This week on The Archive we have added 20,428 brand new pages, encompassing seven new titles, which cover England and Wales, as well as a brand new title from Jamaica, a first for the British Newspaper Archive.
We have three new titles joining us this week from Yorkshire, strengthening our collection of newspapers from England’s largest county. We have two new titles from the West Yorkshire town of Batley, including the Batley Reporter and Guardian, which was a weekly title, and the Batley News. This latter title was also published on a weekly basis, and had a ‘large circulation amongst all classes.’ It later called itself the Batley News and Yorkshire Woollen District Advertiser, reflecting Batley and the surrounding area’s role in the production of heavyweight cloth.
Rounding off our new Yorkshire titles this week is the Barnsley Independent. Beginning life as the Barnsley Times, this newspaper appeared weekly every Saturday with a front page bursting with advertisements.
Our final title this week to originate from England is The Call (London) – ‘the organ of International Socialism.’ This was the newspaper of the British Socialist Party (BSP), which was founded in 1911 as an alliance between the Social Democratic Federation (SDF) and other, less doctrinal, socialists. During the First World War, the BSP became more radical, and were vocal in their anti-war stance. In 1920 the BSP solidified its revolutionary outlook to become the Communist Party of Great Britain. As such, The Call (London) was disbanded, and the group’s new newspaper became the Communist (London), which you can also find on The Archive.
We have another radical newspaper joining us this week too – Carmarthen based publication the Welshman. Established in 1832 as a radical-leaning title, it reported local and national news until it ceased publication in 1984.
Finally, following on from our recent Commonwealth additions to The Archive, which has included new Canadian and Indian titles, we have added Jamaican title the Royal Gazette of Jamaica to our collection. A truly sobering record of colonialism, this newspaper began life as the Jamaica Mercury and Kingston Weekly Advertiser in 1779, founded by David Douglas and William Aikman. It was aimed at white planters and slave owners on the island, and consequently contains references to slavery and advertisements for runaway slaves. A harrowing record of this period of colonial history, the newspaper gained government patronage to become the Royal Gazette, until it ceased publication in 1840.
We have also updated three of our existing titles this week, adding the year 1898 to the Surrey Advertiser and the Western Evening Herald, as well as adding further pages from the 1970s to the Aberdeen Press and Journal.
‘The Greatest Criminal Who Ever Lived’
This month on The Archive we have been looking at historic murders throughout history. In today’s blog, with the help of newly added pages from the Barnsley Independent, we look at the crimes, trial and execution of Catherine Wilson, who was labelled by her sentencing judge as the ‘greatest criminal who ever lived.’
In October 1862, the Barnsley Independent reports how nurse Catherine Wilson had been ‘convicted at the last session of the Central Criminal Court of the crime of murder by poison.’ Wilson, a live-in nurse, had been charged with the murder of Mrs Maria Soames by administering her a fatal dose of colchicine, a drug used in small doses to treat gout.
Wilson had been arrested earlier in 1862 for the murder of Mrs Sarah Carnwell, for whom she also worked as a live-in nurse. Mrs Carnwell had died from sulphuric acid poisoning. Remarkably, at her trial she was found not guilty, but was re-arrested for her part in the death of Maria Soames some six years before. Wilson’s motive was financial; she would get her victims to alter their wills in her favour, and dispatch them accordingly.
‘After her conviction,’ reports the Barnsley Independent, ‘she continued to assert that she was entirely innocent of the crime alleged against her.’ Meanwhile, sentencing judge Mr Justice Byles ‘stated distinctly that there are good grounds for believing the she committed several other crimes of the same description.’ Indeed, it is believed that she was responsible for the deaths of 6 others.
Wilson received the death sentence, and as the Barnsley Independent reports, she was executed at Newgate in October 1862. As executions at this time were still held in public, and since ‘Fourteen years had elapsed since a woman was execution in Middlesex…a vast crowd of persons assembled.’ The Barnsley Independent piece continues:
From Smithfield to Ludgate Hill there was a dense mass of human beings, and at the windows in the Old Bailey from which a view of the scaffold could be obtained were well-dressed people, many of whom had provided themselves with opera glasses, which were levelled at the miserable woman when she came forth from the prison to die.
Wilson, in her last moments, was offered a glass of brandy which she declined, and her last, ‘feeble,’ words were ‘I am innocent.’
|Welshman||1832-1835, 1840, 1842-1843, 1845-1846, 1854, 1859, 1877, 1879, 1889-1890, 1895, 1912|
|Batley Reporter and Guardian||1869-1897, 1899-1907|
|Call (London)||1916, 1918-1920|
|Barnsley Independent||1855-1871, 1873-1875, 1877, 1882, 1888, 1897, 1912, 1916, 1918-1919, 1921, 1926, 1928|
|Royal Gazette of Jamaica||1779-1781, 1793-1794, 1809, 1811-1819, 1824-1828, 1834-1836, 1838-1840|
This week we have updated three 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||1972-1974|
|Western Evening Herald||1898|