traditions – The British Newspaper Archive Blog

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Hot Off The Press – New Titles This Week

This week at The Archive we have been working hard to bring you an incredible 120,386 brand new pages – as well as twelve brand new titles in all! To celebrate St David’s Day this week, we have added a grand total of five brand new Welsh titles to our collection, including three historic Welsh-language newspapers. So read on to discover more about this bumper crop of new titles, and also to discover how St. David’s Day was celebrated in the Victorian era (hint, think food!). Register now and explore

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The Truth Behind the White Christmas Dream

On Christmas Day 1906 the city of Sheffield in the north of England saw the ‘heaviest Christmas snow for 25 years,’ as the Sheffield Daily Telegraph reports: On the evening of Christmas Day the snow began to fall, and yesterday morning the city was covered in a beautiful mantle of the purest white. Snow lay on the ground to the depth of about six inches, and, except in the streets, so remained until last night, when there was a further fall. Long

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‘To Be Queen o’ the May’ – The History of the May Queen

In this special blog we use the remarkable photographs and illustrations contained in our Newspaper Archive to trace the tradition of the May Queen over one hundred and fifty years, as well as exploring the origins of this fascinating ritual. We start out at Wymering, just outside of Portsmouth, in 1867. It was here, in the ‘latter part of the month of merrie May’, that a May Queen was crowned. The Illustrated Times tell us that the event is looked

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Halloween in Communities

Halloween in communities How Halloween is viewed varies from place to place and its traditions are just as diverse. A sense of how Halloween is treated in a given place can be glimpsed in its portrayal in cinema, music, and literature. Treat yourself to a poem written on the topic by John Mayn, printed in 1805 in The Scots Magazine. A notice in the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News mentioned a Halloween tradition practised in ‘olden times’ in Scotland.   Another Halloween tradition we

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Halloween in history

Black cat

Of witches and witchcraft As we kick off our Halloween celebrations and delve into the history, contained within the newspapers, of witches and witchcraft (and supernatural beings), it is imperative that we preface this — perhaps unnecessarily — with an important disclaimer and reminder: witches, in the sense of practitioners of malevolent powers to do evil works, never existed. Those persecuted during the sixteenth century and onward were, more often than not, local healers and midwives. In 1562, Queen Elizabeth

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Valentine’s Day Throughout the Ages

Valentine’s Day in its present iteration is inexorably linked to both romantic love and commercialism. It inspires strong feelings, both for and against this day of chocolate boxes and heart-shaped cards. However, the day and its traditions have not been static. In performing a simple search for ‘Valentine’s Day’ on The British Newspaper Archive, you can start to see the ways in which the holiday — and its reception — have changed (and, occasionally, stayed the same) over the years.

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