First published on Saturday 13 May 1854 by Henry Smith and Henry Mills, with the full title Cheshire Observer and General Advertiser for Cheshire and North Wales , the editorial to the Reader proclaimed: "The people require information and sympathy, not opprobrium and neglect... It shall be our pleasure... to assist in the development of their self-respect and independence... for it is now universally admitted that properly conducted cheap newspapers are important elements in advancing civilisation, in building up and perpetuating free institutions, and in securing every man his natural position, with its rights and privileges."
Issued each Saturday in four pages at a price of 2d, together with a Supplement of two pages, this was expanded to eight pages, with Supplement, by the end of 1854. Issue no. 30 of 2 December 1854 features the need for more paper to be produced: "A reward of 1,000 pounds has been offered in England for any person who will discover a substitute for rags, in the manufacture of paper. The paper that the reader now holds in his hands is manufactured from the shavings of the bamboo plant in China."
Edited in the 1850s by William Farish, the paper was stated by Mitchell to be Liberal in outlook in 1860, and Independent by Hubbard in 1882, with a circulation of 5,000. Both the Cheshire Observer and the Chester Courant were taken over in 1891 by the Cheshire and North Wales Newspaper Co., a new venture whose Conservative backers included the Duke of Westminster and the city's MP, Robert Yerburgh. The Cheshire Observer continued publication until 1989.
For this newspaper, we have the following titles in, or planned for, our digital archive:
1854–63 Cheshire Observer and General Advertiser for Cheshire and North Wales
1864–71 Cheshire Observer and Chester, Birkenhead and North Wales Times