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Concise History of the British Newspaper in the Twentieth Century

A Concise History of the British Newspaper, century by century, complied by our experts.

Illustrated Weekly Budget

Illustrated Weekly Budget 14 November 1908. British Library Newspaper Library. Copyright © The British Library Board

The British Newspaper, 1901-1950

The Daily Mirror

The Daily Mirror 2 November 1903. British Library Newspaper Library. Copyright © The British Library Board

  • 1902 - Jan 17 : Times Literary Supplement launched.
  • 1903 - Nov 2 : Daily Mirror launched by Harmsworth. First daily illustrated exclusively with photographs.
  • 1907 : National Union of Journalists founded.
  • 1908 - Nov 14 : Illustrated Weekly Budget launched: 'The only 1d newspaper in the world printed in colour'. Only seven issues published.
  • 1909 - March 2 : Daily Sketch launched. Merged with the Daily Mail in 1971.
  • 1911 : Copyright Act.
  • 1911 - Jan 25 : Daily Herald launched. First newspaper to sell two million copies.
  • 1913 - April 12 : New Statesman founded by Sidney Webb.
  • 1914 - March 11 : First half-tone in the Times: a 4 by 3 inch picture of the Rokeby Venus, damaged in a Suffragette demonstration.
  • 1915 : 'Teddy Tail' - first British comic strip - in the Daily Mail.
  • 1915 - March 14 : Sunday Pictorial launched by Rothermere. Became Sunday Mirror in 1963.
  • 1916 : Daily Express bought by Max Aitken (later Lord Beaverbrook).
  • 1918 - Dec 29 : Sunday Express launched.
  • 1922 - Aug 14 : Death of Lord Northcliffe.
  • 1924 - Nov 2 : First crossword in a British newspaper, in the Sunday Express.
  • 1926 - May : Most newspapers suspended during the General Strike. Government publishes British Gazette; TUC publishes British Worker.
  • 1930 - Jan 1 : Daily Worker launched. Became Morning Star in 1966.
  • 1930 - Feb 1 : First Times crossword.
  • 1930 - June 2 : News Chronicle formed by the merger of the Daily News and the Daily Chronicle. Merged with Daily Mail in 1960.
  • 1931 : Audit Bureau of Circulations formed.
  • 1932 - Aug 23 : British Museum Newspaper Library opened at Colindale in North London.
  • 1934 - Oct 18 : Daily Mail publishes the first photograph to be transmitted by beam radio (from Melbourne to London).
  • 1938 - Oct 1 : Picture Post launched by Edward Hulton. Ceased publication in 1957.
  • 1940 : Newsprint rationing introduced.
  • 1940 - Nov 26 : Death of Lord Rothermere.
  • 1941 : Daily Worker and Week suppressed.
  • 1947 : First Royal Commission on the Press.
Sunday Pictorial

Sunday Pictorial 14 March 1915. British Library Newspaper Library. Copyright © The British Library Board

The British Newspaper, 1951-2000

NEWSPLAN

Selwyn Eagle with Diana Dixon, NEWSPLAN: Report of the Newsplan Project in the London and South Eastern Library Region (London, 1996)

  • 1953 : General Council of the Press formed.
  • 1954 - Oct 3 : The Manchester Sunday paper, Emire News, sets up its first Cardiff edition as 'Wales's Own Sunday Paper: Printed in Wales for Wales'.
  • 1959 - Aug 24 : Manchester Guardian changes title to the Guardian, based in London.
  • 1961 : Second Royal Commission on the Press.
  • 1961 - Feb 5 : Sunday Telegraph launched.
  • 1962 - Feb 4 : Launch of Sunday Times magazine as Sunday Times Colour Section.
  • 1964 : Press Council replaces General Council of the Press.
  • 1964 - June 9 : Death of Lord Beaverbrook.
  • 1964 - Sept 6 : Observer colour supplement launched.
  • 1964 - Sept 15 : Daily Herald becomes the Sun.
  • 1964 - Sept 25 : Daily Telegraph magazine launched.
  • 1966 : Times bought by Roy Thomson, owner of the Sunday Times.
  • 1966 - May 3 : Times begins printing news on the front page.
  • 1969 : News of the World bought by Rupert Murdoch.
  • 1969 - Nov 17 : Sun re-launched as a tabloid by Rupert Murdoch.
  • 1973 : Y Dinesydd launched in Cardiff: the first of the Welsh-language community papers ['papurau bro'] established in Wales.
  • 1974 : Third Royal Commission on the Press.
  • 1976 : Evening Post (Nottingham) becomes the first British newspaper to introduce direct input by journalists.
  • 1978 - Nov 2 : Daily Star launched.
  • 1978 - Dec 1 : Publication of the Times and Sunday Times suspended for eleven months.
  • 1979 : Financial Times launches international edition in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
  • 1980 : Daily Star printed simultaneously by facsimile in London and Manchester.
  • 1980 : British Library Newspaper Library Newsletter launched. Became Newspaper Library News in 1997.
  • 1980 - Oct 31 : Closure of Evening News leaves London with just one evening newspaper.
  • 1981 : Rupert Murdoch buys the Times and Sunday Times.
  • 1981 - May 3 : Sunday Express magazine launched.
  • 1981 - Sept 6 : News of the World magazine, Sunday, launched.
  • 1982 - May 2 : Mail on Sunday launched: the first photocomposed national newspaper in Britain.
  • 1982 - Oct 17 : Sulyn launched: first Welsh-language Sunday newspaper. Ceased publication in January 1983.
  • 1984 : Robert Maxwell buys the Mirror Group.
  • 1984 - Oct 2: Daily News (Birmingham) launched by Chris and Pat Bullivant. The UK's first free daily title.
  • 1985 : Daily Telegraph bought by Conrad Black.
  • 1986 : News International moves all national titles to its new plant at Wapping.
  • 1986 - March 4 : Today launched by Eddy Shah, first national colour newspaper.
  • 1986 - Sept 14 : Sunday Sport launched.
  • 1986 - Oct 7 : Independent launched.
  • 1987 : Today bought by Rupert Murdoch.
  • 1987 : First women editors of national newspapers in modern times: Wendy Henry (News of the World) and Eve Pollard (Sunday Mirror).
  • 1987 - Feb 24 : London Daily News launched by Robert Maxwell: the first attempt at a 24-hour newspaper in Britain. Ceased publication on 23 July.
  • 1987 - April 26 : News on Sunday launched. Ceased publication in November.
  • 1988 - Aug 7: Scotland on Sunday launched.
  • 1988 - Aug 17 : Sport launched, initially appearing every Wednesday.
  • 1989 - March 5 : Wales on Sunday launched in Cardiff.
  • 1989 - Sept 17 : Sunday Correspondent launched. Ceased publication 25 November 1990.
  • 1990 - Jan 28 : Independent on Sunday launched.
  • 1990 - May 11 : European launched by Robert Maxwell. Ceased publication on 14 December 1998.
  • 1991 : Press Complaints Commission replaces the Press Council.
  • 1991 - Oct 7 : Sport becomes daily.
  • 1991 - Nov 5 : Death of Robert Maxwell.
  • 1992 : Dundee Courier becomes the last daily in Britain to put news not advertisements on its front page.
  • 1993 : Observer bought by Guardian Media Group.
  • 1994 - Nov : Electronic Telegraph launched: first British national on the Internet.
  • 1995 - Nov 17 : Today ceases publication: first national to close since the Daily Sketch.
  • 1996 - April 21: Sunday Business launched.
  • 1997 - Nov 11 : Shetland Times versus Shetland News: Scotland's test case on Internet links, settled out of court, permits the News, under certain conditions, to link to stories on the Times's website.
  • 1998 - March 15 : Sport First launched: Britain's first national Sunday newspaper dedicated to sport.
  • 1998 - May 17 : Death of Hugh, Lord Cudlipp of Aldingbourne, who first joined the Daily Mirror in 1935.
  • 1998 - June 10 : Death of Sir David English, the editor who transformed the fortunes of the Daily Mail.
  • 1998 - Sept 1 : Death of Vere Harmsworth, Third Viscount Rothermere.
  • 1999 - Feb 7: Sunday Herald (Glasgow) launched
  • 1999 - March 16 : Metro launched: a daily newspaper distributed free to travellers on the London Underground.
  • 1999 - March : The Heritage Lottery Fund awards NEWSPLAN a grant of £5 million.
  • 2000 - Sept 20 : Business a.m. launched: the first new, daily newspaper in Scotland for 100 years.
  • 2002 - Mar 11: London Press Club celebrates tercentenary of the founding of the Daily Courant, the first Fleet Street daily newspaper, with a service at St Bride's Church attended by Prince Charles
  • 2003- Sept 30: Independent publishes tabloid sized version concurrently with broadsheet version.
  • 2003 - Nov 26: Times publishes tabloid sized version concurrently with broadsheet version.
  • 2004 - May 17: Independent ceases to publish broadsheet version, now publishes tabloid size only.
  • 2004 - Nov 1: Times ceases to publish broadsheet version, now publishes tabloid size only.
  • 2004 - Nov 12: Times is the first newspaper to publish the Soduku puzzle. Daily Mail begins publishing them three days later.
  • 2004 - Dec 14: Standard Lite launched: free PM edition of the Evening Standard, distributed in central London. The forerunner of the London Lite.
  • 2005- Sept 4: City Am launched: a business free sheet distrubuted in the City of London.
  • 2005 - Sept 12: Guardian switches to "Berliner" format.
  • 2006 - Jan 8: Observer switches to "Berliner" format
  • 2006 - May 4: First News launched: a children's newspaper aimed at 9 to 12 year olds.
  • 2006 - May 25: Newspaper Publishers Association celebrates its centenary with an exhibition at the British Library: Front Page: celebrating 100 years of the British newspaper 1906-2006.
  • 2006 - Aug 25: London Lite launched: free paper from Associated Newspapers distributed to London commuters in the late afternoon / early evening.
  • 2006 - Sept 4: The London Paper launched: free paper from News International distributed to London commuters in the late afternoon / early evening. Launched in competition with London Lite.
  • 2007 - Mar 1: British Library announces plan to move its newspaper collection from Colindale to a new purpose-built storage facility by December 2012. Digital and microfilm access to the collection to be provided at the Library's St Pancras site.
  • 2007 - Dec 10: Conrad Black, former owner of the Daily Telegraph, sentenced to six and a half years in prison in USA for his role in the multimillion-dollar fraud at Hollinger International, the newspaper group he created and controlled.
Newspaper Library News

Newspaper Library News Winter 1998/1999. British Library Newspaper Library. Copyright © The British Library Board

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