Westminster Journal and Old British Spy
The Westminster Journal and Old British Spy was a weekly Saturday newspaper, priced at 6d. (6½d. from 24 June 1809. It was the successor of a long running publication, which commenced as the Westminster Journal or New Weekly Miscellany in early 1742, and of which there are significant collections in the Burney.
Its political orientation was conservative, conforming to established religious thinking/ morals, and compared to other titles published at this time, it was modest in its opinions, having no front page leader, or internal Editorial. Instead it published extracts from the London Gazette, articles from foreign newspapers, military news and a ‘Postscript’ on page 4 of each issue, which summarized foreign news. Agriculture, Religion, and Fashion reports were largely absent from the paper.
The first issues for the years 1806 and 1807, included a chronological list of occurrences for the previous year, the details of which must have accumulated in their office over the previous months. The newspaper printed Vice-Admiral Collingwood’s dispatches to the Admiralty, regarding the Battle of Trafalgar in its issue of 2 November 1805. As well as important world events, the newspaper also covered a wide variety of strange and interesting subjects, such as the death of Mrs. Maria Theresa Twist, at the age of 104, a forty-one round boxing match, with a description of each round, between Jem Belcher and Cribb, and the practice of suttee.
Evidence points to the Westminster Journal and Old British Spy amalgamating with the Imperial Weekly Gazette from 1 January 1813. However, as there are no holdings that cover the period of this incorporation, there is no definitive proof of the connection.
Ed King, The British Library
For this newspaper, we have the following titles in, or planned for, our digital archive:
- 1805–10 Westminster Journal and Old British Spy.
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 Apr 27, 2021 . The latest issues were added in Jul 10, 2021.