Todays News is Tomorrows Chip Paper

Posted on the 2024-02-16 13:22:45 by Abbott Antiques & Collectables.
Todays News is Tomorrows Chip Paper

Growing up as a small child, there was one saying which was frequently heard, "well, you know what they say, today's news is tomorrow's chip paper". The phrase was no doubt generated from the practice of using old newspapers as the outer wrapping of the traditional British meal of fish and chips. In the interest of hygiene and, not least the fear of being poisoned from the lead-based printer's ink used in newspaper production, the use has been stopped.

Interestingly, the saying is something of a double idiom, given that, whilst old newspaper found a use in another way, the value of the communicated news was not necessarily lost, with many people taking the trouble to look at the paper before disposing of it. It is probably true to say that whilst more scandalous or sensational news may lose its impact in time, as events become forgotten, the newspaper as a means of conveying facts, true or not, has been, and still is, an effective way to inform and often educate.

Strangely, newspapers, posters, handbills, programs, and the like are classified as 'ephemera', which are technically seen; by definition, as temporary documents that are meant to be discarded, irrespective of the truth or importance of the information they convey; It is almost unthinkable that, say a newspaper describing the death of Admiral, Lord Horatio Nelson, in 1805, would at best be recycled as the wrapping of a 'take-away' meal and, at worst, consigned to a Georgian dust-bin!

Fortunately, and surprisingly in a digital age, paper documents are regarded as 'primary documents', an invaluable resource for scholars, historians, and researchers. Much is owed to those who have collected and preserved documents which many have discarded as being nothing more than 'throw-away' items.