Battersea Polytechnic | The British Newspaper Archive Blog


Hot Off The Press – New Titles This Week

This week has been a bumper week at The Archive as we have added 422,110 brand new pages, covering everything from spiritualism to yachting, from education to farming, spanning the world from Antigua to Australia, and back to Britain. We’re delighted to have added 10 exciting brand new titles, which cover an eclectic array of subjects, whilst we’ve also updated 54 of our existing titles from across Canada, the Caribbean, England, Wales and Scotland.

So read on to discover more about each one of our ten new titles of the week, and also to find out which of our 54 titles we have updated. Meanwhile, you can learn all about women’s higher education in the 1890s, and how a very famous women’s suffrage campaigner stirred up a storm at Battersea Polytechnic in 1894.

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We begin this week’s new titles journey in the Caribbean, and we’re delighted to introduce our third title from the island of Antigua to our collection, which is the Antigua StandardFirst published in the Antiguan capital of St. John’s on 2 July 1883, the Antigua Standard was a ‘twelve page newspaper’ which was published on the 1st, 10th, 16th and 26th of every month, ‘for the Mails of those dates.’

In its first edition, the producers of the Antigua Standard laid out how the new venture was ‘not intended to be a ‘political journal.’’ Indeed, the Antigua Standard was not to be:

…the organ of any particular party. It is not the organ of any particular creed. It is not the organ of any particular class. Its aim will be to reflect intelligent public opinion, and advocate each and every  measure to promote the welfare of the community at large.

Antigua Standard | 10 January 1885

With the community in mind, the Antigua Standard provided a wonderful guide to local life, featuring for example a list of dates of note for the month, which gave the dates and times of various meetings, like the meeting of the Poor Law Board. The newspaper also contained notices from local schools and churches, news on ‘city improvement,’ and updates on the local markets. Furthermore, the Antigua Standard also featured a ‘Shipping and Export Report,’ ‘Legal Intelligence’ and telegrams from across the world.

In 1909 the newspaper became the Antigua Sun, to which we have also added new pages this week, before ceasing publication in 1922.

We move right across the world now to introduce our first ever Australian newspaper title to our collection, and it’s a wonderful one too. First published in Brisbane on 19 March 1881, the Australian Spiritualist promised to be a ‘Weekly Paper of Spiritualist Science.’

Australian Spiritualist | 26 March 1881

Spiritualism, the belief that not only do the souls of the dead exist but can also be communicated with, had arrived in the Australian gold fields in the 1860s, and the Victoria Association of Progressive Spiritualists, later the Victorian Association of Spiritualists, was founded in 1870. A well-known member of the organisation was Alfred Deakin, who went on to become Prime Minister of Australia. Spiritualism in Australia received a further boon when English medium and Spiritualist advocate Emma Hardinge Britten toured Australia and New Zealand in 1878, just a few years before the Australian Spiritualist was founded.

Remarkably, the Australian Spiritualist was not the first Spiritualist title on the Australian publishing scene, with the Telephone already in existence. The Australian Spiritualist tackled this subject head on in its first edition:

It may cause some little surprise that another Paper similar to the TELEPHONE should be commenced in Brisbane. We therefore offer a few words of explanation. The TELEPHONE we deem in the wrong place. It would do well in America, where Spiritualism is well grounded, but for Australia, and Queensland especially, it is too far advanced in its doctrines. What is wanted is a LADDER for the people. This what the SPIRITUALIST will aim to show the public. It will commence on the bottom step, and as the people rise so will the standard of the Spiritualist. Our motto will always be Excelsior, higher, still higher.

Australian Spiritualist | 26 March 1881

The Australian Spiritualist went on to discuss what else could be found within its pages:

…reports of Local séances and full reports of all Spiritualistic meetings in surrounding districts. We trust that as our desire is to raise and elevate the notions of the masses, our efforts will meet with the approbation of all earnestly seeking the truth.

With its desire to ‘advocate the harmony of the scriptures with modern science and free-thought,’ the Australian Spiritualist filled eight pages, appearing every Friday at the cost of penny. It featured a ‘Poet’s Corner,’ as well as lectures on the subject of Spiritualism. Meanwhile, the newspaper also contained compelling accounts of encounters with those in the ‘spirit world,’ including a lengthy account of a woman named Alice, ‘a woman who died in England and returned to the earth through a man who had visited Australia.’

Furthermore true to its promise of reporting on Spiritualist meetings, it covered séances in Melbourne, as well as recording details of day trips undertaken by Spiritualist groups.

From Australian now and back to Blighty, and namely to Battersea, and we’re delighted to welcome wonderful specialist title the Battersea Polytechnic Review to our collection. First published on 15 June 1894, the Battersea Polytechnic Review was the newspaper for Battersea Polytechnic, which was founded in 1891 under the City of London Parochial Charities Act (1883). This act was passed in order to establish Polytechnic Institutes throughout London, of which Battersea was the second. Battersea Polytechnic had six main departments – Mechanical Engineering and Building Trades, Electrical Engineering and Physics, Chemistry, Women’s Subjects, and Art and Music – and the institution soon saw a great deal of academic success.

Battersea Polytechnic Review | 15 July 1894

Costing two pence, with its front cover adorned with a picture of the Polytechnic building, the first edition of the Battersea Polytechnic Review declared how:

At last we are able to satisfy a want which is said to be the most imperious of every rising new community, and to realise a project which was put forward at the first meeting of our Members. To-day appears the Battersea Polytechnic Review, sweet little stranger, swaddled in its fresh sky-blue coloured robes, richly embroidered with advertisements, and fragrant with the odours of the printing office.

But what did the pages of the Battersea Polytechnic Review contain? Well, it looked ‘backward and forward’ to examine 76 of the different classes offered by the institution, remarking how the subjects of ‘Plumbing, Electrical Wiring and House Fitting, Book-keeping, Shorthand, French, Dressmaking and Music’ all had to be extended. Meanwhile, the publication contained articles by members of the governing body, and reviews on contemporary publications such as Employment For Girls: Typewriting and Shorthand.

The Battersea Polytechnic Review also offers a wonderful glimpse of what life was like at the Polytechnic, detailing the various clubs and meetings held at the institution. You can find within in its pages everything from the ‘gymnastic schedule’ to details of the Battersea Polytechnic Debating Society (more on that later). It also featured ‘Club Notes’ from a range of different organisations, from the cricket to the cycling club, from the lawn tennis club to the swimming club, from the chess club to the rambling club.

Battersea Polytechnic Review | 15 December 1894

Reactions to the publication were thoroughly positive. The South London Press on 3 July 1897 wrote how:

If the editors and conductors of the Battersea Polytechnic Review are able to keep up to the high standard they have reached with this month’s issue, they will deserve the highest congratulations on their success. The little journal is well written, well-illustrated and printed, and its interest is not confined entirely to members of the Battersea Polytechnic.

Meanwhile, the same newspaper on 26 November 1898 observed how:

A new series of this popular organ of the Battersea ‘Poly’ has started this month. It is well printed and illustrated: its contents are varied, and especially interesting to students; it is, in fact, ‘a live paper,’ which will reflect the doings of a great educational centre.

Battersea Polytechnic would eventually become the University of Surrey, and is now based in Guildford.

From higher education to yachting now, and we’re excited to welcome the British Yachtsman to our growing collection of sporting titles. First published in February 1893 at the cost of one shilling, it featured a rousing Lord Byron quote as its motto:

Far as the breeze can bear, the billows foam,
Survey our empire and behold our home!

British Yachtsman | 1 February 1894

Filling eight pages, and published in London, the British Yachtsman was filled to the gunwales with adverts for different yacht builders, and yachts for sale. The publication, meanwhile, took a look at yachting across the globe, with features like ‘Continental Yachting.’ The British Yachtsman also contained articles on the latest advances in the yachting world, complete with illustrations.

Meanwhile, this bright publication contained stories with a yachting theme, which were also accompanied by illustrations, as well as accounts of trips like ‘From The Thames To The Wash In A Three-Tonner.’

British Yachtsman | 1 February 1894

Slipping back now to the early 1800s, we now welcome the historic Evans and Ruffy’s Farmer’s Journal to The Archive, which appeared every Saturday at the cost of eight pence. With the full name of Evans and Ruffy’s Farmer’s Journal and Manufacturer’s and Trader’s Register, this publication focussed on all things trade and agriculture, for example containing the market price for a range of different products, like seeds, wheat, flour, potatoes, coal, wool and leather, at markets across Britain, from London to Liverpool, from Bristol to the country markets.

Filling eight pages, Evans and Ruffy’s Farmer’s Journal also featured correspondence from the Union of Agricultural, Commerce and Manufacturers, as well as more general news, such as legal and naval intelligence. The newspaper, meanwhile, contained news from across the world, with a look at the American, French and Dutch newspapers, as well as news from South America. Furthermore, within its pages you can find news of deaths, bankrupts and the latest on fairs and markets across Britain.

Evans and Ruffy’s Famer’s Journal | 13 January 1810

Keeping with the agricultural theme, we’re delighted to welcome land reform newspaper Land & Labor to our collection, which was first published in 1889. The ‘Journal of the Land Nationalisation Society,’ Land & Labor became known as the Land Nationaliser, appearing every month at the cost of one penny. But what was the aim of the Land Nationalisation Society?

As Mason Gaffney in his article ‘Alfred Russel Wallace’s Campaign to Nationalize Land: How Darwin’s Peer Learned from John Stuart Mill and Became Henry George’s Ally’ writes, the society laid out how the ‘state was to assume title to all land.’ A driving force behind the Land Nationalisation Society was Alfred Russel Wallace (1832-1913), a British naturalist, explorer, biologist and anthropologist, who had independently conceived of the theory of evolution through natural selection, and had collaborated extensively with Charles Darwin.

Mason Gaffney lays out Wallace’s theory of land naturalisation as below:

All men and women could now bid to lease parcels from the state for actual use. In the socio-biological terms in which he thought, this would consummate the natural relation of man to nature. It would also let men alternate between industry and agriculture as Wallace, a loving gardener, did himself.

Land Nationaliser | 1 June 1918

Wallace was president of the Land Nationalisation Society, and the society continued even after his death in 1913. But what did the pages of Land & Labour contain? Well, it featured details of conferences on the subject of land nationalisation, as well as reports on the 37th Annual Meeting of the Land Nationalisation Society. It is fascinating to read the names of the groups in attendance at this annual meeting, which included Co-operative Societies, Women’s Co-operative Guilds, Trades’ Councils, Liberal Clubs, Independent Labour groups, Trade Unions, and Adult Schools.

Land & Labor, meanwhile, also reported on different agricultural issues, with articles including ‘Minimum Wage for The Agricultural Labourer’ and ‘Land Reform in Scotland.’ It also contained features on allotments and forestry, as well as details of upcoming conferences.

Moving on now to our remaining four new titles of the week, all of which hail from London. And it’s in North London we start, with the Hampstead News. The Hampstead News began in 1881 as the South Hampstead Advertiser, before becoming the Saint John’s Wood and South Hampstead Advertiser in 1883, going through further variations to finally be named the Hampstead News in 1936.

Hampstead News | 4 January 1883

Claiming to circulate to ‘Every House in South Hampstead, West Hampstead & St. John’s Wood,’ the Hampstead News was free and appeared every Tuesday. Neutral in its politics, its focus was on local news, reporting on the latest from the the Hampstead Vestry, as well as on local concerts and swimming clubs. It also contained a variety of adverts, from apartments available to rent, to situations wanted.

We remain in North London for our next new title of the week, which is the Holloway Press. The Holloway Press described itself as a ‘Local Paper for Holloway,’ and indeed it was a thoroughly local newspaper. Circulating ‘in Holloway, Islington, St. Pancras, Hornsey, Highgate, Wood Green, Finchley, and the surrounding neighbourhood,’ this newspaper was neutral in its politics and was first published on 14 December 1872 at the cost of one penny.

Its first edition addressed the need for such a local newspaper:

That a large district like Holloway, with its innumerable wants and multiplicity of interests, should have no means of expressing the one or discussing the other, is an absurdity too palpable to need refutation.

Holloway Press | 21 December 1872

‘Justice to all’ was to to be its ‘first consideration,’ its columns being ‘open to all without prejudice.’ Meanwhile, the first edition of the Holloway Press gave the following overview of its contents:

To the ordinary features of a local newspaper we shall give every attention, striving to make the Holloway Press a journal of interest to all classes; and, in addition, we shall give, from time to time special articles on matters of general and local importance. Concerts, public meetings, and entertainments, will be fully noticed, and special reports will be given of the proceedings at the local boards. The actions of our municipal rulers will be narrowly scrutinised, and will be commented upon in a spirit of fearless independence, without regard to party feelings or bias.

It was a rallying call; and the community was to be at the very heart of this newspaper. Its eight pages were filled with news from local institutions like the Islington Vestry, the Alexandra Orphanage at Hornsey Rise, and the Upper Holloway Chapel. The Holloway Press championed local voices, with a column even called ‘A Voice from Holloway.’ Furthermore the newspaper detailed local issues like ‘Local Law and Police’ and ‘Local Taxation,’ as well as describing ‘Local Entertainments’ and detailing ‘Local Memoranda.’

Holloway Press | 13 January 1950

A particular feature of the Holloway Press was its ‘Our Local Pulpit’ section, which showcased sermons from local preachers, and was a recurring item. In 1943, the newspaper became the North London Press.

From North London to South London now and we’re delighted to welcome the Sutton Journal to our collection, our penultimate new title of the week. This Conservative publication was founded in 1863, initially appearing every Wednesday before moving to a Thursday publication schedule. With the full name of the Sutton Journal and District Advertiser, this thorough little publication was published in the South London district of Sutton, circulating in ‘its surrounding towns and villages,’ particularly those within the county of Surrey.

Sutton Journal | 7 September 1864

Costing just one penny, the Sutton Journal concentrated on the local intelligence from the likes of Dorking, Epsom, Godalming, Guildford, Redhill, Reigate, Ewell, Godstone, Horley, Horne, Lingfield, and Newdigate, as well as publishing national news. It focussed on local institutions too, reporting on the news from the Petty Sessions and the Local Board of Health, as well as from the Surrey Agricultural Association and the Sutton Horticultural and Floricultural Society.

Our final new title of the week also hails from South London, and was founded in Lewisham in 1894. This newspaper title is the lively West Kent Argus and Borough of Lewisham News, which was a weekly paper that first appeared on 23 February 1894. ‘Conservative and Unionist’ in its politics, the first edition of this newspaper laid out its publishing aims:

The West Kent Argus, the first number of which appears to-day, has been brought out for the purpose of supplying a Journal to cover the whole of the Parliamentary Borough of Lewisham…It will be the effort of those responsible for the conduct of the West Kent Argus to make… such a Journal, by striving to weld into one homogenous body the several districts of the Borough, so that its united forces may work together for the general good.

Indeed, it aimed to be ‘the paper in the Borough and for the Borough,’ via not only ‘the completeness of [its] news and reports,’ but also by containing ‘matters of social, political and general interest in its columns.’ To that end, it reported extensively on local issues, including ‘District Intelligence’ from Lewisham, Forest Hill, Blackheath, Catford, Lee, and Sydenham, the areas in which it circulated, as well as on the latest from the Lewisham Board of Guardians.

West Kent Argus and Borough of Lewisham News | 9 January 1900

Meanwhile, the West Kent Argus also featured a smorgasbord of special interest features, with everything from a ‘Ladies’ Column’ to a children’s column, the latter featuring stories and poems, from a gardening column, which detailed the tasks to be done that week, to hints for the home. The newspaper also had a focus on ‘Sports & Pastimes,’ with a particular emphasis on football, whilst also reporting on the latest from the ‘Society Papers,’ detailing the latest ‘Scientific Notes,’ as well as publishing serialised fiction and local railway timetables.

What a bumper crop of fascinating newspaper titles this week! Meanwhile, we’ve got a treat for you, or indeed, many treats for you, with our updated newspaper titles of the week. We’ve added over 70,000 pages to our Birmingham titles the Evening Despatch and the Birmingham Weekly Mercury, whilst we’ve also updated some of our international titles, namely the Ottawa Free Press and the St Kitts Daily Express.

Sport also gets a look in, with new pages joining outdoors focussed the Field, whilst we’ve also made extensive updates to our regional titles, with new pages joining our Welsh newspapers Herald Cymraeg and the Neath Guardian, and new pages added to Scottish titles the Irvine Herald and the Strathearn Herald.

Women’s Education and Millicent Fawcett at Battersea Polytechnic

When Battersea Polytechnic first opened its doors in 1894, it opened its doors to women as well as men, as the pages of our new title the Battersea Polytechnic Review detail.

Indeed, the Chairman of Battersea Polytechnic Edwin Tate told the assembled crowd at the institute’s opening, which included the Prince and Princess of Wales, how ‘since the commencement of Classes on January 4th last, no less than eighty-one evening classes have been formed, attended by over 2600 students, of whom 30 per cent were women.’

And those numbers were to rise, as the Battersea Polytechnic Review reveals some months later in November 1894. In November 1894 there were 1,113 women taking evening classes, to 2,446 men. The proportion of women students had gone up to nearly 46%, with the majority of the women students enrolled in ‘Women’s Classes.’

Daily Mirror | 24 February 1904

A glance at the Daily Mirror some ten years later shows these ‘Women’s Classes’ at Battersea Polytechnic, where women were taught how to ‘make home happy’ by learning the skills necessary to become a housewife.

But a deeper investigation into the student numbers as reported by the Battersea Polytechnic Review demonstrate how women were also involved in non-domestic classes, with 278 enrolled in music classes, 192 in gymnastic classes, and 159 participating in ‘Commercial and General Lessons.’

Battersea Polytechnic Review | 15 November 1894

Meanwhile other women at Battersea Polytechnic studied subjects that were more traditionally tied to the male sphere: 13 women were involved in ‘Mechanical Engineering and Building’ classes, whilst 5 women were each taking chemistry, physics and mathematics classes.

Battersea Polytechnic was, therefore, helping women educate themselves beyond domesticity, and institution took a further step towards women’s equality when the Debating Society invited suffragist Millicent Fawcett to take to the stage in March 1894.

The Battersea Polytechnic Review relates how:

On March 2nd, Mrs. Fawcett paid the society a visit. Mrs. Fawcett is well known as a political economist of ability and one of the leading advocates of the ‘Women’s Suffrage’ movement. Many applications for seats were received in advance, and consequently one of the large lecture theatres had to be used for the occasion. The audience numbered 150, the fair sex being very much in evidence.

The Sketch | 30 October 1895

The newspaper continues:

Mrs. Fawcett, in a telling speech, made a vigorous appeal on behalf of women’s suffrage; her remarks being received with much applause. A very animated discussion followed, many of the gentlemen (but none of the ladies) present expressing views strongly antagonistic to those of Mrs. Fawcett.

However, Millicent Fawcett was to win over her detractors that day, when she ‘replied at length to her opponents, evidently with great effect.’ The result of the debate was overwhelmingly in her favour, with the meeting closing with the ruling:

That the appeal from women for Women’s Suffrage is worthy of hearty support.

Illustrated London News | 15 November 1884

Battersea Polytechnic, was, therefore, at the forefront of the revolution of women’s rights, providing women with education, and space to discuss issues like women’s suffrage.

New Titles
Years Covered
Antigua Standard 1883-1890
Australian Spiritualist 1881
Battersea Polytechnic Review 1894
British Yachtsman 1894
Evans and Ruffy’s Farmer’s Journal 1809-1832
Hampstead News 1882-1961
Holloway Press 1872-1962
Land & Labor 1918
Sutton Journal 1863-1896, 1898-1902
West Kent Argus and Borough of Lewisham News 1894-1931
Updated Titles

This week we have updated 54 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 Covered
Ashbourne News Telegraph 1998
Birmingham Weekly Mercury 1936-1945, 1947-1948, 1951-1955, 1957-1958, 1961-1962, 1964-1966, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1976-1979, 1983-1985, 1993-1994, 1998
Birmingham Weekly Post 1879
Bracknell Times 1998
Brentwood Gazette 1993
Bucks Advertiser & Aylesbury News 1845, 1851, 1863
Cambridge Town Crier 1993
Caterham Mirror 1993
Chester Chronicle 1998
Crewe Chronicle 1998
Derby Express 1998
Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser 1993
East Cleveland Herald & Post 1993
East Grinstead Observer 1993
Edinburgh Evening News 1951
Erdington News 1911-1917
Evening Despatch 1908-1911, 1913, 1920-1923, 1925-1929, 1933-1935, 1937-1938, 1948-1949, 1951-1954
Faversham Times and Mercury and North-East Kent Journal 1993, 1995
Field 1857
Formby Times 1993, 1995
Gloucester News 1993
Harlow Star 1993
Harrow Informer 1993
Harrow Observer 1998
Heartland Evening News 1999
Herald Cymraeg 1993
Hertford Mercury and Reformer 1998
Herts and Essex Observer 1998-1999
Hounslow & Chiswick Informer 1993
Huntingdon Town Crier 1998
Irvine Herald 1994
Isle of Thanet Gazette and Thanet Times 1993
Kentish Express 1961
Leatherhead Advertiser 1993
Long Eaton Advertiser 1998
Middlesbrough Herald & Post 1993
Midweek Visiter (Southport) 1993
Neath Guardian 1993
Ormskirk Advertiser 1992
Ottawa Free Press 1903
Plymouth Extra 1989, 1993
Retford, Gainsborough & Worksop Times 1998
St Neots Town Crier 1993
St. Kitts Daily Express 1906, 1909-1915
Stockport Express Advertiser 1993
Strathearn Herald 1993
Sun (Antigua) 1911, 1913-1920
Sunbury & Shepperton Herald 1991
Thanet Times 1993
Uxbridge Informer 1995
Walton & Weybridge Informer 1993
West Surrey Times 1918
Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald 1993
Woodford Times 1870-1881, 1896, 1899-1915

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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