Bristol was in 1801 one of the largest trading cities in England, with a population of 61,000. As a result of the prosperity brought about by its mercantile activities, no less than thirteen newspapers were started in and around the city before 1800. One of these was the Bristol Mercury , begun in March 1790. It was published weekly on a Saturday. By the middle of the nineteenth century the price of each issue was 5d.
A typical issue, number 3,020 of 5 February 1848, comprised eight pages, each page having six columns. Small advertisements are printed on page one. The Chamber of Commerce and Markets (domestic and colonial) feature prominently, as do Police Intelligence and other legal matters. Issue number 3,190 of 10 May 1851 devoted the whole of page three to: 'The Abstracts of the Accounts of the Bristol Charity Trustees...', and a two-page supplement was devoted to the 'Industrial Exhibition of all Nations.' Important for local patrons of the newspaper was the listing of all the exhibits sent from Bristol to Hyde Park in London.
Issue number 4,167 of 19 February 1870 has eight pages, with seven columns per page. The rapid rise in the population of Bristol to nearly 207,000 by 1881 would have contributed to the incorporation of the Bristol Daily Post by the Bristol Mercury in January 1878. This made the combined paper a daily. The price of the paper fell to 2d by 1882, and the paper changed its outlook from conservative to liberal by this time, with the circulation of the paper being 25,000. A weekly supplement was published from 1878 to 1901.
By 1899, the paper was issued daily, at a price of 1d. In the issues for the week commencing 11 Monday December 1899 (16,095-16,100), the war in South Africa received much coverage each day. The title was discontinued in 1909.
Note: We have one issue of an early Bristol Mercury, published weekly by Henry Greep, from 1716.
For this newspaper, we have the following titles in, or planned for, our digital archive:
1716–1877 The Bristol Mercury
1878–1900 The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post, Western Counties and South Wales Advertiser