On this day

December 5, 1855

cover page of Northern Daily Times published on December 5, 1855

Northern Daily Times





Available years


The Northern Daily Times was the main part of a concerted initiative by Charles Willmer to establish the first viable provincial daily newspaper in England (and in due course an evening, daily, and weekly Saturday paper). From the outset – two years before the abolition of the stamp duty in 1855 – Willmer aimed to provide a cheap, no-frills alternative to the weekly/semi-weekly papers in Liverpool and base his financial model on mass sales rather than advertising.

The Northern Daily Times (changing its title to the Northern Times in 1857) performed well until 1859. Following the abolition of stamp duty and a somewhat reluctant reduction in price to 1 penny to match the new Daily Post (1855-1978), circulation soared to 10,000 copies per day and readership of 40,000 was claimed. The paper also claimed to have the “largest circulation of any paper in the provinces”. In January 1859, daily sales of 11,887 were reported.

Content was generally dry and functional but the paper prided itself on getting news first, particularly during the Crimean War. There were occasional series of articles on local topics, such as Liverpool’s history, the docks and manufacturing workshops. The small reporting staff famously included a number from the south of Ireland, including Justin McCarthy, who went on to become a leading Irish Nationalist MP.

In 1859, Willmer was obliged to sell the Northern Times to Thomas Ramsay, who edited it himself for a short period and turned it into a Conservative paper. The paper began to fail and Ramsay sold it in 1860 to Walter Henry Peat (formerly a business manager at the Liverpool Journal and best known later as the proprietor of the famous Liverpool Journal of Commerce). Peat vowed to make the retitled Daily Times the “first commercial advertising medium in the North of England” but, evidently, could not make it pay and he closed it down in early 1861.

Dr Nick Foggo - University of Liverpool

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

  • 1840–57 The Northern Daily Times.
  • 1857–60 Northern Times.
  • 1860–61 The Daily Times.

This newspaper is published by an unknown publisher in Liverpool, Lancashire, England. It was digitised and first made available on the British Newspaper Archive in Sep 19, 2019 . The latest issues were added in Jul 10, 2021.