On this day January 22, 1839
The Brighton Patriot and Lewes Free Press was the brainchild of George Faithfull, a solicitor and leading reformer in Brighton. When the 1832 Reform Bill enfranchised Brighton, he stood as a reform candidate and won easily. Three years later, however, he lost his seat in the 1835 election. As one of the factors that had contributed to his defeat was his lack of press support, he decided that he needed his own newspaper if he wanted a political future in Brighton. Thus, he established the weekly four-page paper The Brighton Patriot and Lewes Free Press with his own funds, the first 6d issue of which appeared on 24 February 1835 - less than two months after he lost his seat. However, Faithfull did not fare any better in the next election in 1837 and after that the paper was of little immediate political use to him. Moreover, the election marked the beginning of a change in the newspaper's readership. Faithfull had originally used the newspaper to foster a common identity between his middle-class liberal and working-class radical supporters. However, the contentious election served to break down this class alliance, with Brighton's working men forming the Radical Registration and Patriotic Association. This group would later become Brighton's Chartist Association, and its working-class members became the paper's only remaining active body of subscribers. The Brighton Patriot uneasily and selectively supported them until the summer of 1839, when there was a riot in Birmingham, arrests throughout the country and the Chartist Convention voted to hold a general strike. These troubling developments, combined with a dwindling circulation, a libel suit and mounting debts, meant that the paper ceased publication in August 1839.
For this newspaper, we have the following titles in, or planned for, our digital archive:
- 1835–39 The Brighton Patriot and South of England Free Press
This newspaper is published by an unknown publisher in Brighton, East Sussex, England. It was digitised and first made available on the British Newspaper Archive in May 20, 2013. The latest issues were added in Jun 2, 2013.