This week we have added 66,564 new pages to The Archive, with two brand new titles joining us this week, as well as updates to seven of our existing titles.
Our two new titles this week have a particularly Highland flavour. With this in mind, we are delighted to welcome the Huntly Express to our ever-growing collection of Scottish titles. The Huntly Express is a weekly newspaper covering local events, and initially started life as a Saturday publication. The town of Huntly was formerly known as Milton of Strathbogie, and is the historic home of the Gordon Highlanders regiment.
Joining the Huntly Express this week is the Highland News, which is another weekly local publication, and is based in Inverness. The Highland News used to appear on Mondays, but now appears on Thursdays, and like the Huntly Express, is still running to this day.
This week we have also strengthened our existing Scottish titles, with updates to the Irvine Herald, the Ayrshire Post, as well as significant updates to the Aberdeen Press and Journal, as well as the Aberdeen Evening Express.
Our other titles to be updated this week have more of a Midlands flavour. We have added the important year of 1919 to the Birmingham Daily Gazette, one of Birmingham’s earliest titles, which began publication in 1741. The Gazette shifted to daily editions in 1862, and merged with the Birmingham Daily Post in 1956. Rounding off our updated titles this week are the Sandwell Evening Mail and the Staffordshire Sentinel, to which we have added years from the 1980s.
Halloween falls this week, and using pages from the Huntly Express we explore the history of this festival, thought to have its roots in ancient Celtic customs, where people would try to ward off ghosts by lighting bonfires and wearing costumes.
Scotland has a rich history of celebrating Halloween, as evidenced in Robert Burns’ 1785 poem of the same name. The Huntly Express gives us snatches of how the festival was celebrated, from ”dookin’ for apples,’ modern day apple bobbing, to ‘burning of nuts.’
In 1877 the same newspaper gives us an evocative snapshot of how Halloween was celebrated at Balmoral, the Scottish residence of Queen Victoria.
‘Shortly after dusk on Monday evening great numbers of people from all the surrounding districts, among which was a goodly number of the gentler sex, began to converge towards Balmoral.’ These guests, holding flaming torches, joined a procession which included Queen Victoria, and her daughter-in-law the Princess of Wales, and her youngest daughter Princess Beatrice. Both the Princess of Wales and Princess Beatrice carried flaming torches.
In total around 200 people bore these torches, and the crowd soon converged upon a bonfire. They were joined by a number of Highland dancers, dressed in traditional clothing.
The scene, lit up by the ruddy blaze of bonfires, and the flaring light of the torches born aloft by the kilted dancers, was weirdly picturesque.
Then an effigy of a witch, which was ‘in appearance an exceedingly sinister production,’ was thrown into the bonfire ‘to the great amusement of the bystanders.’ The traditional elements of Halloween thus complete, ‘dancing went on with spirit,’ and the occasion was one of much ‘merry-making.’
|Huntly Express||1864-1865, 1867-1868, 1870-1872, 1874-1879, 1881-1912|
|Highland News||1884, 1887|
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.
|Aberdeen Press and Journal||1998|
|Birmingham Daily Gazette||1919|
|Aberdeen Evening Express||1998|
|Irvine Herald||1880, 1882, 1887-1888, 1890|
|Sandwell Evening Mail||1987|