Well oil be...a won­der cure

The Sunday Post (Inverness) - - NEWS -

The Sun­day Post was born for war. It de­buted on Oc­to­ber 4, 1914, a jour­nal­is­tic at­tempt to feed the news-rav­en­ous Scot­tish pub­lic in­for­ma­tion about the “race to the sea” in France.

It was all so ex­cit­ing. The con­flict seemed a ro­man­tic cav­alry clash. The pub­lic, when not queu­ing to en­list, was ea­ger for tales of how their boys were do­ing. This was, of course, be­fore the Maxim ma­chine guns cut down the flow­ers. News­pa­pers have a great re­spon­si­bil­ity in wartime, and also a great prob­lem. They must keep up morale at home, but at the same time carry ex­cit­ing tales of dan­ger and der­ring-do from the front.

The Sun­day Post was no dif­fer­ent. For in­stance, its head­line on Sun­day July 16, 1917 blared “Bri­tish Pierce Ger­man Third Line” and told of “Im­por­tant Fresh Suc­cesses For Bri­tish Troops”.

In re­al­ity, these were the early ex­changes of the Bat­tle Of The Somme. The Army had just en­dured the sin­gle worst day in its his­tory. It suf­fered 57,450 ca­su­al­ties, 19,240 of whom were killed.

But the pub­lic didn’t want to read dread tales of in­dus­trial-scale death in the fields of north­ern France. It was deemed bet­ter for all con­cerned to re­port vic­to­ries and ex­ul­ta­tions over land gained, no mat­ter the hu­man cost that was un­fold­ing.

It is also in­ter­est­ing to note the evo­lu­tion of page de­sign as the war goes on. The fash­ion (and the re­stric­tions of hot metal page make-up) dic­tated densely-worded col­umns, bro­ken only by the fash­ion for triple and quadru­ple-lay­ered head­ings. But at times The Sun­day Post broke the mould.

The back page of the sou­venir edi­tion, in­side to­day, is given en­tirely to a map show­ing the lat­est ad­vances of the Al­lies. The pa­per’s “End Of Em­pire” dec­la­ra­tion of Novem­ber 10, 1918 is, as you can see from our re­pro­duc­tion, tri­umphal­ist, but not overly so. By this point, the pub­lic were aware of the ter­ri­ble cost of vic­tory.

The la­bel we at­tach a cen­tury later is “re­mem­brance”. The dom­i­nant emo­tion of the pa­per, and the peo­ple, on the day was of re­lief.



While The Sun­day Post was du­ti­fully re­port­ing the go­ings on from the front­line, it was also keen to feed its read­ers with the lat­est fads.

And this story, on page four of the Novem­ber 10 1918 edi­tion, puts paid to the idea that obe­sity is a mod­ern cri­sis.

“In­door life makes fat,” reads the head­line, on an ar­ti­cle about the dan­gers of not get­ting enough fresh air.

“Peo­ple who are con­fined within doors must take pre­cau­tion to guard against over-stout­ness,” it adds rather diplo­mat­i­cally. The cure, it as­sures read­ers, is oil of ori­lene, and the pa­per read­ily sup­plies an ad­dress from which cap­sules of the oil can be ac­quired.


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