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Jumbo the elephant at Millwall Docks antique print

Jumbo the elephant at Millwall Docks antique print. Jumbo (about Christmas 1860 – September 15, 1885), also known as Jumbo the Elephant and Jumbo the Circus Elephant, was a 19th-century male African bush elephant born in the Sudan. Jumbo was eventually exported to Jardin des Plantes, a zoo in Paris, France; and then transferred in 1865 to London Zoo in England. Jumbo was sold to P. T. Barnum, who took him to America for exhibition in March 1882. The giant elephant’s name has spawned the common word, “jumbo”, meaning large in size. Jumbo’s height, estimated to be 3.23 metres (10.6 ft), was claimed to be approximately 4 metres (13.1 ft) by the time of his death. The first issue of The Illustrated London News appeared on Saturday, 14 May 1842, timed to report on the young Queen Victoria‘s first masquerade ball. Its 16 pages and 32 wood engravings covered topics such as the war in Afghanistan, a train crash in France, a survey of the candidates for the US presidential election, extensive crime reports, theatre and book reviews, and a list of births, marriages and deaths. Ingram hired 200 men to carry placards through the streets of London promoting the first edition of his new newspaper. Costing sixpence, the first issue sold 26,000 copies. Despite this initial success, sales of the second and subsequent editions were disappointing. However, Ingram was determined to make his newspaper a success, and sent every clergyman in the country a copy of the edition which contained illustrations of the installation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and by this means secured a great many new subscribers. Its circulation soon increased to 40,000 and by the end of its first year was 60,000. In 1851, after the newspaper published Joseph Paxton‘s designs for the Crystal Palace before even Prince Albert had seen them, the circulation rose to 130,000. In 1852, when it produced a special edition covering the funeral of the Duke of Wellington, sales increased to 150,000; and in 1855, mainly due to the newspaper reproducing some of Roger Fenton‘s pioneering photographs of the Crimean War (and also due to the abolition of the Stamp Act that taxed newspapers), it sold 200,000 copies per week. By 1863 The Illustrated London News was selling more than 300,000 copies every week, enormous figures in comparison to other British newspapers of the time.  The ILN (as it was affectionately known) appeared weekly until 1971, then less frequently thereafter. Publication ceased in 2003.

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Brooklyn Bridge New York dry-point print by Nevinson 1921

Brooklyn Bridge New York dry-point print by Nevinson 1921. Plate II facsimile of a dry-point published by ‘The Studio’ in 1932, “From a proof in the possession of the artist.”

The following text is from a ‘blog’ published in Reach plc’s ‘In Your Area’ on the anniversary of the official opening of the bridge.

On this day 24th May in 1883 the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City was opened to traffic after 14 years of construction. It connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn and was the first fixed crossing spanning the East River.  Its designer Prussian-born engineer John Augustus Roebling did not live to see its opening, while conducting measurements for the bridge, a ferry crushed Roebling’s foot. He contracted tetanus as a result of the wounds and died. At its 1883 dedication it was given the official name ‘New York and Brooklyn Bridge,’ although also referred to as the ‘Great East River Bridge’ and the ‘Great East River Suspension Bridge.’ However, early as 1867 the ‘Brooklyn Daily Eagle’ had first referred to the project as the ‘Brooklyn Bridge.’ In 1898 Brooklyn become a part of New York City and in 1915 the name of the bridge was officially changed to the ‘Brooklyn Bridge.’  The world’s first steel-wire suspension-bridge the first person to cross the bridge was Emily Warren Roebling, the engineer’s widow. A panic on the bridge less than a week after its official opening led to the deaths of 12 people, with a further 36 seriously injured in the crush. To allay the fears of New Yorkers as to the strength of the bridge showman P.T. Barnum marched 21 elephants across the bridge in May of 1884. The parade of elephants being led by ‘Jumbo the Elephant’ (see my earlier post about Jumbo)

The Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge is quite literally ‘rooted’ in the history of the United States for it rests upon land that was once the home of the first president George Washington.

Our illustration, ‘Under Brooklyn Bridge’ c.1932 is by C. R. W. Levinson from the Frontispiece Ltd collection

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