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|Title:||THE TIMES (1785-)|
The Times was founded as the Daily Universal Register on 1 January 1785, initially comprising parliamentary reports, foreign news and advertisements. Published daily from Printing House Square in Blackfriars, the name was changed to The Times on 1 January 1788 with the expansion of its coverage. By 1800, when its price was 6d, it had a circulation of nearly 5,000. John Walter II, who became principal proprietor in 1803, appointed Thomas Barnes as editor in 1817. Barnes, who remained editor until 1841, has been described as the person who 'created the nine-teenth-century English newspaper'. Barnes developed the paper as a radical force in the context of the liberalizing reforms of the early part of the century. Positioning itself as the champion of middle-class opinion and 'thundering for reform', The Times supported under his editorship Catholic emancipation and parliamentary reform. In 1832, Sir Robert Peel described the paper as 'the great, the principal and most powerful advocate of Reform', in Britain. Much of its success during this period can be attributed to the establishment of its own speedy methods of obtaining news, particularly foreign news, largely organized by Thomas Massa Alsager, which, together with its ability to access the inner sanctums of government while remaining largely independent, became a major distinguishing feature of the paper. Alsager also acted as City correspondent, and established the paper as a force in financial circles. By Barnes's death in 1841, the circulation had reached 28,000.
Barnes was succeeded as editor by John Thaddeus Delane, who was appointed at the age of 24. Under Delane, the paper continued to exert a considerable radical influence and, in particular, campaigned for the repeal of the Corn Laws. Delane and his principal leader writers Henry Reeve and Robert Lowe moved in influential political circles but continued to maintain the papers independence from government. Barnes and Delane between them presided over the paper during the major European conflicts which dominated the nineteenth century. They employed a succession of highly influential foreign correspondents including Henry Crabb Robinson, William Howard Russell, whose reporting of the Crimean War is legendary, Thomas Chenery and Henri de Blowitz. By 1855, when its price was 5d, its circulation had reached a peak of 60,000. Thomas Chenery, formerly a foreign correspondent, was appointed editor in 1878 and was succeeded by George Buckle in 1884, under whose editorship the paper became increasingly conservative and 'Empire' orientated. The paper remained in the ownership of the Walter family throughout the nineteenth century, and continued to be printed by them. John Walter II introduced new Koenig and Bauer steam-driven printing presses in 1814. In 1866, new 'Walter' presses were introduced which speeded the production process by enabling both sides of the page to be printed at the same time from a continuous roll.
Financially weakened by the costs of its defence in the publication of the forged Parnell letters, it also suffered a decline in circulation in the last part of the century when it was under pressure from the new press emerging in the wake of the repeal of stamp tax on newspapers. Despite the reduction in the cover price to 3d in 1861 which continued until 1913, it continued to lose ground and by 1904 the circulation had declined to 32,000. All this was exacerbated by divisions within the younger generation of the Walter family, and The Times passed into the control of Lord Northcliffe (A. C. Harmsworth) in 1908.
Figure 61: Eagerly reading The Times in Benjamin haydon's painting "Waiting for The Times" (A Newspaper History).
Figure 62: An illustration showing the small steam engine used to drive one of the Applegath and Cowper presses at The Times in 1814 (A Newspaper History, 1935: 138).
Sources: History of The Times 1935/1939/1947, ODNB, Monopolies Commission 1966, Woods and Bishop 1983.
|Author:||John Richard Wood, Independent scholar|
ALSAGER, THOMAS MASSA (1779-1846)
BARNES, THOMAS (1785-1841)
CLASS AND THE PRESS
DELANE, JOHN THADDEUS (1817-1879)
IMPERIALISM AND JOURNALISM
LEADING ARTICLES / LEADERS
HARMSWORTH, ALFRED CHARLES WILLIAM (1865-1922)
COURT AND PARLIAMENTARY REPORTING
POLITICAL PARTIES AND THE PRESS
PRICE AND COVER PRICE
REEVE, HENRY (1813-1895)
RUSSELL, WILLIAM HOWARD (1820-1907)
NEWSPAPER TAXES, TAXES ON KNOWLEDGE, STAMP TAXES
WALTER FAMILY (1739?-1910)
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