The Daily Mail is part of Associated Newspapers, which is a subsidiary of the Daily Mail and General Trust, owned by Jonathan Harmsworth (4th Viscount Rothermere). It is printed from Monday to Saturday and has an average daily circulation of 2,139,178 copies; making it the second biggest selling newspaper in the UK. Many of the titles are housed in our Daily Mail archive.
The paper takes a centre-right political stance and is considered to be the voice of ‘Middle-England‘. It strongly defends conservative or traditional values and regularly speaks-out against liberal views. Although now printed in tabloid format, the Daily Mail continues to position itself in the middle market between the tabloid and broadsheet newspapers. The Daily Mail has always been associated with politics and dominates coverage on political life. It has also been known for its coverage of foreign news affairs, expanding on simply national news stories. You can search our Daily Mail front page archives for more in-depth features on the paper’s political landscape.
History of the Daily Mail
The Daily Mail was founded by Alfred Harmsworth and his brother Harold Harmsworth, who would later become Lord Northcliffe and Lord Rothermere, respectively. The first edition of the newspaper was printed in broadsheet format on 4th May 1896. The paper had enormous success in its early years, particularly since it embraced Britain’s entry into a new technological era. It also emphasised fast delivery of news, using new technology to deliver news stories quicker than other newspapers of the time.
When Lord Northcliffe died in 1922, Lord Rothermere took full control of the paper and it would subsequently pass down through the generations of his family. His son Esmond Harmsworth (2nd Viscount Rothermere) was appointed Chairman of Associated Newspapers in 1932. During the 1930s, Esmond Harmsworth had depicted the regimes of Hitler and Mussolini in a positive light due to his admiration of the two men. In turn, the paper encouraged the expansion of the fascist movement. This makes reading back issues of the newspaper from the 1930s particularly interesting.
Esmond was then succeeded by his son Vere Harmsworth (3rd Viscount Rothermere) in 1971. Key features on these dates can be found in our Daily Mail back issues. Following the death of Vere Harmsworth in 1998, his son Jonathan Harmsworth (4th Viscount Rothermere) became Chairman of both Associated Newspapers and its parent company, The Daily Mail and General Trust. The Daily Mail has therefore remained within the Harmsworth family. Since, the newspaper has benefitted since its very first edition and has risen in popularity. The paper has been cleverly captioned ‘A Penny Newspaper for One Halfpenny,‘ at a time when all other London daily newspapers were priced at one penny. The Daily Mail adopted an imperialist-patriotic stance during the Boer War and became the first UK newspaper to achieve sales of over one million, marking an important milestone in Daily Mail history. After this, the newspaper became the largest in the world.
The Daily Mail began to print headlines and news stories on the front page from 4th September 1939, which coincided with the outbreak of the Second World War. The front cover had previously been dedicated to advertisements, as advertising revenue helped towards the cost of producing the paper. In 1960, Associated Newspapers purchased Daily News Limited, publishers of the News Chronicle, from the Cadbury family. During the war, newsprint rationing meant the Daily Mail had to reduce its size to just four pages, but it gradually increased again when the 1950s began.
The Scottish edition of the paper has been circulating since 1946. The Irish edition of the paper emerged much later in 2006. Currently, the newspaper is one of the top three biggest selling newspapers in the UK, following The Sun and Metro, and its website has more than 100 million visits per month.
The newspaper also changed the nature of by introducing a ‘Femail’ section that appealed directly to female readers, and even today, women make up the majority of the readership. The News Chronicle was subsequently merged with the Daily Mail on 18th October 1960 and re-launched in tabloid format on 3rd May 1971, to mark the 75th anniversary of the newspaper. Finally, the paper subsequently merged with its sister-tabloid, the Daily Sketch, on 11th May 1971.The newspaper experienced journalistic success throughout the 1980s, incorporating many great writers.
The Mail on Sunday
The Mail on Sunday was launched in 1982 as its sister paper. It was the UK’s first new national Sunday newspaper in over 21 years and it’s the second highest selling Sunday newspaper in the UK. The Mail on Sunday takes a centre-right political stance, but offers a more limited endorsement of the Conservative Party than the Daily Mail. It supported the Social Democratic Party in 1983 and moved to full colour production in 2008 when the newspaper was redesigned. Although printed in tabloid format, the newspaper positions itself in the middle-market, between the tabloid and broadsheet papers. To read a copy of the Daily Mail’s sister paper for yourself, explore our Sunday mail archives!