The Southampton County Chronicle and Isle of Wight Journal - sometimes abbreviated to Southampton Chronicle - was published between 4 April 1822 and 4 September 1824. It circulated in Hampshire, including the Isle of Wight, Wiltshire, Dorset, Sussex and the Islands of Guernsey and Jersey. The proprietor, although conventionally not named in the paper itself, is revealed in Pigot's Directory 1823/4 to be Isaac Fletcher. The paper was published and printed by Thomas Baker from the Chronicle officers near the Post Office in Butcher Row.

Isaac Fletcher had married a daughter of [[[Thomas Baker in 1802. The co-partnership between the two families was strengthened by religious, political and trading ties: members of the Above Bar Independent Chapel, liberal in politics (Thomas and Isaac voted identically in a run of parliamentary elections from 1806), and partners both as wine and coal merchants (up to 1811 at least) and, more particularly, as printers and booksellers. The first issue of the Chronicle stated the aims of the proprietor: "We will be loyal, yet not slavish; independent, yet not insolent; jealous of the public rights, yet not inflammatory in the maintenance of them; candid to all parties, without being the tools of any". A battle for sponsorship was immediately joined with the Southampton Luminary, started almost simultaneously by William Lomer junior, a rival printer. This may account for publication of the Chronicle on a Wednesday evening instead of at the weekend, which was normal practice.

The Chronicle was enlarged from five to six columns per page in June 1822: "Our sale has increased weekly, in spite of the unfounded reports which have been circulating respecting us, and the prejudices which some have endeavoured to excite". Fletcher's paper outlived the Luminary, which ceased publication in July 1823. In an attempt to fill the potential void, Fletcher changed the time of publication to Friday evening and his London agents posted adverts in the metropolitan press claiming that "the Southampton Luminary, being discontinued in favour of the Chronicle, the circulation of the latter is grossly increased, and the proprietors can with confidence recommend it to the attention of professional and other gentlemen of similar engagements".

This was untrue, as contemporaries in Southampton would probably have known, as the Luminary passed seamlessly into the Southampton Herald. The Chronicle succumbed to the new title fourteen months later. To quote from Fletcher's valediction in the last issue in September 1824: the proprietor "having ascertained, after an experiment of more than two years, that more than one newspaper cannot be profitably maintained in the town, has determined on relinquishing his own".

There was no direct successor, although Thomas Baker and his son ran the Southampton Mercury for 36 issues in 1830. It was Isaac Fletcher who picked up the pieces of the Bakers' printing empire after the Mercury's catastrophic failure.

The Southampton Chronicle was not allied to any political party, although its tone was decidedly liberal. Greek independence was a favoured cause, with space allocated to letters from Edward Blaquiere (then living in Southampton), a founding member of the London Greek Committee. The most intense spats with its rival the Southampton Luminary came over theatrical criticism. One such controversy, in October 1822, revolved around the competence of Mr Maxfield, actor manager of the Southampton Theatre. It seems that Thomas Baker himself acted as theatrical critic. Following one particularly vitriolic review, The Drama, or Theatrical Pocket Magazine (no.3, June-December 1822) advised "Mr B. not to use his pen too freely".


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