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Any

Google.

http://static.elibrary.com/n/newstatesmanampsociety/march241995/foginthechanneleuropecutoffinsularityofbritishpres/index.html I've googled already, and browsed sites and groups such as alt.folklore.urban and snopes.com. All I find is the sort ... wording, different publications, different eras. I suspect that there was no such headline, and that it was always a joke.

This whole thread keeps reminding of that housekeeper character in "As Time Goes By".

Rob Bannister
I recognize the feeling. But let's not underestimate the willingness ... doubt it of the Times in those advertisements-on-the-front-page days, though.

I've been taking The Times since long before that change, and I don't remember it. But that means nothing, of ... If it happened while I was here, I would have had a chuckle but assumed that it was not original.

??
That edition of The Times would not have got to France because of the fog.

Peter Duncanson
UK
(posting from a.e.u)
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Ah yes, like the classic newspaper headline "Fog In The Channel, Europe Cut Off"

It would be rather useful to find the original of this "headline". Any suggestions?

I knew the answer to this. I wrote a piece in the Daily Telegraph a year or so ago, opening with the quote, and being a good little columnist, I thought it was the right thing to do to discover the correct wording and the origin. But I'm buggered if I can find a copy of my piece. What I do remember was that it was not a newspaper headline, but a cartoon in Punch, late 1940s, where the words were found on one of those newspaper placards sitting next to a street vendor ... memory surfaces of "Morny Stennet, Morny Stennet ..." The cartoonist normally specialised in motoring cartoons, I think he's still alive and in his mid to late-80s, but I can't remember his name.

It's way past my bedtime, but I'll try to track down the details in the morning (later in the morning, that is).
Philip Eden
It would be rather useful to find the original of this "headline". Any suggestions?

I knew the answer to this. I wrote a piece in the Daily Telegraph a year or so ago, opening ... a street vendor ... memory surfaces of "Morny Stennet, Morny Stennet ..." The cartoonist normally specialised in motoring cartoons ...

Got'im. Russell Brockbank.
pe
Got'im. Russell Brockbank.

I see from the Nexis archive of your column that you date Brockbank's cartoon to 1948. But Nexis also turns up the following:

CHUNNELVISION, By William Grimes
New York Times, Sep 16, 1990
On a wall in the office of Alastair Morton, Eurotunnel's British deputy chairman and chief executive, hangs one of Britain's most famous newspaper front pages: a copy of The Daily Mirror from 1930 with the headline "Fog in Channel: Continent Cut Off" - not Britain, proud in her splendid isolation, but the Continent.
One last shout and we're there: Sir Alastair Morton The Times (London), May 6, 1994
He also has the famous "Fog in Channel Continent Cut Off" headline from the Daily Mirror in 1930.
England and France, Now a Train Trip
New York Times, May 7, 1994
In some ways, such attitudes underscore Britain's
"splendid isolation" as an island nation, a state of mind reflected in the 1930's headline from London's Daily Mirror: "Fog in Channel Continent Cut Off."

On ProQuest I found corroboration that the headline (or at least the story of such a headline) is of prewar vintage, though it's attributed to the Times rather than the Mirror:
Topics of The Times: Wet British Summer
New York Times, Aug 29, 1936. p. 12
It is the lonely-furrow weather policy summed up in the famous London Times weather report: "Heavy fog over Channel. Continent isolated."
And an editor's note in the NY Times appended to a 1947 letter to the editor recalls the headline as "Channel Fog Cuts Off Continent." If Brockbank drew his cartoon in 1948, then the headline had already reached apocryphal status by that time.
Hmm, from a check on the (London) Times archives, it looks like the anecdote goes back even earlier:
Letters to the Editor: A Venerable Chestnut
The Times (London), Nov 03, 1939; pg. 9
A little over a year ago I remember telling to an
amusing little German in Berlin the venerable chestnut about our insularity which alleges that in the eighties of the last century there appeared the following heading in the columns of your newspaper: "Dense Fog in Channel: Continent Isolated for Three Days."
The archives reveal no such Times headline in the 1880s (or at any other time). But it's surprising that the joke might have started circulating that long ago, with ironic revivals in the '30s and '40s later taken as original creations.
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I feel almost certain that I have seen a copy of that newspaper page, along with Mickwick and that reporter in the office. Hadn't thought about it being manufactured.
(Note to self: adjust that memory)
It is an interesting story to chase it shows that you can't believe everything that you don't see in a newspaper.
The quote is assigned to 1930s, 1920s, 1910, 1902, 1963, 1880s, 1870s, Victoria's time, mid 19th century;
in newspapers Times, Daily Mirror, Daily Express, The Thunderer, Financial Times, Daily Telegraph, a signal sent from a frigate.
I did find a usenet quote from alt.history.british: >
Richard Maurer To reply, remove half
Sunnyvale, California of a homonym of a synonym for also.
Got'im. Russell Brockbank.

I see from the Nexis archive of your column that you date Brockbank's cartoon to 1948. But Nexis also turns ... with the headline "Fog in Channel: Continent Cut Off" - not Britain, proud in her splendid isolation, but the Continent.

I'm pretty sure that Morton's Mirror front page was a mock-up prepared especially for him ... a useful publicity tool for the public face of Eurotunnel. It is difficult to imagine such a story requiring front page status, let alone a headline, in any newspaper, especially not one at the lower end of the market. I'll contact my chums at the Mirror to see if they can shed more light on this.

I've also checked the meteorological records for 1930 (an easy task for me) , and these reveal no notable Channel fogs. December 1930 was a very foggy month across the UK, chiefly in urban areas, but the mechanism for the formation of winter fogs on land is different from that which causes sea fog; there was no fog at all in the Channel Islands that month.

The archives reveal no such Times headline in the 1880s (or at any other time). But it's surprising that the joke might have started circulating that long ago, with ironic revivals in the '30s and '40s later taken as original creations.

Assuming my assertion that Morton's front page is a fake proves correct, we still have no published headline, and it is quite possible that it is entirely apocryphal. Nevertheless, it is useful to know that the stories about an alleged headline pre-date Brockbank's cartoon certainly by over a decade, and possibly by much more.
Philip Eden
I feel almost certain that I have seen a copy of that newspaper page, along with Mickwick and that reporter ... sent from a frigate. I did find a usenet quote from alt.history.british: >

Thanks very much to everyone who has researched and commented on this. Rather than demonstrating our insularity, it appears to demonstrate our desire to make a joke of it a subtle difference which will be lost to all those bloody continentals, of course. (contd. p94)

Matti
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