Victorian newspaper proprietor,

publisher and entrepreneur









Early Works

First 25 Years

Romances and Penny Bloods

Plagiarism, copyright

Who wrote Sweeney Todd?


Industrial innovation

Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper

Daily Chronicle


Lloyd the Radical

Lloyd the Liberal: Lloyd's Weekly

Lloyd the Liberal: Daily Chronicle

Radicals and Chartists

Liberal Party

The Rise of Literacy


(with links for Edward's children)

Biography (with some myths)

Lloyd the Man

Edward's Will






Edward Lloyd's politics

Early in his life, Lloyd conceived a good idea – to publish material that the poor could afford and would like to read, so encouraging the habit and enabling them to use literacy as a means of moving out of poverty. It was also a good business plan since there was a huge unmet demand. Lloyd had the skills needed to make it a profitable one.

Too little is known of his personal views to make a definitive statement about his political beliefs. The record suggests that he started life as a radical and ended it as a supporter of the Liberal establishment, but this may be deceptive. Some of the evidence suggests that he remained a radical throughout his life.  Conclusions can only be drawn from the content of his papers. This would call for a major analysis that is beyond this website’s capacity to carry out.

Two periods of his life have been associated with active political involvement: his early years rubbing shoulders with the radicals and his final decades as publisher of two newspapers that broadly supported the Liberal Party. The two have little in common.

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Lloyd the Liberal – Lloyd's Weekly

A national Sunday newspaper in general circulation was a gigantic step for Lloyd to take in terms of his business, reputation and future. He planned and tightly controlled the tenor of all its contents.

At the beginning, Lloyd's Weekly was outspokenly radical. It denounced all political parties and factions with equal force. This suggests a desire to influence government by means of the popular press but, even so, his motives would not have been that simple. The readers were even less likely than him to support Whigs or Tories, so the paper's radicalism may have sprung from shrewd market analysis.

Equally shrewd was Lloyd’s choice of a Sunday paper. Not only was the workload one sixth that of a daily, but it was also the only day of the week when his target readers would have had any time to enjoy it.

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Lloyd the Liberal – Daily Chronicle

The Daily Chronicle does nothing to solve the enigma of Edward Lloyd’s own political beliefs. The editor in his time, Robert Boyle, was not as politically outspoken as those who followed, although it was under his direction that it became the first paper to carry detailed news of industrial disputes. In 1889, its coverage of the London dock strike was extensive and gained new readers.

The value of this as evidence of Lloyd’s political views is equivocal. The freedom to join a union and picket workplaces had only been recognised by law for a few years. It must have been absolutely obvious to Lloyd the newsman that the many people affected by this novelty, or merely curious about it, would want news coverage.

Radicals in the Liberal Party, later led by Lloyd George’s “independent” faction, had yet to embrace social reform fully. Unions and workers had no regular representation until 1900 when the Labour Party was created. The Liberals were therefore the only source of support for the cause of the poor as championed by Lloyd’s Weekly for the previous 35 years. Had it been launched a quarter century later, it is not entirely fanciful to speculate that the Chronicle’s political allegiance might have been to Labour.

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Radicals and Chartists

Formally, Chartism dates from 1838 when the People's Charter was published. Although strictly this referred to those demanding electoral reform, the term is also used loosely to cover the early 19th century radicals from whom the Chartists were drawn.

Conditions in the 1820s generated a great deal of social turbulence: brutal treatment of the working population; hopes raised by the French Revolution then quenched by fear of the Terror; a country impoverished by the Napoleonic Wars; suppression of popular agitation by the military (e.g. Peterloo, 1819); suppression of free speech and protest by the "Six Acts" of 1819, along with raised stamp duty on newspapers.

The plight of the working class began to shape political thinking, although it had no coherent voice until Chartism.

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The Liberal Party

When Lloyd was born, there were two political parties – the Whigs and the Tories, later called Liberals and Conservatives. Right- and left-wing, the 20th century divider, cannot be applied to the 19th. Both would now be called right-wing.

Broadly, the Tories were aligned with hereditary power – the Crown, Church and aristocracy. The Liberals believed that government should be "of the people" as represented in Parliament – the propertied classes, since only they could vote.

For much of the 19th century, neither party could be called democratic in any meaningful sense. By the end of the century, Gladstone’s support for Irish Home Rule had caused a schism. Another strong faction, later associated with David Lloyd George, had embraced social reform. A newspaper that proclaimed itself Liberal therefore had a choice of political viewpoint.

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The rise of literacy

Despite the class system of the early 19th century, literacy was spreading fast. It was just that, however – the ability to read, particularly the Bible. Education in any broader sense, even writing and maths, was still seen by the educated as dangerous because it might undermine the willingness of the poor to labour.

Public provision of education was meagre to non-existent and the rising literacy owed little to government intervention. Meanwhile, new industries were calling for better educated workers, in particular clerks.

Schools organised by employers and religious, industrial and local government bodies developed to meet the need, but their coverage continued to be haphazard until 1870 when an Act on compulsory schooling was passed.

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