Shropshire Star

Shrewsbury Chronicle and Ludlow Advertiser articles feature in Blists Hill's Christmas newspaper

The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust has collaborated with the British Library on a Christmas-themed newspaper.

The Constable at Blists Hill Victorian Town enjoys the Christmas edition of the Observer

The free guide in the form of a newspaper, The Illustrated Blists Hill Observer, will this year feature Christmas news and features published in Midlands newspapers during the Victorian period.

The guide is distributed upon arrival at the Victorian town throughout December, usually featuring historical-based fictional news articles about life in the town.

But for this winter, the team at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust have partnered with the British Library to reproduce articles from various publications including the Shropshire Examiner, the Shrewsbury Chronicle and the Ludlow Advertiser, from between 1876 and 1905.

The stories selected include poultry selection advice from the ‘Ladies’ Home Column’ in the Ludlow Advertiser from December 22, 1900, and a story from the Shrewsbury Chronicle, December 20 1901, about a severe blizzard in Shropshire.

Lauren Collier, head of interpretation at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, said: “We were delighted to collaborate with the British Library to produce this festive edition of the Illustrated Blists Hill Observer.

"At Blists Hill Victorian Town we aim to give visitors an authentic experience of life in the East Shropshire Coalfield circa 1900.

"With this new edition of the Observer we can also give them a flavour of how the Christmas season was celebrated locally and tell them about typical news and events from the time. The newspaper will help bring to life what Christmas was like for the people who lived and worked in Shropshire more than 100 years ago.”

Beth Gaskell, curator of news and moving image at the British Library, said: “This was a very exciting opportunity for the British Library to work with the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, and to showcase the national newspaper collection we care for.

"The extracts included in the Illustrated Blists Hill Observer demonstrate the importance of local newspapers to communities at the end of the 19th century and highlight the amount that can be learnt from these rich historical sources.

"The articles included provide just a small taste of what we hold in the more than 60 million individual newspaper issues in our collection, which is for everyone, and I hope this edition will inspire visitors to explore them further.”

This edition of the Illustrated Blists Hill Observer will be given to all visitors to Blists Hill Victorian Town in December, including visitors attending the special Christmas events taking place at the museum.

Victorian Christmas Weekends will take place on December 9, 10, 16 and 17 and the Christmas Lates on December 13 and 20.

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