A Dog's Life in Wartime | The British Newspaper Archive Blog


Hot Off The Press – New Titles This Week

This week we have added another 256,709 brand new pages to our collection, with an amazing ten brand new publications joining us from across England and Scotland. Meanwhile, we have updated 64 of our existing titles over the past seven days, with additions to some of our international titles, to our Welsh language titles, and to our national and regional titles.

So read on to discover more about all of our new titles of the week, which hail from Erdington to Stanmore, as well as to discover which of our existing titles have been updated. Meanwhile, you can find out more about a ‘A Dog’s Life in War Time’ thanks to our new south west London title, which covered the news from Battersea and Wandsworth.

Register now and explore the Archive

We start our whistle-stop tour of our ten new titles this week in Edinburgh, with the National Observer, which began life as the Scots Observer in 1888. First published on 24 November 1888, the newspaper positioned itself as a ‘Record and Review,’ offering comment on both national and international news. With articles tackling ‘The Irish Land Purchase Bill Debate’ to the ‘Government of Queensland,’ the National Observer was a robust publication that addressed everything from sport (‘The Spread of Golf) to art (‘Royal Scottish Academy School’).

National Observer | 13 March 1897

But at the heart of the National Observer were its reviews. The publication, which initially cost seven pence, featured literary, music and drama reviews, with articles like ‘The Last Works of George Meredith.’ It also featured original poetry. In 1890 the newspaper changed its name from the Scots Observer to the National Observer, whilst in 1897 it became known as the National Observer and British Review of Politics, Economics, Literature, Science and Art, demonstrating its wider remit, which now incorporated economics and science. Now variously published between London and Edinburgh, the final editions of the National Observer were published in the latter city.

Another of our new titles this week with a national outlook is the historic Evening Times 1825, which was first published on 14 November 1825 in London, at the cost of seven pence. An eminently thorough evening paper, which appeared daily, barring Sundays, the Evening Times featured extensive reports on ‘foreign news’ items, from the French and German papers, as well as from countries like Denmark, Sweden and Colombia.

Evening Times 1825 | 24 November 1825

Meanwhile, the first of edition of this newspaper featured this strident comment on its political stance:

The political conduct of this Journal will be dictated by a sense of favours which, as Citizens, we have received – by a sense of gratitude for that wisdom, perseverance, and fidelity, which defended the Nation midst the hurricane which has passed – which rescued the State bark from the dangers that threatened, and moored it unimpaired in the heaven of Peace, and which, midst the wreck of Kingdoms and States, preserve entire, our Institutions, our Liberties, our Religion, and our Laws.

Furthermore, it professed its ‘profound respect’ towards the Crown, the ‘most inalienable regard’ towards the Church, and a ‘firm and unalterable devotion’ to the People.

We move to a more local level now with our next eight new titles of the week, and we begin our exploration of these with a journey to Birmingham and the Erdington News. A weekly newspaper that appeared every Saturday, this title covered the Birmingham suburb of Erdington, which was historically a part of Warwickshire. Filling twenty pages, the Erdington News cost three pence and covered all the news from the area.

Erdington News | 28 January 1950

From Warwickshire now to Lincolnshire, and our next two titles of the week, the Gainsborough Target and the Lincoln Target. The latter newspaper, the Lincoln Target, was founded in 1982 as a free sister paper to the Lincolnshire Echo, and it was delivered to newspapers across the cathedral city of Lincoln, as well as to the nearby towns and villages like Washingborough, Saxilby, Waddington and Nettleham. Appearing every Thursday, the Lincoln Target ceased publication in July 2012 with the publication of a west Lincolnshire edition of the Lincolnshire Echo.

Sister paper to the Lincoln Target, the Gainsborough Target was established in 1987 with its editorial offices in the Lincolnshire market town of Gainsborough. Serving Gainsborough, as well as the villages of West Lindsey and Bassetlaw in the north of Nottinghamshire, the Gainsborough Target was a weekly freesheet, which had a circulation of 120,000 alongside its sister papers, the Lincoln Target, the Boston Target and the Skegness Target.

Gainsborough Target | 11 January 1991

We move east now to Staffordshire and our next new title of week, which is the Lichfield Post. Appearing every Thursday, the Lichfield Post was initially known as the Chase Post, and covered the cathedral city of Lichfield, as well as Rugeley, Burntwood and Brownhills, as well as the area’s surrounding villages. A free newspaper, the Lichfield Post was filled to the brim with local news.

Our next new title of the week is the Northampton Herald & Post, which was another local weekly freesheet that was published in the market town of Northampton. Founded in 1975 as the Northants Post, in 2014 the newspaper changed its name for the final time to become the Northants Herald & Post, before it closed down in December 2016.

We head to Yorkshire to welcome the Redcar and Saltburn News to our extensive collection of newspapers from that particular county. This newspaper was established in 1870 and circulated in ‘Redcar, Coatham, Marske, Saltburn and district, and amongst the visitors.’ Neutral in its politics, the Redcar and Saltburn News cost just one penny, and was published in the seaside town of Redcar.

Redcar and Saltburn News | 12 January 1871

Our final new titles of the week both hail from London, with our penultimate one coming from the south west of the city, and is the South Western Star. Founded in 1877, this informative local newspaper was intended to serve Battersea and Wandsworth, and was initially known as the South Western Star and Battersea and Wandsworth Advertiser. Neutral in its politics, the weekly South Western Star filled eight pages and featured news from across the area, from the likes of the Lambeth Guardians, the Battersea Liberal Club, the District Board of Works and the Clapham Public Library.

Demonstrating a particular interest in crime, the South Western Star printed a ‘Law and Police’ section as part of its eight pages, which contained the latest from Wandsworth and Lambeth Police Courts. The newspaper also contained more special interest features, looking at ‘Sports and Pastimes’ and as well as ‘Ladies’ Gossip.’ Finally, the newspaper featured news from across London, looking at the capital’s weather, politics and accidents.

South Western Star | 20 August 1943

Last but not least is the Stanmore Observerwhich was a weekly tabloid sold in Harrow and Edgware, and in Stanmore, which forms a part of the Borough of Harrow. First established in 1895 as a sister title to the Wealdstone, Harrow & Wembley Observer, it eventually became part of the Harrow series of weekly tabloids for the north western parts of Greater London.

After a five year hiatus in the 1940s, this newspaper was relaunched in 1947 as the Stanmore edition of the Harrow Observer. Subsequently, in 1952 it became the Stanmore Observer and Gazette, but its publication once again ceased two years later in 1954. However, the title re-emerged in 1985 as the Stanmore Observer, before it ceased publication for the final time in 2010.

Stanmore Observer | 16 March 1989

That’s it from all of our new titles of the week, but don’t forget we have also updated 64 of our existing titles. Highlights include the pages we have added to the Bombay (Mumbai) based Voice of India, whilst we have also added new pages to Hong Kong paper the Overland China Mail. Meanwhile, we’ve added new pages to one of our Welsh language newspapers, Seren Cymru, as well as adding over 18,000 pages to the Birmingham Mail.

A Dog’s Life in Wartime

Perhaps one of the most famous institutions associated with Battersea, an area which our new title the South Western Star covered, is Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, which was founded in 1860 and moved to Battersea in 1871.

‘Dogs That Guard R.A.F. Aerodromes’ – these R.A.F. ‘dog sentries’ had been chosen from Battersea Dogs Home | Illustrated London News | 30 March 1940

In March 1941, local newspaper the South Western Star covered what life was like for the dogs at Battersea during the war in an article entitled ‘A Dog’s Life in War Time – The Home at Battersea Carries On.’ Indeed, the impact of the Second World War was felt pretty close to the Home, with bombs falling near the kennels, and the privations of war having an impact on the nature of pet ownership in general.

The South Western Star described the impact of the bomb upon the Dogs Home residents:

A bomb which fell near the kennels of the Battersea Dogs’ Home last autumn caused the dogs in residence to growl and bark at having their having their slumbers disturbed. After a few minutes they laid themselves down again and went off to sleep. The animals were otherwise unaffected and no ill psychological effects were noted.

Luckily, none of the dogs at Battersea were hurt by the bomb, however, the bomb did have a ‘more material affect on the premises.’ The South Western Star relates how the yard was damaged by the blast, and parts of the office ceiling fell down.

A scene at Battersea Dogs Home | Illustrated London News | 8 May 1948

Another impact of warfare upon the dogs were the noise of the anti-aircraft guns. The South Western Star details how the noise ‘at first surprised the dogs, they would cock up their ears and listen to the unaccustomed disturbance.’ It was, however, the air-raid siren that most disturbed Battersea’s dogs:

They have a strong dislike to the wail of the siren. They do not grow accustomed to the banshee screech which breaks in suddenly on their kennelled privacy.

And then there was the problem of food. The secretary of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home told the South Western Star how ‘Stocks of cereals and dog foods are growing scarce,’ and an appeal had been made to the Ministry of Food for further supplies. The Home had collected ‘a fairly large stock of dog food after the war began,’ but it had since that time ‘seriously decreased.’

Dogs at play at Battersea Dogs Home | Illustrated London News | 8 May 1948

The worried secretary told the South Western Star:

I just don’t know what we will do… if our present supplies run out and we are unable to replenish our stocks. A dog can be fed on potatoes and meat gravy, but it would have to be varied a little some days.

The problem of feeding pets during wartime was a widespread one, the newspaper noting how:

To-day a number of people are re-giving their dogs away because they cannot afford to keep them or are unable to get the necessary dog foods.

Sadly, many dog owners had pre-emptively had their dogs destroyed at the outbreak of war in 1939. 400,000 pets were euthanised in the week beginning 3 September 1939. The South Western Star put this down to the ‘unnecessary fear’ that the ‘animals would be running wild if the house was bombed.’ But despite these fears, and the lack of appropriate food, the South Western Star noted that ‘just as many people are buying dogs of all breeds, and the position has not been seriously affected by the war.’

The ‘Receiving Shed’ at Battersea Dogs Home | Illustrated London News | 8 May 1948

And despite the war, the good work of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home continued, and continues to this day.

New Titles
Years Added
Erdington News 1950
Evening Times 1825 1825-1826
Gainsborough Target 1991-1992
Lichfield Post 1992
Lincoln Target 1991-1992
National Observer 1888-1897
Northampton Herald & Post 1990
Redcar and Saltburn News 1871-1875, 1892-1903
South Western Star 1889-1949
Stanmore Observer 1989, 1992
Updated Titles

This week we have updated 64 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
Accrington Observer and Times 1992
Bebington News 1989-1990, 1992
Bedfordshire on Sunday 1977-1979
Birmingham Daily Post 1951
Birmingham Mail 1873
Blyth News 1909
British Press 1823
Cheltenham Chronicle 1951
Coventry Evening Telegraph 1987
Daily Record 1986-1987, 1995
Derby Daily Telegraph 1957
Derby Express 1996
East Cleveland Herald & Post 1992
East Grinstead Observer 1978, 1990
East Kent Gazette 1990, 1992
East Kilbride News 1991
Englishman 1810
Express and Echo 1877
Folkestone Express, Sandgate, Shorncliffe & Hythe Advertiser 1897
Formby Times 1988
Galloway News and Kirkcudbrightshire Advertiser 1986
Gloucester News 1992
Great Barr Observer 1992
Grimsby Daily Telegraph 1914
Harlow Star 1990
Harrow Informer 1988
Heartland Evening News 1994
Herald Cymraeg 1987, 1990
Hinckley Times 1991
Huntingdon Town Crier 1991
Irvine Herald 1992
Kinematograph Weekly 1948
Leek Post & Times and Cheadle News & Times and Moorland Advertiser 1989
Liverpool Journal of Commerce 1895
Long Eaton Advertiser 1992
Middlesbrough Herald & Post 1990
Middlesex County Times 1910
Midweek Visiter (Southport) 1990
Nantwich Chronicle 1995-1996
North Devon Herald 1879
Nottingham Evening Post 1993, 1995
Nottingham Recorder 1981-1983,1990-1991
Oldham Advertiser 1990, 1993
Ormskirk Advertiser 1885,  1990
Overland China Mail 1848-1852, 1895-1896
Paddington Mercury 1994
Peterborough Herald & Post 1989
Pontypridd Observer 1960, 1962, 1986
Redditch Indicator 1897, 1911
Retford, Gainsborough & Worksop Times 1981
Romsey Register and General News Gazette 1874
Rugeley Mercury 1991
Seren Cymru 1856-1860
Sheerness Times Guardian 1898, 1911
Spalding Guardian 1885, 1889, 1912
Stockport County Express 1965
Tamworth Herald 1992, 1996
Teignmouth Post and Gazette 1889
Teviotdale Record and Jedburgh Advertiser 1880, 1882-1884
Voice of India 1883-1884
Walton & Weybridge Informer 1989
Weekly Free Press and Aberdeen Herald 1876, 1882, 1886
West Lothian Courier 1991
Winsford & Middlewich Guardian 1911

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.