The Coventry Herald was founded in 1808 by Nathaniel Merridew, a ribbon warehouseman and Congregationalist. His Whig/Dissenting views were reflected in the paper, and despite a brief dalliance with the Tories, it became the recognised organ of the Liberals in Coventry. It continued to be run by the Merridew family until 1842 and in 1830 absorbed the more radical Coventry Observer to become the Coventry Herald &Observer.
In 1846, the paper was bought by wealthy ribbon manufacturer, Charles Bray, who was also editor until 1867. Bray, at his house Rosehill, entertained many well known intellectuals and radical thinkers of the day. He was interested in popular education and social reform, as demonstrated in the work of Robert Owen. He was a close friend of George Eliot with whom he shared a fascination with phrenology, and the transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson and sociologist, Herbert Spencer were also part of the “Rosehill Circle”. In the 1871 census Bray described himself as an “author in psychology”. Under his editorship, the Herald advocated many of the views held by him, including social and educational improvement and cooperation.
The Herald amalgamated with Taunton’s Coventry Free Press, a radical penny paper, in 1863. In 1914 it absorbed the Coventry Times but was bought by Iliffe a year later. It ceased publication in 1940.
For this newspaper, we have the following titles in, or planned for, our digital archive: