This week at The Archive we are delighted to announce the addition of five brand new titles to our ever-expanding collection, as we have added 54,418 pages in the past seven days. Our new titles this week range from the specialist (namely, a very special early incarnation of the lonely hearts format), to the regional, with four new newspapers joining us covering the West Riding of Yorkshire, as well as the south of the county.
Our existing titles have not been neglected either – and this week’s updates have a uniquely sporting flavour. We have added new years to Cricket – which provided a ‘weekly record’ of the game. Its first edition was published on 10 May 1882, and its publishers could not have anticipated what a seminal year it was to be for the sport. A piece about Australian cricket in that very first edition mentions how ‘cricket in Australia has made rapid strides’ – culminating in the country’s victory over in England at the Oval in August 1882, and the start of the Ashes legend.
Cricket, published with the tag-line of ‘Together joined in cricket’s manly toil’ (a quote from Lord Byron) provides a detailed record of the sport in the late Victorian era, with compilations of batting and bowling averages, as well as scorecards and match reports. It also includes detailed histories of the sport, in articles such as ‘Cricket Fifty Years Ago,’ as well as printing illustrations and photographs of famous players.
We move now to discuss one of our very exciting new titles – Link. First published in 1915 by editor and comic novelist Alfred Barrett as Cupid’s Messenger, it declared itself as ‘The Only Monthly Practically Devoted to Love Interests.’
And devoted to love interests it was. One edition alone contained such features as ‘Royal Love Stories,’ looking at the meeting of King Edward VII and Princess Alexander, ‘The German as a Lover,’ where apparently ‘if a girl is not engaged at twenty-five – she is considered a failure…and is generally admitted to be on the shelf,’ and ‘How to Treat a Broken Engagement’ (with dignity, apparently).
And as well as offering advice on ‘How to Get Married,’ and answering such questions as ‘Do Men Prefer Short Girls?’ the Link provided a match-making service, featuring what we now know today as lonely-heart advertisements. For example, one Dolly from Finchley (‘fair, blue eyes, very refined’) hoped to meet a ‘dark young man, 22-26, for companionship.’
For a small fee, Link could help you make several introductions. It describes itself as ‘a paper for…lonely and diffident people, who may be brought together by its means. It is a social factor rendered more than ever necessary by the modern conditions of life.’
And Link provided a lifeline for those in the LGBTQ community at the time. In these advertisements it is possible to find veiled mentions of men seeking men, and women seeking women. In a time when this was not only frowned upon, but illegal, Link provides an important record of sexuality in Britain. Read our special guest blog on Link and its LGBTQ legacy here.
Meanwhile, our other new titles all hail from Yorkshire. Starting us off is the South Yorkshire Times and Mexborough & Swinton Times. The first edition of the Mexborough & Swinton Times appeared on 20 July 1877, published in Mexborough at the price of 1d. Appearing weekly on a Friday, the newspaper was renamed the South Yorkshire Times and Mexborough & Swinton Times in 1931, before simply becoming the South Yorkshire Times in 1965.
This week also sees a plethora of newspapers fresh from Wakefield, including the Wakefield Journal and West Riding Herald. This newspaper came into being in the 1830s, after merging with the Wakefield Examiner, which was founded in 1824. A local directory from 1851 describes how the newspaper was ‘extensively circulated amongst readers of all classes in the neighbourhood,’ finding particular popularity ‘amongst [a] numerous class of Agricultural readers,’ as it was published on market day (Friday). The newspaper further describes itself as ‘the only local and family newspaper’ with a ‘long-established circulation’ in the area.
It faced a rival, however, in the form of the Wakefield Free Press, which was first published on 25 November 1860, priced at 1d and appearing every Saturday. In this first issue, the editors address their readers, laying down their publishing mission:
There were already two weekly Newspapers published in Wakefield, it is true; but it is no less true that their price placed them beyond the reach of the larger proportion of the inhabitants, to say nothing of the obsolete and sectarian principals upon which they are conducted. The want is evident, and we…determined to a publish a newspaper whose lower price should render it accessible to all, and whose independent politics should make it the organ of all.
Subsequently, the Wakefield Free Press set out its politics as ‘decidedly Liberal…but thoroughly Independent,’ championing such causes as the ‘Extension of the Franchise’ and the ‘removal of Civil and Religious Disabilities.’ Our final new title for Wakefield and for the week is the Wakefield Advertiser and Gazette, which appeared every Tuesday, and as one might expect from the name, abounded with adverts for a range of products and services, from opticians to photography studios.
|Wakefield and West Riding Herald||1839, 1844, 1853-1871, 1873-1896, 1898-1913|
|South Yorkshire Times and Mexborough & Swinton Times||1877-1897, 1899-1942, 1956-1959|
|Wakefield Free Press||1860-1891, 1894-1900|
|Wakefield Advertiser & Gazette||1906-1925|
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.