New from Wales and Stratford | The British Newspaper Archive Blog


Hot Off The Press – New Titles This Week

This week has been another busy one here at The Archive as we have added 95,892 brand new pages to our ever-expanding collection, covering Great Britain and Ireland, as well as over 120 years of historic headlines.

Meanwhile, we’ve also added three brand new titles to our collection, as well as updating fifteen of our existing titles, including updates to some of our specialist publications. Read on to discover more about the exciting new pages joining us this week.

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Kicking our new titles off this week is the Stratford Express. A weekly tabloid, appearing every Saturday, this title was founded in 1866 by the Wilson & Whitworth partnership. Covering Stratford and the Borough of Newham, the Stratford Express was the voice of London’s East End, spanning East and West Ham, Forest Gate, Canning Town, Upton, Upton Park and Plaistow.

Stratford Express | 17 February 1877

An immensely popular publication, at its heyday the Stratford Express sold 80,000 copies. Renowned for its professionalism, and its top quality journalism (the Express produced many national journalists), it also had a focus on football. The Stratford Express last appeared in 2011.

Our next new titles both hail from across the Welsh border. First up is the weekly English language newspaper Principality (Cardiff). Appearing every Saturday throughout South Wales, this title was founded in 1847 by David Tudor Evans. With a focus on national and religious news, this newspaper was originally printed in Haverfordwest, but publication was eventually moved to Cardiff.

Principality (Cardiff) | 25 September 1880

Rounding off our trio of new titles this week, and the second of our new Welsh titles, is the Flintshire County Herald. A weekly newspaper covering Flintshire, Denbighshire and their adjoining counties, this newspaper ran from 1887 to 1955. With only brief attention given to national news and sport, the Flintshire County Herald was a truly regional paper which reported on births, marriages and deaths, as well as sensational local crimes (with headlines including ‘Fried Fish Causes Death’ and ‘Dog Commits Suicide’).

Flintshire County Herald | 13 March 1896

Meanwhile, we have updates this week to six of our Irish titles (including the Cork Daily Herald and the Clare Advertiser and Kilrush Gazette), and one of our titles from Northern Ireland, the Strabane Weekly News. You will also find updates to two of our Scottish titles this week, namely the Fife News and the Shetland News.

Other updates of note hail from the England’s north west, with extensive updates this week to the Runcorn Weekly News and the Liverpool Courier and Commerical Advertiser.

Our largest update of the week, however, is to weekly illustrated title John Bull. There have been many publications known by this name over the years; the first appearing in 1820. Published by Theodore Hook, known as a champion of ‘High Toryism and virulent detractor of Queen Caroline’ and also the first sender and receiver of a postcard, John Bull was originally a Sunday newspaper.

In this form, John Bull ran until 1892 before a magazine of the same name was published between 1899 and 1903. John Bull was again revived in 1906 by journalist and financier Horatio Bottomley, this time appearing on a Saturday. Published throughout the First World War, John Bull claimed to have a weekly circulation of 1,350,000 and to have the largest circulation of ‘any weekly journal in the world.’ With a name like John Bull, it is hardly surprising that the publication was ultra-patriotic in tone.

John Bull | 15 January 1916

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s it is said that John Bull encapsulated post-war Britain. Containing illustrations and works by the likes of writers J.B. Priestley and Agatha Christie, it closed in 1964 when it was merged with Weekend magazine.

Providing some balance to the ‘Toryism’ of John Bull, we have added new pages to Call (London)the ‘Organ of International Socialism,’ and to Communist (London)the successor of Call.

Opening of the Snowdon Mountain Railway

On Easter Monday, 6 April 1896, the new Snowdon Mountain Railway was opened to the public for the very first time. Running 4.7 miles between Llanberis and the summit of Snowdon, Wales’s highest peak, the opening of this new scenic rail route was marred by tragedy.

Our new title the Flintshire County Herald, on 10 April 1896, narrates how:

The opening of the Snowdon Railway on Monday was marred by an unfortunate accident. As the train was performing the return journey the engine broke from its couplings, and toppled over to the bottom of Llanberis Pass. Ellis Roberts, who jumped off the carriages, had his leg fractured, and died the following morning.

The scene of the accident | Illustrated London News | 18 April 1896

One of the new engines traveling the route had derailed, leaving one passenger, Ellis Roberts, dead. But this was not to be the end of the Snowdon Moutain Railway, as engineers worked to rectify the fault and improve safety on the line.

The Flintshire County Herald reports on 1 May 1896 how ‘the work of repairing the damage done on the Snowdon mountain line by the accident on Easter Monday is steadily proceeding, and several heavily laden trains have performed the journey in perfect safety.’

The carriages after the accident | Illustrated London News | 18 April 1896

But the directors were not taking any chances, looking to adopt ‘additional safeguards, so as to make a reoccurrence of the former mishap absolutely impossible.’ Furthermore, at a July meeting of the Snowdon Mountain Railway Company, held in Liverpool, an engineer working on the repairs ‘considered that it would be unsafe to permit public traffic until additional safeguards have been provided to keep the engine and carriage on the track.’

By the end of September 1896, the railway was partially reopened, but it was not until June 1897 that the entire route to the summit was fully operational once more. Thanks to these safety measures, the Snowdon Mountain Railway continues to be a popular tourist attraction, and carries 140,000 passengers per year.

Passengers queuing for a refund at Llanberis station after the accident | Illustrated London News | 18 April 1896


New Titles
Years Added
Stratford Express 1877, 1888, 1892-1893
Flintshire County Herald 1896
Principality (Cardiff) 1880
Updated Titles

This week we have updated fifteen 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.

Title Years Added
Runcorn Weekly News 1963, 1971-1972, 1974-1976
Liverpool Courier and Commercial Advertiser 1892, 1909-1910
Fife News 1881, 1884, 1887
Marylebone Mercury 1947
Waterford News Letter 1849, 1869
John Bull 1906-1945
Dundalk Herald 1887
Shetland News 1893
Cork Daily Herald 1900
Call (London) 1917
Communist (London) 1923
Clare Advertiser and Kilrush Gazette 1877
Cavan Weekly News and General Advertiser 1869, 1899, 1904
Strabane Weekly News 1911
Ballinrobe Chronicle and Mayo Advertiser 1880

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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