The Titanic and the British Newspaper Archive
While a lot of research has been performed on the American papers and their coverage of the Titanic disaster, comparatively little effort has been expended on their British counterparts, and most snippets have emerged from national dailies, like The Times, the Daily Mail etc, or papers in close proximity to Titanic-related events (the Plymouth papers which described the return of the crew on the Lapland and so on). With the formation of the British Newspaper Archive about five years ago, this is gradually being addressed, but it is slow going with an estimated 80 million newspaper pages during the period 1710-1959 (and not all papers will be digitised for reasons of copyright or fragility of the original source material). Since 2013 I have been collecting pages from the British Newspaper Archive to supplement my own research at the British Library and some of these are presented here.
NB: The pages are in pdf format; other BNA excerpts can be found on other pages on this site.
- The Leeds Mercury of April 30th, 1912: the steamship Portland describes its encounter with the Titanic on the afternoon of April 14th, 1912.
- The Leeds Mercury of May 1st, 1912: the crew return home at the end of April.
- The Hull Daily Mail of 17th May, 1912: Algernon Barkworth returns home.
- The Dundee Courier of 19th October, 1911: progress is made on outfitting the Titanic.
- The Derry Journal of 27th October, 1911: more information on the progress in outfitting the Titanic.
- The Cornishman of April 11th 1912: the news from April 3rd says that the Titanic journeyed closer to the shore at Penzance than other ships, probably to make up time during her journey to Southampton.
- The Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette of 16th May 1914: the Britannic's gantry davits are demonstrated. This shows that the davits were not manufactured by Harland and Wolff (though they may have designed them), but by Stothert and Pitt.
- The Cheltenham Looker-On of May 4th 1912 part 1 and The Cheltenham Looker-On of May 4th 1912 part 2; the Titanic crew return home
- The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencier of 13th March, 1936 discusses the progress on the scrapping of the Olympic.
- The serialisation of Lightoller's autobiography brought forth controversy in the letters pages of the Dundee "Evening Telegraph" regarding the ice warning from the Mesaba. The letters are here, here and here (The essay containing these letters is here)
- The Aberdeen Journal of June 9th, 1911 describes a visit to the new Olympic.
- The Western Times, October 4th, 1910 quotes a White Star publicity pamphlet on the two new liners.
- The Larne Weekly Telegraph of 3rd June 1911 covers the launch of the Titanic and describes the new Olympic.
- Morpeth Herald and Reporter of February 12th, 1937 - the Olympic suite at the White Swan, Alnwick.
- The Sunderland Echo and Shipping Gazette of January 13th, 1937 - the Olympic's mahogany is fitted to the new ship, Hylton.
- Several articles detailing a shooting on board the Olympic while repairs on her post-Hawke were nearing completion - The Northampton Mercury, 24/11/1911, The Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 30/11/1911, The Weekly Telegraph, 25/11/1911, The Courier, 4/12/1911, The Weekly Telegraph, 16/12/1911
- The Belfast Newsletter of January 1st, 1912 talks about the new Olympic class vessels.
- The Belfast Newsletter of March 8th, 1912 talks of an accident at the Olympic in Belfast
- The Belfast Newsletter of 6th May 1912 describes a letter from Mr.Spencer, a crewman on the Carpathia, who witnessed the rescue efforts; also recounted is fireman William Murdock's experiences on the Titanic.
- The Alnwick and Country Gazette of May 11th 1912 - Mr Purvis, a steward on the Carpathia, recounts his experiences of the rescue.
- The Western Gazette, June 16th, 1911 - a visit to the New Olympic.
- The Walsall Advertiser, May 11th, 1912 - a small article on Tyrell Cavendish.
- In 1939, there was a fatality in the Thos Ward yard in Inverkeithing during the scrapping of the Olympic - page 1, 2 and 3
- Articles and pictures of the Titanic's launch - page 1 and 2
- The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencier of 23rd April reports on trimmer's James McGann's sighting of the end of Captain Smith (some of which seems dubious). One of McGann's grandnephews would be Paul, who later become the 8th Dr.Who, and star in Withnail and I and Alien3.
- The Belfast Newsletter of April 5th, 1912 - details on the ship's voyage to Southampton.
- The Peterborough Advertiser of April 6th, 1912 - the speed of the Olympic and the Titanic will be reduced to 20 knots to save coal.
- The Shields News of October 9th, 1935 - the Olympic's Honour and Glory before the final trip to Jarrow.
- The Belfast Evening Telegraph, January 17th, 1908 - the earliest mention (as far as I know) of the commencement of work on the Arrol Gantry.
- The Belfast Evening Telegraph, January 12th, 1904 - plans for the new Harland and Wolff Graving Dock are unveiled (it would later be named after Sir Robert Thompson Chairman of the Belfast Harbour Commission, on May 20th, 1915)
- Kate Buss's recollections are given to the "East Kent Gazette" (May 4th 1912 and May 11th 1912)
- Emily Goldsmith's experiences are described in the "East Kent Gazette" of May 18th 1912
- Elizabeth Nye's letters to the Folkstone Gazette of May 1st 1912 and May 4th 1912 (NB: the letters seem to be duplicates and are presented for completeness)
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