The Times is a national daily newspaper in the United Kingdom. It is a tabloid, although it was a broadsheet for 200 years before switching to the tabloid format only from 1 November 2004. It is published by News International, a subsidiary of the News Corporation group, controlled by Rupert Murdoch. For much of its history it was regarded as without rival, the 'newspaper of record' for Britain and played an influential role in politics and shaping public opinion to foreign events. More recently it has tended to reflect its proprietor's conservative political views.
The Times is sometimes referred to by people outside the UK as the London Times or The Times of London in order to distinguish it from the many other Times papers, it is however the original 'Times' newspaper.
The Times was started by John Walter in 1785, as The Daily Universal Register, changing its title on January 1, 1788, to The Times. John Walter was also the first editor of the paper. He resigned in 1803 handing ownership and editorship to the second John Walter. The first John Walter had already spent sixteen months in Newgate prison for certain libels printed in The Times, but his pioneering efforts to obtain European news, especially from France, helped build the paper's reputation among policy makers and financiers.
The Times used contributions from significant figures in the fields of politics, science, literature, and the arts to build its reputation. For much of its early life the profits of The Times were very large and the competition minimal, and so it could pay far better than its rivals for information or writers.
In 1809 John Stoddart was appointed general editor, replaced in 1817, with Thomas Barnes. Under Barnes and his successor in 1841, John Thaddeus Delane, the influence of The Times rose to great heights, especially in politics and amongst the City. Peter Fraser and Edward Sterling were two noted hacks and gained for The Times the pompous/satirical nickname 'The Thunderer' (from "We thundered out the other day an article on social and political reform").
It was the first newspaper to send special correspondents abroad, and it was the first to send war correspondents after particular conflicts. W. H. Russell, its correspondent with the army in the Crimean War was immensely influential with his dispatches back to England.
In other events of the 19th Century The Times opposed the repeal of the Corn Laws, until the level of the demonstrations convinced it otherwise. During the American Civil War, The Times represented the view of the wealthy classes, favouring the secessionists, but it was not a supporter of slavery. Its support of individual politicians was very much internally driven and it did not pander to public opinion.
John Walter the third had succeeded his father in 1847. Though the Walters were becoming more conservative, the paper continued more or less independent. From the 1850s however The Times was beginning to suffer from the rise in competition from the penny press - notably The Daily Telegraph and The Morning Post.
In 1922 John Astor, son of Viscount William Waldorf Astor, bought the Times from the Northcliffe family estate. In 1966, members of the Astor family sold the paper to Canadian publishing magnate, Roy Thomson, and the same year it started printing news on the front page for the first time (previously its front page had featured small advertisements, usually of interest mainly to the moneyed classes in British society).
An industrial dispute in 1979 left the paper shut down for nearly a year. It was bought by Rupert Murdoch's News International in 1981. The Sun being part of the same stable, and featuring a topless model on page three, the first News International Times featured a full page Spirit of Ecstacy Rolls Royce advertisment on page three. Similarly the Sun of that day featured a long headline on page one, as opposed to it's more normal two or three word style. In or about early June 1990, it abandoned its policy of always prefixing every mention of a living person's name with "Mr", "Mrs" or "Miss" (never "Ms") - the more formal style has since been confined to the "Court and Social" page, though "Ms" is now acceptable in that section.
In November 2003 News International began producing the newspaper in both broadsheet and tabloid sizes. On September 13 2004 the weekday broadsheet was withdrawn from sale in Northern Ireland. It ceased completely from November 1 2004 and as such is now a tabloid newspapers.
Many now say that The Times is no longer a newspaper of record.
- Northcliffe (?-1922)
- Astor Family (1922-1966)
- Roy Thomson (1966-1981)
- Rupert Murdoch-News International (1981 onwards)
- John Walter (1785-1803)
- John Walter (1803-1809)
- John Stoddart (1809-1817)
- Thomas Barnes (1817-1841)
- John Delane (1841-1877)
- Thomas Chenery (1877-1884)
- George Earle Buckle (1884-1912)
- George Geoffrey Dawson (1912-1919)
- Henry Wickham Steed (1919-1922)
- George Geoffrey Dawson (1923-1941)
- Robert McGowan Barrington-Ward (1941-1948)
- William Casey (1948-1952)
- William Haley (1952-1966)
- William Rees-Mogg (1967-1981)
- Harold Evans (1981-1982)
- Charles Douglas-Home (1982-1985)
- Charles Wilson (1985-1990)
- Simon Jenkins (1990-1992)
- Peter Stothard (1992-2002)
- Robert Thomson (2002- )