Celebrating St Patrick's Day | British Newspaper Archive


Hot Off The Press – New Titles This Week

This week at The Archive we’ve added one brand new title to our collection – the Brighouse Echo – alongside 174,403 brand new pages from across the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Caribbean, as we look forward to St Patrick’s Day on 17 March. Meanwhile, from Belfast to Biggleswade, from Denbigh to Dominica, from St Andrews to Saint Lucia, we’ve updated 57 of our existing titles.

So read on to discover more about this week’s new title, West Yorkshire’s Brighouse Echo, as well as to learn how St Patrick’s Day, the celebration of Ireland’s patron saint, was marked in England in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

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Our new title this week, the Brighouse Echo, was first published on 24 June 1887 in Brighouse, a town in West Yorkshire. Costing just one halfpenny, this new title was just one of the many attempts to establish a newspaper in the Yorkshire town, its debut editorial explaining how:

After very much consideration, THE ECHO is the title fixed upon to adorn the head of our new halfpenny weekly venture. For several years we have been pressed many times to embark in an undertaking of this nature, but hitherto no visible signs of success could be vouchsafed to us, neither did we care to entail the necessary worry and anxiety incident with newspaper publishing.

Appearing every Friday and filling four pages, the Brighouse Echo was a lively mix of local and national updates, alongside more special interest features. The newspaper reported on the latest ‘local and district news’ fresh from the likes of Brighouse itself, as well as from the nearby towns and villages of Elland, Rastrick and Bailiff Bridge. Saving space for more ‘general news,’ the Brighouse Echo also showcased poetry, a column entitled ‘bits of fun,’ with extensive reporting on cricket matches in the area, as well as printing notices of births, marriages and deaths.

The Brighouse Echo later incorporated the Brighouse News, which had been founded in 1886. It is still running to this day, and is proud to ‘serve the people of Brighouse, Rastrick, Clifton, Hipperholme, Lightcliffe, Bailiff Bridge and Southowram.’

That may be it from our new title this week, the fabulous Brighouse Echo, but we have some wonderful updated titles for you to explore too. Our biggest updates of the week are to a trio of our Kentish titles, with over 31,000 brand new pages joining the Kent Evening Post, over 23,000 brand new pages joining the Maidstone Telegraph, and over 17,000 brand new pages joining the Kentish Gazette. The week also sees significant updates to two of our Bedfordshire titles, namely the Biggleswade Chronicle and the Leighton Buzzard Observer and Linslade Gazette.

Moving away from England, we’ve added new pages to one of our Welsh titles, the Denbighshire Free Press, and with an eye on St Patrick’s Day, which falls on 17 March, we’ve updated a trio of our Irish titles (the Evening Irish Times, the Irish Weekly and Ulster Examiner, and the Midland Tribune). We’ve also had the pleasure of updating fourteen of our Scottish titles, including the Fraserburgh Herald and Northern Counties Advertiser, the St. Andrews Citizen and the Shetland Times.

Finally, as we continue to tell the story of the Commonwealth nations, we’ve updated two of our Caribbean titles, namely the Dominica Chronicle and the Voice of St. Lucia.

Celebrating St Patrick’s Day

Falling on 17 March, St Patrick’s Day marks the traditional death date of the patron saint of Ireland, and has become a day of celebration of all things Irish. Using this week’s newly added newspaper pages, we’re exploring how St Patrick’s Day was celebrated in England, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

First up, we’re in Brighouse, with this report from the Brighouse Echo on 18 March 1892:

Last evening, in the Town Hall, a grand concert was given in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. The concert was promoted by the friends of the St. Joseph’s Catholic School, in aid of the new infants’ school. A capital programme was submitted and gave immense delight to a crowded audience. Both the area of the hall and the gallery were packed. The programme included a cantata by the children, entitled ‘The white garland,’ a comic sketch entitled ‘Turn him out,’ and miscellaneous songs and duets.

Here, St Patrick’s Day is celebrated in association with the town’s Roman Catholic school, but elsewhere in England, the Irish feast day was not met with the same approbation. New pages added this week to Bedfordshire’s Biggleswade Chronicle from the year 1892 outline how:

The case of Private Thomas O’Grady, who was punished by his officer at Aldershot for refusing to take a shamrock from his cap, has caused some attention to be directed to the question of soldiers wearing emblems.

This punishment of Irish patriotism was not an isolated incident, the Biggleswade Chronicle going on to report how:

It is announced from Plymouth that the Admiralty have called for a report on the case of Patrick Dwyer, a stoker at the Seaman’s Barracks at Devonport, who was punished for a similar ‘offence’ on St. Patrick’s Day.

A reader of the Biggleswade Chronicle, labelled as a ‘humorous correspondent,’ wondered ‘whether it would not be better to allow some freedom in this respect.’ To this end, he even sent ‘a sketch showing what he thinks might be the result of permitting national emblems to be worn on parade,’ which is shown below.

By 1917, however, there seemed to be some thawing (at least in Bedfordshire) in attitudes to celebrations of St Patrick’s Day. New pages added this week to the Leighton Buzzard Observer and Linslade Gazette from that year reveal how fundraising efforts took place in the county on the Irish patron saint’s feast day.

In Eversholt, a village in the heart of Bedfordshire, flag sellers took to the streets to mark St Patrick’s Day, where ‘they did a roaring trade going from house to house.’ All proceeds went to ‘the Irish regiments.’ Meanwhile, in Aspley Guise, the Leighton Buzzard Observer and Linslade Gazette reports how:

…on Saturday, St. Patrick’s Day, ladies were busy in the streets and at the houses selling flags and shamrock for the Irish soldiers’ fund. Earlier in the week several young ladies in blue overalls were seen wheeling a truck and making a collection of waste paper, the proceeds of which went to swell the funds of the Red Cross.

Attitudes to St Patrick’s Day had softened in England, it seemed, as long as the day had some charitable outcomes.

Find out more about St Patrick’s Day, the celebration of feast days in the United Kingdom, Ireland and beyond, and much more, in the pages of our newspaper Archive today.

New Titles
TitleYears Added
Brighouse Echo1887-1892, 1970, 1980-1983
Updated Titles

This week we have updated 57 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
Alloa Journal1917
Banffshire Advertiser1917
Banffshire Herald1917
Barrhead News1917
Biggleswade Chronicle1891-1895, 1959-1966
Brechin Advertiser1962-1965, 1967-1969, 1971-1972
Bromsgrove & Droitwich Messenger1916-1917
Buchan Observer and East Aberdeenshire Advertiser1919-1929
Coalville Times1917
Cumberland & Westmorland Herald1917
Deal, Walmer & Sandwich Mercury1990
Denbighshire Free Press1917
Dominica Chronicle1917
Durham County Advertiser1917
Eastbourne Gazette1986
Essex Weekly News1917
Evening Irish Times1917
Fraserburgh Herald and Northern Counties’ Advertiser1990
Hants and Sussex News1917
Hemel Hempstead Gazette and West Herts Advertiser1984, 1988
Herts Advertiser1917
Hornsey & Finsbury Park Journal1917
Huntly Express1917
Irish Weekly and Ulster Examiner1964
Kent Evening Post1973, 1990, 1994, 1998
Kentish Express1990-1991, 1994, 1998-1999
Kentish Gazette1990-1991, 1994, 1997, 1999
Leighton Buzzard Observer and Linslade Gazette1905-1908, 1910-1918
Linlithgowshire Gazette1919-1920
Lowestoft Journal1917
Maidstone Telegraph1975, 1978, 1993, 1995-1996, 1998
Mearns Leader1990
Midland Tribune1917
Montrose Standard1964
Morecambe Visitor1975
Nelson Leader1986
Northern Chronicle and General Advertiser for the North of Scotland1917
Port-Glasgow Express1964
Retford, Worksop, Isle of Axholme and Gainsborough News1980
Richmond and Twickenham Times1917
Ripon Gazette1983-1985
Rugby Advertiser1850-1852, 1982, 1986-1987
Sheerness Times Guardian1990, 1999
Shetland Times1948, 1950
South Notts Echo1964
Southend Standard and Essex Weekly Advertiser1917
St. Andrews Citizen1957-1968
Sydenham, Forest Hill & Penge Gazette1964
Todmorden & District News1936-1951, 1980-1984
Tonbridge Free Press1964
Voice of St. Lucia1917
Volunteer Service Gazette and Military Dispatch1917
Wimbledon News1917
Windsor and Eton Express1917
Wolverton Express1964
Woodford and District Advertiser1917
Woodford Times1917

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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