New Books Network

The dominance of the London press in the British national media has long overshadowed the presence of local newspapers in Great Britain and the...

The dominance of the London press in the British national media has long overshadowed the presence of local newspapers in Great Britain and the roles they played in their communities. As Andrew Hobbs demonstrates in his book A Fleet Street In Every Town: The Provincial Press in England, 1855-1900 (Open Book Publishers, 2018), this presence was extremely vibrant during the second half of the 19th century, when expanding literacy and the end of the “taxes on knowledge” in the 1850s and 1860s. Focusing on the local newspapers in the Lancashire town of Preston during this period, he explains how the reading of newspapers often was a different experience at that time, with public reading rooms giving people from the working classes access to the news. The local newspapers they read also were different, and embodied their communities in ways that were of great importance to their audience. Hobbs explains that most of these readers preferred these local newspapers, as they provided information that more accurately reflected their lives than did the ones published by the “national” press.

Hobbs’s book is available for free from Open Book Publishers and can be downloaded here.