Opening of Old Trafford | British Newspaper Archive


Hot Off The Press – New Titles This Week

After taking a well earned break last week, our presses have been working overtime to bring you 114,554 brand new newspaper pages from across Britain and Ireland, as we tell the story of the opening of Manchester United’s ground Old Trafford in February 1910.

So read on to discover more about all of our new and updated titles of the week, and to learn about an important moment in football history.

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Our one and only, and therefore extra special, new title this week is the Special Financial, which was first published on 22 June 1889 at the cost of one penny. A newspaper covering the news from East London, the Special Financial filled four pages, the first and second pages featuring a plethora of advertisements.

Containing the latest East London news and views, the Special Financial featured the news from the Bethnal Green and Shoreditch Guardians, as well as from the Shoreditch Vestry. The newspaper also printed a special ‘Scientific Notes’ column, with sports reports too.

The newspaper was not destined to last long, however, as it was discontinued a few months later on 23 October 1889.

From Holborn to Hamilton, from Dublin to Dumfries, we’ve updated fourteen of our existing newspaper titles from across Britain and Ireland this week. A particular highlight are the over 40,000 brand new pages that we’ve added to the Bristol Evening Post, which was dubbed as the ‘paper all Bristol asked for and helped to create.’

We’ve also added new pages to some of our Scottish holdings this week, with new pages joining what was once the biggest-selling newspaper in Scotland, and Scotland’s first ever penny weekly newspaper, the wonderfully lively Thomson’s Weekly News, whilst we’ve also added new pages to the Hamilton Advertiser and the Dumfries and Galloway Standard.

Representing Wales this week is the Glamorgan Gazette, to which we’ve added the year 1991, whilst the year 1940 joins the Dublin-based Irish Independent. This week also sees updates to some of our London titles, with new pages joining the Finsbury Weekly News and Chronicle, the Holborn and Finsbury Guardian, the Kensington News and West London Times, the Richmond Informer, the St. Pancras Chronicle, People’s Advertiser, Sale and Exchange Gazette, the Wandsworth Borough News and the Willesden Chronicle.

The Opening Of Old Trafford – February 1910

On 19 February 1910 Old Trafford football ground was opened in Manchester. It was the largest club football stadium in England, with a capacity of nearly 80,000. Designed by Scottish architect Archibald Leitch, the new stadium was the brainchild of Manchester United’s new chairman John Henry Davies, who decided that the club’s former ground at Bank Street, Clayton, was not fit for purpose, especially for an F.A. Cup and First Division winning team.

And so the brand new stadium was opened on 19 February 1910, its inaugural match played between United and Liverpool. Liverpool spoiled the party, however, winning 4-3. New pages added to Thomson’s Weekly News, a title which featured robust sports reporting, give a wonderful sense of the occasion, authored by someone who actually played in the first game at the new ground.

Writing for Thomson’s Weekly News was Billy Meredith (1874-1958), a Welsh professional footballer who was considered one of the sport’s early superstars, having played for both Manchester City and Manchester United. He was playing for Manchester United, however, when he authored a column for Thomson’s Weekly News on the new ground at Old Trafford, on 26 February 1910, writing:

You would see that we opened our ground with a real, genuine surprise. Liverpool played a great game in the second half, and there was truly magnificent performances. Still, it was a great day for the Manchester United, for 46,000 people were on the ground, and receipts were £1200, while 500 leading people of Manchester and Salford were guests of the club.

Meredith described the ground as ‘a knock-out,’ adding how ‘everything has been thought of.’ Indeed, the footballer urged architect Archibald Leitch to be a ‘proud man every time he looks at it,’ whilst he anticipated how international football matches would be played there.

Meanwhile, Meredith provided a special player’s insight into the match, describing how:

There was one thing about the match that no paper found out, and that was the extraordinary nature of the wind. The huge stand on one side caused a strong wind to eddy and swirl round the ends on to the ground, and some of the things the ball did were simply marvellous. It curled and twisted all over the place, and you never knew what it would do next.

It was Scottish international Sandy Turnbull (1884-1917) who claimed the first goal at the new Old Trafford ground for Manchester United, Meredith noting how the Scot ‘cut his mouth badly in trying to head an equaliser in the last minutes of the game.’ Turnbull would go on to be tragically killed during the First World War at the Battle of Arras in 1917.

Meredith ended by concluding how the new ground was a ‘pleasure to play on,’ reflecting how:

Some of you ought to see the turf on our new ground if you revel in an ideal playing piece. The grass is deeply rooted, and will always grow. It is like a tennis court, and bad weather seems to affect it very little. I fancy we are to play on grass all year round at Old Trafford, and what a treat it will be for a team that has never left heavy Clayton without being leg weary. I suppose I am not so young as I used to be in years, but I never ran faster than I did on that lovely stuff on Saturday, and I was not even tired at the finish.

Discover more football history in the pages of our Archive today, by browsing our special sports titles, as well as other titles like the wonderful Thomson’s Weekly News.

New Titles
TitleYears Added
Special Financial1889
Updated Titles

This week we have updated 14 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.

TitleYears Added
Bristol Evening Post1976-1977, 1982-1983, 1985
Dumfries and Galloway Standard1877-1878, 1881, 1909
Eastern Mercury1903
Finsbury Weekly News and Chronicle1910
Glamorgan Gazette1991
Hamilton Advertiser1921, 1930
Holborn and Finsbury Guardian1909, 1916
Irish Independent1940
Kensington News and West London Times1889, 1909
Richmond Informer1988
St. Pancras Chronicle, People’s Advertiser, Sale and Exchange Gazette1900, 1905-1906, 1914
Thomson’s Weekly News1902, 1908, 1910, 1917, 1921
Wandsworth Borough News1908-1909
Willesden Chronicle1923, 1942

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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