English newsbooks had first appeared in the 1620s but in conditions of such tight censorship that the government effectively had a monopoly on the news. The twice-weekly "London Gazette" was established in 1665 as the official vehicle for news. However, by the end of the century there was a huge demand for news from all parts of the country and news-sheets proliferated. In the 18th century the relaxation of censorship opened the way to newspapers becoming major vehicles of political debate, mirroring the increasing openess of the British political system. As the century progressed, so proprietors realized the commercial potential of newspapers and in the 19th century the commercial press rose to new heights. This account charts the rise of the English press and shows how newspapers have played a key role in the development of a national consciousness. Throughout the book, we are reminded that newspapers stand and fall by their circulation figures and as the period covered by the book draws to a close we are on the threshold of the age of the press barons, men like Northcliffe who could control both the popular and the quality press.
Publisher: The History Press Ltd