Canada Calling | The British Newspaper Archive Blog


Hot Off The Press – New Titles This Week

This week we have added 80,888 new pages to The Archive – and this week sees a distinctly Canadian flavour, as we have added three new historic titles from across the pond, numbering nearly 50,000 pages and spanning the years 1875 to 1920. Slightly more closer to home, we are delighted to have added the Dudley Chronicle, a Worcestershire weekly representing the local news of the large industrial market town.

Dudley Chronicle | 12 February 1910

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Meanwhile, we continue to strengthen our collection of Welsh newspapers, with more pages added to the Merthyr Express, the Victorian weekly newspaper which circulated in South Wales’s iron and coal producing areas. We also have updates to another newspaper hailing from South Wales: namely the South Wales Gazette, another weekly titled published in Abertillery.

We also have extensive updates to one of the most influential newspapers of the early twentieth century, the Westminster Gazette. Known as the ‘clubland paper’ due to its circulation in London’s gentlemen’s clubs, it included sketches and short stories, and featured writings by D.H. Lawrence, Anthony Hope and Katherine Mansfield, amongst others. Our final newspaper to be updated this week is Northumberland’s Blyth News.

Canada Calling

This week sees the addition of three historic newspapers from Canada. Part of the British Library’s collection, these newspapers are a useful resource for people with ancestors who emigrated, whilst illuminating a time of great change and growth in the North American country.

First of all, we have added the Toronto Daily Mail. From 1858 onward, Canada saw a boom in newspaper production, especially on the east coast of the country. The Toronto Daily Mail was part of this trend. Founded in 1872 by Thomas Charles Patterson, Toronto’s postmaster, it was set to represent the views of the Federal Conservative Party. By 1886 it had declared itself politically independent, but in 1895 it merged with the Toronto Empire to become the Mail and Empire, ultimately returning to its conservative roots.

We have another Toronto title joining us this week – Toronto Saturday Night. This particular title was a weekly magazine published in newspaper format, and started life in 1887 under the editorship of E.E. Sheppard. In its attempts to appeal to Toronto’s high society, it could be said that it had a particularly snobbish tone.

Toronto Saturday Night | 11 August 1900

We have added up to 1909 for the Toronto Saturday Night, reflecting the period in which Canada was the world’s fastest growing country. Shifting its stance towards a more general audience, based on the need for advertising revenue, this publication offered opinionated pieces on daily life and featured a heavy bias towards Canadian content. Finally ceasing publication in 2005 having become known as Saturday Night, the Toronto Saturday Night was truly Canada’s first and oldest general interest magazine.

Rounding off our new titles this week is the Hamilton Daily Times. Hamilton, south of Toronto, was first conceived of by George Hamilton in 1812. The town saw huge growth and gained city status in 1846, and the Hamilton Daily Times was one of its first newspapers. Published at Hughson & King Streets, the Hamilton Daily Times covers a time of great change and innovation in the area. For example, Hamilton in the years 1877 to 1878 became home to Canada’s first commercial telephone service.

Hamilton Daily Times | 29 November 1912

Dr Crippen’s Canadian Connection

110 years ago this January, Cora Henrietta Crippen disappeared from her London home. The police soon became involved, searching the house three times without finding any trace of her. On the fourth search, however, a torso was found buried in the basement, and meanwhile, her husband, Dr Hawley Harvey Crippen, had fled abroad with his lover, Ethel Le Neve.

What ensued was a transatlantic chase; Crippen and Le Neve had boarded a ship, the SS Montrose, bound for Canada. The captain of the SS Montrose had become suspicious of the pair, and had wired Scotland Yard accordingly. A detective then set out to intercept the suspected murderer and his accomplice on a faster ship, and arrested them upon their arrival in Quebec.

Cora Crippen and the building where her body was found | The Sketch | 20 July 1910

Newly added pages from the Westminster Gazette reveal the difficulties, however, of returning Crippen and Neave back to England to face justice:

An official of the Department of Justice points out that at least three weeks must elapse before Crippen can be sent from Canada…Fifteen days after the commitment a warrant will be issued by the Governor-General of Canada for the surrender and deportation of the prisoner.

Despite this bureaucracy, Crippen and Le Neve were returned to England to stand trial. The Westminster Gazette traces their progress, relating how ‘The Megantic was 200 miles west of Malin Head at 11.35am today, and will probably reach Liverpool at nine to-morrow morning. Dr Crippen and his companion are on board.’

Crowds await the return of Dr Crippen in Liverpool | Dundee Evening Telegraph | 29 August 1910

The ensuing trial was to capture the public’s imagination, with a ‘curious and fascinated crowd‘ waiting outside the court in September 1910:

Enough people succeeded in reaching the interior of the court to make it so congested that one almost envied the prisoners in the comparative spaciousness of their dock. Less lucky individuals hung about the street outside throughout the day, and doubtless derived some satisfaction from doing so.

With evidence presented – including the finding of traces of hyoscine (‘a deadly narcotic poison’) in the remains that had been found at 39 Hilldrop Crescent, the home Dr Crippen shared with Cora – a jury were quick to find Crippen guilty, and he was executed at Pentonville Prison in November 1910.

The court where Crippen was tried | Aberdeen Evening Express | 8 October 1910

Crippen, however, lived long in the British public’s imagination – also retaining notoriety in Canada, where he was arrested. According to the Hamilton Daily TimesThe Reverend Woodside, in a sermon preached in 1914, summoned up the example of Dr Crippen – comparing him to Jonah – ‘It was even harder to attempt to escape from the wrath of the Lord than for a man to escape from law and justice in those days.’

Dr Crippen and Ethel Le Neve | The Sketch | 20 July 1910

The Hamilton Daily Times also traced the fortunes of the SS Montrose, the ship upon which Crippen had traveled, and its Captain, Henry Kendall. It reports in December 1914 how ‘Memories of Dr Crippen, hanged for the murder of his wife in 1910, are reviewed by the news that the steamer Montrose, on which the famous criminal was arrested with his paramour, was wrecked on the Goodwin Sands in Monday night’s gale.’ Finally, in May 1914, the same newspaper reports how Captain Kendall rescued survivors after a collision between the Norwegian steamer Storstad and the Empress of Ireland.

You can read more about the transatlantic pursuit of Dr Crippen in this special blog.

New Titles
Years Added
Hamilton Daily Times 1875, 1879, 1881-1882, 1884, 1886, 1912-1915, 1920
Toronto Daily Mail 1886-1888, 1890, 1894-1895
Dudley Chronicle 1910-1935
Toronto Saturday Night 1887-1898, 1900-1909
Updated Titles

This week we have updated four 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
Westminster Gazette 1908, 1910, 1912-1913, 1915-1916, 1926
Blyth News 1882, 1895
Merthyr Express 1868
South Wales Gazette 1898

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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