The Manchester Courier was founded in Manchester by bookseller Thomas Sowler and his brother James in 1825 as a weekly paper in opposition to the Liberal Manchester Guardian which had started in 1821. The poet Alaric Watts was briefly editor 1825-6.
The Sowler family saw their newspaper interests firstly as a business but also as a way to support and advance the Conservative cause in what was fast becoming a predominantly Liberal city. On the death of Thomas Sowler in 1857, control of the paper passed to his sons, Thomas jun and John, who turned it into a 4 page penny daily in 1864. John died in 1871, Thomas jun became sole proprietor and started an offshoot of the Courier, the Evening Mail in 1874. Like his father, Thomas jun was a staunch and active Conservative, and was the losing Conservative Party candidate for South Manchester in the 1886 election. He was rewarded for his loyalty with a knighthood in 1889 for his services to journalism.
By the late 1890’s however, the Sowler papers were showing signs of financial problems. The size of the Courier had been increased to maintain its position as a worthy opponent of the Manchester Guardian, but the attendant increased production costs combined with the huge losses of an also enlarged Evening Mail, put the Company in a precarious position. The Mail was eventually closed in 1902.
In 1904 the Manchester Courier was bought from the Sowler family by Alfred Harmsworth, soon to be Lord Northcliffe, although Harry Sowler retained a minority share. It limped along until 1916 when the decision was eventually made to cease publication.
For this newspaper, we have the following titles in, or planned for, our digital archive:
- 1825–1916 Manchester Courier, and Lancashire General Advertiser
This newspaper is published by Reach PLC in Manchester, Lancashire, England. It was digitised and first made available on the British Newspaper Archive in Jan 4, 2013 . The latest issues were added in Mar 11, 2022.