire Sentinel and Commercial and General Advertiser, which we also hold on The Archive, the Sentinel cost 3d and was positioned as a Liberal weekly newspaper. In 1873 the Staffordshire Sentinel was published on a daily basis, whilst its weekly equivalent continued to be published. In 1896 the Staffordshire Sentinel abolished its political partisanship and aimed to become a paper for the people.
This year marks the 146th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Atlantic off the coast of Nova Scotia. Owned by White Star Line, the transatlantic ocean liner struck rocks and sank on 1st April 1873, killing over 500 people. This was to be the deadliest civilian maritime disaster in the North Atlantic until 1898, and formed a deadly precedent to the most famous sinking of the twentieth century, the RMS Titanic, which was also owned by the White Star Line.
We have added the year 1873 to the Arbroath Guide this week, and the newspaper offers a glimpse into the tragedy. Eleven days later, the newspaper reports how ‘Part of the cargo of the Atlantic has been saved.’ Other titles on The Archive give us a fuller account of the sinking.
The Atlantic was on her nineteenth voyage, heading to New York from Liverpool. However, a shortage of coal made a diversion to Halifax necessary, and it was on this change of course that the ship was wrecked off the coast of Nova Scotia. Captain Williams, who was roundly condemned for his part in the accident, sent the below telegram to the White Star Line headquarters in Liverpool, as published in Soulby’s Ulverston Advertiser and General Intelligencer:
The ship is a total loss, She broke her back abaft the foremast. The cargo is washing out…Thirteen saloon passengers were saved, and 429 others were saved. The purser, chief steward, second office, and fifth engineer were lost, but the rest were saved. I shall leave the third officer and four men at the wreck to the attend to the boats…The cause of the wreck was coming to Halifax owing to being short of coal. The wind is rising from the south. The wreck is exposed to the sea. The passengers have been supplied with all necessaries.
The article goes on to describe the wreck in chilling terms. After striking rocks at approximately 3am, the Atlantic capsized ten minutes later, whilst ‘All the female passengers, who were asleep at the time, were prevented from coming on deck by the seas washing over the ship and filling her.’ Meanwhile, others managed to get into the lifeboats, but these were themselves washed away. Some managed to get to the rocks – but the rocks were slippery, and some died of exhaustion there. Help came by about 6am, and contrary to Captain Williams’ statement, there were only 329 survivors, and all 156 women and 189 children were killed.
A government inquiry at Halifax into the disaster soon began, with blame being firmly landed at the feet of Captain Williams and his crew:
Captain Williams detailed the rules and regulations observed on the White Star Line steamships, and explained the miscalculation made with regard to the whereabouts of the Atlantic. Her estimated speed was eleven knots, but it had increased from seven to twelves knots on bearing up to Halifax. He stated that he was anxious to economise coal. He considered that he should pass five miles east of the Sambro light. He was satisfied now that when we went to his cabin he was mistaken as to the position of the ship. He knew the coast was ironbound and dangerous. If the officers on deck had been energetic, had seen something ahead and reversed the engines, the calamity would have been averted.
The survivors were transported to their intended destination of New York, where they reported that three days before the shipwreck they ‘were short of food.’ The shipwreck now is largely forgotten, perhaps in part thanks to the infamy brought about by the sinking of the Titantic some 39 years later.
|Strathearn Herald||1863-1892, 1894, 1897-1980, 1986|
This week we have updated seven 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.
|Arbroath Guide||1873-1874, 1888-1889, 1893-1894, 1897-1899, 1906, 1921, 1923, 1925, 1929|
|West Lothian Courier||1974, 1977-1980|
|North British Daily Mail||1847, 1859, 1863, 1889, 1891, 1893|
|Aberdeen Press and Journal||1997|
|Aberdeen Evening Express||1997|
|Perthshire Constitutional & Journal||1873-1875, 1878, 1882, 1893, 1895, 1901, 1903, 1905-1907, 1910, 1912, 1914, 1916|