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Each month we will provide resource material that can be used in the classroom. This month we are looking at an artefact from the archive: a page turner given to Guardian editor CP Scott by Boer prisoners of war
Elli Narewska , Hannah JenkinsonFri 6 Jan 2012 15.58 GMT
Each month we will provide resource material that can be used in the classroom. This month we are looking at an artefact from the archive: a page turner given to Guardian editor CP Scott by Boer prisoners of war.
January 2012 marks the 80th anniversary of the death of CP Scott, the long-serving editor of the Guardian, who brought national and international recognition to the paper. Scott held the post of editor of the Guardian for 57 years from 1872. He bought the paper in 1907, pledging to uphold the principles laid down by its founder John Edward Taylor. Scott outlined those principles in his famous article written to celebrate the centenary of the paper: “Comment is free, but facts are sacred… The voice of opponents no less than that of friends has a right to be heard.”
In 1899, CP Scott opposed the second Boer war, and Guardian coverage of the war reflected this opposition. It particularly criticised the use of internment camps (which became known as concentration camps) by the British for Boer prisoners of war. The camps had originally been set up for refugees, but soon civilians were forced into them. Here the overcrowded and unhygenic conditions meant that many detainees, especially children, died from malnutrition and disease. The Guardian’s opposition to the war and its exposure of atrocities was unpopular with many of its readers, and circulation fell by almost 15%, but Scott was undeterred. Later he said that opposing the Boer war was “the best thing that the Guardian has done in my time”.
In 1902, to show their gratitude for his stand against the war, the Boers presented Scott with an ornamental wooden newspaper turner.
The image of the page turner above can be downloaded and printed for educational use: image of page turner
The page turner was used as part of the Guardian 190 exhibition last year to celebrate 190 years of the Guardian.
Below are links to a variety of Guardian articles about CP Scott and the Boer war, available on the Guardian website: