Monday, February 18, 2013



We have hundreds of back issue of the Blyth Standard going back to 1900 and a few odd pages before that. I find these to be absolutely fascinating and hope that you - some of you - will find them equally interesting.

My plan for this blog item is not to follow any particular theme, but just random accounts of things that catch my attention as I browse through the old stuff.


The second Boer War was raging in Southern Africa in 1899 to 1902, and WW2 was raging in Europe from 1939 to 1945. The front pages in the Blyth Standard in Boer War years was totally dedicated to war news.

Front page of a 1900 issue.
All articles concern the war in South Africa

Front page for April 12, 1942
Articles indicate life going on pretty much as usual

The Boer War information obviously came from reports provided by the British and Canadian governments. There were numerous illustrations and photos. The local news was rarely accompanied by  photos in those days. I don't know much about printing, but assume that the local paper must have been provided with plates which enabled the printing of photos and maps which appeared regularly.

The war news was not confined to the front page. Many additional articles and photos were sprinkled throughout inside pages. Another possibility is that the paper received large packages of newsprint already printed leaving space for the local masthead to be printed as well as space for the other local news to be printed

The papers during WW2 contained references to the war as it affected the community directly. The activities of the Red Cross Society, the sale of Victory Bonds, notices of local service people being wounded, missing, or killed - these would appear throughout the paper. But if one just glanced at most issues of the paper, one would scarcely realize that a war was in progress. Those who subscribed to national daily papers would get their war news from that source as well as from radio broadcasts.

The Blyth Standard for May 27, 1942 featured a 2 full column list of people who had donated money to the Red Cross to help with the great work they did to assist the local service men and women. This list contained almost 300 donors who gave from 25 cents to 25 dollars to the cause. It was common in those days to publish the names of donors and the amount donated by each. There were two donations of $25. The Red Cross sent care parcels to soldiers and prisoners of war, corresponded with many of these young heroes. The knit socks, scarves, made up bandages and slings, as well as sending treats, cigarettes, and other gifts.

The Red Cross did their work and held meetings in the second floor rooms at the front of Industry Hall, which is the building on the southwest corner of Dinsley and Queen Street.


Brock Vodden

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