On this day

March 4, 1997

cover page of Western Daily Press published on March 4, 1997

Western Daily Press

The Western Daily Press was Bristol’s first daily newspaper, established in 1858 as a penny broadsheet comprising 4 pages. It was founded by Scots journalist Peter Stewart MacIiver and Tyneside journalist Walter Reid. MacIiver was a strong Congregationalist who became Liberal M.P. for Plymouth 1880-85 and President of the Provincial newspaper Society. He also owned the Bristol Observer (1859) and the Bristol Evening News (1877).

Reid fulfilled the role of editor of the Western Daily Press. He set out in the first issue what readers could expect of the paper. He believed that freedom of the Press was paramount: “Public men are public property and if examination into their public course were denied or impeded, the Press would cease to exist as a benefactor to society”, however, “private malice is detestable”. He said it was “our duty to be tolerant of no wrong or injury to the lowest or the highest of the community” and that the paper would “act upon conviction and therefore guide opinion”.

Although based in Bristol, the Press circulated throughout Gloucestershire and into the neighbouring counties of Somerset and Wiltshire, even extending into South Wales.

In 1960, Bristol United Press bought the Western Daily Press from Walter Reid & Company and in 1999 Bristol United Press was taken over by Northcliffe Media.

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

  • 1858–1932 The Western Daily Press
  • 1932–50 The Western Daily Press and Bristol Mirror
  • 1962–74 Western Daily Press and Times and Mirror.
  • 1974–99 Western daily press (Bristol, England : 1974)

This newspaper is published by Reach PLC in Bristol, Bristol, England. It was digitised and first made available on the British Newspaper Archive in Jan 28, 2013 . The latest issues were added in Apr 28, 2023.