Brighton and Hove's rich history of newspapers

The Brighton and Hove Herald
The Brighton and Hove Herald

There was a time when the Brighton and Hove were awash with newspaper titles.

The Brighton and Hove Independent has bucked the trend of declining newspaper figures since 2011, but there was a time when the two towns were awash with titles.

Not quite the throbbing heart of Fleet Street, but 8 Middle Street is where Brighton’s very first newspaper hit the cobbles. H Robertson Attree and Matthew Philips, with Robert Sicklemore as editor, published the Brighton Herald on Saturday, September 6, 1806.

It rapidly established itself, and was the first newspaper to report the escape of Napoleon from Elba in 1815, the start of the French Revolution in 1830, and the arrival of Louis Phillipe at Newhaven in 1848. The final edition - after 165 years - was produced in 1971 when The Herald was absorbed by the Brighton and Hove Gazette. At the time of the Herald’s inception, newspapers were subject to the Stamp Act, legislation passed in 1712 as a way of pricing copies beyond the means of the working classes. Despite the tax, nine newspapers were founded in Brighton before the act was abolished in 1855.

The Brighton Observer, a year later, was followed by five more by 1860, and three - Brighton Contemplator, Brighton Election Reporter and Brighton Telegraph – that lasted less than a year, in 1864. The wonderfully titled Brighton Fashionable Visitors List, a forerunner to the myriad of today’s celebrity gossip mags, was printed for the first time in 1865. published three times a week to sate Brightonians’ appetites on who was sleeping with who, a slight name change later, adding “Standard and”, lasted until its demise in 1953.

Named after the hundred-eyed all-seeing giant of Greek mythology, The Argus rolled off the presses at 130 North Street in 1880 where a loft on the roof housed the pigeons that brought in stories from the far corners of the county. Along with The Brighton and Hove Independent and Brighton and Hove Leader, it is one of just three city newspapers left in 2015.

The Brighton and Hove Independent features weekly excerpts from Dan Tester’s book, Brighton and Hove On This Day. It is available to buy from all good bookshops.