British newspapers have come a long way since their early conception and in that time, they’ve had a massive influence on British culture. In the 17th century, newspapers started out as simple pamphlets or news sheets. In 1665, these pamphlets eventually gave way to the Oxford Gazette, the first newspaper to be published in Britain. By the 1720s, there were 24 full-fledged newspapers in circulation in Britain. On March 11, 1702, the first daily British newspaper, Edward Mallet’s Daily Courant, was published. Known for the two columns of news from abroad, it provided a solid link to the world beyond Britain’s borders. Interestingly, a paper was only published through Saturday; the Sunday paper didn’t come until later in the 18th century.
The next years saw huge growth in the newspaper industry. There were about 52 separate papers in London, and the surrounding areas had over 100. When the Stamp Act was abolished in 1885, the newspaper industry boomed. Not having to deal with the increasing cost of publishing materials, even small publishers were able to put out a daily paper. As the people’s thirst for knowledge from outside their borders increased, the industry received a huge boost. The period also marked the rise and fall of several huge papers including the Northern Star and Manchester Guardian. One of the biggest names to start publishing at this time was The Daily Mail in 1896.
When Britain entered the 20th century, the papers progressed as well. In 1914, photos were being published and comic strips appeared in 1915. In 1924, crossword puzzles were being published as well. Today, the British newspaper industry is caught in the same straits as the rest of the world’s, struggling to stay relevant when people are turning to their computers for news. Still, the newspaper was a huge part of the average Englishman’s life for quite a long time.
British Library Newspapers: Discusses the history of British newspapers.
London Gazette: Discusses the history of one of Britain’s most famous papers, the London Gazette.
Norwich Post: Discusses the history of the Norwich Post, the first British paper ever published.
History of the British Newspaper in the Nineteenth Century: Discusses important events in the 19th century.
19th Century Examples: Examples of articles that ran during the 19th century.
The Stamp Act: Discusses the Stamp Act, an important Act that heavily influenced the industry.
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History of Papers: A look at the history of British newspapers.
Papers: Brief History: Brief history of newspapers.
17th and 18th Century Newspapers: Page that has links to things like newspaper databases.
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British Paper Timeline: Timeline of important events in the history of newspapers.
19th Century British Library Newspapers: Online database for 19th century papers.
Online Collections: Links to archives of papers from various periods.
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