120 Years of History | The British Newspaper Archive Blog


Hot Off The Press – New Titles This Week

This week we have added 103,570 new pages to The Archive, with an impressive 6 brand new titles joining our collection. In addition to these new titles, we have updates to 9 of our existing publicationsIn all, our new pages this week cover 120 years of history, and span the towns, cities and countryside of England, Scotland and Wales.

This week sees a brand new addition to our Leicestershire newspapers. The Ashby-de-la-Zouch Gazette covers the area around the market town, and was a weekly publication printed by W.H. Carman. In the nineteenth century Ashby de la Zouch was an important centre of industry, famed for ribbon making, coal mining and brick-making.

Ashby-de-la-Zouche Gazette | 8 May 1880

We are also delighted this week to welcome 5 new Scottish titles to our Archive. We have something of a Midlothian flavour this week, with three of our new newspapers covering this area. They include the now defunct Mid-Lothian Journal, which began publication in June 1884 priced at one penny, and the Midlothian Advertiser, a weekly title which continues to be published to this day.

Rounding off our Midlothian titles this week is the Leith Burghs Pilot. Established in 1864, the May’s British and Irish Press Guide, 1873, contains the following account of the paper, which it labels the ‘leading journal’ of the Leith area:

…it commands the attention of the entire district. It has the patronage of all the public bodies and institutions, and the professional, mercantile, and trading classes of the Burghs of Leith, Portobello, Mussleburgh &c. As its circulation has been more than doubled during the past year, it offers to advertisers an excellent means of giving publicity to their announcements.

Leith Burghs Pilot | 13 February 1875

Our two final new newspapers are the Caithness Courier and the Fife NewsThe Caithness Courier, a weekly publication published in Thurso, was founded in 1866, whilst the Fife News  was founded in 1870 by Robert Tully. A contemporary report relates how that although the newspaper was ‘yet in [its] infancy’ it was still ‘fairly successful.’

We have updates to nine of our existing titles this week. This includes updates to our wonderful specialist title the Fishing Gazette, a veritable love letter to the sport in all its forms. We have updates to titles covering the towns and cities of Oxford, Mansfield, Newcastle and Heywood, as well as updates to one of Wales’ foremost titles, the Western Mail. Finally, we have updates to three of our Scottish titles, with the years 1862 to 1879 added to the North Briton.

Not only do our newspapers provide a vital guide to national and local news, they can prove vital in tracing family history, and often give us a unique account of the happenings in the lives of our ancestors which go far beyond what any census or birth record ever could.

Using the example of one Frederick Pickbourne, who was a Baptist minister in the Leicestershire area for many years, it is possible to see how newspapers can add extra colour to research into family history.

Indeed, the Ashby-de-la-Zouche Gazette reveals a wealth of information about Frederick Pickbourne, covering both his work and his personal life. In October 1882, an account of his ordination to the General Baptist Church is given:

On Monday October 16th, the ordination service of Mr F Pickbourne, of Chilwell, to the pastorate, was held. Proceedings commenced by a public tea, of which a goodly number partook…Mr W Moss made the statement on behalf of the church as to their choice of Mr Pickbourne, who followed with a statement on his own behalf.

Ashby-de-la-Zouche Gazette | 28 October 1882

This knowledge as to when Frederick Pickbourne was ordained is absolutely invaluable, and would have remained undiscovered if it was not for our Archive. In addition to this, the Ashby-de-la-Zouche Gazette furnishes us with a description of the gifts given to Frederick Pickbourne and his wife Harriett on the occasion of their marriage in 1884, a wonderfully personal and human touch from the past:

On Monday, after a social tea, of which a large number partook, a presentation was made by Mr Jos. Gutteridge, on behalf of the church and congregation, consisting of a purse and 20 guineas, to the Rev F and Mrs Pickbourne, on the occasion of their recent marriage. Other gifts, comprising a valuable hat and umbrella stand and a handsome toast rack, were presented….Very appropriate speeches were made and the meeting was largely attended, being a most hearty and enthusiastic one, and will be long remembered by all those present.

Frederick Pickbourne (front left) with his wife Harriett and four sons (Leonard, Maurice, William and Hedley)

10 years later, the Reverend Pickbourne was to make the national press. In an article entitled ‘Among the Pitmen – A Discord in Black‘ – the Pall Mall Gazette’s special commissioner set out to investigate Coalville, the ‘undisputed capital of the Leicestershire coal district,’ describing it as ‘everything that is depressing, dismal, and dreary.’

The journalist spoke with several local personalities to learn more of the living conditions of the coal miners, and in doing so spoke with Mr Pickbourne, writing how ‘Mr Pickbourne is a very well-known person in Coalville, and probably is more of a persona grata with the collier than even the chairman of the County Council. The minister has been a miner himself, and makes no secret of it…Speaking generally, I am disposed to regard this gentleman’s opinions as being more reliable than any I heard at Coalville.’

Pickbourne observed that amongst the colliers there ‘were bad as well as good specimens,’ but as a whole ‘the men compare favourably with other classes of labourers.’  He took a hard line, however, against the living wage, believing ‘that a man should be paid according to what he can earn, and not according to what he can swallow.’

Men leaving the pit Graphic | 11 February 1871

Thus, even when searching the Archive in relation to family history, a sense of the social and economic climate is still illuminated, giving colour to a past that might otherwise have been forgotten.

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New Titles
Years Added
Mid-Lothian Journal 1884-1931
Midlothian Advertiser 1906-1949
Leith Burghs Pilot 1875, 1879-1891, 1900-1902
Caithness Courier 1875-1876, 1878, 1880-1881, 1883-1892
Ashby-de-la-Zouch Gazette 1876, 1878-1888
Fife News 1879-1880, 1888-1889
Updated Titles

This week we have updated nine 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.

Years Added
Western Mail 1901, 1908, 1910
Oxford Journal 1901-1911
Mansfield & Sutton Recorder 1981-1984
Newcastle Journal 1927-1928
Heywood Advertiser 1855, 1865-1867, 1885, 1894, 1897, 1960-1973
North Briton 1862, 1865, 1875, 1877-1879
Fishing Gazette 1877-1879, 1882-1887, 1899-1900
Kilmarnock Herald and North Ayrshire Gazette 1912, 1914, 1917, 1919, 1923, 1927
Northern Chronicle and General Advertiser for the North of Scotland 1906

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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