A Devon Duo | British Newspaper Archive


Hot Off The Press – New Titles This Week

This week at The Archive we have added 39,811 brand new pages to our collection, with four brand new titles joining us, including a Devon duo of new newspapers alongside new publications from Sussex and Norfolk. Meanwhile, from Haverhill to Huddersfield, from Salford to South London, we have updated eight of our existing titles.

So read on to discover more about all of our new and updated titles of the week, as well as to find out more about the Devon town of Sidmouth’s royal connections.

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We begin our journey through our new titles of the week with our Devon duo of newspapers, and the first of this Devon double act is the North Devon Advertiser, which was founded in the river port town of Barnstaple in 1832, and relaunched in 1855. Appearing every Friday, this politically independent newspaper cost one penny.

The North Devon Advertiser packed a lot into its four pages, covering local news from the town council and the borough magistrates, as well as detailing the latest from further afield, from London, the provinces, Scotland, Ireland and beyond. Meanwhile, the publication printed a variety of special interest sections, featuring columns entitled ‘Scientific,’ ‘Philanthropic,’ ‘Naval and Military,’ and ‘The Court.’

The Barnstaple based title was published by John Jones from Cross Street, and it also published the latest ‘Telegraphic Despatches,’ an ‘Epitome of News,’ and correspondence.

The second of our Devon duo of new newspapers is the Sidmouth Observer, which was first published in the south Devon resort town of Sidmouth on 29 June 1887. Sidmouth is a town known for its royal connections; the Duke of Kent and his infant daughter Victoria (later to be Queen Victoria) visited the watering place in 1819, and it was where the Duke unfortunately passed away a few weeks later in January 1820, when his daughter was only a few months old.

In its first edition the Sidmouth Observer celebrated its town of publication’s royal link, explaining how it was ‘the watering place in which our gracious Queen resided when a child.’ It was only fitting, therefore, that the newspaper was first published in 1887, the year of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, and its first edition contained extensive coverage of the Jubilee celebrations in the town and the local area.

The inaugural edition of the Sidmouth Observer also explained the reasons behind its foundation, promising to be a ‘weekly journal such as shall adequately represent the interests of the townspeople, and place before the outside public the special advantages which this picturesque resort possesses over many towns of even larger size.’ Indeed, the new newspaper’s full name was the Sidmouth Observer and Visitor’s List; to this end the publication printed a ‘Residents’ and Visitors’ List,’ alongside local information pertaining to the area’s churches, chapels, postal service and petty sessions.

As well as providing a list of visitors to the town, the Sidmouth Observer also reported on local news. It appeared every Wednesday at the cost of one penny, and filled four pages.

We leave Devon now for our penultimate new title of the week, although we remain on the south coast, to introduce the Southern Weekly News. This lively and informative weekly newspaper was first published in Brighton in 1876 and appeared every Saturday at the cost of one penny. Filling eight pages, this politically independent title circulated ‘in Brighton and throughout the counties of Sussex and Surrey, and in the adjacent districts of Kent and Hampshire.’

Thoroughly representing ‘the important agricultural and commercial interests of its extensive districts,’ the Southern Weekly News paid ‘special attention…to the political and general news of the week.’ As well as reporting on the latest from the region’s towns, and from the East and West Sussex Quarter Sessions, the newspaper contained a range of special interest features, from ‘The Farmers’ Chronicle’ to ‘The Garden,’ from ‘The Household’ to ‘Echoes of Fashion.’

An entertaining read, the Southern Weekly News showcased serialised fiction, alongside ‘Fun and Satire,’ as well as ‘Chit-Chat and Gossip.’ Within its pages you could read the latest ‘Sporting News,’ which covered everything from coursing to pedestrianism, as well as enjoy the paper’s ‘Chess Department,’ which came complete with diagrams.

Our last new title of the week hails from another seaside town, namely Great Yarmouth, and it is the Yarmouth Gazette and North Norfolk Constitutionalist. Established in 1868, the newspaper circulated in ‘Great Yarmouth and throughout East Norfolk and East Suffolk,’ appearing every Saturday at the cost of one penny.

The Yarmouth Gazette consisted of eight pages and reported on ‘All Kinds of News,’ from both home and abroad, as well as publishing the latest ‘East Anglian News’ from the likes of Gorleston, Filby and Winterton. The newspaper had a particular focus on rural pursuits, covering, for example, fox terrier coursing meetings and fishing. Meanwhile, the Yarmouth Gazette featured poetry, surveys of ‘Notable People,’ which were accompanied by illustrations, ‘Football Notes,’ and notices of births, marriages and deaths.

That’s it from our new titles of the week, but we have more in store for you, as we have updated eight of our existing titles. Updates this week join seven of our titles from England, as well as to one of our Northern Irish titles, the Weekly Examiner (Belfast).

Sidmouth’s Royal Connection

The Devon town of Sidmouth, as well as being famed as a seaside resort, is also famed for its royal connection to the Duke of Kent, father of Queen Victoria, who died there in 1820. Its newspaper, and one of our new titles this week, the Sidmouth Observer, contains lots of details about this royal link, whilst it is often at pains to describe how the town was perceived by outsiders.

Indeed, on 23 October 1889 the Sidmouth Observer printed a column entitled ‘As Others See Us,’ which contained an extract from fashionable magazine the Queen about the town, which begins as follows:

Next to Torquay and Ilfracombe, Sidmouth is the best known, by reputation of all the Devonshire watering places. It takes its name from the Sid, but in a very different way from that in which Exmouth is connected with the Exe, or Dartmouth with the Dart. The Sid is a pulling stream, as regards volume of water, none the less beautiful on that account, however: and a walk up its shaded banks reveals reaches of singular beauty, with all the characteristic marks of Devon scenery in an intensified form.

The piece goes on to address Sidmouth’s royal connection:

Probably the fact that Sidmouth was a favourite residence of the Duke and Duchess of Kent, and that the Queen’s infancy was passed here, has largely contributed to the reputation of the place in London – a reputation which strikes those familiar with the place, and with the neighbouring resorts, as out of due proportion. Woolbrook Glen, as it used to be called, or simply The Glen, the name which attaches to it now, was the house occupied by the Duke of Kent. It stands a little apart, but within a stone’s throw of the beach.

Meanwhile, a few years later, in June 1893 the Sidmouth Observer reproduced another article on the town, which this time had first appeared in the West Middlesex Times. This piece dubbed Sidmouth as ‘a charming place in which in which to live,’ outlining how the town called itself the ‘Cradle of Her Majesty, the home of the invalid, and the health resort of the tourist.’

The town of Sidmouth was further connected with royalty by Queen Victoria’s window in the parish church, which was gifted by the monarch in memory of her father the Duke of Kent. In June 1892 the Sidmouth Observer reproduced a piece from 1867 by the Illustrated London News about the window, the design of which was chosen by the ‘Queen herself:’

The window is placed in the tower or western end of the church, its height from base to top of centre being 14 1/2 ft., and its breadth divided into five perpendicular compartments, 10 ft. Altogether it contains upwards of sixty separate figures, besides heads of cherubs, emblems, and other forms. The centre group, Our Lord blessing children, is a noble design, with eight figures; the benignity and love of the Saviour, the dignity of the apostle, and the trustful attitude of the little ones fully realises the touching narrative of the Evangelist.

Find out more about Sidmouth, Queen Victoria and much more besides in the pages of our Archive today.

New Titles
TitleYears Added
North Devon Advertiser1856, 1871, 1873-1883, 1885-1886, 1888-1889
Sidmouth Observer1887-1899
Southern Weekly News1877-1878, 1883, 1888, 1890, 1893-1894, 1899
Yarmouth Gazette and North Norfolk Constitutionalist1892-1895, 1898-1901
Updated Titles

This week we have updated eight 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
Croydon Express1897
Farnham Mail1990
Haverhill Echo1947-1961, 1963, 1965-1966, 1968-1970
Huddersfield and Holmfirth Examiner1961, 1980, 1982
Salford City Reporter1911
South London Observer1870-1880
Stalybridge Reporter1902
Weekly Examiner (Belfast)1880

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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