Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Latest Old Hertfordshire News updates from the BNA

Recent additions have been made to improve the coverage of Hertfordshire news in the last 30 days.

  • Coverage of the Hertford Mercury & Reformer (starting in 1834) has been extended by including the Hertfordshire Mercury for 1939
  • The 1859 editions of the Hertfordshire Express & General Advertiser mean that coverage is now from 1859 to 1871
  • Just over the border the Bedfordshire Mercury (formerly just 1843) now covers from 1837 to 1871.
  • Bell's Weekly Messenger was a Sunday paper, with National coverage, and is now online (with some gaps) from 1801 to 1871.  From 1832 it gave extensive coverage to agricultural affairs and was for many years the leading agricultural newspaper in the U.K.
I decided to do a quick check on the two out-of-county publications and a pretty random search immediately found several interesting items in : Bedfordshire Mercury
  • In 1839 the paper reported that the freehold of a 160 acre farm on the edge of Harpenden Common, tenant Mr Trustram, was for sale, together with a blacksmith's shop occupied by Robert Dunkley.
  • In 1847 the Luton fire engine attended a rick fire on the premises of Mr. Daniel Gutteridge of Markyate Street and a man called Ellis was arrested.
  • In 1852 it reported "Singular as it may appear, St Albans - the great stage-coach route - which was considered to be "cut up" and almost annihilated, when the Birmingham railway was opened, is an improving town. Few are the stage coaches which now pass through it, and little therefore remains of the support on which it originally relied: but it has not yet ceased to be. On the contrary, it is enlarging in every direction. ... ...
  • In 1866 Amos Punter, labourer, of Flamstead, and George Hawkins, labourer of Caddington were charged by Police-constable Layton, with being drunk and riotous at Luton.
  • There many instances relating to the railways - including a report of the Irish Mails train emerging from the Watford tunnel and colliding with some empty cattle trucks, in 1870
Bell's Weekly Messenger also contain interesting Hertfordshire articles and in 1844 it reported a cricket match between Sandridge and the St Albans Junior Club on Bernards Heath - giving score and naming many of the players. Under the title Bell's Life in London and Sporting Chronicle it also published a long article on the first Tring Steeplechase in 1844 which is shorter than, but compliments, the article in the Sunday Times. It may well be that much of the Hertfordshire news it contains has also been published elsewhere.

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