In the very first issue of Longshot, I extolled the virtues of newspapers as a fascinating source of information to family historians (Ref: “Family History From Old Newspapers.”; Longshot Vol 1 No.1, May 1992). It is generally, of course, the local papers which are of most value to the average researcher. Although they started during the first half of the 18th century, local news as such did not feature prominently until the final decade or so. Nevertheless, the value of these early local papers is often attached to the advertisements, including those of businesses and of sales, and notifications of bankruptcies.
The mass development of newspapers during the 19th and 20th centuries means they are a major source for local and family historians. Not only did they report local events in detail, but they consistently recorded births, marriages and deaths. Unfortunately, few local newspapers have been indexed which means in practice they are generally consulted only when the researcher has some prior knowledge of the event he is searching for. However, random searches can provide some of the most rewarding and exciting finds, and I can thoroughly recommend browsing through old newspapers to anyone who wishes to undertake some research but doesn’t have a clue where to start! But some words of warning: you need a lot of spare time, and if you’re the type who is easily distracted, you’ll need to discipline yourself – it is so easy to get completely absorbed by the paper’s contents, that the original objective – family history – is completely forgotten!
Several major developments during the 19th century boosted the growth of the popular press, most notably the repeal of stamp duty in 1855, increasing literacy, improved printing technology, the growth of railways and the electric telegraph. These changes meant that 19th century newspapers could offer their readers a more thorough and wide-ranging coverage of local and national news than their 18th century forebears. In order to sell the papers, news of crimes, sudden deaths in mysterious circumstances, fires, problems with sewage and anything out of the ordinary were reported in great detail to satisfy the curiosity of an eager public. Such sensationalism as does occur carries with it the obvious risk of exaggeration, so beware!
Where can you find old newspapers? All the large public libraries and county record offices hold collections of newspaper archives, but they are usually only available on microfilm in order to preserve the fragile originals. Unfortunately, this can create problems for the researcher because long use of microfilm tires the eyes, especially when confronted with the small type so commonly used during the last century. Apart from the local collections, there is the British Newspaper Library at Colindale, North London, which is the single largest collection of newspapers, with 500,000 volumes and 90,000 reels of microfilm.
During the last year, I have compiled a collection of Lin(d)field newspaper and magazine cuttings and have begun the task of indexing them, which I hope to complete fairly soon. Surprisingly enough, they date from as early as 1773 (and I must thank Rosemary Milton for finding all the very early ones). As part of this article, I have decided to reproduce some of the more interesting items.
Index of Lin(d)field Cuttings Collection (newspapers, magazines etc)
- # : reference number
- Title of publication, if known
- Date of publication, if known
- Title of entry, article etc, if any
- Brief description of contents (including names)
#1. Sussex Weekly Advertiser 27 Sept 1773
To be Let; Relates to the butcher’s shop occupied by Thomas Lindfield of Ditchling.
#2. Sussex Weekly Advertiser 29 Nov 1773
To be sold at auction, by Robert Hannington, Horsham Nov. 29, 1773.
The effects of a London tradesman are to be auctioned at a house belonging to Mr Linfield, the lower part of the Market House.
#3. Sussex Weekly Advertiser 16 April 1781
“Last Monday a remarkably fine ox, fatted by Sir Cecil Bishopp, of Parham Park, weighing near 190 stone was killed by Mr. Peter Lindfield, of Storrington.”
#4. Sussex Weekly Advertiser 23 March 1807
“Thomas Linfield, in the service of Messrs Chitty and Willard, brewers of this town (Lewes) was much bitten on one of his hands, by a dog supposed to be mad. The dog was of the coach kind, and had been brought from the neighbourhood of the metropolis by a horse-dealer. The animal died in the night, apparently in great agony. We sincerely hope this, like many other alarms of a similar nature, will terminate without serious effects.”
#5. Sussex Weekly Advertiser 30 March 1807
To be sold by auction. By LINFIELD and STANFORD.
“Twelve couple of well-bred hounds” to be auctioned at the King’s Head Inn, Cuckfield, the property of Isaac Sayers of Cuckfield.
#6. Worthing Gazette 29 Nov 1883
Sad death of a Tradesman’s son.
Report of inquest held at Worthing into the death of a man found in the Broadwater Brooks. William Linfield, Assistant Overseer, was summoned to help retrieve the body and subsequently appears as a witness at the inquest.
#7. Worthing Herald 1885
To be Sold by Auction by Messrs Piper & Son at the Town Hall, Worthing on July 27th 1885…
Various properties to be auctioned, including nurseries in East Worthing let to Mr AG Linfield, fruiterer, for 21 years from September 1884.
#8. Worthing Gazette 1 April 1886
The Telephone in Worthing
“To our enterprising young townsman, Mr F C Linfield, corn merchant, belongs the credit of having been the first to introduce the telephone into Worthing.” Mr Linfield proceeded to give the reporter a demonstration of the wonders of this new form of technology.
#9. Worthing Gazette August 1889
Fire in Chapel Road
Fire badly damages the Chapel Road premises of Frederick C Linfield, corn merchant.
#10. Worthing Gazette 20 July 1892
Death of Mr W Linfield
After a long illness, Mr William Linfield died at his residence in Lennox Road, aged 69. Born in Surrey, and originally a tailor by trade, he later became Collector of Rates under the Local Board. He was also Assistant Overseer of the parish of Broadwater.
#11. Worthing Gazette 27 July 1892
Funeral of the late Mr. Linfield
The funeral of Mr William Linfield took place at the Cemetery, South Farm Road.
#12. Worthing Intelligencer 23 December 1893
“We congratulate Mr Alderman Linfield upon his well-deserved promotion…” Frederick C. Linfield is congratulated on his election as Alderman of the borough of Worthing.
#13. Worthing Gazette 1903
Before the Bench – A Female Inebriate
“A garrulous visitor, Emily Frances Linfield, was again charged with being drunk…”
#14. Worthing Gazette 1903
A Troublesome Visitor
“A visitor, named Emily Frances Linfield, was charged with being drunk in Chatsworth Road… She was now ordered to pay 10s, or in default to undergo fourteen days’ imprisonment.”
#15. Worthing Gazette 1903
An Aged Lady’s Fatal Fall/Accusation against a Daughter/The Inquiry Adjourned
An inquest was held into the death of Mary Emma Linfield, aged 90, who came from Brighton to live in Worthing the previous October. Witnesses at her lodgings in Warwick Road claim to have heard her arguing with her daughter, Emily Frances Linfield, and that during the altercation she was heard to shout “take that” and her mother had fallen down. She had broken her leg, and one of the witnesses claimed she had told her that her daughter had done it. Mary Linfield died soon after, and the doctor who attended attributed death to bronchitis and heart failure, which was undoubtedly accelerated by the injury and by lying in bed. The inquiry was adjourned so that Emily Frances Linfield could be brought over from Lewes Prison.
#16. Worthing Gazette 1903
In the Coroner’s Court/An Old Lady’s Fall/Her daughter’s story of the occurrence.
Emily Frances Linfield gives her version of events on the night her mother broke her leg. Her mother had knocked her in the chest on the way to bed, and, being annoyed at this, Emily had jerked her with her elbow. Since her mother was very weak on her left leg, the jerk was sufficient to make her fall over. But they had not been quarrelling, and she had not said “take that” at any time.
The Coroner asked the jury to decide whether the fall was accidental or inflicted by assault. Another daughter of the deceased, who had been staying with her mother since the fall, was called in the hope that she could throw more light on the cause of the accident. She said that her mother had made no statement to her of any kind.
The Jury rejected the contradictory evidence of the landlady and her nephew, returning the verdict: “Death from heart failure and bronchitis, accelerated by the fall.”
#17. Worthing Gazette 1903
No Means of Subsistence
Emily Frances Linfield was charged with wandering about without any visible means of subsistence.
#18. Sussex Daily News 21 August 1908
Wedding at Chichester/ Mr A. Linfield and Miss L. Ballard
Wedding of Arthur George Linfield (junior), son of Mr AG Linfield of the Laurels, Chesswood Road, Worthing and Miss Lena Ballard, fourth daughter of Alderman A. Ballard of East Pallant, Chichester.
#19. Paper unknown date 1926 or 1927
Who’s Who Today/ Mr. F C Linfield
Brief biography of Frederick Caesar Linfield.
“Mr Linfield… was the member of Parliament for mid-Bedfordshire before the last General Election, at which he was opposed by a Conservative, although at the time he was out of the country as a member of the Parliamentary Commission to East Africa. Mr Linfield is strikingly young for his age, and was a particularly active member of the Commission, afterwards publishing a separate report of his own. He advocated the creation of a Board, National or Imperial in status, for the development of colonies that are not self-governing…”
#20. Worthing Gazette January 1933
A Glasshouse Pioneer/Mr and Mrs A G Linfield’s Golden Wedding
Golden Wedding celebration for A G Linfield and E M Linfield who were married on January 1 1883. Mr Linfield is one of the two surviving pioneers of the glasshouse industry in the district, having started with his first block of glasshouses 53 years ago, when a young man of 20.
#21. Worthing Gazette June 1938
Exemplary Public Servant/The Late Mr AG Linfield/Tributes at the Funeral
Funeral of AG Linfield (1859-1938). Includes list of family mourners and others. Also list of floral tributes.
#22. Worthing Gazette or West Sussex Gazette? June 1939
Former Mayor who became MP/Funeral of Mr F C Linfield
Funeral of F C Linfield (1861-1939), former Mayor of Worthing (1906-08) and Liberal MP (1922-24). Interment at Broadwater Cemetery. Includes list of mourners.
#24. Worthing Herald 9 March 1956
Death of a Church
The Methodist Church in Chapel Road is for sale. The first foundation stone was laid by Miss Linfield, daughter of Councillor F C Linfield, in August 1892.
#25. Evening Argus 27 Feb 1957
Church will give way to shops now
The future of the Methodist Church in Chapel Road has almost been settled. It has not yet been decided whether the church will be converted to shops or be pulled down and new property built.
#26. Paper unknown 1957 or 1958
Church sold in aid of another
The Methodist Church in Chapel Road is now being demolished. The money raised from its sale to Hall & Co Ltd is to be used towards the building of a new Methodist church at Offington Park.
#29. Worthing Gazette 1953
Death of Mrs EM Linfield
The death has occurred of Mrs EM Linfield (91), the widow of AG Linfield, a pioneer in glasshouse growing. Her son is Mr AG Linfield, head of the firm of AG Linfield Ltd, growers, of Chesswood nurseries, Thakeham.
#30. Worthing and West Sussex Growers Magazine Vol III 1957
Leading Growers and their Views
The interview is with AG Linfield, head of the firm of AG Linfield Ltd. Includes an interesting brief history of the business founded by his father in 1882, as well as information about his own interests and activities.
“Mr Linfield began work on his father’s nursery at an early age. One of his first memories is of standing on a market box to enable him to reach up to the packing bench to trim mushrooms during school holidays…”
#31. Worthing and West Sussex Growers Magazine Vol 1 No1 1955
Pioneers of growing under glass in the Worthing District, by HW Hollis
Reprint of an article which first appeared in 1929. This brief history of the early days of the Worthing glasshouse industry mentions AG Linfield, who erected his nurseries in Ham Road in the 1880s.
#32. Worthing Herald 21 December 1956
Linfields buy Sompting nurseries
The firm of AG Linfield (Sompting) Ltd have purchased Lyons Farm Nurseries at Sompting from H and A Pullen-Burry Ltd. The nurseries extend to some 140 acres, of which seven and a half are glasshouses.
#33. Worthing Herald or Gazette? 1959
Death of Mr WF Linfield at age of 68
Mr William Frederick Linfield has died at his home in Worthing. He was a younger brother of Mr AG Linfield, head of the large firm of growers, AG Linfield Ltd.
#34. Worthing Herald? November 1963
‘Aunty May’ and Husband Joe Celebrate Today
Golden Wedding of Evelyn May Linfield and Joe Page, who have been caretakers of the Storrington village hall for the past 47 years. May Linfield is a member of what is almost certain to be the oldest Storrington family; the family tree, carefully prepared by Mr. H. Stanford Smith is a remarkable document. Joe was one of the great’s in the history of the Storrington Cricket Club.
#35. Worthing Herald 9 October 1964
Linfields’ million pound company
A holding company with a capital of 1 million in 1 shares has been formed in connection with the AG Linfield group of companies. It is AG Linfield (Holdings) Ltd., a private company registered on September 21 .
#36. Worthing Herald 1967
The Queen Mother’s Visit
Visit of the Queen Mother to Gifford House, a home for disabled ex-Servicemen at Worthing. Several photographs also picture the home’s chairman, Mr AG Linfield.
#38. Worthing Herald or Gazette May 1969
Death of Mrs G. Linfield
Mrs Gwendoline Linfield, wife of Mr Arthur Linfield, chairman of AG Linfield Ltd., the market gardeners and growers, died on May 9. The Linfields were married in 1943 when the then Miss Gwendoline Brown was matron of Worthing Hospital.
#39. Worthing Herald or Gazette May 1969
Obituary notice for Gwendoline, beloved wife of Arthur Linfield. Funeral at Thakeham Church on May 15.
#41. Worthing Herald c 1970
Retiring: Mr AG Linfield, who has spent the best part of a lifetime in voluntary work for hospitals and the health service, gives up another appointment at the end of this month, that of the chairmanship of the West Sussex Health Executive Council.
Tributes were paid to Mr. Linfield’s work at the Chichester meeting of the executive council last week…
#42. West Sussex County Times 3 April 1970
One of the biggest specialist horticultural concerns in Europe
Starting in Worthing in 1882, AG Linfield Ltd have since become one of the largest specialist horticultural concerns in Europe, centred in Thakeham, with branches at Worthing, Ashington and Sompting…
#47. Worthing Herald January 1974
Knighthood for Arthur Linfield
Mr Arthur Linfield, Worthing born and head of AG Linfield Ltd., the big mushroom growing concern has become Sir Arthur with the conferring of the title Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in the New Year Honours List.
#49. West Sussex Gazette 24 January 1974
‘Fever year’ inspiration
Arthur George Linfield, of Oast House, Ashington, who was knighted in the New Year Honours, and who is the subject of Juliet Pannett’s drawing on this page, told the WSG it was the example of his father in the “fever year”… that inspired him to engage in social work.
Arthur George Linfield; drawing reproduced by
kind permission of Juliet Pannet
#51. National paper? Daily Express? 1974
The Queen knights the mushroom man: Perhaps the most unusual award in the New Year Honours List tucked away in the Royal Victorian Order section – is a knighthood for mushroom grower Arthur Linfield.
#52. West Sussex Gazette 25 April 1974 Death of Sir Arthur Linfield
Sir Arthur George Linfield, chairman of AG Linfield Ltd., a former West Sussex County Council member, and a Worthing magistrate, died at his home, the Oast House, Ashington, on Easter Sunday, aged 88.
#59. West Sussex Gazette August/Sept 1973
The Linfields of Clapham: Letter from Eric George Linfield of Saltford, Bristol – wondering whether any readers of the WSG may have memories of his grandfather George Linfield, who married Katherine Leach at Clapham in 1885.
#61. Worthing Gazette or Herald May 1974
Sir Arthur – ‘Man of Achievement': Representatives of the Queen and the Duke of Norfolk attended the memorial service on Tuesday (April 30) at St. Paul’s Church, Worthing, for Sir Arthur Linfield, KCVO, CBE, JP, who died on Easter Sunday, aged 88.
#63. Worthing Gazette 1 May 1974
Methold House to open in Autumn: Worthing’s new Methold House will open its doors officially in October… Mr Robert Cushing, presiding, paid tribute to the council’s president (Worthing and District Council of Social Services), Sir Arthur Linfield, who died on Easter Day.
“Since he became our president Sir Arthur took a continuing interest in all our affairs,’ said Mr Cushing. ‘He was one of nature’s gentlemen. He was a quiet, unassuming man and his Christian ideals were reflected in everything he did and we are all going to be that much poorer without him.”
I hope to continue this review of our newspaper and magazine archive in the next issue of Longshot. In the meantime, I would like to appeal to all our members to please send in any cuttings they may have to further enrich our collection. One of the stated objectives of our society when it was originally set up in February 1992 is “to collect and publish all records relating to the names Linfield and Lindfield, and to make them available to all members.” Newpapers and magazines are very important documents for purposes of family and local history. Although they are printed, they are still primary sources and are just as valuable as parish registers and census returns. So please send me whatever you have (copies will do), so that we can build up a truly comprehensive collection of printed source material.
Further reading: Newspapers and Local History by Michael Murphy (British Association for Local History, 1991).