On this day

December 4, 1808

cover page of National Register (London) published on December 4, 1808

National Register (London)





Available years


The National Register was a Sunday weekly, first issued on 3rd January 1808. It was a conservative paper, which opposed Cobbett and his Political Register. The paper was founded by John Browne Bell, son of the famous publisher John Bell, from whom he was estranged. It was one of a number of early attempts to establish himself in the publishing business, often in competition with his father, but his involvement was short-lived as he was made bankrupt in 1810 and was forced to sell ownership of the National Register. While Browne Bell’s early attempts to launch a successful publication were limited, he would later go on to found The News of the World (1843-2011).

The paper had a settled format: the leader, a ‘Political Disquisition’, on page one; stocks and markets on the back page. The Court and Fashion, Foreign Intelligence, Law/ Assizes/ Police, Extracts from the London Gazette, Parliament – all regularly occupied the inside pages. Literary reviews were only occasionally included. Coverage of the Napoleonic Wars was extensive, and occasionally included illustrations or maps. Indexes were compiled for the previous year, and included in the early January issue of the new year.

The newspaper never established a stable publishing environment, with regular changes of proprietors, publishers and printers. At the start of 1816 it was also re-formatted, appearing twice a week (Sunday and Monday), with each issue reduced from 16 pages down to 8 pages, while the price was increased by ½d. From early 1819 John Twigg took over ownership of the National Register, also fulfilling the roles of publisher and printer until the paper ceased publication in May 1823. The penultimate issue saw a notice stating that ‘The Proprietor having disposed of the copyright of this paper, has this week to take leave of his readers, and begs them to accept his thanks for the patronage so long afforded him.’ No issues appeared after Monday 12 May 1823.

Ed King - The British Library

For this newspaper, we have the following titles in, or planned for, our digital archive:

  • 1808–23 The National Register.

This newspaper is published by an unknown publisher in London, London, England. It was digitised and first made available on the British Newspaper Archive in Oct 1, 2019 . The latest issues were added in Nov 9, 2019.