Times Online

Times Online

This article is about the British newspaper. For other uses, see The Times (disambiguation).

The Times
The front page of The Times on 21 April 2011
Type Daily newspaper
Format Compact
Owner News UK
Editor John Witherow (acting)[1]
Founded 1 January 1785
Headquarters Wapping, London, United Kingdom
Circulation 393,978 (September 2013)[2]
Sister newspapers The Sunday Times
ISSN 0140-0460
Official website www.thetimes.co.uk

The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register (it became The Times on 1 January 1788). The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times (founded in 1821) are published by Times Newspapers, since 1981 a subsidiary of News UK, itself wholly owned by the News Corp group headed by Rupert Murdoch. The Times and The Sunday Times do not share editorial staff, were founded independently and have only had common ownership since 1967.

The Times is the first newspaper to have borne that name, lending it to numerous other papers around the world, including The Times of India (founded in 1838), The Straits Times (1845), The New York Times (1851), The Irish Times (1859), the Los Angeles Times (1881), The Seattle Times (1891), The Daily Times (Malawi) (1900), The Canberra Times (1926), The Times (Malta) (1935) and The Times of Israel (2012).

The Times is the originator of the ubiquitous Times Roman typeface, originally developed by Stanley Morison of The Times in collaboration with the Monotype Corporation for its legibility in low-tech printing. In November 2006 The Times began printing headlines in a new font, Times Modern. The Times was printed in broadsheet format for 219 years, but switched to compact size in 2004 in an attempt to appeal more to younger readers and commuters using public transport. The Sunday Times remains a broadsheet.

Though traditionally a moderate newspaper and sometimes a supporter of the Conservatives, it supported the Labour Party in the 2001 and 2005 general elections.[3] In 2004, according to MORI, the voting intentions of its readership were 40% for the Conservative Party, 29% for the Liberal Democrats, and 26% for Labour.[4] The Times had an average daily circulation of 393,978 in September 2013;[2] in the same period The Sunday Times had an average daily circulation of 823,696.[5] An American edition of The Times has been published since 6 June 2006.[6]


1785 to 1890

The Times was founded by publisher John Walter on the first of January 1785 as The Daily Universal Register, with Walter in the role of editor. Ellias changed the title after 940 editions on 9 October 1788 to The Times.[7] In 1803, Walter handed ownership and editorship to his son of the same name.Walter senior had spent sixteen months in Newgate Prison for libel printed in The Times, but his pioneering efforts to obtain Continental 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, so it could pay far better than its rivals for information or writers.

In 1809, Paul Stoddart was appointed general editor, replaced in 1817 by Thomas Barnes. In the same year, the paper's publisher James Lawson, died and passed the business onto his son John Joseph Farrell (1802-1852). Under the editorship of Barnes and his successor in 1841, John Thadeus Delane, the influence of The Times rose to great heights, especially in politics and amongst the City of London. Peter Fraser and Edward Sterling were two noted journalists, 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."). The increased circulation and influence of the paper was based in part to its early adoption of the steam-driven rotary printing press. Distribution via steam trains to rapidly growing concentrations of urban populations helped ensure the profitability of the paper and its growing influence.[8]

The Times was the first newspaper to send war correspondents to cover particular conflicts. W. H. Russell, the paper's correspondent with the army in the Crimean War, was immensely influential[9] with his dispatches back to England.

In other events of the nineteenth century, The Times opposed the repeal of the Corn Laws until the number of demonstrations convinced the editorial board otherwise, and only reluctantly supported aid to victims of the Irish Potato Famine. It enthusiastically supported the Great Reform Bill of 1832, which reduced corruption and increased the electorate from 400 000 people to 800 000 people (still a small minority of the population). 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.

The third John Walter, the founder's grandson, succeeded his father in 1847. The paper continued as more or less independent, but from the 1850s The Times was beginning to suffer from the rise in competition from the penny press, notably The Daily Telegraph and The Morning Post.

During the 19th century, it was not infrequent for the Foreign Office to approach The Times and ask for continental intelligence, which was often superior to that conveyed by official sources.

1890 to 1981

The Times faced financial extinction in 1890 under Arthur Fraser Walter, but it was rescued by an energetic editor, Charles Frederic Moberly Bell. During his tenure (1890–1911), The Times became associated with selling the Encyclopædia Britannica using aggressive American marketing methods introduced by Horace Everett Hooper and his advertising executive, Henry Haxton. Due to legal fights between the Britannica's two owners, Hooper and Walter Montgomery Jackson, The Times severed its connection in 1908 and was bought by pioneering newspaper magnate, Alfred Harmsworth, later Lord Northcliffe.

In editorials published on 29 and 31 July 1914, Wickham Steed, the Times's Chief Editor, argued that the British Empire should enter World War I.[10] On 8 May 1920, also under the editorship of Steed, The Times in an editorial endorsed the anti-Semitic fabrication The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion as a genuine document, and called Jews the world's greatest danger. In the leader entitled "The Jewish Peril, a Disturbing Pamphlet: Call for Inquiry", Steed wrote about The Protocols of the Elders of Zion:
What are these 'Protocols'? Are they authentic? If so, what malevolent assembly concocted these plans and gloated over their exposition? Are they forgery? If so, whence comes the uncanny note of prophecy, prophecy in part fulfilled, in part so far gone in the way of fulfillment?".[11]
The following year, when Philip Graves, the Constantinople (modern Istanbul) correspondent of The Times, exposed The Protocols as a forgery, 'The Times retracted the editorial of the previous year.

In 1922, John Jacob Astor, son of the 1st Viscount Astor, bought The Times from the Northcliffe estate. The paper gained a measure of notoriety in the 1930s with its advocacy of German appeasement; then-editor Geoffrey Dawson was closely allied with those in the government who practised appeasement, most notably Neville Chamberlain.

Kim Philby, a Soviet double agent, was a correspondent for the newspaper in Spain during the Spanish Civil War of the late 1930s. Philby was admired for his courage in obtaining high-quality reporting from the front lines of the bloody conflict. He later joined MI6 during World War II, was promoted into senior positions after the war ended, then eventually defected to the Soviet Union in 1963.[12]

Between 1941 and 1946, the left-wing British historian E.H. Carr was Assistant Editor. Carr was well known for the strongly pro-Soviet tone of his editorials.[13] In December 1944, when fighting broke out in Athens between the Greek Communist ELAS and the British Army, Carr in a Times editorial sided with the Communists, leading Winston Churchill to condemn him and that leader in a speech to the House of Commons.[14] As a result of Carr's editorial, The Times became popularly known during World War II as the threepenny Daily Worker (the price of the Daily Worker was one penny)[15]

On 3 May 1966 it resumed printing news on the front page - previously the front page featured small advertisements, usually of interest to the moneyed classes in British society. In 1967, members of the Astor family sold the paper to Canadian publishing magnate Roy Thomson, The Thomson Corporation merged it with The Sunday Times to form Times Newspapers Limited.

An industrial dispute prompted the management to shut the paper for nearly a year (1 December 1978 – 12 November 1979).

The Thomson Corporation management were struggling to run the business due to the 1979 Energy Crisis and union demands. Management were left with no choice but to save both titles by finding a buyer who was in a position to guarantee the survival of both titles, and also one who had the resources and was committed to funding the introduction of modern printing methods.

Several suitors appeared, including Robert Maxwell, Tiny Rowland and Lord Rothermere; however, only one buyer was in a position to meet the full Thomson remit, Australian media magnate Rupert Murdoch.

1981 to present

In 1981, The Times and The Sunday Times were bought from Thomson by Rupert Murdoch's News International.[16] The acquisition followed three weeks of intensive bargaining with the unions by company negotiators, John Collier and Bill O'Neill.

After 14 years as editor, William Rees-Mogg resigned the post upon the completion of the change of ownership.[17] Murdoch began to make his mark on the paper by appointing Harold Evans as his replacement.[18] One of his most important changes was the introduction of new technology and efficiency measures. In March–May 1982, following agreement with print unions, the hot-metal Linotype printing process used to print The Times since the 19th century was phased out and replaced by computer input and photo-composition. This allowed print room staff at The Times and The Sunday Times to be reduced by half. However, direct input of text by journalists ("single stroke" input) was still not achieved, and this was to remain an interim measure until the Wapping dispute of 1986, when The Times moved from New Printing House Square in Gray's Inn Road (near Fleet Street) to new offices in Wapping.[19]

Robert Fisk,[20] seven times British International Journalist of the Year,[21] resigned as foreign correspondent in 1988 over what he saw as "political censorship" of his article on the shooting-down of Iran Air Flight 655 in July 1988. He wrote in detail about his reasons for resigning from the paper due to meddling with his stories, and the paper's pro-Israel stance.[22]

In June 1990, The Times ceased its policy of using courtesy titles ("Mr", "Mrs", or "Miss" prefixes) for living persons before full names on first reference, but it continues to use them before surnames on subsequent references. The more formal style is now confined to the "Court and Social" page, though "Ms" is now acceptable in that section, as well as before surnames in news sections.

In November 2003, News International began producing the newspaper in both broadsheet and tabloid sizes. On 13 September 2004, the weekday broadsheet was withdrawn from sale in Northern Ireland. Since 1 November 2004, the paper has been printed solely in tabloid format.

The Conservative Party announced plans to launch litigation against The Times over an incident in which the newspaper claimed that Conservative election strategist Lynton Crosby had admitted that his party would not win the 2005 General Election. The Times later published a clarification, and the litigation was dropped.

On 6 June 2005, The Times redesigned its Letters page, dropping the practice of printing correspondents' full postal addresses. Published letters were long regarded as one of the paper's key constituents. Author/solicitor David Green of Castle Morris Pembrokeshire has had more letters published on the main letters page than any other known contributor – 158 by 31 January 2008. According to its leading article, "From Our Own Correspondents", removal of full postal addresses was in order to fit more letters onto the page.

In a 2007 meeting with the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications, which was investigating media ownership and the news, Murdoch stated that the law and the independent board prevented him from exercising editorial control.[23]

In May 2008 printing of The Times switched from Wapping to new plants at Broxbourne on the outskirts of London, and Merseyside and Glasgow, enabling the paper to be produced with full colour on every page for the first time.

Some allege that The Times' partisan opinion pieces also damage its status as 'paper of record,' particularly when attacking interests that go against those of its parent company – News International. In 2010 it published an opinion piece attacking the BBC for being 'one of a group of' signatories to a letter criticising BSkyB share options in October 2010.[24] The Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre has called The Times "pinkish", and grouped it with The Guardian and The Independent as a "subsidariat" of newspapers that do not make a profit because they are "liberal, metropolitan and politically correct".[25]

In March 2012, it became the first British newspaper to formally endorse same-sex marriage. In the same year, The Times's high-profile campaign "Secrets of the tax avoiders" investigated tax-avoidance by firms such as Amazon.com, Apple Inc., Google and Starbucks, as well as individuals such as Jimmy Carr and Elton John. This led David Cameron to condemn Jimmy Carr's tax arrangements publicly.[26] In August 2012, Elton John announced his intention to sue The Times.[27]

On 26 July 2012, to coincide with the official start of the London 2012 Olympics and the issuing of a series of souvenir front covers, The Times added the suffix "of London" to its masthead.[28] The Times has an ongoing pro-cycling campaign, "Cities fit for cycling".[29]


The Times features news for the first half of the paper with the leading articles on the second page, the Opinion/Comment section begins after the first news section with world news normally following this. The business pages begin on the centre spread, and are followed by The Register, containing obituaries, Court & Social section, and related material. The sport section is at the end of the main paper. The Times current prices are £1 for the daily edition and £1.50 for the Saturday edition.


The Times's main supplement is the times2, featuring various lifestyle columns. It was discontinued on 1 March 2010 but reintroduced on 11 October 2010 after negative feedback. Its regular features include a puzzles section called Mind Games. Its previous incarnation began on 5 September 2005, before which it was called T2 and previously Times 2. Regular features include columns by a different columnist each weekday. There was a column by Marcus du Sautoy each Wednesday, for example. The back pages are devoted to puzzles and contain sudoku, "Killer Sudoku", "KenKen", word polygon puzzles, and a crossword simpler and more concise than the main "Times Crossword".

The supplement contains arts and lifestyle features, TV and radio listings and reviews.

The Game

The Game is included in the newspaper on Mondays, and details all the weekend's football activity (Premier League and Football League Championship, League One and League Two.) The Scottish edition of The Game also includes results and analysis from Scottish Premier League games.

Saturday supplements

The Saturday edition of The Times contains a variety of supplements. These supplements were relaunched in January 2009 as: Sport, Weekend (including travel and lifestyle features), Saturday Review (arts, books, and ideas), The Times Magazine (columns on various topics), and Playlist (an entertainment listings guide).

Saturday Review is the first regular supplement published in broadsheet format since the paper switched to a compact size in 2004.

At the beginning of summer 2011 Saturday Review switched to the tabloid format

The Times Magazine features columns touching on various subjects such as celebrities, fashion and beauty, food and drink, homes and gardens or simply writers' anecdotes. Notable contributors include Giles Coren, Food and Drink Writer of the Year in 2005.

Online presence

The Times and The Sunday Times have had an online presence since March 1999, originally at the-times.co.uk and sunday-times.co.uk, and later at timesonline.co.uk.[30] There are now two websites: thetimes.co.uk is aimed at daily readers, and the thesundaytimes.co.uk site at providing weekly magazine-like content. There are also iPad and Android editions of both newspapers. Since July 2010, News UK has required readers who do not subscribe to the print edition to pay £2 per week to read The Times and The Sunday Times online.[31]

Visits to the websites have decreased by 87% since the paywall was introduced, from 21 million unique users per month to 2.7 million.[32] In April 2009, the timesonline site had a readership of 750,000 readers per day.[33] As of October 2011, there were around 111,000 subscribers to the Times' digital products.[34]


The Times has had the following eight owners since its foundation in 1785:


At the time of Harold Evans' appointment as editor in 1981, The Times had an average daily sale of 282,000 copies in comparison to the 1.4 million daily sales of its traditional rival The Daily Telegraph.[18] By November 2005 The Times sold an average of 691,283 copies per day, the second-highest of any British "quality" newspaper (after The Daily Telegraph, which had a circulation of 903,405 copies in the period), and the highest in terms of full-rate sales.[35] By June 2012, average daily circulation of The Times had fallen to 400,120 copies, compared to The Daily Telegraph's 573,674, with the two retaining respectively the second-highest and highest circulations among British "quality" newspapers.[2] In contrast The Sun, the highest-selling "tabloid" daily newspaper in the United Kingdom, sold an average of 2,583,552 copies in June 2012, and the Daily Mail, the highest-selling "middle market" British daily newspaper, sold an average of 1,939,635 copies in the period.[2]

The Sunday Times has a significantly higher circulation than The Times, and sometimes outsells The Sunday Telegraph. As of January 2013, The Times has a circulation of 399,339[36] and The Sunday Times of 885,612.[37]

In a 2009 national readership survey The Times was found to have the highest number of ABC1 25–44 readers and the largest numbers of readers in London of any of the "quality" papers.[38]


In 1908, The Times started using the Monotype Modern typeface.[39]

The Times commissioned the serif typeface Times New Roman, created by Victor Lardent at the English branch of Monotype, in 1931.[40] It was commissioned after Stanley Morison had written an article criticizing The Times for being badly printed and typographically antiquated.[41] The font was supervised by Morison and drawn by Victor Lardent, an artist from the advertising department of The Times. Morison used an older font named Plantin as the basis for his design, but made revisions for legibility and economy of space. Times New Roman made its debut in the issue of 3 October 1932.[42] After one year, the design was released for commercial sale. The Times stayed with Times New Roman for 40 years, but new production techniques and the format change from broadsheet to tabloid in 2004 have caused the newspaper to switch font five times since 1972. However, all the new fonts have been variants of the original New Roman font:

  • Times Europa was designed by Walter Tracy in 1972 for The Times, as a sturdier alternative to the Times font family, designed for the demands of faster printing presses and cheaper paper. The typeface features more open counter spaces.
  • Times Roman replaced Times Europa on 30 August 1982.[43]
  • Times Millennium was made in 1991,[43] drawn by Gunnlaugur Briem on the instructions of Aurobind Patel, composing manager of News International.
  • Times Classic first appeared in 2001.[44] Designed as an economical face by the British type team of Dave Farey and Richard Dawson, it took advantage of the new PC-based publishing system at the newspaper, while obviating the production shortcomings of its predecessor Times Millennium. The new typeface included 120 letters per font. Initially the family comprised ten fonts, but a condensed version was added in 2004.
  • Times Modern was unveiled on 20 November 2006, as the successor of Times Classic.[43] Designed for improving legibility in smaller font sizes, it uses 45-degree angled bracket serifs. The font was published by Elsner + Flake as EF Times Modern; it was designed by Research Studios, led by Ben Preston (deputy editor of The Times) and designer Neville Brody.[45]

Political allegiance

The Times adopted a stance described as "peculiarly detached" at the 1945 general election; although it was increasingly critical of the Conservative Party's campaign, it did not advocate a vote for any one party.[46] However, the newspaper reverted to the Tories for the next election five years later. It supported the Conservatives for the subsequent three elections, followed by support for both the Conservatives and the Liberal Party for the next five elections, expressly supporting a Con-Lib coalition in 1974. The paper then backed the Conservatives solidly until 1997, when it declined to make any party endorsement but supported individual (primarily Eurosceptic) candidates.[47]

For the 2001 general election The Times declared its support for Tony Blair's Labour government, which was re-elected by a landslide. It supported Labour again in 2005, when Labour achieved a third successive win, though with a reduced majority.[48] For the 2010 general election, however, the newspaper declared its support for the Tories once again; the election ended in the Tories taking the most votes and seats but having to form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats in order to form a government as they had failed to gain an overall majority.[49]

This makes it the most varied newspaper in terms of political support in British history.[50] Some columnists in The Times are connected to the Conservative Party such as Daniel Finkelstein, Tim Montgomerie and Matthew Parris, but there are also columnists connected to the Labour Party such as David Aaronovitch, Phil Collins and Rod Liddle.


The Times, along with the British Film Institute, sponsors the "The Times" bfi London Film Festival.[51] It also sponsors the Cheltenham Literature Festival and the Asia House Festival of Asian Literature at Asia House, London.

Notable people


Name[52] Tenure
John Walter 1785 to 1803
John Walter, 2nd 1803 to 1812
John Stoddart 1812 to 1816
Thomas Barnes 1817 to 1841
John Delane 1841 to 1877
Thomas Chenery 1877 to 1884
George Earle Buckle 1884 to 1912
George Geoffrey Dawson 1912 to 1919
George Sydney Freeman 1919 (two-month 'inter-regnum')[53]
Henry Wickham Steed 1919 to 1922
George Geoffrey Dawson 1923 to 1941
Robert McGowan Barrington-Ward 1941 to 1948
William Francis Casey 1948 to 1952
William Haley 1952 to 1966
William Rees-Mogg 1967 to 1981
Harold Evans 1981 to 1982
Charles Douglas-Home 1982 to 1985
Charles Wilson 1985 to 1990
Simon Jenkins 1990 to 1992
Peter Stothard 1992 to 2002
Robert Thomson 2002 to 2007
James Harding 2007 to 2012
John Witherow

Notable columnists and journalists

Related publications

Times Literary Supplement

The Times Literary Supplement (TLS) first appeared in 1902 as a supplement to The Times, becoming a separately-paid-for weekly literature and society magazine in 1914.[54] The Times and the TLS have continued to be co-owned, and as of 2012 the TLS is also published by News International and cooperates closely with The Times, with its online version hosted on The Times website, and its editorial offices based in Times House, Pennington Street, London.

The Times Science Review

Between 1951 and 1966 The Times published a separately-paid-for quarterly science review, The Times Science Review.[55]

The Times started a new, free, monthly science magazine, Eureka, in October 2009.

Times Atlases

Times Atlases have been produced since 1895. They are currently produced by the Collins Bartholomew imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. The flagship product is The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World.

In fiction

In the dystopian future world of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Times has been transformed into the organ of the totalitarian ruling party, its editorials—of which several are quoted in the book—reflecting Big Brother's pronouncements.

Rex Stout's fictional detective Nero Wolfe is described as fond of solving the London Times' crossword puzzle at his New York home, in preference to those of American papers.

In the James Bond series by Ian Fleming, James Bond, reads The Times. As described by Fleming in From Russia, with Love: "The Times was the only paper that Bond ever read."[56]

See also


Further reading

  • - includes sections of black-and-white photographic plates, plus a few charts and diagrams in text pages.

External links

  • ()
  • The Sunday Times site
  • Newseum website
  • History and Heritage section detailing landmark Times atlases
  • Archive from 1785 to 2006 – full text and original layout, searchable (not free of charge, registration required)
  • , RMIT School of Applied Communication Public Lecture series
  • on the mid-nineteenth century Times
  • Journalism Now: The Times Winchester University Journalism History project on the Times in the nineteenth century

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