31 Mar 2017 - Courtney Floyd

Unifying Structures in the Weekly Telegraph (1894)

As promised, this week we are going to take a look at the unifying structures in the later iterations of theSheffield Daily Telegraph supplement (which is called the Sheffield Weekly Telegraph and then just the Weekly Telegraph). I took extra time to put together this post, because I needed to prepare some supplementary materials for your entertainment and edification. Thank you for waiting patiently. Today, I'll be using the Saturday, April 14, 1894 issue to discuss what has changed between the 1880s and '90s in terms of unifying structures, but also just general look and feel. First, when supplement started publication under the name The Sheffield Weekly Telegraph in 1884, it gradually became longer and longer. By 1894, the supplement is always 28 pages long. As noted in this post, by 1894 The Weekly Telegraph's front page looks drastically different from the earlier Saturday supplements. Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 11.11.00 AM.png To see the original, click through to the British Newspaper Archive.


Being the perceptive reader you are, you'll have noticed that The Weekly Telegraph is now chock-full of illustrations. In fact, the first two pages are not numbered (which I take to mean that they are more of an advertising wrapper than a cover), and the masthead is repeated on the third page, which is technically p. 1. Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 11.17.14 AM.png


The real first page is, as you can see, full of news. International news, in fact, as well as bulletins about competitions the newspaper runs.

Pages 2-4 contain the newest/hottest fiction the newspaper is serializing. In this issue, that happens to be Mary Elizabeth Braddon's Thou Art the Man. I equate this positioning to  that thing in TV scheduling where really popular / successful TV shows get time slots on Sunday or Monday nights, and Friday night is reserved for flailing / foundering programming that hasn't been pulled yet.

Pages 16-17 contain older / longer running serial novels which have lost their shiny newness (so far as I can tell). Space on page 4 is often filled with essays and or quippy paragraphs such as the following:

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Page 5 contains a short story and, depending on the space, a puzzle or two and maybe an ad for cosmetics or medicine.

Page 6 always contains an article in a series titled, "Feminine Fancies, Foibles, and Fashions," by "Muriel." It also often contains a column of advertising.

Page 7 follows with a series titled "Oddments for Ladies," edited by Lillie Harris.

Page 8 contains a number of things, including what I would call "think-pieces," as well as essays on things such as "The Art of Advertising," poems and illustrations (usually wood cuts), and puff pieces such as, "On Popping the Question."

Page 9 is an ongoing series titled "To Be Read Aloud," subtitled, "A Page of Interesting News." I was fascinated by the fact that this one page is supposed to be read aloud, so I took a stab at reading it aloud and recorded myself doing so. My apologies for my atrocious pronunciation of British proper nouns; I did this on the fly, and didn't prepare a pronunciation guide. Oh, hubris.

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Page 10 contains a calendar and is otherwise much like page 8 in terms of miscellaneity.

Page 11 contains a series titled, "Gossip of the Day," subtitled, "The Doings of our Fellow Men," which seems to be a bunch of quips and anecdotes (not unlike Page 9).

Page 12 contains essays and illustrations and poetry, as does page 13.

Page 14 is dedicated to the Weekly Telegraph's Joke Competition, in which one could earn 2 pounds, 10 shillings. (See image below for an example of Victorian humor.)

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 11.32.56 AM.png


Page 15 is titled, "Children's Corner," and contains a number of stories, illustrations, and a series called "Auntie's Stories" by Captain Trim.

As noted above, pages 16-17 contain another installment of a serial novel and, given space, a short story. Page 18 includes another short story, this one "Burke and Hare's Last Crime: A Horror of the Body Snatchers," as well as anecdotes and poems.

After page 18, the pagination changes to Roman numerals.

Page I contains correspondence sections including, "Missing Friends and Relatives," "A Romance of the Telegraph," "Scientific and Useful," "Legal Answers," and "Notes on Gardening."

Page II contains the "Mutual-Aid Colums," and more correspondence.

Page III is full of advertisements for medical, cosmetic, and other products.

Page IV contains more essays and more ads.

Page V is all advertisements.

Page VI is almost always a one-page advertisement, in this case for Clarke's World Famed Blood Mixture.

Page VII is more advertising.

And page VIII is another one-page advertisement, usually in the form of a testimonial with illustrations.