Midlands Magic | The British Newspaper Archive Blog


Hot Off The Press – New Titles This Week

This week at The Archive we have been busy adding 102,263 brand new pages to our collection, and we are delighted to welcome one very special brand new title from England’s Midlands to our holdings. Meanwhile, we have updated 26 of our existing titles, with the updated titles spanning England, Wales and Scotland.

So read on to discover more about our new and updated titles of the week, as well as to discover more about the ‘Jubilee Euphoria’ that greeted Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee back in 1977.

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We’re delighted to welcome the Sutton Coldfield Observer to The Archive this week. Founded in 1985 to replace the Sutton Coldfield Times, the Sutton Coldfield Observer is a free weekly newspaper that serves the residents of Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham. Brimming with local content, with a focus on the achievements of the Sutton Coldfield community, this newspaper also showcases properties for sale and provides a leisure guide to the area.

Appearing every Friday, the Sutton Coldfield Observer is distributed to 57,000 homes across Sutton Coldfield, a town in the City of Birmingham, which was historically a part of Warwickshire.

Sutton Coldfield Observer | 20 September 1991

An award-winning newspaper, the Sutton Coldfield Observer has scooped over the years an array of journalism awards. For example, the newspaper has won the Newspaper Society Free Newspaper of the Year, the Newspaper Society News Journalist of the Year (which it has won three times) and the Newspaper Society Feature Journalist of the Year (which it has won twice).

That’s it from our wonderful new newspaper title of the week, meanwhile we have updated 26 of our existing titles over the past seven days, including fellow Midlands titles the Nottingham Evening Post, to which we have added over 15,000 pages, and the historic Birmingham Journal, to which we have added the year 1840.

We have also updated our newspapers from Wales, with updates this week to the Carmarthen Journal, the Merthyr Express and the Port Talbot Guardian. We’re not missing out Scotland either this week, with new pages joining the Paisley Daily Express and the West Lothian Courier.

‘Jubilee Euphoria’ – Celebrating the Silver Jubilee of 1977

As the nation recovers from the incredible Platinum Jubilee celebrations of the past week, marking the Queen’s wonderful 70 year reign, we decided to take a look back at the Silver Jubilee, and how it was celebrated back in 1977.

The Queen is pictured at Westminster Hall at the beginning of the Silver Jubilee celebrations | Illustrated London News | 1 June 1977

With the help of newly added pages from the Southall Gazette and the Winsford Chronicle, these titles hailing from West London and Cheshire respectively, we were able to trace the abundant celebrations that continued beyond even the celebratory weekend at the beginning of June.

Like many other local newspapers from the period, the Winsford Chronicle on 23 June 1977 pictured scenes from the ‘Jubilee revels’ in the area. Despite the ‘wet and windy’ weather, a carnival parade at Lostock was held to mark the occasion, whilst in Barnton a ‘Silver Jubilee queen’ was pictured being crowned, alongside her retinue.

Winsford Chronicle | 23 June 1977

Meanwhile, the Southall Gazette provided a taste of upcoming Silver Jubilee events on 29 April 1977 when it published its Jubilee diary. The first event to mark the Jubilee in the Southall area was on 7 May 1977, with the ‘Southall Community Association Jubilee Mayfair and Square Dance.’

More Jubilee dances and fetes filled the month of May, with street parties scheduled to mark the Silver Jubilee weekend at the beginning of June. Indeed, the Southall Gazette gives a list of those streets that were hosting parties across Ealing and Southall. Celebrations of the Silver Jubilee extended into July, with more fetes, flower shows and carnivals. 1977 was truly a summer of celebration, and the Winsford Chronicle on 30 June 1977 noted the continuing ‘Jubilee euphoria,’ noting how by the end of the month Jubilee festivities were ‘still keeping up their momentum.’

But the Silver Jubilee in 1977 also afforded a chance for communities to look back, to 25 years before. On 3 June 1977, in its special Jubilee edition, the Southall Gazette remembered the death of King George VI and how the town of Ealing ‘mourned.’ The newspaper tells of how ‘All the outside illuminations in Ealing Broadway and the Mall were switched off’ on the night of the King’s death. And just as ‘Ealing and the country mourned the death of the King of wartime Britain, the new Queen passed along Ealing Road, on her way to London.’

Southall Gazette | 3 June 1977

It was the dawn of a new Elizabethan era, but also the dawn of a promising new post-war era, as the country struggled to get to its feet after the Second World War. The Southall Gazette notes the importance of the Coronation and its ensuing celebrations in this resurgence, describing how:

Ealing was just beginning to get over the war 25 years ago and was helped by three years of celebrations. In 1951 the borough celebrated its own jubilee – 50 years as a municipal borough. In 1952 it celebrated the accession and in 1953 the Coronation.

The newspaper spoke to Mr. Rowland Clay, whose father was Mayor in 1952, and he recollected how:

There was a new spirit in the air. We were starting to brighten up. The boarded-up shop fronts were coming down.

A Jubilee street party in East London | Daily Mirror | 7 June 1977

Indeed, the Silver Jubilee of 1977 enabled communities to celebrate not only the reign of the Queen, but to celebrate the achievements in how far they had come since those early years of the 1950s, a time when the nation was just beginning to emerge from post-war austerity and into a new age, a second Elizabethan age.

New Titles
Years Added
Sutton Coldfield Observer 1991
Updated Titles

This week we have updated 26 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
Birmingham Journal 1840
Carmarthen Journal 1998
Chatham News 1986-1987
Crewe Chronicle 1991-1992, 1997
Crosby Herald 1992
East Kent Gazette 1989
Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate & Cheriton Herald 1991
Glamorgan Gazette 1981
Heartland Evening News 1992
Marylebone Mercury 1997
Merthyr Express 1988
North Star (Darlington) 1919
Nottingham Evening Post 1969, 1987
Paisley Daily Express 1993
Plymouth Extra 1988
Port Talbot Guardian 1990
Rossendale Free Press 1988
Runcorn Weekly News 1995
Shepton Mallet Journal 1974
Southall Gazette 1977
Stafford Post 1992
Tamworth Herald 1998
Walsall Observer 1955
West Lothian Courier 1987
Winsford Chronicle 1977, 1996, 1998
Wokingham Times 1994

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.


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