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Archiver > CORNISH > 2012-02 > 1328507897

From: Julia Mosman <>
Subject: Re: [CORNISH] West Briton circulation,and where to find copies of the old papers
Date: Sun, 5 Feb 2012 23:58:17 -0600
References: <>
In-Reply-To: <>

Hi there -

The British Post Office would send/forward a newspaper throughout their extensive system for a period of time (several months at one point) as long as the paper was folded so the stamp was displayed. So one newspaper might pass through many hands and circulation figures were therefore misleading. People routinely sent their copies to relatives in New Zealand and Australia.

The paper was quite proud that it was sent to the U.S., Chile, Mexico, Brazil, and other points in the Western Hemisphere, as well as New Zealand and Australia. It had twice the circulation as its closest rival, and 'incorporated' or bought out several competitors throughout the years. Note what they said below - twice the circulation of all their competitors, added together!

Here's what they said:

>>>THE NEWSPAPERS PRINTED IN CORNWALL - A return has recently been made to Parliament and printed with the evidence taken before the Select Committee of the House of Commons on Newspaper Stamps showing the number of stamps issued to every newspaper in Great Britain and Ireland, for fourteen years ending December last. From it we gather that the number of Stamps issued during that time was:- West Briton...1,548,000. Cornwall Gazette...717, 433. Penzance Gazette...208,577. The number issued during the past year, 1850, to each paper was:- West Briton...132,500. Cornwall Gazette...65,000. Penzance Gazette...9,257. It is scarcely necessary for us to make any comment on these figures, but they sufficiently prove that the circulation of the West Briton is nearly double that of the other papers printed in Cornwall added together. These statistical facts must speak for themselves; and Advertisers will soon discover through what channel their notices should pass to obtain a large amount of publicity.<<<

While searching for that info, I found the following, which shows where copies of the paper are kept:

1-?, 1 Jun 1810-27 Mar 1944
Continued as: The West Briton, ?-?, 30 Mar 1944-10 May 1951
Continued as: The West Briton and Royal Cornwall Gazette, ?, 17 May 1951 to date
Literature: 150th anniversary supplement 21 Jul 1960
British Library, Colindale: (22 Mar 1811-3 Jul 1812; 11 Sep 1812-30 May 1817; 11 Jul 1817-1830); 1831-72; 1874-96; 1899-1910; 1913 to date. MIC: 1870
Royal Institution of Cornwall: 5 Oct 1810-26 Dec 1856
Redruth PL: 1810 to date
Bodmin PL: 3 Sep 1881; 3 Sep 1891; 27 Oct 1892; 12 Jan,11 May 1893
Falmouth PL: 1811; (4 May 1827-13 Aug 1829)
West Briton office: 1810 to date

Lastly, while searching for those figures, I found a section of a book which maintained that the availability of newspapers in Victorian times helped reduce the occurrence of illiteracy. An interesting viewpoint!


Julia M.

> From: "Carol Noonan" <>
> Subject: [CORNISH] Dating
> In addition to the many good answers already given, I wonder if many people
> had calendars handy in those days. One would remember what day of the week
> it was, but the date might not come immediately to mind. Today we receive
> calendars from many sources and wonder what to do with them all. I'm sure
> that was not the case in the mid 1800s.
> I wonder how many people read the paper. How many COULD?

Carol in wet
> Maryland

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