History of British Newspapers
Britain's press can trace its history back more than 300 years, to the time of William of Orange. Berrow's Worcester Journal, which started life as the Worcester Postman in 1690 and was published regularly from 1709, is believed to be the oldest surviving English newspaper. William Caxton had introduced the first English printing press in 1476 and, by the early 16th century, the first 'news papers' were seen in Britain. They were, however, slow to evolve, with the largely illiterate population relying on town criers for news. Between 1640 and the Restoration, around 30,000 'news letters' and 'news papers' were printed, many of which can be seen today in the British Museum. The first regular English daily newspaper, the Daily Courant, was launched with the reign of Queen Anne in 1702. Timeline
William Caxton sets up the first English printing press in Westminster. 1549
First known English newsletter: Requests of the Devonshyre and Cornyshe Rebelles. 1621
First titled newspaper, Corante, published in London.
Cromwell suppressed all newsbooks on the eve of Charles I's execution. 1690
Worcester Postman launched. (In 1709 it starts regular publication as Berrow's Worcester Journal, considered to be the oldest surviving English newspaper). 1702
Launch of the first regular daily newspaper: The Daily Courant. 1709
First Copyright Act; Berrow's Worcester Journal, considered the oldest surviving English newspaper, started regular publication. 1712
First Stamp Act; advertisement, paper and stamp duties condemned as taxes on knowledge. Stamford Mercury believed to have been launched. 1718
Leeds Mercury started (later merged into Yorkshire Post). 1737
Belfast News Letter founded (world's oldest surviving daily newspaper). 1748
Aberdeen Journal began (Scotland's oldest newspaper - now the Press & Journal). 1772
Hampshire Chronicle launched, Hampshire's oldest paper. 1788
Daily Universal Register (est. 1785) became The Times.
The Observer launched.
Libel Act; truth allowed as defence for first time in Britain. 1836
The Newspaper Society founded.
The Southport Visiter first published.
The first issue of the Brechin Advertiser was published on Tuesday 3 October 1848. 1853
Ormskirk Advertiser and Birkenhead News first published. 1855
Stamp duty abolished. Daily Telegraph started as first penny national. Manchester Guardian, The Scotsman and Liverpool Post became daily. Shields Gazette is the first of 17 regional evenings founded this year. 1868
Press Association set up as a national news agency.
First Official Secrets Act.
Harmsworth (then Northcliffe) bought The Observer.
Newspaper Proprietors Association founded for national dailies. 1907
National Union of Journalists founded as a wage-earners union. 1915
Rothermere launched Sunday Pictorial (later Sunday Mirror). 1922
Death of Northcliffe. Control of Associated Newspapers passed to Rothermere. 1928
Northcliffe Newspapers set up as a subsidiary of Associated Newspapers. Provincial Newspapers set up as a subsidiary of United Newspapers. 1931
Audit Bureau of Circulations formed.
Britain's first colour advertisement appears (in Glasgow's Daily Record). 1944
Iliffe took over BPM Holdings (including Birmingham Post). 1946
Guild of British Newspaper Editors formed (now the Society of Editors). 1953
General Council of the Press established.
Month-long national press strike. Daily Record acquired by Mirror Group. 1959
Manchester Guardian becomes The Guardian. Six-week regional press printing strike. 1960s
Photocomposition and web-offset printing progressively introduced. 1964
The Sun launched, replacing Daily Herald. Death of Beaverbrook. General Council of the Press reformed as the Press Council. 1969
Murdoch's News International acquired The Sun and News of the World. 1976
Nottingham Evening Post is Britain's first newspaper to start direct input by journalists. 1978
The Times and The Sunday Times...
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