This week we have published an incredible 425,285 brand new pages on The Archive, with 22 brand new newspaper titles joining us over the last seven days alone. Our new titles hail from the north and south of England, as well as from Scotland and from Wales. Meanwhile, we have updated 147 of our existing titles, from Abergele to Acton, from Southall to Spalding, and beyond.
Furthermore, using our new newspapers, we discover more about the tragic sinking of the SS Utopia off the coast of Gibraltar, which claimed the lives of hundreds of Italian emigrants travelling from Naples to New York, in March 1891.
We begin our journey into our new titles of the week with a look at McPhun’s Australian News, a monthly newspaper which represented a ‘Record of Commercial Progress in Australia.’ First published on 1 January 1853, a few years after the first of the Australian gold rushes had begun, McPhun’s Weekly News was particularly focused on the ‘progress of gold discoveries,’ as well as emigration to the country in the southern hemisphere.
Featuring not only the latest ‘but the most authentic intelligence’ from Australia, McPhun’s Australian News contained letters from those working in the country, from the likes of tradesmen, farmers and surgeons. It featured advice on emigrating to Australia; the gold rushes from 1851 causing the Australian population to more than double from 430,000 to 1.7 million twenty years later in 1871. Filling twelve pages, this publication also contained ‘colonial intelligence,’ a ‘summary of the latest news,’ and was published in Glasgow.
Also published in Scotland is the Grantown Supplement, which was published in the Highland town of Grantown-on-Spey. Costing just one halfpenny, the Grantown Supplement appeared every Saturday, and filled eight pages. Indeed, it was described as being ‘the best local medium for advertisements, all public, household, and business announcements, articles wanted or for sale, situations vacant or wanted, [and] articles lost or found.’
Consequently, most of the space in this publication was devoted to its adverts, although it did feature news from the local parish councils, notes and comments on the latest news, and a list of visitors to the town, which was founded in 1765 as a planned settlement, named after landowner Sir James Grant (1738-1811). The town became known as Grantown-on-Spey from 1898 onwards.
Our final Scottish title of the week is the Dumfries & Galloway Courier and Herald, which traces its roots back to 1809 when the Reverend Doctor Henry Duncan (1774-1846) founded the Dumfries and Galloway Courier, his newspaper adopting a moderate to liberal stance, with support for prison reform, suffrage and Catholic emancipation. In 1835 a rival newspaper the Herald was founded in the market town, and the two eventually amalgamated in 1884, when the venture was purchased by local Conservatives, to become the Dumfries & Galloway Courier and Herald.
Circulating ‘generally throughout Dumfriesshire, Kirkcudbrightshire, and Wigtownshire,’ the newspaper appeared twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. In 1939 publication of the title ceased due to paper shortages brought about by the Second World War, and the newspaper was reinstated in 1977 as the Dumfries Courier.
We move to Wales for our next new title of the week, which is the Radnorshire Standard. Published in the Powys town of Llandrindod Wells, which was once part of the historic county of Radnorshire, the Radnorshire Standard was first published on 13 July 1898 as the Radnorshire Standard and Llandrindod Wells Gazette. Costing just one penny, the first edition of the newspaper declared how:
For some years past a desire has been manifested among all classes of Radnor for a weekly journal which should be especially devoted to watching over the affairs of the County and promoting its welfare.
Meanwhile, the first edition of the Radnorshire Standard proclaimed how politically it would represent ‘Conservative and Unionist interests.’ Featuring comment on current affairs, as well as a look at ‘Radnorshire Week by Week,’ and local news from the council and the petty sessions, the newspaper also contained a visitor’s list. Llandrindod Wells had become popular spa during the nineteenth century, and its newspaper contained a list of all those who had visited the town that week. Furthermore, the Radnorshire Standard published a look at the ‘Dress of the Day,’ complete with illustrations, as well as a survey of the latest sporting news.
We travel across the Welsh border now to introduce our next new newspaper, which is the Carlisle Examiner and North Western Advertiser. First published in the Cumbrian city of Carlisle on 26 May 1857, which was historically part of Cumberland, this Liberal newspaper aimed to ‘distinctively and strenuously’ promote ‘a local public sentiment, stronger than the strongest of private influences, in favour of politics and social progress.’
Costing one penny, the Carlisle Examiner circulated in the likes of Carlisle, Wigton, Maryport, Cockermouth, and ‘all the principle towns and villages in the Northern counties of England and the borders of Scotland,’ consisting of four pages.
It’s to Yorkshire we go now, to introduce two sister papers, the East Cleveland Herald & Post and the Middlesbrough Herald & Post. Part of the Herald & Post series, which features six titles covering the Teesside area, including Stockton, Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire, the East Cleveland Herald & Post covers the area to the east of Teesside, incorporating Redcar, Marske-by-the-Sea, Saltburn-by-the-Sea and Guisborough. It was founded in 1983 as the East Cleveland and North Yorkshire Advertiser, before becoming the East Cleveland and North Yorkshire Herald & Post in 1989. It adopted its current title in 1996.
Both these newspapers are freesheets, with circulation of the Herald & Post family of Teesside newspapers reaching 182,571 homes across the area. With a focus on Middlesbrough, the Middlesbrough Herald & Post appears on a Wednesday just like the East Cleveland edition, both newspapers featuring a mix of general and local news, sports features and events information.
From Yorkshire now and across the Pennines to Lancashire, and our next two new titles of the week. The first of our Lancashire duo is the Bebington News, which was the Bebington edition of the Wirral News. Sent to 138,861 homes, this newspaper carried the latest from the town of Bebington, which lies in the parish of Wirral in Merseyside, and historically formed part of Cheshire.
Our second new Lancashire title of the week is the Salford Advertiser, which was published in Eccles, a town in the city of Salford, Greater Manchester. Appearing every Thursday, this newspaper claimed to go ‘into more homes in the area than any other newspaper.’ It had a circulation in the 1980s of 130,272, being distributed across Swinton, Pendlebury, Eccles, Worsley, Walkden and Irlam.
We move further south for our next two new titles of the week, both of which hail from Staffordshire. First up is the Uttoxeter Newsletter, which appeared every Friday priced at 15p in the market town of Uttoxeter, which lies near the Derbyshire border.
Our second new Staffordshire title of the week is Rugeley Mercury, which was established in 1882 as the Rugeley Mercury, Hednesford Courier and Cannock Chase Chronicle, before it became simply the Rugeley Mercury in 1884. A local edition of the Lichfield Mercury, the Rugeley Mercury covered the news from the industrial and market town of Rugeley, and also from the nearby smaller towns of Etchinghill and Brereton. It ceased publication in 2010.
From Staffordshire to Suffolk now, and our next new title of the week, which is the Newmarket Weekly News. First published on the 27 April 1889 in the Suffolk market town of Newmarket, which is known for being the birthplace of thoroughbred horse racing, also having the largest racehorse training centre in Great Britain, the Newmarket Weekly News promised to ‘contain reports of everything worth reporting.’ The newspaper, meanwhile, pledged to exercise ‘the strictest impartiality…in that department,’ whilst being both ‘outspoken and independent.’
Containing short news updates, as well as an ‘Illustrated London Letter,’ the Newmarket Weekly News reported on the latest news from the town of Newmarket, as well as from Cambridge and Ely.
Remaining in the east of England now we are delighted to welcome the Brentwood Gazette to our collection of Essex newspapers. Launched in 1919 and published in the suburban Essex town of Brentwood, this newspaper appears every Wednesday and is ‘packed full of local news, in-depth features and entertainment coverage.’ Published to this day, it circulates in Billericay, Brentwood, Chipping Ongar, Harold Wood and Ingatestone.
The next of our new titles this week is the Royston Weekly News, which was published in the Hertfordshire town of Royston. A lively local newspaper, the Royston Weekly News appeared every Friday and filled eight pages, featuring news from across the area. It contained the latest from the Royston Petty Sessions, the Hertfordshire Quarter Sessions, the Royston Volunteers, the Cambridge Quarter Sessions, as well as reporting on local wills and the early history of Royston. Meanwhile, the thorough newspaper featured ‘District News’ from the likes of Bottisham, Impington and Histon, as well as sporting notes and a look at the game of chess.
We move now to the capital for our next new titles of the week, beginning with the Ruislip & Northwood Gazette. A weekly tabloid newspaper, the Ruislip & Northwood Gazette was founded in 1951 as a replacement for the old Ruislip and Northwood edition of the Middlesex Advertiser & County Gazette. Sold in the London Borough of Hillingdon every Wednesday, in 2009 the title was split into two, becoming respectively the Ruislip & Eastcote Gazette and the Northwood & Rickmansworth Gazette. In 2011 the titles were remerged, and the publication resumed the title of the Ruislip & Northwood Gazette in 2012.
Now to north London, and we’re delighted to welcome the Wembley Leader to our collection. Circulating in Wembley, Kingsbury, Kenton, Sudbury, Alperton, Dollis Hill and Neasden, the Wembley Leader appeared every Friday and was delivered to 51,333 homes across the area.
From north to east now, and our next new title of the week, which is the Woodford and District Advertiser. First published on 28 April 1906, the newspaper also incorporated the ‘Upton, Ilford and Forest Gate Advertiser,’ boasting ‘a large circulation throughout the Epping Forest parishes.’ Published in the suburban town of Woodford, which is now part of Greater London and historically formed part of Essex, the newspaper contained news from across the area. For example, the Woodford and District Advertiser reported on the latest from Essex County Cricket Club, the Epping Petty Sessions, as well as reporting on local football and the news from the likes of Chingford, Epping and Wanstead.
It’s to Surrey we go now for our next new title of the week, and it is the Caterham Mirror. A weekly tabloid serving the Surrey town of Caterham, this newspaper was founded in 1933 as the Caterham Times. Appearing every Thursday, it was relaunched in 1986 as the Caterham Mirror, a sub-edition of the Surrey Mirror.
Our next two new titles of the week hail from the south east of England, from Kent to be precise, and first up is the Kent Times. First published in Maidstone, the largest town in Kent, on 12 March 1875 as the Kent & Sussex Times, Maidstone, Canterbury, Rochester and Chatham Herald, this newspaper positioned itself as a ‘Liberal Independent’ publication, costing just one pence. Appearing every Friday, the Kent Times circulated throughout Kent and Sussex and filled eight pages.
Indeed, the first edition of the Kent Times proclaimed how ‘Liberals of the towns and villages of Kent have long felt the want of a more spirited and more earnest press representation,’ and to this end the newspaper was outspoken in its support of the working classes. Meanwhile, the Kent Times featured a ‘summary of passing events,’ news from Kent and the county’s assizes, as well as columns devoted to ‘Town Talk’ and ‘London Amusements.’
Our second Kentish title this week is the Isle of Thanet Gazette and Thanet Times, which was originally known as Keble’s Margate & Ramsgate Gazette, and Broadstairs, St. Peter’s, Birchington, and Minster Times, and East Kent Advertiser. Published by Harman Keble in Margate at the initial cost of one and a half pence, the Isle of Thanet Gazette is still published to this day, every Friday, covering the news from Broadstairs, Margate, Minster, Ramsgate and Westgate-on-Sea.
Our penultimate new title of the week is the Clevedon Mercury, which was first published in Somerset seaside town of Clevedon in 1859. Neutral in its politics, it cost two pence and circulated in Clevedon, Weston-super-Mare, Yatton, Wrington, Nailsea, Kingston, Portishead, Bourton and ‘Somerset generally.’ The Clevedon Mercury contained a ‘weekly list of visitors and residents’ to the resort town, as well as ‘copious reports of all local matters and a selection of foreign and general news.’
In the 1980s the Clevedon Mercury became a tabloid, before transitioning into a freesheet in the 1990s. The final issues of the historic newspaper appeared in April 2012.
We remain in the West Country for our final new title of the week, which is the Ilfracombe Chronicle. Established in the North Devon seaside resort town of Ilfracombe in 1860, the Ilfracombe Chronicle filled six pages and cost one pence. Liberal in its politics, it contained ‘the general news of the week, and a list of resident gentry and visitors of Ilfracombe and neighbourhood.’ The newspaper circulated also in Barnstaple, Bideford, and ‘generally throughout Devonshire and the adjoining counties.’
That’s it from all our new titles of the week, and with 147 of our existing titles updated over the past seven days alone it would be impossible to mention them all (although, of course, you will find a complete list of them at the end of this blog). Highlights of our updated titles this week include the over 27,000 pages we have added to the Cambridge Daily News, whilst we have added over 18,000 pages to the Lynn Advertiser. We have also added over 12,000 pages to the Grimsby Daily Telegraph and over 10,000 pages to the Nuneaton Chronicle.
The Sinking of the SS Utopia
On 17 March 1891 transatlantic passenger steamship the SS Utopia sank in the Bay of Gibraltar, claiming 562 lives. The majority of those who lost their lives that day were Italian emigrants, who were travelling from Naples to New York when the tragedy struck. Using our new newspapers, we take a look at this tragedy, which befell the Glasgow-built ship when she collided with a British battleship the HMS Anton, over 130 years ago this month.
The brief telegram which was published in the newspapers Wednesday morning from Gibraltar, announcing a collision between the Anchor Line steamer Utopia and a British war vessel in Gibraltar Bay on the previous evening, has now been supplemented by details which show that the disaster was of an appalling magnitude.
The newspaper detailed how the ship was carrying 830 emigrants from Naples to New York, when:
…abreast of the British ironclad Anson, flagship of Rear Admiral Jones, second in command of the Channel Squadron, which was lying at anchor in the bay, the Utopia was seen to stagger as if unable to make headway against the strong current running out at the time. In a moment the strong gale, combined with this current, swept the ill-fated vessel across the bows of the Anson…with a formidable ram. This ram cut the steamer bodily, and she then drifted before the wind and sea until the rapid inrush of the water made her begin to settle down.
The Utopia was sinking, and sinking fast, and as Dumfries & Galloway Courier and Herald reported, the surrounding ships were quick to attempt to rescue its crew and passengers:
Boats were at once lowered from the Anson and other vessels of the British Squadron, as well as from the Swedish warship Freya…
The newspaper graphically relates the ‘shrieking of the poor creatures’ from the SS Utopia, who awaited their rescue. But:
The sea was running so heavily that the boats could not approach the wreck with any hope of taking off those on board…people were swept off the decks into the sea.
Despite such appalling conditions, the wind and rain being described as ‘blinding,’ 24 members of the crew were rescued, including the captain, the ship’s doctor and two officers. Only 292 of the 830 passengers were saved.
The grim reality of the Italian emigrants’ attempted voyage to a better life in America was evidenced when divers approached the wreck of the Utopia. The Dumfries & Galloway Courier and Herald detailed how:
Between the decks the closely-packed mass was seen by the divers and the attitude of many of the bodies affords only too clear evidence of the terrible struggle for life which must have taken place in the brief instance between the striking of the ship and her going down.
Their conditions were cramped and overcrowded, and the passengers stood no chance when the ship went down, which took all of twenty minutes
But it was not only the passengers and crew members of the SS Utopia who lost their lives that March day. Two British seamen from the HMS Immoralité died in their attempt to reach the sinking ship, and one of them, George Hales, was commemorated by our new newspaper the Kent Times, who recognised him as a ‘Local Hero.’
Indeed, George’s father James hailed from Loose, near Maidstone, and the Kent newspaper printed the words that were written on a wreath presented by the inhabitants of Gibraltar:
In memoriam. From the inhabitants of Gibraltar to George Hales, stoker HMS Immoraltie, who lost his life on the night of the 17th March 1891, while bravely trying to save the lives of the unfortunate passengers and crew of the ill-fated S.S. Utopia.
|Carlisle Examiner and North Western Advertiser||1857-1870|
|Dumfries & Galloway Courier and Herald||1884-1894, 1896|
|East Cleveland Herald & Post||1987-1988|
|Ilfracombe Chronicle||1882, 1888|
|Isle of Thanet Gazette and Thanet Times||1877|
|Kent Times||1875-1889, 1891-1912|
|McPhun’s Australian News||1853-1855|
|Middlesbrough Herald & Post||1987|
|Newmarket Weekly News||1889|
|Royston Weekly News||1907, 1910|
|Ruislip & Northwood Gazette||1988|
|Woodford and District Advertiser||1906-1915|
This week we have updated 147 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.