The Liverpool Mercury was first published in 1811 as a weekly newspaper for the thriving port and commercial city. On 1 January 1850 the proprietors described their long-term aim as 'continual and peaceful progress', and it was these serious, reformist and Liberal principles that guided the Mercury throughout the century.
Following the death of the founder Egerton Smith in 1841, the newspaper passed into the hands of his widow and son. A limited company named after Smith was then established with business partners. The newspaper gradually expanded in size, frequency and circulation. In 1858 it began to be published daily, with a larger edition published on Fridays, and by 1880 the paper could claim in its regular advert that the weekly 2d edition of the paper contained 'seventy-two long columns making it one of the largest newspapers in the world.'
The newspaper was circulated not just in Liverpool and surrounding rural areas of Lancashire and Cheshire, but also in Wales, the Isle of Man and London. Nevertheless, keen political and commercial rivalry continued with other, often short-lived, newspapers in the city. The Mercury 's advertising role was central to its commercial success, with as many as five out of ten or twelve pages being devoted to advertisements and notices by 1900.
Although reports from elsewhere in Britain and overseas were published on a comprehensive range of political, business and sporting subjects, the Mercury was exceptional for its coverage of local social issues. Regular columns, such as those by Hugh Shimmin in 1855-56, exposed the poverty and degradation of urban life. Successive editors used such articles to lead political campaigns for housing, public health and moral reform in Liverpool.
For this newspaper, we have the following titles in, or planned for, our digital archive:
- 1811–1904 Liverpool Mercury
This newspaper is published by Reach PLC in Liverpool, Lancashire, England. It was digitised and first made available on the British Newspaper Archive in May 3, 2013 . The latest issues were added in Jan 17, 2023.