1st Edition of the Daily Telegraph
The 29th of June 1855 AD
There is an irony in the fact that what many regard as our most establishment newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, was founded to rail against the Victorian establishment, or at least its military incarnation. The paper that is now caricatured as for retired colonels was indeed founded by a colonel, Arthur B. Sleigh, Canadian born and harbouring personal resentment against The Duke of Cambridge, already a major figure in the army hierarchy and soon to be its commander-in-chief.
Sleigh and some like-minded associates were outraged by the less than brilliant way in which the army’s top brass were running the Crimean War : the first paper indeed contained long lists of the dead at Sebastopol. The name was initially The Daily Telegraph and Courier, reflecting the use of new technology and old in gathering its news. It was an energetic and youthful Fleet Street offering, its first editor, Alfred Bate Richards, just 35-years-old; and it leant towards Jack rather than his master.
Intriguingly the new paper was printed by the owners of The Sunday Times , who because Sleigh could not in the end pay for it soon took control. The paper had been targeted at mass circulation, with a price of just 2d compared to The Times which cost 5d. The strategy worked, albeit not for Sleigh; soon the paper was selling in great numbers.
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