It can be a strange experience looking back through Sheffield newspapers from 100 years ago.
News of the war was pouring into the city, with its impact felt everywhere from homes to businesses, in private and in public.
Life was undergoing a series of dramatic upheavals.
The newspapers themselves can seem strange, as their language and style is different to that we see and hear in the media today. But these variations and quirks bring the past to life, shedding light on the things that have changed, and on the things that aren’t so different to what we see and hear in Sheffield today.
Taking up a Sheffield newspaper from 1914, the modern reader will often find themselves surprised by its manner of reporting and how our use of language has changed over the years.
It would be a brave (and unusual!) journalist in 2014 who used the headline ‘EXCITING FIRE IN SHEFFIELD’ to describe a house in flames, but this is a genuine headline from the Telegraph in September 1914.
Strange again, the headline ‘INTERESTING WEDDING’ seems to lack the necessary enthusiasm that was surely intended!
Another surprising feature of the Telegraph in 1914 was its weather reporting. While today we’re more interested in what the weather is doing now, tomorrow, or over the next few days, the newspaper reported what the weather had been doing the day before!
Each issue contained a paragraph detailing the temperatures, daylight hours and conditions of the previous day: a style of weather reporting that has clearly gone out of fashion, and which brings new meaning to the phrase ‘yesterday’s news’.
Can our readers help us to solve the mystery of why the weather was reported in this way?
But for all these differences, the Telegraph’s occasional use of dialect seems to narrow the distance between now and then.
Written dialect is rarely seen in today’s press, but there are striking moments when it appears in 1914.
A story reporting a conversation in a tramcar contains this wonderful example of regional patriotism: “Ay, ah’ve been to see him”, “an’ if tha thought t’Kaiser as tha thoomped me, he’ll be sorry he went to war.” Moments such as this bring the reader closer to everyday life in Sheffield 1914, a lovely reminder that some things don’t change at all.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on Sheffield 1914 and to hear your own stories and memories.
Please get in touch on Twitter at @Sheffield1914, or write to us at: Sheffield 1914 Team, c/o Dr Amber Regis, Jessop West, Upper Hanover St, Sheffield, S3 7RA.
Photographs courtesy of Sheffield Archives at www.picturesheffield.com.