Stamford Newspapers - Reporting The War, Stamford Mercury and Stamford Guardian

War outbreak

Key excerpts from the Stamford Mercury (Nov-Dec 1914) and Stamford Guardian (August to October 1914) from the period of the outbreak of war in 1914. Reports compiled by P.Massey (Stamford Guardian here and Stamford Mercury here).

Stamford Mercury

These documents contain details of war related entries in the local newspaper, the Stamford Mercury, from 1914 to 1916. Compiled by Mr. G. Chambers:


Stamford Mercury: May – December 1914
The Mercury of May 1st 1914 looked very different to the Mercury of 2014. It cost one penny and its ten pages of tightly packed small print contained few adverts and no photographs. It contained national and regional news and claimed to have the largest circulation in Lincolnshire and Rutland. It was available in places as diverse as Barnsley, Birmingham, Melton Mowbray and York. Its contents reflected the rural areas that surrounded Stamford. On page 3 an Imperial Parliament column covered news from the Lords and the Commons and Home Rule in Ireland was the main issue. Village news came from familiar places like Barnack and Market Deeping but also from areas like Louth, Kettering and Melton Mowbray. Unsurprisingly articles on Agricultural market prices; poultry; husbandry and animal diseases feature in its pages.

Stamford Mercury: 1915
The layout of the paper is the same as 1914. The main source of local accounts comes from page 4 under the heading “Letters from the Front.” My general understanding has been there was a wide gulf between the armed forces perception of warfare and that of the ordinary civilians. The detail provided in these letters challenges that assumption.

Stamford Mercury: 1916
In 1916 paper shortages forced the Mercury to reduce the number of its pages and tighter censorship eliminated the Letters from the Front column which had given such detailed accounts of life in the trenches. The number of casualties begins to grow especially after the Battle of the Somme in July. The introduction of conscription and lighting restrictions impacted on civil life.