Steamship Press | The British Newspaper Archive Blog


Hot Off The Press – New Titles This Week

This week on The Archive we have added 78,808 brand new pages – incorporating two very special new titles and spanning nearly 100 years of headlines.

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Meanwhile, we have added over 10,000 pages to Truth, the groundbreaking journal founded by man of many trades Henry Labouchère. Theatre owner, politician and writer, Labouchère was a divisive character who used the pages of Truth, amongst other things, to campaign against women’s suffrage. One of Truthmany claims to fame is that it featured in 1890 an article entitled the ‘Kaiser’s Dream,’ which in essence predicted the First World War.

The first of our two new titles this week is the North Wilts Herald. Published in Swindon, and founded in 1861, this newspaper originally appeared every Saturday and Monday, Monday being market day in the town, before shifting to a Friday publication day. The North Wilts Herald had a particularly wide circulation, not just limited to the county of Wiltshire.

North Wilts Herald | 9 February 1867

Indeed, its masthead declares that it includes ‘East Gloucestershire and [the] Vale of the White Horse, incorporating the Chippenham Chronicle, Malmesbury Gazette, Cricklade Courier, and West of England Advertiser.’ In addition to this, the Berkshire Times and Faringdon Free Press merged with the North Wilts Herald in 1866.

In addition to the North Wilts Herald, for which we have over 45,000 pages, this week we have also added the Home News for India, China and the Colonies. This title was founded by former East India Company soldier Robert Melville Grindlay in 1847. Prior to the Home News Grindlay founded Grindlay and Co, an Anglo-Indian banking and commercial firm, and he also gained some renown as an artist.

London Courier and Evening Gazette | 26 May 1830

As Grindlay was not a journalist, he outsourced this part of his business to some of the Victorian era’s most renowned writers, including Punch contributor Shirley Brooks, the Illustrated London News’s George Augustus Sala, and The Times’s  military correspondent Major Arthur George Griffiths.

Although the Home Newsmain audience was to be found in British expatriates located in India and other parts of the British Empire, it was actually published in London. This meant that the Home News was part of the ‘steamship press,’ a nineteenth century publishing phenomenon. The steamship press would see newspapers, such as the Home Newsprinted in England, to be consumed by a British audience overseas. As such, four weeks might elapse between the Home News coming off the printers, to finding itself in the hands of its intended readers.

Illustrated London News | 6 April 1872

However, in advertisements of the time, owner Robert Melville Grindlay proclaimed that because the Home News was published on the 7th and 24th of every month, that it would be available in time from dispatch from Marseilles so that ‘all intelligence for the reader in India’ is ‘brought down to the latest hour.’

Despite being published in London, the Home News promised to convey ‘practical knowledge of the information most acceptable to the Indian public – especially as it regards the Civil and Military services.’ This more than anything is reflective of the conceit of British colonialism – but the Home News was also providing exactly what its title promised, news from home.

Home News for India, China and the Colonies | 25 September 1848

This was aided when Home News merged with the London Mail. This lengthened the publication from 24 pages to 32, and Grindlay promised that it would embrace ‘the leading merits’ of the latter title. Grindlay also believed that this merger would give the Home News ‘at once a place in the first rank among the journals of India.’

Sales of the Home News peaked in 1862, when it had a circulation of 15,000. However, sales dropped in the 1880s, largely due to advances in technology, such as the invention of the telegraph. With news being conveyed across continents at a greater speed, the Home News and the steamship press suddenly became an outmoded method of communication. The Home News tried to combat such a slump by serializing Major Arthur George Griffiths’s novel Fast and Loose during the 1880s, but this could not stem the decline and the paper eventually closed in 1898.

New Titles
Years Covered
North Wilts Herald 1867-1895, 1897-1941
Home News for India, China and the Colonies 1847-1865
Updated Titles

This week we have updated one 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 Covered
Truth 1894, 1896-1897

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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