This week at The Archive is a particularly momentous one, if not the most momentous one in our history. For this week we have hit the milestone of 40 million pages in our collection, having added a remarkable 206,530 pages over the past seven days alone.
Not only this, we will be celebrating our 9th Birthday on 29th November 2020. This is immensely poignant as nine years ago we set out with the aim, the target, of digitising 40 million pages, which we have now achieved, and intend to go beyond.
And this week’s new additions represent a microcosm of our amazing collection. We’ve added over 200,000 new pages, which span 150 years of headlines, and cover the length and breadth of Great Britain, as well as adding four brand new titles this week.
So read on to find out about our new titles, the extensive updates we have made to our existing titles, as well as a very special somebody’s 9th Birthday, which was celebrated in April 1935.
Kicking off our new titles this week is the Leicester Evening Mail. Beginning life in the Midlands city as the Leicester Mail, it labelled itself the ‘Cheapest and Best Newspaper’ in the area. Appearing every Friday evening, it promised to be the ‘cheapest paper in the Town.’
Covering, of course, the latest news from Leicester, it also took in the ‘important towns of Loughborough, Melton Mowbray, Ashby-de-la-Zouche, Market Harborough and Hinckley.’
Changing its name to the Leicester Evening Mail in 1931, this newspaper began to appear daily (barring Sunday), priced at only one penny. By 1931 the newspaper’s remit had expanded beyond local news to cover national news, with a strong sporting bias. Local news still remained an important feature of the publication, however, the newspaper winning praise for highlighting the pothole situation in Coleman Road.
We’ve added another Midlands title to our collection this week, with the addition of the Coleshill Chronicle. Established in 1874 it espoused a politically neutral viewpoint, and was devoted to the town of Coleshill, a market town in North Warwickshire. This newspaper had a circulation of 1,000 in 1880, covering Coleshill and the surrounding area, appearing every Saturday priced at one penny.
Its inaugural edition appeared on 25 July 1874. In introducing itself on the publishing scene, the Coleshill Chronicle promised not only to ‘report the events of the little world around us,’ but also to have a wider focus, as its publishers did not ‘foresee the necessity of limiting our subject matter.’
And our next new title hails not too far from Coleshill, only a little more to the north. To that end, we’re delighted to welcome the Rugeley Times to our collection, with over 40,000 pages now available to search. Sadly now out of print, the Rugeley Times was published every Saturday in the Staffordshire town of Rugeley, and promised to be an ‘Independent Newspaper.’
Priced at one penny, its eight pages were jam-packed with local news from Rugeley and South Staffordshire, complete with the latest sporting results, birth, marriage and death notices, news from the local schools, as well as featuring ‘Fashion Fancies,’ short stories and a back page filled with photographs.
Rounding off our new additions this week is the Warrington Examiner. Sister paper to the Runcorn Examiner, Widnes Examiner and the St Helens Examiner (last week’s new titles), the Warrington Examiner appeared every Saturday priced at one penny, also espousing the same liberal viewpoint for which its sister papers were renowned.
With a Shakespearean motto of ‘Nothing extenuate, nor set down aught in malice,’ borrowed from Othello Act 5 Scene 2, the Warrington Examiner was run by journalist Charles Hadfield, who was noted for his championing of working class causes (such as wash houses).
That’s it for our new titles this week, but what about our updated ones? Well, we have twenty three this week, with our updates mainly adopting a Welsh theme, as we have updated fourteen of our Welsh titles this week. Of particular note are the long run of pages we have added to the Monmouthshire Merlin (1841-1880), as well as the over 7,000 pages we have added to the South Wales Daily News. You can view all of our Welsh titles here.
Another update of note this week is the over 90,000 pages we have added to the Civil & Military Gazette (Lahore), which span the years 1881 to 1909. This title was founded in 1872 and represented a merger between the Lahore Chronicle and the India Public Opinion and Panjab Times, and ran for nearly hundred years to 1963.
We have also updated titles from England and Scotland, such as the 16,000 pages we have added from the Lynn Advertiser, and we have added the year 1992 to the Dundee Courier. Finally, we have added more pages to our specialist cinema industry title, the Kinematograph Weekly.
The Ninth Birthday of a Princess
Since we’re celebrating our ninth birthday, we thought we’d take a look at another important ninth birthday, that of the then Princess Elizabeth.
When Princess Elizabeth turned nine on the 21 April 1935, she was the daughter of the Duke of York and not destined to be Queen. Over a year before the abdication crisis, when her life would change forever, we look at how the newspapers of the time celebrated the Princess’s special day.
The new pages we have added to Norfolk title the Lynn Advertiser contain the following brief report on the Princess’s forthcoming birthday: ‘Princess Elizabeth celebrates the ninth anniversary of her birth on Easter Sunday.’
To-day is Princess Elizabeth’s ninth birthday. She is spending it with the Royal Easter party at Windsor Castle, where the King and Queen are in residence.
After breakfast, Princess Elizabeth will open her presents and later attend divine service with her mother and father and other members of the party.
A feature of Princess Elizabeth’s tea party, which will be attended by members of the Royal Family, will be a two-tiered iced cake bearing nine candles, which the little Princess will blow out before cutting the first slice.
Nearly a week after Princess Elizabeth’s birthday, the Burnley Express printed some wonderful ‘anecdotes of Royalty’s home life,’ featuring the interactions between the young Princess and her grandfather the King, George V.
The article in the Burnley Express explains how ‘a large proportion of the stories have Princess Elizabeth as their central figure, and like millions of other grandfathers among his subjects, the King is proud to recount them.’
Indeed, there was a closeness between George V and his young granddaughter, as she ‘was one of the first persons allowed to visit His Majesty regularly after his serious illness in 1929.’ And the King it seems often recounted his favourite moments spent with Princess Elizabeth, instructing a fellow banquet-goer to say to the Duke of York: ‘Moses was an oyster man.’
The Burnley Express goes on to explain ‘the tale behind that cryptic’ remark:
Princess Elizabeth was…having a Bible story read to her. In it occurred the phrase, ‘Moses was an austere man.’ The King’s little granddaughter misheard or misinterpreted the words. ‘What is an oyster man?’
Such an anecdote just shows what a wonderful resource our Archive can be for researching royal history – producers of The Crown, take note!
|Coleshill Chronicle||1874, 1878-1880, 1882-1887, 1889-1895, 1897-1900|
|Leicester Evening Mail||1929-1931|
|Warrington Examiner||1870-1875, 1884-1888, 1891, 1894, 1903, 1905-1908|
This week we have updated twenty-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.