Posted Wednesday 12th August 2015
Bygone news just about sums up what I do and how I do it. The bygones in question are old newspapers but not just any old random editions so let me tell you more.
It used to be said that a police officer can work out what job you do by looking at your hands, well, at work my hands are often ingrained with newsprint, I have flecks of old newspaper on my clothes and cobwebs in my hair. It doesn't take much to work out that I am a newspaper archivist and most days I can be found deep in a storage facility full of volumes of archive newspapers. Customers request a particular dated newspaper from years ago, either for a birthday present or anniversary gift, and it is my job to locate and extract that edition.
A customer, Mark, has just telephoned to say that his father is seventy the day after tomorrow and can I supply a bygone Times newspaper from the actual date of birth in 1945. So the search is on for the genuine, full and complete edition of The Times newspaper for the perfect gift.
1945 is a popular year for orders at the moment as it represents a milestone birthday for a seventy year old. The newspapers were originally saved by Libraries for reference and ultimately sold off to me in the eighties when microfilm became the preferred method of storing information. I acquired various collections of these wonderful social documents which came in big bound volumes. My archive now exceeds 200 tons of newspapers from bygone times and is still growing as I bid for stocks whenever I see quality collections of newspapers for sale.
Anyway, back to Mark's order for the 18th July 1945. The 1945 volumes of the Times are kept in my Truro newspaper archive, towards the front on the left hand side. Generally the 1945 bygone newspapers are arranged in four stacks of volumes so I will look for the third quarter of July to September 1945 and there it is - Wednesday 18th July 1945 The Times.
The edition is in great condition despite being seventy years old and is carefully extracted from the volume, checked over, packed and booked out from the archive. All that is left to do is issue its Certificate of Authenticity as what sets Papers Past apart from some other newspaper businesses is that we only sell original newspapers and not reprints. I will guarantee that Mark's father will receive a newspaper as old as he is and he can have it carbon dated if he wants to! Then its down to the Post Office and the package starts its overnight journey to Liverpool 12.
Just what do you buy the person who has got everything? Be like Mark and buy a bygone newspaper from Papers Past.