This week at The Archive we are celebrating reaching a landmark 39 million pages – all now available to search. Our presses have again been whirring to bring you an incredible 288,912 brand new pages added during this week alone – with over 120 years of headlines from national and regional titles, 4 brand new titles from England and Scotland, and extensive updates to our existing titles too.
Read on to discover more about all of this week’s exciting updates, as well as the fascinating history of early women’s football!
Our first new title (and largest addition of the week) is the Peterborough Standard. Established in 1872 as the Peterborough and Huntingdonshire Standard, this publication appeared weekly priced at one penny. Covering local, national and international news, the Peterborough Standard also had a focus on the counties of Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire.
In 1931 it was renamed to simply the Peterborough Standard, and you can search over 50,000 pages of this new publication on The Archive, from 1872 through to 1962.
We move now to Scotland for our next new titles – the Haddingtonshire Advertiser and East-Lothian Journal and the Invergordon Times and General Advertiser. The Haddingtonshire Advertiser and East-Lothian Journal was first published in the historic Royal Burgh of Haddington in February 1881. Its first edition notes the ‘needfulness and urgency of supplying the community of East Lothian with a periodical which in every respect will justify the adoption of the distinct title of a Newspaper.’
Furthermore, the new title promises to be ‘faithful, reliable,’ and to offer ‘in so far as is practicable, unabridged reports of all events occurring in the district without regard to personal feeling, to external influence, or to the claims of party or crowd.’ Priced at one penny, it ‘guaranteed impartiality’ when it came to reporting on politics, appearing weekly every Friday.
The Invergordon Times and General Advertiser also promised political neutrality. Published in the port of Invergordon, this newspaper appeared every Wednesday and was established in 1855, covering the counties of Ross, Cromarty, Inverness and Sutherland.
Our last new title this week is a unique one to say the least – Ben Brierley’s Journal. But who exactly was Ben Brierley and what can we expect from his journal? Benjamin Brierley was born in 1825 in Failsworth, Oldham, and was a weaver. But Brierley’s passion was for writing, and he chose to write in the Lancashire dialect. He became a prolific journalist, contributing Lancashire-inspired sketches to Colman’s Magazine, as well as serving in the Manchester City Council from 1875.
It was in April 1869 that he founded his own Manchester-based publication, Ben Brierley’s Journal. Priced at two pence, it promised to be a ‘Journal of Literature, Science and Art,’ featuring poems and serialized pieces of fiction. Local in character, showcasing much of the Lancashire comic dialect that Brierley loved, it still had a wider appeal and its fifth edition sold 13,000 copies.
Indeed, Ben Brierley’s Journal was ‘dedicated to healthy and humorous reading.’ Brierley created in the magazine the persona of Ab-o’-th’-Yate (Abraham at the Gate), a shrewd, roguish, working-class character. In 1874, Brierley partnered with his brother-in-law James Firth to transform the journal into an illustrated weekly. Ben Brierley’s Journal was to run until December 1891, all this time edited by Brierley himself, who passed away on 18 January 1896. Brieley was a passionate autodidact, and Ben Brierley’s Journal embodied all the joys of reading, its editor being known as a ‘legendary figure’ in his lifetime.
Now to our updated titles – of which there are 12 this week alone. Of particular note are the 20,000 pages we have added to Wales’s Port Talbot Guardian, which ran from 1925 to 2009 and covered Port Talbot, Baglan, Margan and the Afan Valley. We have also added the year 1918 to national tabloid newspaper the Daily Mirror, which you can search here.
We also have updates to some of our English regional titles, including London’s Marylebone Mercury, Cheshire’s Nantwich Chronicle and Yorkshire’s Bradford Observer. We’ve also updated four of our Scottish titles – including Orkney’s Northman and Northern Counties Advertiser and the Kelso Mail, published in Roxburghshire.
Early Women’s Football – Scotland v England 1881
Over decade before the Scottish Football Association’s first recorded women’s football match of 1892, and England’s in 1895, we found descriptions of a ‘Ladies’ Football Match in Edinburgh,‘ which was played in May 1881.
The Kirkcaldy Times relates how ‘This match attracted about 2000 persons…and a most disappointing spectacle, so far as football was concerned, was witnessed.’ Reports of the time are entirely derogatory, despite the home team ‘winning by three goals to none.’
The women took to the pitch at 3 o’clock, wearing ‘coloured jerseys, sashes, knickerbockers,’ and the ‘leather was set in motion.’ The Kirkcaldy Times contains this report of the match:
It was not long…ere any novice could have decided that the players knew little of the game. They were slow in their movements except, perhaps, when they were in a few feet of the goal, when their tongues were in full swing. The game ended in favour of Scotland by three goals to nothing.
We can only imagine that the women’s vociferousness is being condemned here as well as their apparent lack of sporting ability, and this was not the only condemnation that these pioneering women were to face. The Helensburgh News comments on the proceedings in a similar manner:
The exhibition was in questionable taste. The elevating influence of women is great, but it is doubtful if it extends to football.
A month later, the Kirkcaldy Times is reporting how ‘The ‘lady’ football players are having a hard time of it,’ but instead of expressing sympathy for them, the report expresses the hope that they will pack in such behaviour and behave how women at the time were expected to behave:
An unappreciative public threatens to mob them after paying for admission to the ground where the exhibition takes place; but it is still worse, a gatekeeper makes off with all their hard cash. Let us hope this latter calamity will have the effect of sending these females, who have been so eager to unsex themselves, to their homes.
It is clear that women playing football in the 1880s represented a huge threat to the gender status quo, which required women to stick to their entirely domestic spheres. Let us not forget, then, these pioneering women who dared to reject the norm. In the 1890s women’s football finally gained some recognition, hitting the height of popularity in the early 1920s, before a ban was put in place by the Football Association in 1921, which lasted until 1971. The FA eventually apologised for this ban in 2008.
|Haddingtonshire Advertiser and East-Lothian Journal||1881-1888|
|Invergordon Times and General Advertiser||1879-1886, 1888, 1892|
|Ben Brierley’s Journal||1874-1881, 1883-1884, 1886, 1888-1889|
This week we have updated twelve 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.
|Port Talbot Guardian||1961-1980|
|Northman and Northern Counties Advertiser||1880, 1882-1883, 1885-1886|
|Kelso Mail||1876, 1879-1880, 1883-1884, 1886|
|Kirkcaldy Times||1880-1882, 1884-1885|
|Wolverhampton Express and Star||1874-1876, 1878-1879, 1881|
|Evening Mail||1861-1864, 1868|
|Marylebone Mercury||1926-1932, 1934, 1936-1937, 1946|
|Manchester Times||1857, 1863|