Big news from the 1920s packed into tiny pages

A miniature copy of the News & Mail from 1924

NEWSPAPERS typically come in broadsheet or tabloid sizes – but the News & Mail has also been printed in miniature form.

Rare examples from the 1920s of what was then called Woking News & Mail, incorporating the North-West Surrey Gazette, West Surrey Herald & Guildford News, measuring just over seven inches tall by five-and-a-half inches wide.

The pages are held together by staples and the size of the lettering is of course tiny and extremely hard to read, even with the aid of a good magnifying glass.

Why were they issued? It is a bit of a mystery, but they may well have been given away for promotional purposes. National newspapers issued this way sometimes, an example being a tiny 16-page version of the Evening News from 1964.

Peeps into the Past is focusing on two mini News & Mail issues – from 1927 and 1929. The front pages of both issues are filled with advertisements, as was the norm for local newspapers at the time.

In the 1927 example, among the advertisers was the Woking & District Gas Company and also The Woking Electric Supply Company. The latter invited housewives to view demonstrations it was hosting of lighting, vacuum cleaning, floor polishing, heating, cooking, washing and ironing, all by electricity.

Advertisements inside the miniature News & Mail

The Aldershot & District Traction Company was advertising its “last special excursion this season by armchair motor-coach to Southsea” for six shillings return.

Stories inside the eight-page paper included the Bishop of Guildford’s visit to Woking. This was the same year as the new Diocese of Guildford was established. It had been created due to the expansion of the local population, and perhaps not surprisingly another story reported on the need for more housing.

Another miniature News & Mail, this time from 1927

Meanwhile, at the Chobham, Windlesham, Horsell and Bisley Agricultural and Horticultural Society Show, veteran ploughman William Taylor, aged 79, was finally beaten in the annual ploughing contest by the much younger Mr E Graham.

Another advertisement, for HR Thompson of 40 Goldsworth Road, Woking, reveals it was a store selling the very latest 1920s women’s fashions as well as homewares including bedspreads, quilts and winceyette cotton fabrics.

The 1929 edition issue of the mini News & Mail had 10 pages. It looked ahead to a “big trades exhibition” being held the following week at the Lion Works in Oriental Road, Woking.

Running from 6 to 16 February, ‘Wokympia’ was being billed in an advertisement as “the greatest show ever held in Surrey”.

Among the attractions lined up were a shooting competition on a 16-target miniature range, a ladies’ orchestra, promenade concerts, a baby show, children’s fancy dress and dancing competitions, a BBC announcing contest, working exhibits, free gifts, and a six-room furnished all-electric bungalow, the latter with the tag line of “come and walk through to see its wonders”.

A miniature copy of The Evening News from 1964

On the sports pages, Woking football Club’s “Sorry display at Wimbledon” was reported in great length, the reporter being rather critical of the Cardinals’ performance.

The report said: “Woking played their last cup-tie of the season at Wimbledon on Saturday, when they made an inglorious exit from the Senior Cup Competition, after appearing in the final in the two proceeding years.

“Wimbledon had the good fortune to catch their visitors with sadly weakened forces, and with the luck of the game also going largely in their favour, they ran out easy winners by seven goals to one.”

If you have some memories or old pictures relating to the Woking area, call David Rose on 01483 838960, or drop a line to the News & Mail.

David Rose is a local historian and writer who specialises in what he calls “the history within living memory” of people, places and events in the west Surrey area covering towns such as Woking and Guildford. He collects old photos and memorabilia relating to the area and the subject, and regularly gives illustrated local history talks to groups and societies. For enquiries and bookings please phone or email him at: davidrosemedia@gmail.com

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