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Second City of The Empire: 1830s to 1914

Culture and Leisure

Books and Newspapers

By W Hamish Fraser

Peter Mackenzie After 1825 there was less chance of being transported for seditious publications and this encouraged a flourishing of new more radical newspapers. Most of these were aimed at the working class and they refused to pay the stamp duty which all publications carrying news were required to pay. As a result many of them were short lived. The committee of trade unions published the Herald to the Trades' Advocate and Co-operative Journal for thirty-six weekly issues in 1830-31, followed by the Trades' Advocate itself and then, in 1833, by the Scottish Trades' Union Gazette, which in turn became The Tradesman. The last two were edited by Alexander Campbell and he was imprisoned in 1834 for breaching the Stamp Act. Peter Mackenzie had launched the Reformers' Gazette in 1831, changing it to the Loyal Reformers' Gazette when it seemed that the King would support the demands for political reform and then the Scotch Reformers' Gazette. It survived until 1849. A more militant paper, the Radical Reformers' Gazette, was published by Francis Reid, but it was quickly closed by the authorities. Others aimed at the working class, such as the Agitator and The Spartan, had even briefer existences.

Tait's Directory p46 The Glasgow Herald, the Glasgow Constitutional and the Glasgow Courier took the Conservative line, and a group of Liberal businessmen launched the Glasgow Argus in 1833 with William Weir as editor. Its main campaign was for repeal of the duties on imported grain. Also pushing a moderate reformist line was the Saturday Evening Post and Renfrewshire Observer owned by the provost of Paisley, John Henderson, and the Scots Times. The Chartist movement brought the Scottish Patriot in 1839, and the Chartist Circular, both of which survived for a couple of years. Yet another Glasgow Sentinel appeared in 1850 and this one lasted for twenty-seven years. It was edited by the Owenite Robert Buchanan and then by the veteran trade unionist, Alexander Campbell. It was the main working-class newspaper.

Charles Cameron Scotland's first daily newspaper was the North British Daily Mail from 1847. It was not until 1859 that the Glasgow Herald moved to being a daily. Dr Charles Cameron, the city's MP for many years, ran the Mail in the last quarter of the century, and from the start it pushed the cause of temperance. A strike of printers in 1893 led to the Glasgow Echo, which in 1895 became the Daily Record. The Evening Citizen appeared in 1864 and the Evening Times in 1876. Two papers specifically aimed at the Catholic community were the Glasgow Free Press from 1851 and the Glasgow Observer from 1885.

Advertisement The publishing firm of John Blackie moved to Queen Street in 1836, which remained its headquarters for many decades. To an extensive religious literature, it added histories, Burns' poems and then a lucrative line in the Popular Encyclopaedia in weekly parts. William Collins turned to publishing as an extension of his religious activities. The firm was run by Collinses over five generations. The Collins' pocket classics, which came in the 1890s, were one of it great successes. In addition, James Macelhose, a bookseller, was in the book publishing business from 1838 and this became the University Press in the 1880s.

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