This week at The Archive we are building up our collection with the addition of 97,401 brand new pages and two brand new titles, one of which provides a fascinating look at the architecture of the Victorian era. Meanwhile, we have updated twelve of our existing titles from across England and Wales, with new pages joining our important regional newspapers from the likes of Leicester, Stoke-on-Trent, and Nottingham.
So read on to discover more about all of our new and updated titles of the week, and also to discover more about the building of Bedford Park in Chiswick in the 1870s and 1880s, which has been described as the world’s first garden suburb, as it became one of the most fashionable places to live in the late nineteenth century.
The first of our two brand new titles of the week is the Building News, which was established in 1854 as the Freehold Land Times and Building News, Land Market, Investment and Provident Societies Journal. Beginning life with a focus on land and buildings to be sold, with lists of ‘Lots to Be Let for Building,’ and reports from various land societies, such as the Conservative Land Society and the Reform Freehold Land and Building Society, this title originally filled 32 pages and appeared every Friday.
Just a year later, and the new title had changed its name to the Land and Building News, becoming in 1862 the Building News. By this time the publication had pivoted to include more general building and architectural news, giving ‘an authentic list of building contracts and competitions which are open in the United Kingdom, with the particulars of tenders sent in and competitions awarded.’
Throughout the following years the Building News began to include stunning lithographic illustrations of the buildings that were being built across the United Kingdom and beyond, including fascinating floorplans, as well as detailed drawings of buildings that were both being planned, and were in the works. These illustrations, which depicted new buildings like the Grand Hotel at St. Helier’s, Jersey, and the Marling Grammar School at Stroud, as well as more ‘ancient’ ones like Beverley Minster, were all accompanied by lengthy descriptions.
The Building News had also grown to fill 48 pages, costing four pence. The publication now contained an array of illustrated advertisements, which were mainly for building materials, and included items such as wood block flooring, lighting, and paint. These advertisements provide an intriguing insight into the very fabric of Victorian life and society, with many being truly of their day, with ‘Bell’s Asbestos Aquol Paint’ and fireproof floors being amongst the items advertised.
The Building News also included a variety of longform articles, examining, for example, the relationship between builders and architects, or looking at items such as ‘Architectural Brickwork.’ The publication also detailed the meetings of the Architectural Association, and also gave updates on the latest building tenders, and architectural competitions. Within its pages you could also find ‘Trade News,’ correspondence from readers, and a look at ‘Water Supply and Sanitary Matters.’
Indeed, the Building News proved to be a long-running journal on building and architecture. It ran until 1926 when it merged with The Architect to form the Architect and Building News.
Our second new title of the week hails from North London and is the Hornsey & Finsbury Park Journal. A ‘Newspaper for North London,’ this newspaper was founded in 1879 as the Seven Sisters and Finsbury Park Journal, initially appearing every Thursday at the price of just one pence.
Its very first edition, which appeared on 20 November 1879, stated how:
In issuing our first number, we have only to say that it is a fair sample of those to follow, and that, so far as circumstances allow, we shall endeavour to make this journal worthy of the vast district it is designed to represent. Our endeavour, based on the experience of many years’ connection with local journalism, will be to make our journal not only ‘readable’ but reliable; and while bringing into notice all that is worthy publicity, to avoid giving currency to petty details and unworthy gossip.
Indeed, the new independent newspaper covered the news from the local area, for example containing news from the Hornsey Local Board, the Seven Sisters’ Road Congregational Church and from the local police. A particularly charming section of this newspaper was entitled ‘Round About Us: Past and Present,’ which looked at the history of the local area. The first instalment of this column was penned ‘In Search of the Seven Sisters,’ examining how that particular area of North London got its name.
In 1881 the newspaper became the Hornsey and Finsbury Park Journal, filling as it did four pages. By the late 1880s the title was known to circulate ‘throughout North London,’ being ‘exclusively devoted to the interests of the districts it represents.’ Later becoming known as the Hornsey, Crouch End and Muswell Hill Journal, this title became one of London’s ‘longest-established local newspapers.’ Moving to a Thursday publication schedule, and published from editorial offices in Tottenham Lane, the newspaper was moved entirely online in September 2012.
That’s it from our two fabulous new titles of the week. Meanwhile, we’ve been busy updating our existing titles, with significant updates this week joining the Nottingham Evening Post (over 23,000 pages from 1996), the Staffordshire Sentinel (over 22,000 pages from years between 1888 and 1880), and the Leicester Daily Mercury (over 18,000 pages from the years 1963 through to 1995).
Other big updates this week are to the Torbay Express and South Devon Echo and to the Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph, to which we have added over 12,000 pages to both titles. Finally, we’ve updated one of our Welsh titles, the Pontypridd Observer, whilst also added new pages to two of our Victorian Christian titles, Christian World and the Church and State Gazette (London).
Building Bedford Park – An Early Garden Suburb
Began in 1875, the development of the Bedford Park estate in Chiswick, West London, represented a milestone in suburban architecture and planning. It has been described as the world’s first garden suburb, and of course, our new title, the Building News, traced the development of the site throughout its pages, providing wonderful illustrations and accounts of this landmark architectural project.
On February 1877 the Building News provided ‘an illustration of some semi-detached villas which have been erected upon the above estate by Messrs. Coe and Robinson.’ Constructed from ‘stock bricks, with red brick quoins, arches and plain tile roofs,’ the Building News explained how:
The idea has been to secure a good cheap house for the middle classes with some little regard to picturesque appearance. The cost of each house was £600, and some of them are now ready for occupation.
Two years in, and the project was progressing nicely. A few months later, and the Building News provided ‘a general prospect of one of the roads’ at Bedford Park, with the houses depicted being from the designs of architect Mr. R. Norman Shaw. The Building News, meanwhile, gave details of the builders as well as the architects involved with the development, with the designs shown below being executed under the ‘supervision of Mr. J. Aldam Heaton of Bloomsbury-square.’
By 1879 the Building News contained an advertisement that outlined how ‘further new roads [were] being finished,’ with ‘new frontages of about 1,000 feet’ being available to let on ‘this favourite estate.’ Indeed, Bedford Park in West London was becoming a favourite amongst some of the city’s most fashionable residents, with poet W.B. Yeats, actor William Terriss and actress Florence Farr all moving there.
With designs primarily being carried out in a Queen Anne Revival style, the Bedford Park estate was also set to feature a new church and a club house. On 31 October 1879 the Building News reported how the ‘church is an advanced stage,’ with building due to complete in February 1880.
The same edition of the Building News also profiled one of the ‘various houses for the middle-classes’ which had been built on the Bedford Park estate. This particular house was known as the Tower House, and the Building News depicted various illustrations and elevations of the building.
The Bedford Park estate was an eclectic mix of different buildings, the Tower House being just one of them. Constructed from ‘red brick,’ with white external woodwork, we also learn how the dining room was ‘panelled with a high oak dado made with the old pewing…from one of the old churches in the City.’
The Building News is, therefore, a veritable treasure trove for house historians, containing as it does original plans, as well as the provenance of building materials, such as the amazing tit-bit that the panelling in the Tower House had possibly come from a church in the City.
In January 1880 the Building News tells us that the Architectural Association paid a visit to Bedford Park, which it describes as the ‘picturesque little colony of Queen Anne middle-class houses.’ The article provided a recap on the estate for its readers, detailing how the development:
…consists of rather more than a hundred acres of flat country, between Chiswick and Acton, laid out in three main roads, diverging from a point near the railway-station, and several cross-roads. All the thoroughfares are fifty feet wide, are more or less curved, and are planted with lime-trees. The few old trees on the estate have been carefully preserved, roads being diverted and houses set back to avoid their removal.
The article goes into further detail, outlining how ‘the plots are about 75ft depth by 50ft frontage for a pair of tenements; and the houses are set back 15ft or 20ft from the roads, allowing of front gardens.’ By January 1880 220 houses had been built, with the majority of those being let.
The Building News notes the variety of buildings on the estate, relating how:
The buildings, although all of the character of English domestic work of the seventeenth century, with overlappings into the preceding and subsequent years, are greatly varied in plan and style; and the services of rough-cast, tile-hanging, red- brick, and wood frames have been requisitioned to give play of feature.
The Building News provides a wonderful record of the development and building of the Bedford Park estate, as it does for many other buildings across the United Kingdom and beyond in the Victorian era.
|Building News||1854-1855, 1862, 1869-1891|
|Hornsey & Finsbury Park Journal||1879-1915|
This week we have updated twelve 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.
|Christian World||1860, 1866|
|Church & State Gazette (London)||1850|
|East End News and London Shipping Chronicle||1939, 1944|
|Leicester Daily Mercury||1963, 1966, 1973, 1975-1979, 1990-1992, 1994-1995|
|Long Eaton Advertiser||1953|
|Nottingham Evening Post||1996|
|Sandwell Evening Mail||1979|
|Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph||1998|
|Staffordshire Sentinel||1888, 1950-1952, 1955, 1957-1958, 1960, 1963-1967, 1969-1973, 1976-1980|
|Torbay Express and South Devon Echo||1995|