Frantic activity between various European superpowers throughout the latter days of July 1914 get daily coverage in Fleet Street’s columns but the readers of the Market Harborough Advertiser are content to confine their political conversation to the continuing Parliamentary debates about a Home Rule Bill for Ireland.
There is not a single mention of the disputes raging on the Continent; to the men and women living in the shires it is all just too far away and doesn’t appear to affect them.
However, the Irish question is a different matter, particularly for Harborough MP Mr J W Logan who ‘has come into the limelight, apparently upset at any attempt to bring a peaceable solution of the problem’.
The Advertiser reports Mr Logan sent a ‘remarkable telegram’ to the Prime Minister stating: ‘Am very greatly concerned about tendency on Home Rule Question. If further concessions made to Orangemen, I shall feel in duty bound to resign my seat, for I was returned to help grant Home Rule to Ireland by the aid of the Parliament Act.’
Mr Logan is then quoted as saying, ‘I sent that telegram really to set myself right with my own conscience, and also with the earnest men I represent in this division.’
It seems remarkable with hindsight that the events playing out in mainland Europe are superseded by such events.
However, the Advertiser does make one important announcement in this edition about August 4, 1914 – the day Britain and Germany formally announce they are at war. It is of course, nothing to do with impending conflict, but merely an ‘important notice to our readers, agents and correspondents’ that ‘owing to the August Bank Holiday our next issue will be published on Saturday morning August 1st. Correspondents and Advertisers are requested to send in their copy as early as possible to facilitate publishing.’
It appears the Advertiser and its readers are content to enjoy the glorious July sunshine and relish the prospect of a Bank Holiday day off, a picture synonymous with the one created in the 1960s stage musical and film O! What A Lovely War when all of Britain seems to spend the final days of peace in blissful oblivion playing on the beach.
The Advertiser is dominated by things to do over the weekend. Cook’s Bank Holiday Excursions advertise train trips to London St Pancras, Blackpool, Scarborough, Skegness and ‘numerous health and pleasure resorts’.
The North Kilworth and South Kilworth Floral and Horticultural Exhibition carries one of the biggest advertisements and promises ‘a variety of amusements and competitions’ plus a ‘character comedian engaged’.
If readers want to stay a little closer to home the Foster and Hill’s Boathouse in Market Harborough is the place to go according to their advertisement. Apart from ‘parties taken out on the water’ and ‘afternoon teas provided’ there is a ‘grand illuminated dance and confetti tournament’ from 7 to 10.30. And there’s some canny marketing too: ‘admission is free till 7 o clock, after 7, 6d’.
Check out this week’s Harborough Mail for current news from the Market Harborough area.