I love picking a newspaper at random from the British Newspaper Archive and reading it all – or nearly all, tiny print in the older papers is tough on the eyes, even with some zooming in.
Living in Liverpool, local papers are the most interesting of course, filling in gaps in local history and locating long-gone establishments, as well as hopefully finding interesting titbits and odd, forgotten stories. There’s mysteries never to be solved – like one note I spotted (but can’t find again) imploring a specific young lady to come to a certain address, “where she might find something to her advantage.”
I’ve been looking at and wondering about a few random things from the Liverpool Mercury in 1841. Like this advert for a talk at the Liverpool Royal Institution (a learned society for science, literature and the arts, which existed until 1948), with the none-more-Victorian title of “Customs, Habits, Dress, Implements, &c., &c. of the less civilised Nations.”
What particularly interests me are the entry costs – for gentlemen, ladies and “strangers“. I’m presuming this may mean non-members of the Institution, but it doesn’t explain.
Talk of a potential discussion on “The White and Black Race” is interesting as it would plan to go into detail on “our argument in support of the position that mind is of no particular colour or climate.”
But this is my favourite bit. I’m an avid reader of the Victorian problem page, usually called “Correspondence“‘, and which draw a veil over the actual questions asked, only printing the answers for the sender’s benefit. Many times the question is obvious in the answer, sometimes the questioner’s handwriting is also critiqued, but, on occasion, you get an unfathomable beauty like this. I can only imagine what inspired the advice of “There is no other course but emigration to adopt under the circumstances presumed by W.S. in his communication…”