10 Facts About the North Devon Journal Archive

1. The Journal was First Published in 1824

The very first edition of the North Devon Journal was Published on Friday 2nd July 1824 and we have the only known copy of the edition in our collection.

2. When First Published Each Edition was Part Printed in Two Different Places.

The first part of the paper was printed in Exeter containing all the non local news and other items before it was sent to Barnstaple where the local items were printed.

3. The Document Which Founded the North Devon Journal is Held in Our Archive

The document which established the North Devon Journal in 1824 was purchased with the help of the North Devon journal at auction.

4. We hold 143 Bound Volumes of the North Devon Journal covering 156 years.

After the volume containing the first year’s worth of editions there is a gap until 1850. We then have a complete run of editions from 1850 up to 1980. They are very fragile and with the availability of digital and microfilm copies of the originals we rarely produce them so we can preserve them for the future.

Bound volumes of the North Devon Journal on our shelves. Many of them are now too fragile to handle and so microfilm substitutes are used so we can protect the originals for as long as possible.

5. The Size and Paper Quality have varied over the years.

When the Journal was first published there was a premium on paper which kept the price inflated. Over the years the price and availability of paper has fluctuated. During both World Wars the paper was reduced in size as resources became rationed. The paper became even smaller for a period after the Second World War. Paper quality also changed, some of the paper is now so delicate it is falling apart which is why we only get the original papers out for special occasions. Some are just to delicate to produce at any time.

6. Our Bound Volumes Include issues printed during Printers Strikes

There were a handful of strikes by the Printers unions during the 20th Century, during these times the Journal either didn’t go to print or the staff produced folio sized news sheets with short articles in them. We have several examples of these sheets within our bound volumes.

One of many Strike Issues within our bound volumes, this one from 1959

7. The Most Important Layout Change Happened in 1955 when Headlines Replaced Adverts on the Front Page.

While the size and number of pages columns had changed and evolved since the paper was first published in 1824, one page varied very little. The front page had been predominately or entirely filled with adverts from within the first year of the newspaper being published. From March 1955 this all changed when the paper moved the adverts to the inside pages and replaced them with headlines, news articles and photographs.

8. The First Photograph was Published in April 1902.

While the first negative in our collection dates to the mid 1940’s the first photo was published in 1902. In the early days photographs were taken by local photographs on the newspaper’s behalf. It wasn’t until later did they start to employ their own photographers.

9. We Have Digitised 27,885 Negatives From the Archive.

There are approximately 5,774 glass negatives in the collection which have all been digitised and 22,111 film negatives which have been digitised.

10. There Are Thousands of 35mm Negatives still to be Digitised and Catalogued.

These cover the period from late 1992 through to early 2002. Many of the images were never published. However, while they are not catalogued they are all filed in date order. This means we should be able to match up many of the images to the articles they were taken for.

You can find out more about the History of the North Devon Journal and the North Devon Journal Archive by reading our blog posts.

…Barum Athena

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