Modern Life | The British Newspaper Archive Blog


Hot Off The Press – New Titles This Week

This week at The Archive we have added 99,778 brand new pages, with seven brand new special interest titles joining our collection over the past seven days, which provide an incredible snapshot of early twentieth century culture. From cars to yachts, from movies to the modern man, our new titles this week furnish an exciting panorama of what life was like over one hundred years ago.

Meanwhile, we have extensive updates to some of our existing titles, with over 50,000 pages being added to some of our historic Lincolnshire newspapers. So read on to discover more about all our new and updated publications of the week, as well as to discover more about a thoroughly modern figure – the woman driver – and the waves she was making in post First World War society.

Register now and explore the Archive

First of our wonderful new seven titles this week is the Children’s Paper, which by 1920 cost one penny and appeared every month, filling 24 pages. The Children’s Paper was founded in 1855 by Christian publishers T. Nelson and Sons, who began their business in Edinburgh and are now based in Nashville, Tennessee, and continue to be ‘world leading publishers and providers of Christian content.’

Children’s Paper | 1 March 1920

Described in 1857 as ‘The Best of All Juvenile Publications of the Day,’ the Children’s Paper was one of Britain’s earliest publications to be solely directed at children, providing educational and Christian content for them. Indeed, in the same year it was noted how:

No family should be without [the Children’s Paper]. Parents will find it invaluable as an aid in the religious instruction of their children. No Sunday School should be without it. Teachers will find it an invaluable assistant to their important duties. It has been warmly commended by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the following recommended of the work has been signed by ministers of all denominations throughout the country:

‘We gladly take this opportunity of expressing our extreme gratification at seeing so much literary ability and artistic skill brought to bear in a Children’s Paper on the illustration and enforcement of so much precious truth.’

Children’s Paper | 1 January 1923

Roundly praised by the Christian establishment, by 1920 the Children’s Paper was still going strong, featuring a wonderfully illustrated and often colourful front page. It also continued as a Christian newspaper, containing a ‘Golden Text for the Month’ taken from the Bible, as well as illustrated Bible stories, such as ‘The Pillar of Fire – The Story of Moses and His Times’ by Roy Dawson. Meanwhile, the Children’s Paper featured serialized fiction, such as a Clarissa A. Kneeland story called ‘Smugglers’ Island and the Devil Fires of San Moros,’ as well as plays, complete with illustrations, such as ‘Cousin Anne – a Play for the Holidays’ by Ethel Talbot.

An important feature of the Children’s Paper were the competitions it ran. For example, the editor set several questions about ‘Divisions of Time,’ with ‘book prizes for the best answer.’ There was also a ‘motto’ competition, in which the winning entry was placed beside the ‘Golden Text for the Month,’ and a ‘Postmark Competition.’ The ‘Postmark Competition’ provided six stamps, but with some of the letters missing, and so readers were invited to identify the names of the six missing towns. The editor would then give a prize for ‘the most correct and the neatest answers.’

Children’s Paper | 1 January 1920

With an audience of up to sixteen years of age, the Children’s Paper provides a wonderful window into what life was like for young people in the 1920s. The adverts in the newspaper are particularly illustrative of this, with advertisements, for example, for a book called The Children’s Story of the War by Sir Edward Parrott, suggesting the difficulties for children growing up after the devastating conflict of just a couple of years before.

Our next new title of the week was edited by war correspondent and author George Frederick Abbott (1874-1947), but had an altogether different theme. His Gallery Gazette was first published in 1921 and appeared monthly, aiming to ‘represent the playgoing public, more especially those who frequent the cheaper parts of the theatre.’ This was going to be guide to the theatres for the people, which appeared every month priced at two pence and consisting of four pages.


For too long have the Managers been in possession of the journalistic field. The Gallery Gazette is absolutely independent, and, in order to retain that attitude, emphatically refuses to accept any advertisements from theatrical managements…The average playgoer asks for two main things at the theatre: a good play and good acting. This sums up the demands of the Gallery Gazette.

Gallery Gazette | 1 June 1921

The Gallery Gazette was set to be ‘the playgoers paper,’ and to this end it featured a ‘Look at First Nights’ (provided somewhat ominously by N.O. Hope) as well as ‘Gallery Gossip,’ which contained scraps overheard, for example, at the Gaiety. Meanwhile, the Gallery Gazette published a ‘Gazette Diary,’ which listed and reviewed the day’s current plays, such as Up in Mabel’s RoomOthello and Major Barbara.

Another feature of the Gallery Gazette was details of the outings of ‘The Gallery First-Nighters,’ a group who would attend a play’s first night. All in all, the Gallery Gazette provides an affectionate and thorough look at early 1920s theatre.

Far removed from the frivolities of theatreland and London’s West End is our next new publication of the week, the Irish Exile. First published on 1 March 1921, the Irish Exile appeared every month and was ‘An Organ of Irish Movements In and Around London.’

Indeed, the Irish Exile was produced by the Irish Self-Determination League (ISDL), which was established in London in 1919. Members had to be of ‘Irish birth or descent,’ and the organisation was described by Seán McGrath as being ‘the outstanding public organisation which speaks and acts with the authority of the Irish men and women resident in these countries.’ These countries were England, Scotland and Wales, and by 1921 the ISDL had 20,000 members, with its support given to the Anti-Treaty IRA during the Irish Civil War of 1922-1923.

Irish Exile | 1 April 1921

The first edition of the Irish Exile was published with this rallying cry:

The Press of the World cries out against the tyranny of England, and the scattered millions of the Irish race are putting forth their strength. The Irish in Great Britain, banded together, are taking part in the support, by all constitutional means, of Self-Determination for their fellow countrymen. With tears they behold the agony of their Motherland, but, strong in the ultimate triumph of right and justice, they look forward to the dawn of another St Patrick’s Day, when the world will acclaim with joy IRELAND FREE AND INDEPENDENT.

Featured within the twelve pages of the Irish Exile were such sections as ‘From the Shan Van Voght,’ which is the Anglicised version of ‘Sean Bhean Bhoct’ or the ‘Poor Old Woman,’ a title commonly given to the oppressed Irish people. Examples of British cruelty were also provided, with articles describing the ‘Torturing of Irish Prisoners,’ ‘Reprisals Against Babies’ and ‘How England Robs Ireland.’ Indeed, the Irish Exile describes ‘British Barbarism’ as being ‘Worse Than the Huns.’

Alongside such propaganda the Irish Exile featured poetry, as well as descriptions of the ‘Gatherings of the Gael,’ that is the meetings of the different branches of the ISDL, which had branches across London, from Poplar to Fulham, from Balham to Stepney, from Battersea to Marylebone. Meanwhile, the Irish Exile contained a rallying call to join the ISDL, featuring twelve reasons to do so, the first and last being ‘Because you are Irish.’

Irish Exile | 1 March 1921

However, the ISDL was eventually disbanded, the Irish Exile ceasing publication in 1922. On 11 March 1923 one hundred of its members were arrested in London, Glasgow and Liverpool at the behest of the Irish Free State, and were deported to Ireland. Amongst the hundred deportees was Art O’Brien, the former editor of the Irish Exile.

From the Irish struggle for self determination now to the Modern Man, which was ‘A Weekly Journal of Masculine Interests’ that was first published on 7 November 1908. An often revealing look at Edwardian masculinity, the one penny publication offered the man about town advice on how to conduct himself in a variety of situations, forcefully stating its claim to be ‘The Paper for Men.’

Modern Man | 19 February 1910

The Modern Man covered a variety of different ‘masculine interests,’ from a look at the joys of smoking in ‘Weed Worship,’ for ‘a woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke,’ to a look at ‘Rapid Physical Development’ by F.G. Mitchell, a weekly column with detailed and illustrated advice on different exercises for the chest, arms and legs. Meanwhile, Modern Man could furnish tips on ‘How to Learn Golf,’ or ‘Lighting a Match in Windy Weather,’ or even ‘Practical Hints for the Horseman.’

Modern Man | 10 November 1908

Modern Man also featured a business column, ‘Business is Business,’ which was conducted by P.A. MacNaughten and featured advice on ‘Extracting a Rise’ and dropping your ‘local colour’ in order to fit in with a London office environment. Meanwhile, such ‘Town Workers’ could find out how to acquire a ‘Ruddy Countenance,’ with a page entitled ‘The Outer Man,’ conducted by Captain L.H. Saunders, devoted to outdoor pursuits.

The Modern Man also featured a range of short stories, as well as a look at sport, with a section entitled ‘Kicks – Some Remarks on the Great Game.’ But by 1913 the Modern Man had expanded its remit, becoming ‘A Weekly Newspaper of General Interest’ and on 10 May 1913 it became Modern Life.

Describing itself as ‘cleverly illustrated, witty and bright,’ Modern Life had pivoted to include a female audience, including for example, ‘Royal and Society News,’ with a look at Princess Mary’s ‘first flirtation’ (which was allegedly with her cousin, Prince Erik of Denmark), and a section entitled ‘Things the Ladies Would Like to Know.’ Indeed, Modern Life was something of a gossip magazine now, with regular features like  ‘Other People’s Indiscretions and Things We Have Heard,’ and a focus on the sensational and the salacious, featuring looks at ‘Royal and Noble Love Affairs.’

Modern Life | 13 December 1913

Modern Life was not without its opinions either, its ‘Plain Speaking’ column attacking everything from suffragettes to motor cars, as well as ‘sloppy sentimentality.’ However, it did manage to include something from its former format, including its look at the world of business, and Captain L.H. Saunders’s column ‘The Outer Man.’

And whilst Modern Life might have been declaring that motors were ‘murder,’ the Motor Owner arrived on the publishing scene in June 1919 declaring quite the opposite. The Motor Owner was set to be:

The New Monthly Magazine for those who drive their own car and who own a car….The motor owner has longed needed a magazine of his own – that tells him about cars – accessories – roads, and in fact, all he wants to know about motoring in a language he can understand. A Magazine that will help and defend his cause. In fact – a Magazine of absorbing intelligence to everyone who loves the open road.

Motor Owner | 1 July 1919

Indeed, like the Gallery Gazette, the Motor Owner was to be run on democratic lines, not pandering to manufacturers but to ‘the advantage of private motorists:’

The Motor Owner will live up to its name, and be conducted in the interest of the man who buys the car, and not mainly, as has too often been the case, for the benefit of the man who makes it.

And the Motor Owner had another unique selling point – it was set to be ‘The most beautiful publication in Britain’ – and whilst we at The Archive try to remain neutral on such points, we have to agree that it is one of the most visually appealing publications we have ever added to our collection. Presented ‘on art paper,’ the Motor Owner featured ‘the highest standard of picture printing to-day,’ with lavish front pages and ‘beautifully coloured pictorial advertisements.’ This publication, therefore, is so much more than the text it contains, featuring beautiful photographs and illustrations from this golden age of early motoring.

Motor Owner | 1 June 1919

Aside from such wonderful illustrations and photographs, the Motor Owner, which appeared monthly priced at one shilling, also covered all ‘aspects of private motoring, either as regards touring or home management of the car.’ Indeed, it featured new models, advice on ‘Buying a Car,’ a look at advances in technology, such as the ‘Revolution in Steering.’ It also looked at driving destinations, such as the French Riveria and locations closer to home, such as Fountains Abbey. Meanwhile, the Motor Owner covered the social aspects of driving, looking at how more and more women were now drivers (more on that later), featuring also a special woman’s column conducted by Christobel Nicholson.

Motor Owner | 1 January 1921

And if the Motor Owner is a love-letter to motoring, then our next new title is a love-letter to cinema. Movie-Land, edited by journalist and writer Helen Sevrez, was first published on 3 January 1921 at the cost of six pence. ‘Lavishly illustrated,’ Movie-Land was set to contain ‘original contributions from the pens of well-known writers and authoritative articles on all screen topics,’ with a particular focus on British cinema.

Movie-Land | 24 January 1921

Selling itself as the ‘British Cinema Weekly de Luxe,’ its first edition discussed the choice of its title, Movie-Land, explaining how:

‘Movie’…comes glidingly off the tongue…You won’t find ‘movie’ in a dictionary…’Movie’ is in every sense a picturesque word. Life, palpitating, ardent life, incessant movement, abounding adventure. This is what ‘movie’ means. ‘Movieland’ – a land of limitless surprise; a land of moon-haunted rivers and mysterious mountains…a land which holds us breathless with the wonders of our own age…’Movieland’ [is] for the multitude. It is the word for the people.

For the people, for the picturesque, the above captures the whimsy of Movie-Land, and the romance of the screen which it embodies. Movie-Land, meanwhile, set out to ‘give every encouragement to British Films,’ for example featuring such sections as ‘British Films for British People.’ It also featured full page illustrations and photographs of those involved in movieland, from actors to writers, whilst also publishing a range of interviews with producers and actors.

Movie-Land | 3 January 1921

Movie-Land covered the ‘pictures’ of the week, as well as featuring a short story, a look at French cinema, as well as encompassing the world of dance. A beautiful, ephemeral publication, Movie-Land captures the enticing romance of cinema in the early 1920s.

Our final new title of the week is the Yacht Owner and Motor Boat Owner. With its preliminary issue appearing on 5 January 1924, its first official edition appeared on 15 March 1924, edited by Henry J. Grandison at the cost of six pence. Its first edition explained how:

Our launch is made without ostentation…we will be open for the publication of items of interest referring to any club…We shall always invite correspondence on any matters of interest to yachtsmen, and we trust that yachtsmen generally will avail themselves of this invitation.

Yacht Owner and Motor Boat Owner | 17 May 1924

A publication, therefore, devoted to all things yachts and motor boats, the Yacht Owner featured a list of sailing fixtures, a look at boat building, as well as publishing such articles as the ‘Evolution of Motor Boats.’ Meanwhile, it featured the latest from a range of different clubs, such as the Royal Scottish Motor Yacht Club, the Royal Northern Yacht Club, the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club, the Thames Estuary Club, and the British Motor Boat Club, to name a few.

In addition to this, the thorough weekly publication contained yachting and motor boat news from across the country, from Cowes, the Clyde and Dartmouth, containing also, for example, descriptions of ‘Marine and Small Craft Exhibitions.’

That’s it from our fantastic seven new titles of the week – meanwhile we have added over 27,000 pages to the Spalding Guardian, and over 30,000 pages to the historic Stamford Mercury, both newspapers hailing from the county of Lincolnshire.

‘The Woman Driver Has Come Into Her Own’

In June 1919 the Motor Owner published an article entitled ‘An Intrepid Lady Driver,’ detailing the experiences of Muriel Thompson, who had driven ambulances throughout the First World War. This reflected an important societal shift; before women had been ridiculed for driving cars, and now they were being praised and being accepted as drivers, as Christobel Nicholson noted in the same edition of Motor Owner:

Before the war, a woman who drove a car, or rode a motor-cycle, was regarded with a certain amount of suspicion. She must be strong-minded…was certainly therefore a freak, and probably a suffragette.

‘Mrs Grundy did not at all approve,’ and she would not have approved of Muriel Thompson, dubbed by the Motor Owner as ‘one of the best lady drivers who ever lived,’ and who raced extensively before the war:

Her handling of the well-known Austin ‘Pobble’ was particularly admired at Brooklands, where she competed in many inter-club events as a member of the Berkshire Automobile Club. As a matter of fact, she was particularly adept in blindfold races, winning ever one in which she competed, an achievement which was not merely due to her driving skill, but also to the exercise of reason.

Motor Owner | 1 June 1919

And when war broke out, Muriel Thompson was quick to volunteer:

She joined the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry, which was the first woman’s organisation to go to the Front. The British War Office, however, at that time would have no truck with women drivers, and the work of the corps, in the first instance, was associated with the Belgian army.

Christobel Nicholson, in her article ‘Is It a Woman’s Job?,’ also describes the suspicion that women drivers were met with by the British Army:

We offered our services to the British Army, but we had not proved our worth. We were untried, and our own countrymen smiled cynically, turned us down, and left it to the Belgians to experiment with us.

Motor Owner | 1 June 1919

In 1915 Muriel Thompson travelled to Calais, and joined with the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY), whose work with the Belgian army proved to be vital, as describes the Motor Owner:

At that time the Belgian army was practically destitute, and the F.A.N.Y. ambulances were not only welcomed in respect of their work among the wounded, but also from the fact the drivers used to get up early in the morning to load up with socks, cigarettes, etc., and drive out to the Belgian lines.

Motor Owner | 1 June 1919

Muriel Thompson would go on to receive the Cross of the Order of Leopold II from the King of the Belgians for ‘bravery under fire.’ And meanwhile, as the war went on, attitudes towards women drivers necessarily had begun to change, as Christobel Nicholson relates:

Before long, however, in the inevitable shortage of men, it became necessary not only to employ the already seasoned women drivers but to train recruits as well. Schools for instruction in driving and repairs sprang up by the dozen, and girls passed out by the hundred, thinking themselves totally efficient, only to find that they were to receive further careful tuition at the hands of the Army.

Very gradually, and rather unwillingly at first, public opinion on the subject of women drivers changed as the war went on, and the women drivers altered too. They began to realize their capabilities and their responsibilities, and many who had regarded the idea as impossible before the war will now take unto themselves a car.

In 1916 Muriel Thompson found herself working for a ‘British Red Cross motor ambulance column at Calais,’ where she worked for two years as second in command, before moving in January 1918 to St. Omer, France, to command a FANY convoy. For her war work, in which she drove through air raids ‘practically all through the war,’ Muriel Thompson was awarded the British Military Medal, and the French Croiz de Guerre.

Motor Owner | 1 June 1919

And so, the bravery of such women like Muriel, and Christobel Nicholson too, had paved the way for women drivers to be accepted, with more and more women now being able to drive by 1919. Moreover, Nicholson relates how women:

…will know now exactly what [car] they want. The colour of the body and the texture of the upholstery will no longer be the deciding factors, for women know an engine when they see it now. They will want to test it on the road, on hills, and in traffic.

Motor Owner | 1 June 1919

And meanwhile:

Women will take motoring for granted, and be taken for granted. The pubic are by this time used used to it. The days of amused and jeering crowds are over…The woman driver has learned a great deal; but she has taught a great deal too. She has shown the world that although she can soil her hands, if need be, she can still sew a fine seam. She can hose a car in gum-boots and an overall, but that does not prevent her from appearing in satin slippers and a Paris creation in the evening.

Advert for ‘Clinchers’ tyres | 1 June 1919

The ‘woman owner-driver’ by 1919 had ‘come to her own,’ and to this end the Motor Owner was producing content expressly for her. Browse the pages of this wonderful publication to find out more here.

New Titles
Years Added
Children’s Paper 1920-1925
Gallery Gazette 1921
Irish Exile 1921-1922
Modern Man 1908-1915
Motor Owner 1919-1930
Movie-Land 1921
Yacht Owner and Motor Boat Owner 1924
Updated Titles

This week we have updated six 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 Added
Bootle Times 1886
Leicester Evening Mail 1917-1918
Newark Advertiser 1931-1957
Spalding Guardian 1903-1911, 1913-1918, 1920-1930, 1932-1934, 1944-1946, 1948-1952, 1958-1960, 1964, 1976, 1978-1979, 1982, 1985
Staffordshire Newsletter 1982
Stamford Mercury 1954-1985, 1987

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.


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a reply:

Your email address will not be published.