How can we reach landscapes, lives, and voices from people once living in urban outskirts that today are difficult to access through traditional archaeological excavations and data? Through the method of newspaper archaeology, the study Afloat and Aflame reveals how newspapers from the long 19th century yield insights into social, spatial, material, and discursive urban layers and dynamics. The reader will meet resourceful women and dauntless mariners that questioned societal ideals and challenged notions about them as social groups. The study emphasizes how newspapers not only mirrored the “talk of the town” but were performative and affected real city life by engaging in conversation, steering urban development, coordinating local donation and security cultures; thus, they cannot be disregarded if one wants to dig deeper into urban history. Newspapers including correspondents and genres were key in constructing excluding social and spatial borders in the urban landscape – borders which still could be renegotiated, not least when the suburbs burst into flames.