The Ipswich Journal

Ipswich gained its local newspaper, The Ipswich Journal, in 1720, founded by John Bagnall who had recently moved from London to Ipswich. In common with most other provincial newspapers, the news was mostly digested from London sources, with very little local information. Gradually, notices of local events appeared, and then the crucial ingredient for a successful newspaper, and the source that makes old papers interesting to a modern audience, advertising. In the first few issues, the only advertisement was for Bagnall himself and his printing office.

By 1721, Bagnall was including ads from other, paying, customers, such as this one from March 1721 for William Craighton.

Along with the newspaper, Bagnall printed and published a few local books, including John Kirby’s Suffolk Traveller in 1735. Bagnall continued publishing the paper for almost twenty years, until his business was taken over by William Craighton in 1739. Craighton restored the original title of the newspaper (Bagnall had re-titled it the Ipswich Gazette) and got a new type-face for it. The format and content remained much the same. Craighton published several books, the industry having picked up pace since the 1720s and 1730s. Among his publications were Kirby’s Historical Account, and the first edition of the Method of Perspective. Craighton died in 1761, and the newspaper and printing business continued under his sister, Elizabeth Craighton, and nephew, William Jackson. Jackson bought out Elizabeth Craighton’s interest in 1769, but in the 1770s he ran into financial difficulties, joined the East India Company, enlisted with Clive in India and was never heard of again.

Meanwhile Elizabeth Craighton had restarted the newspaper with the help of another nephew, Stephen Jackson, and a different printer. Under various proprietors the Ipswich Journal continued until 1902, when it closed citing lack of advertisers and competition from more recent daily newspapers and monthly magazines.

The local newspaper may not have been used much for local news, but it was seen as a valuable medium for advertising, especially for books. Kirby had numerous advertisements in the paper, and we shall meet some of them. To whet your appetite, here is a rather charming ad from 1740 for Kirby’s Scole prints.

Watson, S.F. Some materials for a history of printing and publishing in Ipswich, Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and Natural History, 24, 3 (1946/1948), 182-227.

Wiles, R.M. Freshest Advices. Early Provincial Newspapers in England, Ohio State University Press, 1965.

3 thoughts on “The Ipswich Journal

  1. Elizabeth politics

    keep up good work….. thanks for sharing your experience with us. In this article your work and material is appreciable. Please share more images that make your article so attractive.

  2. Pingback: Criminals: Felons, incendiaries, horse-stealers – Trimley St Martin Recorder's Blog

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