Demerara Rebellion | The British Newspaper Archive Blog


Hot Off The Press – New Titles This Week

This week the presses have gone into overdrive to bring you half a million brand new newspaper pages, or 505,430 brand new pages to be exact. We’ve added ten brand new newspapers from across the world, from Guyana and Antigua, as we continue to tell the often confronting story of the British Empire. Meanwhile, we’ve also added new newspapers from England and from Wales, whilst we’ve made updates to a staggering 75 of our existing titles.

So read on to discover more about all of our new and updated titles of the week, and to also learn about Quamina Gladstone (1778-1823), an enslaved person who is a national hero in Guyana thanks to his part in the Demerara Rebellion of 1823, which was one of the largest revolts of enslaved people in the British colonies before the practice of enslavement was abolished.

Register now and explore the Archive

The first of our new titles this week is the Official Gazette of British Guiana, which was published in Georgetown, in what was known as British Guiana, from 1851. The official mouthpiece of the colonial British government, the gazette was a publication authorised to publish public notices, and was one of many British colonial gazettes published across the world.

On the northern coast of South America, British Guiana was first settled by Dutch colonialists in the seventeenth century. In 1796 the British seized control of the country, although official control was not formally ceded by the Dutch until 1815. British Guiana finally became independent from Britain on 26 May 1966, becoming known as Guyana, and that was when publication of the Official Gazette of British Guiana also ceased.

Official Gazette of British Guiana | 21 January 1893

Appearing twice a week, on Saturdays and Wednesdays, the Official Gazette of British Guiana was usually over twenty pages long. A sort of handbook to the former British colony, this publication is incredibly name rich. It contains lists of those involved in the mechanics of colonialism, from names of civil servants in British Guiana, to lists of those involved in mining operations, or the purchase of property.

So within the pages of the Official Gazette of British Guiana you can find a range of ‘Government Notices from the Government Secretary’s Office,’ which would feature announcements of government appointments, details of leaves of absences, and applications to license Crown Land. Meanwhile, the publication would also print militia notices, judicial notices, and details about immigration. Throughout the nineteenth century and into the twentieth century indentured Indian immigrants came to Guyana, and the Official Gazette provides an insight into the mechanics of their arrival, for example detailing the plantations to which they were sent.

Indian emigrants pictured in British Guiana | Illustrated London News | 23 March 1889

The Official Gazette of British Guiana also provides a sobering look at the colonial plundering of Guyana’s natural resources. It contains extensive details about the mining operations in the colony, whilst also detailing the exports, or ‘transportation of goods,’ from the colony’s plantations.

Furthermore, the pages of the Official Gazette of British Guiana also contain news of deaths in the colony, looking at how the estates of the deceased were to be distributed. The publication also contained a general overview of the health of the people in British Guiana, with a weekly look at mortality rates in the colony, with fever, dysentery, and influenza all contributing to often high mortality rates.

We have another official government gazette joining us this week, which hails from Antigua, and is the Leeward Islands Gazette. Published in Saint John’s, the Antiguan capital, this publication was the government gazette for the Leeward Islands from 1872, covering the likes of Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and the Virgin Islands.

Leeward Islands Gazette | 2 March 1893

In very much the same vein as the Official Gazette of British Guiana, the Leeward Islands Gazette contained a range of legal announcements, including a ‘Registry of Titles’ for property across the islands. Usually filling two to eight pages, this publication also featured a ‘Meteorological Register’ and news from the Supreme Court of the Leeward Islands. This title was eventually replaced by the Antigua, Montserrat and Virgin Islands Official Gazette.

Our next two new titles of the week hail from Wales, the first of which is the Bridgend & Ogwr Herald & PostThis free weekly tabloid was established in 1984, and was delivered to homes in and around the town of Bridgend, which lies partway between Cardiff and Swansea. Appearing every Thursday, the title was renamed the Bridgend & Ogwr Post in 1994, Ogwr being a borough in Mid Glamorgan from 1974 to 1996, before simply becoming The Post from 1995 onwards. The final edition of The Post appeared in 2008, with the Glamorgan Gazette continuing to serve the area.

Bridgend & Ogwr Herald & Post | 19 January 1995

Our second Welsh title of the week comes from the north of the country, and we’re delighted to welcome the Rhyl, Prestatyn Visitor to our collection of Welsh newspapers. Published in the seaside town of Rhyl, this weekly freesheet tabloid was distributed to homes in and around Rhyl and Prestatyn, in Denbighshire. In 2008, this title was merged with the Denbighshire Visitor, in an editorial rearrangement that also witnessed the demise of the Abergele & St Asaph Visitor.

We are officially at the halfway mark of our new newspapers of the week, and our final five all hail from England, covering the north, the east, the west and the south of the country. And it’s in the North East we start, with the introduction of the North Tyneside Herald & Post to our collection. Founded in 1991 as a weekly companion to the evening tabloid title the Newcastle Evening Chronicle, the North Tyneside Herald & Post was a freesheet that was distributed to the towns of North Shields, Longbenton, Tynemouth, Whitley Bay and Wallsend. Relaunched as the North Tyneside Chronicle eXTRA in 2007, the final edition of this title appeared two years later in 2009.

North Tyneside Herald & Post | 6 March 1996

We travel a little further south now to welcome the West Hull Advertiser to The Archive. Founded in 1995 to cover the news from the western half of the city of Kingston upon Hull as a sub-edition of the Hull Advertiser, the title merged with the East Hull & Holderness Advertiser at the end of June 2011 to become the Hull & East Riding Advertiser.

We move to the Midlands now to introduce Leicestershire title the Coalville Mail to our collection. The Coalville Mail was founded in 1990 and was a weekly tabloid freesheet, which was delivered to towns in north-western Leicestershire, including Whitwick, Ibstock, and of course, Coalville. A former mining town, Coalville was very much the product of the industrial revolution, and its new nineties newspaper, the Coalville Mail, was a companion to the county daily, the Leicester Daily Mercury.

Coalville Mail | 13 April 1995

It’s south again we go now, and this time our destination is Essex, which is home to our next new title of the week, the Billericay Gazette. This ongoing title, now known as the Billericay & Wickford Gazette, appears every Wednesday in the commuter town of Billericay, covering all the local news from the town and the surrounding area.

Our penultimate new title of the week is Buckinghamshire’s Beaconsfield Advertiser, which was established way back in 1837 as part of the Buckinghamshire Advertiser. Incorporating towns like Chalfont St Giles, Chalfont St Peter and Gerrards Cross in south Buckinghamshire, the Beaconsfield Advertiser appears every Wednesday in the market town, which lies near the Chiltern Hills.

Beaconsfield Advertiser | 1 June 1994

Our final new title of the week is from Devon, and it is the Exeter Leader. Launched in 1984 as a weekly freesheet tabloid, the Exeter Leader was a companion newspaper to the Express & Echo, the two newspapers sharing editorial offices in Exeter. In 1990 the title, which was delivered to homes across the city of Exeter, the historic county town of Devon, became known simply as The Leader. In 1998 it once again became known as the Exeter Leader, before becoming the Exeter Times in 2005. Appearing every Thursday, the newspaper ceased publication in September 2011.

Exeter Leader | 13 January 1994

That may be it from our terrific ten new newspapers this week, but we have a glut of updated newspapers for you to feast on, with updates to 75 of our existing titles. This week again sees extensive updates to the Bristol Evening Post, with over 100,000 pages being added to this important regional title, whilst we have added over 50,000 pages to the Hull Daily Mail. Other significant updates of the week are to the Aldershot News, the Torbay Express and South Devon Echo, and the Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph.

We’ve also added new pages to our Welsh and Scottish newspaper titles, with updates to the likes of Herald Cymraeg and the Dumfries and Galloway Standard. We’ve not neglected our specialist titles this week either, with updates to sporting title the Football Post (Nottingham). Meanwhile, we’re delighted to have added more pages to light entertainment weekly and popular 1950s title Reveille.

Quamina Gladstone and the Demerara Rebellion of 1823

In August 1823, enslaved persons rose up in the Demerara-Essequibo region of what is now Guyana, in protest against their poor treatment, and the mistaken belief that Parliament had emancipated the enslaved population, but the colonial rulers were withholding their freedom.

Instigated mainly by Jack Gladstone, who was enslaved at the ‘Success’ plantation, and involving his father Quamina, the peaceful rebellion was brutally quashed by governor John Murray, with 100 to 250 enslaved persons being killed. Implicated too was English missionary John Smith, who was sentenced to death for his role in the rebellion, but he died before the sentence and news of his reprieve could be carried out. Smith became known as a martyr for the abolitionist cause, but it was Quamina, who was killed during the rebellion, who became a national martyr in Guyana, with streets named after him.

‘Retreat of Lieutenant Brady’ during the Demerara Rebellion | Joshua Bryant

Quamina was of African descent, from modern day Ghana, and during his enslavement, he had learned to read and to write, and had converted to Christianity. Searching the pages of the Official Gazette of British Guiana, we see the name ‘Quamina’ used repeatedly, many decades after his death. We see, for example, how a river creek in Berbice Judicial District was named after him – the ‘opposite mouth of Quamina Creek, right bank Berbice river’ – this from the Official Gazette in January 1913.

And, unusually for enslaved persons of the time, Quamina’s name was actually reported upon in the contemporary press, at the time of the rebellion, in the early 1820s. As news travelled slowly, the national press back in Britain picked up the story in the spring of 1824, and there was a general tone of outrage that underpinned the reporting on the Demerara Rebellion, as support for the abolition movement grew.

This is from the Westmorland Gazette, 6 March 1824:

Of the objects of those who promoted that disturbance little or nothing is yet publicly known; but it is known that above 1000 slaves took part in it; and that although they did not kill a single person, yet several hundreds of the offenders afterwards perished by the sword or the gibbet!

Scenes from the rebellion at the ‘Bachelor’s Adventure’ plantation

The article goes on to report how John Smith, the missionary, was arrested, and brought before a court martial. The charges against him included that he had provoked ‘discontent and dissatisfaction’ in the minds of the enslaved population he lived amongst, against the ‘masters, managers, and overseers…contrary to his allegiance, and against the peace of our Sovereign Lord the King, his Crown and dignity.’

The other charge revolved around his relationship with Quamina, who was father to Jack Gladstone, who was one of the principal agitators of the rebellion. The Westmorland Gazette narrates this particular charge. Please do be aware that this extract uses outmoded language, such that we would be considered offensive today:

For that he that said John Smith, having, about the 17th day of August, and (at divers other days and times) one day theretofore preceding, advised, consulted and corresponded with a certain Negro, named Quamina, touching and concerning a certain revolt and rebellion of the Negro Slaves within these Colonies of Demerara and Essequibo; and further after such revolt and rebellion had actually commenced and was in a course of prosecution, he, the said John Smith, did further aid and assist in such a rebellion, by advising, consulting, and corresponding, touching the same with the said Negro Quamina – to wit, on the (19th and) 20th of August last – he, the said John Smith, then well knowing such revolt and rebellion to be in progress, and the said Negro, Quamina, to be an insurgent engaged therein.

Illustrated London News | 11 March 1843

A few weeks later, and Caribbean newspaper the Barbadian on 9 April 1824 contained testimony from John Smith himself, from his trial. Smith addressed Quamina’s role in the rebellion, which was deemed to be an important one by authorities, but was actually minimal. Quamina counselled a non-violent approach, and was indeed arrested before the rebellion broke out. Freed, however, by those engaged in the rebellion, Quamina never once took up arms, and remained at large for several weeks. The authorities were convinced that he was the ringleader, and he was shot in the fields of Chateau Margo after refusing to surrender to British soldiers.

Regarding Quamina’s role in the rebellion, John Smith testified:

I maintain that it has not been proved that Quamina was a rebel. I maintain that to establish this, conviction was necessary; even when he was shot, he had no arms nor had any one that was with him according to the testimony of Captain McTurk, and surely implicit reliance cannot be placed upon evidence of such witnesses as the negroes brought against me.

Barbadian | 9 April 1824

Smith continued:

The man was never tried, and however strong the presumption may be against him, still there is no saying, that had he been tried, he might upon cross-examination of the witnesses against him, have so explained his conduct as to have shewn that he was innocent; he might have been carried aback by force, for any thing that appears to the contrary. It is contrary to the first principal of English law, to believe a man guilty until he shall have been proved to be so – that is, fairly tried and convicted.

Smith’s words were largely reported on by the press of the day, and his subsequent death made him something of a martyr for the abolition movement. But the enslaved persons that day who stood up against British colonial rule should also be remembered, like Quamina, and his son, Jack, whose bravery is remembered in Guyana, and whose bravery we mark this week as part of Black History Month.

For more on uncovering Black history at The Archive, read our special blogs here.

New Titles
Year Range
Beaconsfield Advertiser 1994
Billericay Gazette 1996
Bridgend & Ogwr Herald & Post 1995
Coalville Mail 1995
Exeter Leader 1994
Leeward Islands Gazette 1893
North Tyneside herald & post 1996
Official Gazette of British Guiana 1893-1919
Rhyl, Prestatyn Visitor 1995
West Hull Advertiser 1995
Updated Titles

This week we have updated 75 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.

Year Range
Abergele & Pensarn Visitor 1995
Aldershot News 1952-1953, 1955-1957, 1959-1961, 1963-1966
Anfield & Walton Star 1994
Ashby Mail 1994
Beverley Advertiser 1994
Billingham & Norton Advertiser 1993
Bootle Times 1996
Brent Leader 1995
Bristol Evening Post 1962, 1968-1969, 1980
Burntwood Post 1995
Burton Trader 1994
Cambridge Town Crier 1994-1995
Cambridge Weekly News 1995
Chelsea News and General Advertiser 1996
Cheltenham News 1994
Clevedon Mercury 1996
Crosby Herald 1995
Derby Daily Telegraph 1964
Dover Express 1996
Dumfries and Galloway Standard 1995
East Cleveland Herald & Post 1995
East Grinstead Observer 1995-1996
Eastern Argus and Borough of Hackney Times 1898, 1910
Ely Town Crier 1995
Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate & Cheriton Herald 1994
Football Post (Nottingham) 1983, 1985, 1987
Gainsborough Target 1994
Galloway News and Kirkcudbrightshire Advertiser 1996
Gloucester News 1994
Great Barr Observer 1994, 1996
Harrow Informer 1996
Herald Cymraeg 1994-1995
Hinckley Herald & Journal 1994
Hinckley Times 1963, 1980
Holderness Advertiser 1994, 1996
Hounslow & Chiswick Informer 1995
Hull Daily Mail 1951-1966, 1971
Irvine Herald 1995
Kent & Sussex Courier 1994
Leatherhead Advertiser 1994
Lichfield Post 1993, 1995
Lincoln Target 1994-1996
Maghull & Aintree Star 1994-1995
Manchester Metro News 1996
Merthyr Express 1994
Neath Guardian 1995
Northampton Herald & Post 1995
Oadby & Wigston Mail 1994
Oldham Advertiser 1994
Plymouth Extra 1994
Potteries Advertiser 1995
Reveille 1949-1950, 1952-1953, 1955-1956
Rossendale Free Press 1994
Royston and Buntingford Mercury 1995
Runcorn & Widnes Herald & Post 1994-1995
Salford Advertiser 1994
Sandwell Evening Mail 1985
Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph 1993-1994, 1999
Sevenoaks Focus 1995
Sleaford Target 1994-1995
Southport Visiter 1995
Stafford Post 1994-1995
Staines Informer 1995
Stirling Observer 1995
Stockport Times 1994-1995
Strathearn Herald 1995
Sunday Sun (Newcastle) 1964, 1970, 1972-1975, 1979-1982
Surrey Mirror 1996
Sutton Coldfield News 1994
Torbay Express and South Devon Echo 1930-1932, 1956, 1973, 1977, 1980
Uttoxeter Newsletter 1994
Uxbridge Informer 1994
Uxbridge Leader 1994
Walton & Weybridge Informer 1996
Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald 1996

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.