The first issue of the weekly Leeds Times left the presses on 7th March 1833. It was a radical paper aimed predominantly at the middle classes. Initially owned by four business men, Frederick Hobson quickly became sole proprietor.
Initially the Leeds Times had a very healthy circulation, but it suffered a downturn with the introduction of the Chartist Northern Star in 1837.
The paper had 4 editors in quick succession, including Robert Nicoll, a radical Scot from Perthshire, who was editor for 18 months from 1836, but died of consumption aged 23. He opposed slavery in America and compared it to the conditions of work in Yorkshire mills: “In helping the slave there, we are helping the slave here”. He supported universal suffrage, a secret ballot with equal representation and free trade. Samuel Smiles was appointed editor in 1838. Smiles, also a Scot, had trained as a doctor in Edinburgh. In his editorials he too advocated free trade, factory reform and parliamentary reform, supporting the Six Points of the Charter. However, he became increasingly at odds with Feargus O’Connor’s physical force Chartism, which he felt alienated middle class support. Smiles resigned from the Leeds Times in 1842.
The circulation of the Times grew steadily throughout the 1840’s. When Frederick Hobson died in 1863, his son William took over the running of the paper.
The Leeds Times ceased publication on 30 March 1901 when it was sold by the Yorkshire newspaper Company to Edward Baines & Sons Limited and absorbed into the Leeds Mercury Weekly Supplement.
For this newspaper, we have the following titles in, or planned for, our digital archive:
- 1833–1901 The Leeds Times
This newspaper is published by Johnston Press plc in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It was digitised and first made available on the British Newspaper Archive in May 4, 2011 . The latest issues were added in Jun 9, 2013.