Somersham shop to sell newspapers commorating royal occasions
A COLLECTION of more than 40 newspapers and newspaper supplements, each commemorating a significant royal occasion, is about to go on sale at a shop in Somersham. The papers date from 1846 – the oldest is a copy of the Illustrated London News with a repo
A COLLECTION of more than 40 newspapers and newspaper supplements, each commemorating a significant royal occasion, is about to go on sale at a shop in Somersham.
The papers date from 1846 - the oldest is a copy of the Illustrated London News with a report of the visit to Cornwall by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
The collection also includes an eight-page supplement from the Daily Mail on the marriage of the Duke of York to Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1923, the coverage by the Daily Express and the Daily Mail of Edward VIII's abdication in 1936 and coronation specials of George VI and his daughter and Queen Elizabeth II.
And, of course, no collection would be complete without some column inches on Charles and Diana's wedding in 1981. There's also newspaper specials printed after Diana's death in 1997 and specials on the Queen Mother's 100th birthday in 2000.
The papers were collected and kept in a suitcase by the late Myra Chowins, a descendant of the owner of the St Neots Advertiser, which published between 1880 and 1984.
After Mrs Chowins died her nieces gave them to John Stack, a retired Longsands College teacher who is an advisor on sport to St Neots Museum and a collector of old newspapers and historical facts about St Neots.
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Mr Slack, who has suffered from multiple sclerosis for 20 years, is now selling the papers to raise money for St Neots Museum and the Proventus charity, which works to raise awareness of neurological disorders. He is chairman of the charity's trustees.
He said: "I still teach at Longsands and I have kept some of the oldest papers back because I use them."
He has the fourth edition of the St Neots Illustrated News, which only survived for 20 editions. His copy from 1855 has a report about out Florence Nightingale being ill while nursing out in the Crimea.
Mr Slack also has a copy of The Hunts Post from July 17, 1947, with a photograph of a St Neots Rowing Club crew which had just won the Lord Desborough Cup in Oxford.
Mr Slack is about to finish his book, The Secret History of St Neots Station, which contains the story of a project to build a channel tunnel in 1875.
Mr Slack said: "It was to have been built by Sir James Bruyneel who built the Kimbolton to Huntingdon line but it was stopped by the generals who thought it could be used by the French to invade. By 1914, they wished it had gone ahead. They could have used it to get the troops to the Western Front."
INFORMATION: The papers are on sale at Hunters Emporium in High Street Somersham run by Karen Hunter. According to auctioneers, Cheffins in Cambridge, old newspapers are unlikely to reach more than �10 each, depending on their condition.