The Western Times grew out of the Exeter Weekly Times which was established in 1827 by “gentlemen of the law” and comprised 4 pages costing 7d. The proprietors felt that the county was wanting in a “free and independent Press in which liberal principles might be boldly and fearlessly avowed and advocated”. They sought to conduct the paper on such liberal principles, considering “the public conduct of public men as public property” but refraining from resorting to “attacks on private character”. As such it was a rival to the Conservative Trewman's Exeter Flying Post. Encouraged by the increasing circulation, they changed the title to the Western Times to appeal to a wider audience out with Exeter.
The paper became the Western Times on 3 Jan 1829, was still 4 pages long and cost 7d. Proprietor James Terrell brought in Thomas Latimer as sub-editor. Latimer had worked on various papers in the Devonshire area, but had been sacked from the Exeter and Plymouth Gazette for being rather too radical in his views. Latimer took over as owner and editor of the Western Times in 1835 and his views were reflected in his paper. He was a supporter of parliamentary reform, penal reform and abolition of death penalty and campaigned tirelessly for local government transparency and accountability and against all forms of oppression and injustice.
The Western Times went daily in 1866 and control of the business passed to Latimer’s son Hugh and his son-in-law in 1873.
It merged with the weekly edition of the Devon & Exeter Gazette (formerly Woolmer’s Exeter & Plymouth Gazette) in 1952 to become the Western Times & Gazette.
For this newspaper, we have the following titles in, or planned for, our digital archive:
- 1827–28 Exeter Weekly Times and West of England General Advertiser
- 1828–28 Exeter Weekly Times, and, Plymouth, Devonport, & West of England General Advertiser
- 1829–1950 The Western Times
This newspaper is published by Reach PLC in Exeter, Devon, England. It was digitised and first made available on the British Newspaper Archive in Nov 27, 2012 . The latest issues were added in Jun 11, 2014.