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Wednesday, 8 August 2012

A Leisurely Sunday Read for September 1937.

Browsing through old newspapers and finding quirky stories makes for historical bliss as far as I am concrned!  I enjoy featuring reports  in my series "Stop Press" - whether it be a female navie,  a rant against suffragettes,  a jilted bridegroom  or slow stagecoach journey.
So I was delighted to receive an e-mail from Thomas at Historic Newspapers asking if I would review some newspapers on my blog and  and give a link to  his website  which sells original newspapers as gifts.

My first chosen newspaper was  the "Sunday Chronicle" of 26th September 1937 - my husband's birth date and just six months before my parents married. I was interested to find out what preoccupied  the nation at this time - two years before the outbreak of the Second World War, in the midst of the Spanish Civil War  and four  months after George VI's  coronation.

On the  international scene, the  front and back pages were stark, with warnings about the threat to peace,  and photographic coverage of "Dictators behind a Wall of Steel"  as Hitler and Mussolini met in Munich'.   A centre page editorial article asked "Where will Hitler strike next?" The Spanish Civil War rated only the briefest of mentions. 

For a leisurely Sunday read, there was an article on T.S.Lawrence  by Sir Winston Churchill, and  in a much lighter (spicier?)  vein  the first instalment of a romance "Transgressors in the Tropics".
As a  popular Sunday paper, sport and gossip abounded , with big coverage of the weekend matches including Lacrosse (we don't see that sport featured now) and a headline "Scots can still teach English players - a tribute to Tartan [football] teams)" - that made me laugh given the current state of Scottish football!  
Readers  could catch up on film news with a picture of Marlene Dietrich  "half dead with glamour", and what were they listening to on the radio?   Well,  it was Sunday so religious services and appropriate music predominated.  

Fashionable women were shown the latest fur trimmed coats and advised  to "Be prudish this winter - no ultra low decolletage, no slit skirts".

I find advertisements as fascinating as the news items. A comic strip  extolled the benefits of using "Rinso" to do your laundry and enhance your home, your appearance - and your social life.  Patriotism and health were the two messages in the advert for shredded wheat   - sounds familiar today,

 Readers were also urged to  "Lose 49lbs in fat" - through eating Kruschen salts.  l would love to lose over 4 inches off my waist, but It sounds horrible and also a rather an unbelievable claim!  
Other headlines that caught me eye
  • An item on ill fated aviator Amy Johnston hoping to make a gliding record.
  • "Black out at the Lights", with a power cut turning off the famous Blackpool illuminations and hotel orchestras forced to play by candlelight (of particular interest to me as I was born in the town). 
  • And my favourite quirky item  bore the intriguing headline of   "Zeppelin was Her Stork"! and told how Zeppelina, celebrating her 21st birthday, was named after a German Zepplin which crashed near her her home in Essex on the day  she was born in 1916. 
For family historians,  newspapers offer an invaluable source of background information on events (local, national and international).    They also  enable us to experience the actual events described in the language and emotions of the time.   It is not textbook history, but it is full of vigour on many varied small aspects of life for ordinary people. 

To mark a milestone anniversary, a gift of such a newspaper is special and personal.   I was impressed with the presentation box, entitled a  "A Day to Remember" and the original newspaper was carefully  wrapped in tissue paper.

 If you would like to find out more, click on the link Historic Newspapers.  There are newspapers from all over the world,  but the bulk of their archives are from the US and the UK, including many regional titles. Take advantage of a special 15% discount  on your shopping basket.  Just key in the code  15TODAY.

Please Note - this  article is not based on any financial transaction


  1. You've got to love newspapers haven't you?! The more old ones you read, the less today's news seems new.

  2. Delightful Susan. How wonderful to be able to purchase the original newspapers. Thanks.

  3. Delightful Susan. How wonderful to be able to purchase the original newspapers. Thanks.

  4. I find old newspapers fascinating too, Susan. Zeppelina is a most unusual name :-)


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