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The Illustrated london News in 1842


The very first page of the very first issue of the Illustrated London news May 14th 1842 1842 first page of ILN This is where it begins...

  The front page of the first edition  

A wonderful pictorial pageant of history began when the world's first illustrated newspaper proclaimed,

"Here we make our bow, determined to keep continually before the eye of the world a living and moving panorama of all its activities and influences".

The panorama opened with the first issue of The Illustrated London News published on Whit Saturday, May 14th, 1842, containing as its principal feature two pages of pictures illustrating the Magnificent Fancy Dress Ball given by Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace only two days before publication.


Page 4 from the first edition


News of a disastrous fire at Hamburg which broke out on May 5th was brought to London by the steamship Caledonia when she anchored off the Tower of London during the evening of May 10th.

The big fire was red-hot news just the very thing for the first issue, so an artist hurried to the British Museum, borrowed a print of Hamburg, re-drew it on to a wood-block and added smoke, flames and sightseers.

The picture was then engraved and, accompanied by a full descriptive text, made a dramatic feature for the ILN's first front page.

Page 5 from the first edition

The sixteen pages of the first issue had plenty of up-to-date news items

in addition to the thirty engravings of various sizes. The letterpress included a

Parliamentary Report;

a Dreadful Railway accident near Paris;

an Awful Steamboat Explosion in America;

War in Afghanistan;

The Bal Masque at Buckingham Palace;

Royal Academy Exhibition;

Cases heard at the Central Criminal Court;


Everybody's Column;

Paris Fashions; and three pages of small advertisements.

Page 12 from the first edition

Page 13 from the first edition

The leading article began, "We commence our political course by a distinct avowal of an unconquerable aversion to the very name of 'Party'...".

An engraving across the foot of the last page depicted a crocodile of two hundred men

with ILN billboards above their shoulders announcing the advent "of this important publication".

Page 14 from the first edition

Page 15 from the first edition



Some vents of this year in the Illustrated London News

Disastrous retreat of the British from Kabul

Dr Thomas Arnold, Headmaster of Rugby school dies. he left a legacy of the amateur sportsman ideal

The Collieries Act

Treaty of Nanking between Britain and China: several ports opened

Branding of army Deserters June 4th 1842

1842 deserters

The Illustrated London News volume 1, May 14 to Dec 31 1842.

Published by William Little January 7th 1843.

This volume contains 7500 original sketches and hundreds of fascinating articles some of whose titles are as follows:

1842 riots manchester


May 31st - John Francis attempted to shoot Queen Victoria on Constitution Hill shouting " Damn the queen; why should she be such an expense to the nation


A stone age xylophone - The Rock Harmonicon

1842 rock harmonicon

June 13th

On Monday the Queen and Prince Albert, for the first time, returned from their sojourn at Windsor Castle by way of the Great Western Railway. The journey was from Slough, departing at 12 noon, arriving at the Paddington Terminus at 12.25 pm. The journey was carried out in great secrecy.

June 25th


The foregoing illustration is intended to convey an idea of the state of desperation to which the poor of Galway have been reduced by the present calamitous season of starvation; and although, according to present appearances, there is every reason to rely on the goodness of Providence for an abundant and early relief, yet it is calculated that more than another month of suffering and privation must elapse before succour arrives. The scene represented above is an attack upon a potato store in the town of Galway, on the 13th of the present month, when the distress had become too great for the poor squalid and unpitied inhabitants to endure their misery any longer, without some more substantial alleviation than prospects of coming harvest; and their resource in this case was to break open the potato stores and distribute their contents, without much discrimination, among the plunderers, and to attack the mills where oatmeal was known to be stored. During the entire of that day the town was in the possession of a fierce and ungovernable mob, led on apparently by women and children, but having an imposing reserve in the rear of the Claddagh fishermen. The Sheriff, with a strong force of police and the depôt of the 30th Regiment, which constitutes the garrison, vainly attempted to restrain them. They assailed him and his armed bands with showers of stones, which wounded the commanding officer of the military party in the head, and hurt several of the men. But, with singular forbearance and humanity, the gallant Thirtieth held their fire, and, as it was impossible to disperse such a mob without firing amongst them, the millers were induced to promise that meal should be retailed on the following morning at 15d. a stone.
The discontent of the sufferers had been aggravated by the unfeeling, and, there was some reason to suspect, the dishonest artifices of those who had food to sell. Farmers, known to have abundant supplies of potatoes, had not only refused to part with any portion of them at the present high prices, but had actually sent into the markets and made purchases, in order to augment the scarcity. Numbers of dealers also, speculating on a rise, had stored quantities of provisions, which they refused to give out at a fair profit; and in several instances these persons had cleared out the markets the instant they were opened, and left the poor famishing housekeepers, with their money in their hands, in the midst of apparent plenty, unable to procure even the supply of a single day.

To this cause is to be attributed the various disturbances which occurred at Loughrea and Galway; the people insisting upon the farmers retailing provisions to them out of the sack, instead of disposing of its contents wholesale to huxters and forestallers; and the magistrates generally, with proper discretion and humanity, enforcing the reasonable demands of the people.

The Claddagh fishermen, to signalise their victory, insisted upon a general illumination of the town, and ordered the joy-bells of the collegiate church to ring out a merry peal. Their requisitions were complied with in both cases. The joy-bells tang out a merry peal, and the inhabitants in general put lights into their windows. Thus, for several hours, the capital city of Connaught remained in possession of a lawless rabble, while the armed authorities of the country retired before them.

The following is the latest account from this distressed district:-- "Galway, June 20. (From our own correspondent.) Since the disturbance of Monday last this town has been perfectly tranquil. The fishermen took to their boats and went to sea early in the week, and provisions having experienced a seasonable reduction in price, no further commotion is apprehended. It was feared that the country people, hearing of the violence committed on Monday, would not bring their goods into the market; and on Wednesday the supply was scanty from that cause. But an abundance of potatoes was brought in on Saturday, and sold a fourpence a stone. This is not an extravagant price, though a fraction over threepence always pinches the poor man; but in the present dearth of employment any price at all must distress him. Of the scarcity of money you may judge from this fact, of which I can assure you from personal observation, that at Loughrea, in this county, when the famishing people were riotously assembled to oppose the forestallers in the potato market, eggs were offered for sale at five for a penny, and chickens, quite fit for the pot, were sold for sevenpence a couple.

After a long drought we have been visited with seasonable and refreshing rain, which only seemed wanting to confirm our anticipation of an abundant and early harvest. http://tinyurl.com/rydtp

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July 2nd

' Chess Problem '

' The New Beacon on the Goodwin Sands ' lighthouse

' Tlhe Nut Brown Mayd ' peom within engraving

' Signor Costa (After Dantan ) Conductor at her Majesty's Theatre '

' Lablache (After Dantan ) '

' Tableau of the Closing Scene of Sheridan Knowles's "Rose of Arragon"..'

' Portrait (bust) of Moscheles '

' Liszt (after Dantan ) '

' Fashion ' A dress

' Portrait of the Late Frederick H. Yates ' Actor

' The Chub ' Angling

' Hearts Ease or Pansy '

Also articles (no engravings unless listed above) including :-
' A Glance at The Session '

' Foreign Intelligence '

' Provincial - Extensive Fires in the Provinces with reference to Lambourn in Wiltshire - Heybridge Hall Maldon - Browne and Co at Bridgwater - Also Melancholy Accident at Foulmire Pit nearThetford - Presentation of an Address to the Hon. Edward Everett The American Minister - Capture of a Burglar of Manningham Bradford '

' Ireland - Dreadful Accident to the Marquis and Marchioness of Waterford '

' Mr R. Cobden MP '

' Distress of the Country ' Riots at New Cross

1842 riots at Newcross

' Naval and Military Intelligence ' movements of ships and regiments etc

' Shipping Intelligence ' with reference to The Burning of The Georgia on its return from Calcutta - And more

' correspondents '

' Mysterious Munificence '

' The Nelson Monument '

' Great Earthquake at Hayti '

' Whittington's Stone at Highgate '

' The Cort and Haut Ton ' . ' Coroners Inquest includes Death From Eating Peas - Suicide of A Reduced Publican and more

' Law Intelligence ' includes Arches Court and King v. King - The Bankruptcy of Sparks and Co of the Guildford Bank, Re Anthony Lee

' Police '

1842 walkers needles

July 18th


The Disturbances in the Manufacturing Districts

Wilsons Mill Salford

1842 wilsons mill manchester

1842 aussie pale ale

Reports stated that immense bodies of rioters from Wigan, Chorley, and the district of the collieries, some making them as numerous as 15,000, armed with axes, spades, bludgeons &c., were on their way to Preston. It was reported that that a large cotton factory at Bamberbridge was partially destroyed by the mob.

September 17th

price sixpence, eight pages, numerous prints from engravings and articles including



September 24th

price sixpence, eight pages, numerous prints from engravings and articles including

. It measures 410x270mm (16x11") approx

Newcastle upon Tyne and Sunderland Bridge

This issue features especially the occasion of the Royal Visit of Queen Victoria to Scotland. It consists of 16 pages, includes some 20 fine prints from engravings by S Sly and W Dickes and accounts of the royal progress from Woolwich to Dunbar by sea and on into Scotland.

The centre pages consist of a spread of 2 large prints on the LH and 3 on the RH with no text. These feature

Scone Palace, Edinburgh Dalkieth (the Duke of Buccleuch. In the Surrounding pages there is much interesting discussion on the Royal personages and escorts, with some local comment included.

There is also a section on Deer stalking with a print.

October 1st

price sixpence, eight pages, numerous prints from engravings and articles including

It measures 400 x 270mm (16 x10.75") approx


November 5th

price sixpence, eight pages, numerous prints from engravings and articles including


1842 attack on military preston

December 10th

price sixpence, eight pages, numerous prints from engravings and articles including

It measures 400x280 (16x11") approx


December 31st

price sixpence, eight pages, numerous prints from engravings and articles including

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