The most dramatic news to be told in the pages of the Ashbourne Telegraph on July 17, 1914, was of a suffragette ‘outrage’ in central London as the result of which a woman was being tried for attempting to explode a bomb in a church in Westminster. She showed her contempt for proceedings by lying down on the bench and asking for a pillow so she could sleep.
The Daily Telegraph military correspondent was given space in the national title, but not to shed light on the diplomatic travails in Europe but to report: “The troops of Sir Douglas Haig’s command are cheerily at work on the programme of progressive training now in vogue.”
The article on Page six of the paper goes on to bemoan: “Our Army is still handicapped by the increasing difficulty of obtaining recruits for the infantry.” This situation was to dramatically change in the coming weeks and months.
Derbyshire readers were told that James Osborne JP (the Ashbourne chemist offering Telegraph readers the miraculous Osborne Tonic Blood Purifier) had returned to the UK from New York aboard the RMS Lusitania. At the time this news was of little importance, but the Cunard liner was to play a significant role in the direction of the coming war when it was sunk by German U boat less than 12 months later.
The news item demanding the most prominence was a marriage report of the Rev M Young and Miss Clay, which ran to more than an entire column. It included a list of all the gifts received and who had presented them, including “fruit bottling apparatus”, candlesticks, a crumb-scoop and a Canadian bearskin.
Most of the Ashbourne Telegraph’s eight pages were filled with close-set type, with larger display fonts mainly restricted to the adverts. Illustrations were sparse and generally hand drawn or etched images. July 17, however featured what we would now recognise as photographic images from a livestock show, courtesy of The Smallholder., illustrating the regular poultry and livestock column.
Elsewhere in the paper the town’s R&R Bull’s Victoria Studios offers: “Plates, Papers, Spools, Kodaks – developing and printing promptly undertaken.
A vagrant arrested in Ashbourne on suspicion of theft had the following exchange with the judge at his trial: –
Prisoner: May I say something, sir?
His Honour: What do you have to say?
Prisoner: I think I am as honest as some of the men in this court today.
His Honour: The sentence is six months’ hard labour