Cycling & Historic London Titles | The British Newspaper Archive Blog


Hot Off The Press – New Titles This Week

This week at The Archive we are delighted to present to you a bumper crop of new and updated titles, with 193,014 brand new pages added over the last seven days alone! We have an astonishing fifteen brand new titles made available over the week, with a wonderful title dedicated to cycling, a historic Hull publication, and thirteen titles charting the eclectic newspaper scene of the early nineteenth century.

So read on to discover more about our brand new titles of the week, and the radical, resisting, and even sometimes ribald press of the early 1800s. With headlines spanning nearly 200 years, from 1801 to 1985, this week’s offerings are a fascinating mix of the specialised, the regional and the national.

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We begin this week’s proceedings by taking a look at our new Hull title, the Hull Daily News. Claiming to have a circulation that was ‘three times’ larger than any other newspaper in Hull, the Hull Daily News began life as the Hull News in 1852.

The first edition was a comprehensive record of local news, and news from further afield, featuring such sections as ‘Foreign News,’ ‘Local News,’ and the latest from Hull Town Council and the Quarter Sessions. Also included within its pages are birth, marriage and death notices, as well as the latest sporting, shipping and commercial news.

Hull Daily News | 18 March 1871

In 1884, the newspaper’s name was changed to the Hull Daily News. A Liberal publication, it was widely read across Yorkshire, selling 10,000 copies on a regular basis. Meanwhile, by 1912 it had become an evening newspaper with a circulation of 33,000. The Hull Daily News’s main audience consisted of the ‘working classes and sportsmen,’ the newspaper having a particular reputation for its ‘full and reliable sporting news.’

‘Read extensively in the home,’ the Hull Daily News also claimed to give ‘special attention…to matters of interest to the womenfolk.’

And without any further ado, we now welcome the wonderful specialist sporting publication Cycling to our Archive. First published on 24 January 1891 and costing just one penny, the first edition of Cycling consisted of over seventy pages devoted to this fairly new but immensely popular sport. The publication offered ’20 pages of reading’ with ’50 odd pages of trade announcements,’ many of which were full page adverts for the latest bicycles and other cycling equipment.

Cycling | 4 April 1891

Edited by Charles P. Sisley, and illustrated by George Moore and Percy Kemp, alongside other artists, the first edition of the new sporting publication laid out its remit ‘To The Cycling Public:’

By way of prologue…’Cycling’ has mapped out for itself an ambitious programme. It appears to cycle riders in EVERY CORNER OF THE WIDE WORLD as the first wheel journal to fully illustrate the history of the sport, pastime, and trade week by week. Its intention is to treat every topic from an impartial standpoint, to criticise fairly but without acrimony – in a word, its motto is ‘news without abuse.’

Cycling | 24 January 1891

Filling its pages were such sections as ‘Cyclers of To-Day,’ featuring portraits of famous riders, the latest from clubs, instructive articles such as ‘Where Cycles are Made,’ as well as more general features like ‘News from Everywhere.’ Richly illustrated, Cycling printed panoramic double page spreads, picturing scenes like ‘Cycling in Morocco.’ Featuring also an ‘Our Ladies’ section, although the title would become notorious for its resistance to women participating in the sport, you can also find within its pages the latest cycling finance and trade news, as well as the latest patents.

Cycling was initially published by Edmund Dangerfield (1864-1938). A printer and magazine publisher by trade, Dangerfield’s specialisms lay in cycling and motor transport. A keen cyclist himself, Dangerfield was a member of the Bath Road Club.

Cycling | 24 January 1891

Affectionately known as ‘The Comic’ by British club cyclists, the publication went through several name changes, for example becoming Cycling & Mopeds in 1957, to appeal to the latest motor craze. Now known as Cycling WeeklyCycling continues to be published to this day and is the best-selling cycling magazine in the United Kingdom, with a circulation of nearly 17,000.

Before we move on to explore the thirtheen new titles that we have added this week, which demonstrate the rich variety of London’s early nineteenth century press, we thought we’d take a look at some of the publications that we have updated this week. Full details of these can be found at the end of the blog, but we’d like to showcase some highlights for you.

You will find that over 20,000 pages have been added to the Neath Guardian, covering the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. We’ve also added new pages to Dorset titles the Weymouth Telegram and the Poole Telegram, as well as to trade union title the Bee-Hive and sporting and theatre title the Illustrated Sporting News and Theatrical and Musical Review. 

London’s Early Nineteenth Century Newspapers

As part of our partnership with the British Library, and their Heritage Made Digital programme, which seeks to ‘transform digital access to the British Library’s renowned collections of rare books, manuscripts, early newspapers, sound recordings and other heritage materials,’ we have been digitising newspapers from early nineteenth century London.

These newspapers showcase the eclectic political and literary scene that was the early nineteenth century, with disputes raging over the taxing of newspapers, which led to the rise of the ‘unstamped press,’ as well as concerns over libel laws. It was into this world that this array of newspapers were born, and represent a fascinating insight into life two hundred years ago.

We start our journey into this eclectic carnival of early nineteenth century newspapers with the Mirror of the Times.  A robust account of the week’s events, the Mirror of the Times was published every Saturday from Warwick Court, Newgate Street. Running with the motto of ‘Veritas’ – Latin for truth – this newspaper aimed to be as true a reflection of the times as possible.

Mirror of the Times | 31 October 1801

Printed and published by one J. Crowder, for sixpence you could read in the pages the Mirror of the Times the events of the previous week, divided across the different days. The Mirror of the Times is truly a mirror of life in the early nineteenth century: with other sections devoted to chronicling accidents, parliamentary intelligence, news of fires, provincial news and the latest from the markets. You could also find within its pages notices of deaths and marriages.

Next up is the wonderfully named Westminster Journal and Old British Spy. The Old British Spy was aptly named; indeed, the historic newspaper originated as early as 1752. Published every Saturday and consisting of four pages, it featured the news from London, and also from further afield, publishing the latest from such places as Lisbon, the United States and Jamaica.

Westminster Journal and Old British Spy | 16 January 1808

Closer to home, you could find the latest theatre listings from Drury Lane within the pages of the Westminster Journal and Old British Spy, or indeed reviews from Covent Garden, with praise heaped upon a recent Mother Goose pantomime, for example. You can also find within its pages notices of births, marriages and deaths.

We move now to look at the Imperial Weekly Gazette. Published every Saturday afternoon and circulated in Westminster, the City of London and the Borough of Southwark, as well as by post ‘within distance of one hundred and twenty miles of London,’ the Imperial Weekly Gazette promised to be a ‘strictly impartial newspaper.’

Appealing to ‘every intelligent and respectable family’ in the pages of an advertisement in fellow newspaper The Star, the Imperial Weekly Gazette laid out its remit:

Foreign Intelligence…is copiously detailed – the Proceedings of Parliament are amply, but not tediously displayed – Gazette Information, comprising accounts of Naval and Military Engagements, Appointments, Promotions, Lists of Bankrupts, &c. &c., are given at length – remarkable Trials, and other proceedings in the Courts of Law at the Old Bailey, at the County Assizes, &c. &c. are recorded – Police Examinations, Murders, Robberies, Fires & other Accidents, are appropriately noted – Provincial Intelligence, Historical, Commercial, and Agricultural is inserted – Tables of the Public Markets, Stocks &c. are given – and Births, Marriages, and Deaths are duly registered.

Imperial Weekly Gazette | 6 March 1819

The Imperial Weekly Gazette was, therefore, nothing but comprehensive, sacrificing advertising revenue to provide only a ‘small space’ to advertisements, which had to be ‘of a truly respectable nature.’ Fascinatingly, within its pages you can also find the latest on ‘Female Fashions.’

Our next new title is the British Luminary. First published in 1818, and known as the British Luminary and National Intelligencer, the British Luminary become known several years later as the British Luminary and Weekly Intelligencer.

Published every Sunday, the British Luminary promised to be a ‘digest of the week’s Parliamentary Debates, and all the news of the week.’ Indeed, the newspaper, costing seven pence, featured several pages dedicated to ‘Domestic Politics,’ as well as ‘Provincial News’ from across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. It also paid attention to the arts, including poetry and the latest from the theatres.

British Luminary | 1 February 1818

Published at 1 Bell Yard, the Strand, every Sunday morning, the British Luminary was ‘received at a distance of 100 miles from London.’ And quite charmingly, the British Luminary anticipates how it will be ‘a curious document for future reference,’ its writers perhaps not imagining that one day it would reach the British Newspaper Archive!

For some sporting relief now, we are delighted to introduce Pierce Egan’s Life in London, and Sporting Guide. A popular sensation, Pierce Egan’s Life in London, and Sporting Guide was first published on 15 July 1824 as weekly journal which cost 8 ½ d. This followed on from the success of sport journalist Pierce Egan’s books entitled Life in London, which featured the largely autobiographical escapades and adventures of its author.

Pierce Egan, born in 1772 to Irish emigrants, had established himself in the 1810s as Britain’s leading sport’s journalist, with a focus on boxing. Indeed, it was him who labelled the sport as ‘the sweet science.’

Pierce Egan’s Life in London, and Sporting Guide | 5 March 1826

The publication, then, of his Life in London, and Sporting Guide, was a combination of the two most successful aspects of his work, drawing on the humour of Life in London and his passion for and knowledge of sport.

The humour in the publication was largely derived from the adventures of the well-to-do young men Tom, Jerry and Logic, whose escapades around London saw Tom and Jerry embody the image of young men about town causing trouble. Whether or not they inspired the cartoon version of the same name is a matter of conjecture; but they were truly the successes of their day.

Egan’s use of contemporary slang was a new and successful departure, whilst drawings by Robert and George Cruickshank and Isaac Richard also brought his publication to life. Across the eight pages of the publication you can find anecdotes and fictional tales nestled beside notices of christening and burials, reports on murders and executions, the latest from the theatre and news from the police.

Pierce Egan’s Life in London, and Sporting Guide | 5 March 1826

The final page of Pierce Egan’s Life in London, and Sporting Guide was devoted to sport, as the front page promised: ‘connected with the events of the turf, the chace, and the ring.’ On this page, you can find the latest boxing, coursing, shooting and hunting news.

We move now onto a rather infamous newspaper, The Age. Founded by British journalist Charles Molloy Westmacott in 1825, The Age had a reputation for specialising in ‘scurrilous and satirical gossip’ about celebrities of the day. A Sunday newspaper, its renown for being a vessel of rumour and innuendo was solidified when Westmacott was portrayed as an ‘unprincipled gossip-monger’ named Sneak in Edward Bulwer’s play England and the English.

Indeed, Westmacott had the reputation of being ‘the principal blackmailing editor of his day.’ His origins are surrounded by conjecture; he claimed to be the illegitimate son of sculptor Richard Westmacott (the Elder), although his enemies claimed his birth to be far humbler. However, Charles Westmacott received a good education, studying at St. Paul’s, Oxford University and finally the Royal Academy, where he specialised in sculpture.

The Age | 19 November 1826

However, the scurrilous claims of his newspaper, The Age, were silenced by the Libel Act of 1834, which prevented the publication of certain of his stories. But Westmacott was not himself silenced, and began a new newspaper some years later, namely the Argus, or, Broad-sheet of the Empire.

Bounding onto the newspaper scene on the 3 February 1839, the Argus, or, Broad-sheet of the Empire announced itself as ‘the largest, the boldest, and the best conservative newspaper,’ spanning sixteen pages and costing sixpence.

In an advertisement for the new publication, it is claimed that ‘the Editors of The Argus are veterans in the service of the public – men of great experience and peculiar sources of information – of unflinching principles and proved integrity – writers, who, in more despotic times, have hurled a bold defiance at the tools of Power.’

Argus, or, Broad-sheet of Empire | 10 February 1839

With nearly half of the Argus’ s sixteen pages taken up by advertisements, particularly for the latest books, the Sunday newspaper nevertheless managed to be a comprehensive record of news and contemporary culture, featuring such sections as a ‘Law Report,’ ‘Science, ‘Provincial News,’ ‘Examiner of Plays,’ ‘Music and Musicians,’ and finally a ‘Turf and Sporting Record.’

Moving on from the publishing exploits of the notorious Westmacott, we now take a look at the Albion and the Star. First published on 15 November 1830 by Alexander May from the Strand, the Albion and the Star was a daily four-page newspaper, which from the outset promoted the independent stance it intended on taking:

…we shall support no political extremes, being neither Tories, Whigs, nor Radicals, but Englishmen, who, with all its faults, glory in the name of their country.

Albion and the Star | 14 April 1831

However, in scarcely the next breath, whilst asserting its ‘independent’ feeling, it states its support for ‘the Duke of Wellington as Minister.’ Indeed, the Albion and the Star newspaper was something all the more Conservative, resisting ‘the system of Ballot and Universal Suffrage,’ and advocating ‘for no experiments on the constitution.’

If a little confused as to its politics, the Albion and the Star featured the latest from European newspapers, with sections devoted to literature, law and police intelligence, accompanied by notices of the latest births, marriages and deaths.

Next up is the impressively named British Liberator. The outspoken weekly journal first appeared on 13 January 1833, and it made a statement from the outset, even as it advertised its price. Costing 3d for ‘paper and print,’ it added an extra 4d as a ‘tax on knowledge,’ referencing the British government’s unpopular stamp tax on newspapers which had led to the rise of the unstamped press.

The first edition of the British Liberator laid out the newspaper’s cause:

We are no revolutionists…we are pure, uncompromising reformers – determined to break down the barriers of oppression, monopoly, and treachery, and be free! We wish to impress upon the minds of men, that aristocratic power is useless when contained in the shallow pates of lordly fools.

British Liberator |17 February 1833

By June 1833 the British Liberator was advertising itself in other newspapers with the same rousing rhetoric, having:

…established reputation and devotedness to the rights of the people…The politics of this paper are free and independent – the conductors of it know no other power than that of the people – they despise despotism and slavish servility – the only sovereign power they wish to serve is that of the MANY while the FEW are hurried into contempt and oblivion.

Furthermore, the British Liberator promised to publish the public’s ‘grievances,’ insisting upon justice, trampling on monopoly, exposing abuses, all with the aim to ‘reform the reformers themselves!’

Alongside its noble aims of serving the people, the British Liberator consisted of eight pages filled with news from abroad (from Belgium, France, Spain, Russia, Mexico and elsewhere), reports on criminal trials, as well as police and commerce news.

Another of this week’s new titles is the New Weekly True Sun. Edited by John Bell, who was ‘for three years editor and proprietor of the Daily True Sun,’ the workplace of the young Charles Dickens, the New Weekly True Sun cost two-pence and consisted of eight pages, featuring police intelligence, the latest from the theatres and news from the military.

A pioneering newspaper joining our collection this week is the British Emancipator. First published on 27 December 1837 by the Central Negro Emancipation Committee, the British Emancipator was devoted to the cause of anti-slavery. Although the Slavery Abolition Act was passed on 28 August 1833, freed enslaved people still faced cruel treatment in the British Empire as part of so-called apprenticeship schemes, as well as suffering ongoing prejudice. Meanwhile, slavery was still enacted in India, and in the United States.

Costing three pence, and appearing every alternate Wednesday, the British Emancipator promised to:

…take no part in the general politics of the State; it will be strictly confined to the discussion of all matters connected with the great question of Slave Emancipation.

British Emancipator | 20 February 1839

Furthermore, the new newspaper laid out what topics it hoped to cover in its pages:

…the exposure of the true character of the Apprentice system; violations of the Imperial Act by Colonial Parties; illustration of the actual Condition of the Apprentice Population…Occasional attention will also be devoted to the progress of the great struggle in the Question of Slavery in America, and in other countries.

Indeed, the British Emancipator’s first edition contained articles addressing the advantages of immediate emancipation in both Antigua and Bermuda, a detailed account of the apprenticeship system in Barbados, with case studies of mistreatment of the emancipated population in Jamaica, including how an apprentice was flogged for not taking off his hat when he encountered a magistrate.

Published by George Wightman from Paternoster Row, any profits garnered by the pioneering publication were to ‘be devoted…to the support of the Anti-Slavery cause.’

Our penultimate new title of the week is Lloyd’s Companion to the Penny Sunday Times and Peoples’ Police GazetteEstablished by publisher Edward Lloyd in 1840, Lloyd’s Companion to the Penny Sunday Times and Peoples’ Police Gazette is seen as Britain’s ‘first sensationalist Sunday newspaper.’ Featuring a wide range of material, from police reports to coverage of specific criminal cases, to poems and serialised fiction, to songs and puzzles, this title had a reputation for its sensational reportage.

Lloyd’s Companion to the Penny Sunday Times and Peoples’ Police Gazette | 12 June 1842

Edward Lloyd himself was known as a publisher of cheap and entertaining fiction, and the reporting in his title was most likely a compelling blend of truth and fiction. However, in positioning his newspaper as a fictional one, it meant that he avoided paying the stamp tax, which other factual titles had to pay.

Indeed, Lloyd’s Companion to the Penny Sunday Times was most likely based on a radical unstamped newspaper, Cleave’s Weekly Police Gazette, which you can also browse on The Archive. But Lloyd’s title eschewed the political struggle, instead showcasing on its front pages woodcuts depicting violent crimes and the worst of human tragedies.

It is said that Lloyd told his illustrator, George Augustus Sala, that ‘The eyes must be large, and there must be more blood – much more blood!’ And Lloyd had created a winning formula in his publication; estimations vary, but it is likely that his Companion sold between 20,000 to 95,000 copies a week, reaching beyond London to places like Ipswich and Preston.

Lloyd’s Companion to the Penny Sunday Times and Peoples’ Police Gazette | 5 December 1841

But the success of Lloyd’s sensationalist Sunday newspaper provoked concern from the so-called respectable classes, who were both outraged and concerned by the material depicted in the four-page newspaper.

Our final new title of the week is also an illustrated one, the Pictorial Times. An early illustrated title, coming into existence only a year after the Illustrated London News on 18 March 1843, the Pictorial Times promised to be a ‘graphic history of the world.’ Eschewing politics, it promised to concentrate only on ‘the politics of the human heart.’

Pictorial Times | 12 August 1843

Appearing every Saturday, the Pictorial Times was known as a ‘Highly entertaining family newspaper,’ which generally contained ’30 beautiful engravings on wood [and] the latest intelligence and a great variety of information.’

Costing sixpence, the Pictorial Times had a focus on news, literature, fine arts and drama, and consisted of sixteen pages. The first edition shows the new Houses of Parliament, and typical of further editions, showcases illustrations from around the world, from China, India and Antigua.

Pictorial Times | 18 March 1843

A visual treat, the Pictorial Times is a very welcome addition to The Archive’s collection of illustrated titles.

New Titles
Years Added
Albion and the Star 1830-1835
Argus, or, Broad-sheet of the Empire 1839-1840
British Emancipator 1837-1840
British Liberator 1833
British Luminary 1818-1823
Cycling 1891-1914
Hull Daily News 1852-1853, 1855-1869, 1871-1873, 1876, 1878, 1880-1883, 1889
Imperial Weekly Gazette 1818-1825
Lloyd’s Companion to the Penny Sunday Times and Peoples’ Police Gazette 1841-1844
Mirror of the Times 1801-1804, 1815, 1818-1823
New Weekly True Sun 1836
Pictorial Times 1843-1844, 1846, 1848
Pierce Egan’s Life in London, and Sporting Guide 1826
The Age 1826-1827, 1829-1830, 1832, 1835-1836
Westminster Journal and Old British Spy 1808-1810
Updated Titles

You can learn more about each of the titles we add to every week by clicking on their names. On each paper’s title page, you can read a FREE sample issue, learn more about our current holdings, and our plans for digitisation.

This week we have updated twenty five of our existing titles.

Years Added
Anti-Gallican Monitor 1812-1825
Bee-Hive 1876
Blandford and Wimbourne Telegram 1884
Bridport, Beaminster, and Lyme Regis Telegram 1885
Cambria Daily Leader 1861, 1906
Champion (London) 1813-1819, 1821-1822
Cleave’s Weekly Police Gazette 1836
Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate & Cheriton Herald 1939-1945
Herts and Essex Observer 1982
Illustrated Sporting News and Theatrical and Musical Review 1864-1865, 1868
Neath Guardian 1965-1985
Nelson Chronicle, Colne Observer and Clitheroe Division News 1898
Northern Daily Times 1858
Northern Guardian (Hartlepool) 1896, 1899
Penistone, Stocksbridge and Hoyland Express 1924
Poole Telegram 1881-1884, 1886
Stockton Herald, South Durham and Cleveland Advertiser 1897
Sun & Central Press 1872
Swansea and Glamorgan Herald 1880-1885
The News (London) 1835-1839
Weekly True Sun 1833, 1843
Weymouth Telegram 1882, 1884, 1886, 1888-1892

You can keep up to date with all the latest additions by visiting the recently added page.  You can even look ahead to see what we’re going to add tomorrow.


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