Friday 30 December 2011

Hogmanay and New Year newspaper stories

From the British Newspaper Archive (

Old Newspaper Stories from Hogmanays and New Year‘s Days 

With time's winged chariot parked half on the pavement and New Year‘s Day just about to knock on the door and first-foot us all, we thought it‘d be a good time to post some ’On this day‘ Hogmanay and Ne'erday stories on our Facebook page.

Abraham Lincoln‘s New Year Resolution of 1863 
As the first of January is often a day for new legislation to arrive on the statute books, some momentous events have taken place on first days of the year. President Lincoln's proclamation on New Year‘s Day 1863 that all slaves in the rebel states (i.e. states of the Confederacy) were now free, is one good example of a dramatic New Year‘s resolution from a major law-maker. The archive story that reports on the emancipation proclamation offers a real sense of this famous moment, as it contains Lincoln‘s words in full - and Lincoln did have a way with words.

Australia, Nigeria, Ellis Island and ’Let There Be Light!', Cried Mr Edison 
Still on foreign shores, we also found interesting New Year‘s Day stories about the following events:
  • The 'Wizard of Menlo Park' (aka Thomas Edison) demonstrates his electric lights in New York in 1880,
  • New York opens its new immigration depot at Ellis Island in 1891, 
  • Nigeria becomes a British protectorate in 1900, 
  • The Inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia takes place in Sydney in 1901. 

1801 Union, Old Age Pensions, Opening of the Manchester Ship Canal and UK Shop Workers Are Allowed Seats 
On the home front, the political union of Ireland and Great Britain that created the United Kingdom was legislation of great import, as was the introduction of old age pensions in 1909 - as a news story reports, many OAPs were out on the tiles that night. While Salfordians will enjoy reading about the cutting of the ribbon for their ship canal (a good palindrome is still required for this canal...), post-Christmas shop workers might find some solace and amusement in the 1900 legislation that finally allowed seating in UK shops. (It's interesting to ponder the story behind this seating in shops legislation)

Hogmanay and Ne‘erday Birthdays - Bonnie Prince Charlie, Paul Revere and Pierre de Coubertin 
'The king o'er the water' (b. 1720), the famous messenger (and muse for Longfellow) of the American Revolution (b. 1738) and the founder of the modern Olympics (b. 1863), are just three of the historical celebrities who were born on 31st December and 1st January. So to celebrate their birthdays, we‘ve included a story for each of them.

'Big Ben' Chimes Over the Ether, New Year‘s Day Football and the Honours‘ List 
To complete this gallery of stories, we‘ve posted some reports that capture the traditional mood in the UK on Hogmanay and New Year‘s Day - these articles include:
  • 'Big Ben' chiming across the airwaves for the first time in 1923, 
  • Match reports from various Ne‘erday football matches, 
  • A brief arts and science review of 1919, 
  • A Shakespeare-inspired newspaper editor ruminates on the theme of 'Auld Lang Syne', 
  • The honours list of 1st January 1894 ('a starveling document'), 
  • Summaries of Hogmanay in Glasgow and other Scottish towns. 

We hope you enjoy reading these newspaper reports in our gallery of Ne‘erday stories - available at

(Thanks to the BNA)


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