January 31, 2021
For educational institutions
⟶ Updated 17 Nov 2019 ⟶
List of edits
4/12/1791: Observer is published or the 1st time
1812- Observer journalist witnesses the assassination of Prime Minister Spencer Perceval but also seizes the assassin
1814- William Innell Clement purchases the Observer
1857- Lewis Doxat, Clement’s editor, retires and is succeeded by Joseph Snowe
1870- Julius Beer, a wealthy businessman, buys the Observer and appoints Edward Dicey as editor. Dicey revives the newspaper, especially its coverage of foreign news and arts
1880- Frederick Beer inherits the Observer on the death of his father and in 1891 installs his wife Rachel as editor. She buys the Sunday Times in 1893 and is editor of both newspapers until 1904
1905- The executors of Frederick Beer’s will sell the Observer to Alfred Harmsworth and Circulation is low, just 5,000 copies
1908- James Louis Garvin becomes editor and in 1909 circulation has increased to 40,000
1911 William Waldorf Astor buys the Observer, subsequently giving it to his son, Waldorf
1942- David Astor, son of Waldorf Astor, immediately begins to modernise the Observer. Advertisements are removed from the front page in favour of news and photographs and the Profile, a collective opinion of an individual in the news, is introduced to British journalism.
1945- The Astor family transfer the ownership of the newspaper to a Trust which states that any profit must be used to improve the newspaper, promote good journalism or for charitable purposes
1964- The Observer Colour Magazine is launched. The front cover of the first issue of the magazine features The Observer’s first colour photograph
1993- Guardian Media Group buy the Observer, effectively saving it from closure and Jonathan Fenby is appointed editor
2003- Observer Music Monthly is launched to sit along side the paper’s other popular and innovative monthly magazines - Observer Sport and Observer Food.
2006- Another magazine, Observer Woman, is introduced
2005- The Observer launches the first Sunday newspaper weblog
2007- The Guardian and Observer digital archive is launched, the first example of a national UK newspaper making its paper archive available online via its website.
1861-1865 The Observer sides with the North during the American Civil War, which costs the newspaper hugely as the readership rapidly declines
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