First Edition of Sunday Times
The 20th of October 1822 AD
Not a picture in sight of course, just five columns of densely spaced type, the headline typeface barely larger than the text. And above it all the proud banner reading The Sunday Times. The first ever edition of The Sunday Times came out on October 20 1822.
With Europe’s great powers meeting in Verona to resolve the great matters of the day – The Spanish Question; the Italian Question; the Turkish Question – as the continent recovered its balance post-Napoleon, it was a good time to launch a newspaper. Except that in reality this was not so much a launch as a re-branding. Its predecessor The New Observer had hit the streets in February the previous year, the title a deliberate ploy to confuse and attract readers of the long established Observer ; briefly re-named The Independent Observer, it finally settled on The Sunday Times. It had no link with The Times , but as with the original title it sought to cash in on the renown of its rival.
The owner and leading light of The Sunday Times was Daniel Whittle Harvey, a radical if not rabidly so MP who used his paper as a soapbox for his views and policies – something that of course could never happen today. The inaugural editorial of October 20 1822 evoked nostalgia for a time: “When the press was free and honest,” a nostalgia some of us feel at times today. Harvey, MP for Colchester and later for Southwark in fact spent a brief spell in prison for his newspaper having libelled the King, George IV, such was his personal quest for the truth. Poacher turned gamekeeper later in his career, when he became the first Commissioner of the City of London Police in 1839.
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From Karina Wright on 9th December 2010
It was with interest that I read you article about the (first edition of) The Sunday Times. While cleaning out a closet in preparation for selling my parents' home, we ran across several old newspapers...several 1910s-20s editions of the Daily Mirror, editions of various newspapers celebrating historical events (Armistice Signed, NAZIs Surrender, Man Lands on the Moon) and most exciting, a copy of the first edition of The Sunday Times. We are flabbergasted at the history just lying on a shelf in a closet. Karina Wright