Review of ‘What The Papers Said ...’, by Roger Flindall

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, on 11th September 2000, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.

Derbyshire in Nottingham Newspapers 1714-1776

by Roger Flindall
ISBN 0-904334-24-4 (2000)

As one who spends long hours poring over old county newspapers (on microfilm at Derbyshire County Library HQ in Matlock), I see many a good story which has strayed from a neighbouring county. So it stands to reason that some Derbyshire happenings were similarly reported further afield, sometimes not even appearing in local papers at all. To researchers, this would be a valuable historical resource - if only they knew it was there.

Searches of provincial newspapers are greatly impeded by the lack of competent indexes but Roger Flindall, as a specialist in the use of both, is commemorating the Millennium by promoting the practicality of indexing local newspapers into a national database. What the Papers Said ... , published by The Peak District Mines Historical Society, is his personal demonstration that this is a realistic proposition.

Front Cover

The author has scoured Nottingham newspapers dated 1714 to 1776 for references to Derbyshire and to subjects associated with mining. By and large the material was not published in Derbyshire newspapers of the day, in fact the county did not have its own newspaper before 1721. Even then, certain stories were reported only outside the county because influential parties were able to suppress local coverage.

Researchers using What the Papers Said ... will have at their fingertips full and accurate transcriptions of significant references without need to consult the original newspapers. Roger Flindall is well known to historians for the professionalism of his indexing and What the Papers Said ... fully maintains the high standard of his more specialised works. In addition to the index of subjects, places and mining references, the separate index of persons' names will be of immense value to family historians. This resource is shortly to be matched in a companion volume - a persons index to the Derby Mercury 1800-1804.

Old newspapers never fail to provide an entertaining read, from important historical material to the bizarre and downright gossipy, typified by a few selected extracts:

From the Nottingham Mercury, 20 June 1723: 'On Tuesday, died of the Small-pox, aged about 16, the Lord Thomas Manners, Brother to his Grace the Duke of Rutland.'

Leicester and Nottingham Journal, 6 June 1761: 'Notice that Hannah, the wife of Joseph Saxton of Derby, has eloped for the third time, she having previously used her maiden name of Bently.'

The Leicester and Nottingham Journal, 13 June 1761: 'This is to give Notice that there will be a CUDGELLING at the house of Roger Frost, in Cromford, in the County of Derby, on Wednesday the 24th instant, 1761. One Guinea free to be given to the last best Man ...' And from 15 April 1769: 'At Ticknal ... one Mr.Thomas Richardson, a Farmer of that place, bought a Sow with Pig, which a few days ago pigg'd 12 Pigs, three of which had Faces like Christians, but as soon as pigg'd died.'

Cresswell's Nottingham Journal of 1 August 1772 revealed that on 2 July the wife of a Bolsover innkeeper was safely delivered of three children; ten days later she gave birth to a fourth child. Then on 22 July, 'to the surprize of her friends and neighbours' brought two more children into the world. The six children were 'very small' but one boy and one girl survived and were expected to do well. No mention, of course, of IVF.

Review by Julie Bunting

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