Tracts for the Times – Vanity Fair 1877

We have digitised a number of portraits of Cardinal Newman but this one is a little different from Batch 9.

A chromolithograph, published in Vanity Fair 20 January 1877. Men of the Day. No. 145. “Tracts for the times.” Caricature by Sir Leslie Ward.


I found this reference to Ward’s caricature in the publication Forty years of “Spy”.

Page 133 – Forty Years of ‘Spy’ – Ward, Leslie – First Published 1915

“Cardinal Newman quite unconsciously placed me in rather an awkward dilemma. At the time when I was anxious to stalk him I heard he was in Birmingham; so I went to Euston Station, and had actually bought my railway ticket when suddenly I caught sight of his Eminence upon the platform. Here was an opportunity not to be missed! I saw him go into the buffet and followed him. He sat down at a small table and ordered soup. I took a seat opposite and ordered food also, studying him closely while he partook of it. But I was not altogether satisfied, and I felt anxious to see him again. So I travelled down to Birmingham, and on the following day I called at the Oratory and asked one of the priests there at what time the Cardinal was likely to go out. Evidently, in spite of my protests, the priest concluded that I wanted an audience with Cardinal Newman, for saying that he would apprize him of my visit, he disappeared. My object had been to perfect my former study by a further glimpse; and a personal interview was really the last thing I desired. There was accordingly nothing left for me but to bolt!

And then this version in an 1889 article ‘How Caricaturists Catch Their Subjects’, Tit-Bits.

“The story as to how I caught Cardinal Newman might interest you. It was necessary for me to go down to the Oratory at Birmingham to see the Cardinal, and I arranged with an old schoolfellow who lived just outside the city of screws, to spend a week with him, and call on my respected subject whilst there. Strange to say, when I got to Euston, the very first man I saw on the platform was the Cardinal himself, who was going down by train. I followed him about, and, though he may never know it, I say at the same table as he did in the refreshment room to which he had gone before starting.

“I went on to my friend’s at Birmingham, and still wanting one or two details, I called at the Oratory one day and inquired what time the reverend father would be going out, as I should like to catch a sight of one I so greatly admired. They told me he had a cold that day, but he might possibly be going out on the morrow. The next day, which was my last, found me waiting, but as nobody came out, I determined to call again. I did.

“’I think the Cardinal will see you,’ said the attendant. ‘I will go up and ask him.’ And do you know, sir, I felt so terribly nervous at the thought of deceiving him, and so fearful that my excuses for calling would not warrant my disturbing the one I wanted to see, that I do not know to this day what message was brought back by the attendant. As soon as he left me I opened the door and quietly bolted!””


Kilpeck Church

This week we digitised pages from George Lewis’ illustrated book of Kilpeck Church in Herefordshire. The Lithographs are by Day & Haghe.

Cardinal Newman is mentioned in the list of Subscribers on the 7th page.

The cropped images below are a small selection of the pages loose in a folder of Batch 8.


South East View






Elaborate West Window carvings




Arched South Doorway


Columns of the Chancel Arch


Carved Stoup


The Symbols of the Evangelists in the Holy of Holies


View of Pilbeck from Dippers Moor


Another interesting web page with further photographs about Kilpeck Church can be found here.










Laus Deo

A curious find in Batch 8, from this day 149 years ago:


Historical weather forecast records for Oxfordshire for June 1866, from the Met Office website:

  yyyy    mn  tmax    tmin     af    rain     sun
              degC    degC    days    mm      hours
   1866   6   21.9    11.1       0    81.7     ---


Thankfully the weather in Oxfordshire today is glorious, for which we’re sure the sheep are truly thankful!

Batch 7b complete

Last week we completed Batch 7b, sent the boxes back to Birmingham Oratory and received Batch 8. The running total of images generated, to date, is 155,000.Batch 7b

Mary Jo, Daniel, Cerys and Jamie were on hand to load and unload the truck.



Digitisation on batch 8 started immediately, and is already presenting its own challenges:


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We are sometimes puzzled by the documents and articles we receive for digitisation within the Newman Project, in the most recent batch are two tin boxes full of duplicate letters. The text reads;

(Page One)

Dear Sir,

As my hand is rather weak, I hope you will excuse me if I leave your letter unanswered.

I am, Dear Sir, yours faithfully

John H Newman


(Page 2)

You are one of those friends and well wishers, who have so kindly addressed to me letters of congratulation on my birthday, – letters for which touched me much, and for your share in which I hereby offer you my sincere thanks.

Feb 24



There are multiple copies of this letter kept in two tin boxes:



As photocopiers had not been invented at the time this letter was composed, and each letter is an exact copy, we assume they hadn’t been copied by hand, so we were a little confused as to how these were made. This led us to look further into Letter Copy Presses and Hectographs, something Cerys had fun researching. If anyone can shed some light on the process that may have been used to produce these copies, then please drop us a comment below.