The Southampton Times, and Winchester, Portsmouth, Isle of Wight and Hampshire Express was first published on Saturday 28 January 1860 from premises at 11 Above Bar. It was published by ‘The Southampton Telegraph and Isle of Wight Express Newspaper Company (Limited)’. The final issue was on Saturday 24 October 1925, following the newspaper’s sale by its then owners, The Camelot Press Ltd of Shirley Road, to the Hampshire Advertiser and Echos Ltd. It was subsequently incorporated in The Hampshire Advertiser & Independent. The Southampton Times was, at its inception, an intensely political paper, advocating advanced Liberal policies and established specifically to support the borough’s radical MP William Digby Seymour (see A Temple Patterson, A history of Southampton 1700-1914, volume 2, pp 158-164). Seymour was the political heir to Richard Andrews, who died in 1859: his son, Arthur Andrews, was one of the paper’s chief proprietors. The principal target of the Southampton Times was initially the Hampshire Independent, a newspaper hitherto synonymous with Southampton Liberalism but now deserted by the more radical and forward-thinking Liberals.
The Southampton Times owed much to external influences in its first few issues. The editor, Patrick Barry, had spent many years in the United States of America and had been connected with the New York and Chicago press. He had written authoritatively on the benefits of free trade in shipping, a theme congenial to his new employers. In 1859 his pamphlet American and Indian transit – arguing for investment in canal traffic rather than in railroads – was published by Trubner and Co of Paternoster Row, London. The printer, Edward Allen, had for many years followed his trade in London, at 184 Fleet Street, Bell Yard in the Strand – here under the name Gilbert and Allen - , 16 Searle’s Place and 28 Denton Street (London Gazette, 19 October 1860 and 11 January 1861). We know the name of the assistant reporter – Archibald H Hamilton – as his death a few weeks after his appointment was recorded in the Southampton Times, 14 April 1860. He had a long connection with ‘the fourth estate’ as sub-editor of the Cheltenham Times, editor/proprietor (?) of The World, a short-lived London weekly, and most recently editor of the London Daily Guide. He died, advanced in years and alone, on 10 April 1860. The name of the paper’s Winchester correspondent – the ubiquitous Henry Moody – was also in the public domain. His son, Walter Moody, was a local reporter of the Southampton Times for almost forty years before his death in 1900.
By the time of the fourteenth issue of the Southampton Times (28 April 1860), Barry had lost editorial control of the paper and, together with Edward Allen and G K Lucas (a reporter), had set up a rival newspaper, the Southampton Examiner (qv). With a background in the tough school of American journalism, Barry was not the man to carry out the proprietors’ wish to “obtain respect by dealing out justice and impartiality to all, without indulging in rude personalities” (editorial, 4 February 1860). There had for some years been unease at the way in which the Fire Fund, set up in the aftermath of the great fire at the premises of Messrs King, Witt and Co in November 1837 to aid survivors of the fire and the relatives of those who had lost their lives, was administered. Barry weighed into the argument with all the tact of a prize fighter and came close to alleging that some of the most influential men in the town had been guilty of gross misappropriation of funds. Fearing a deluge of actions for libel, four of the newspaper’s proprietors – Arthur Andrews, George Napoleon Cooksey, Henry Payne and Henry Clarke – confronted Barry in his editorial room on the morning of Friday 20 April and demanded to see the revises before they went to press. In the furore that followed Barry, aided by a majority of the newspaper’s staff, placed the offices of the paper in lockdown, a notice on the front door declaring “Protect us, we are besieged. Papers to be had at the back”. The directors replied by peremptorily sacking Barry, Allen and Lucas. ‘Freedom of the press’ became for a few weeks a hot political issue in the town.
An allegation was made by Edward Allen that three editors had been dismissed before three months’ papers had been issued: the first a Mr Carpenter, previously editor of a London journal and well known in the Metropolitan press for his great and well-tried abilities; the second a Mr Geary, for years the proprietor and editor of a journal in Ireland who suffered much persecution for his fearless writings in defence of the Liberty of the Press; and third Mr Barry, long connected with the press in England and America (The liberty of the press assailed!!!: a narrative of the extraordinary proceedings in connection with the “Southampton Times”, by one who knows all about it, Southampton, E Allen, p 4). There seems to be no surviving corroborative evidence in support of the claim.
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