With a daily circulation of 141,160 as of 2019, The Guardian is printed Monday through Saturday in a mid-size format. In particular, the newspaper has been credited for its investigative journalism and its foreign correspondence. You can browse our Guardian back issues to read a copy of the newspaper from the date of your choice!

Early History as Manchester Guardian

After the events of the Peterloo Massacre, John Edward Taylor, a local cotton merchant, was determined to create a publication that gave liberal reformists a better platform to use their voices. The first publication of the paper dates back to May 5th 1821 when the first edition of the Manchester Guardian was printed in Manchester. To begin, the publication was only a weekly supplement that was published every Saturday headed by John Edward Taylor. The first edition of the newspaper claimed that it would advocate civil and religious liberty.

In 1836, a Wednesday edition was added, so the paper began printing twice a week. The Stamp Duty in the UK was a newspaper tax that forced newspapers to increase their prices, which made it expensive to publish newspapers frequently. When this tax was abolished in 1855, The Manchester Guardian became a daily publication.

 

the manchester guardian original newspaper archive

The Manchester Guardian

C P Scott

The most famous editor of the Manchester Guardian was C P Scott who undertook the role for 57 years from 1872. He held strong principles and was a liberal thinker, maintaining the original outlook of the publication. When John Edward Taylor’s son died, he purchased the paper in 1907 and promised that the principles in Taylor’s will to keep the independence of the newspaper would be upheld. C P Scott himself claimed that “Comment is free, but facts are sacred… The voice of opponents no less than that of friends has a right to be heard,” when the newspaper was celebrating its centennial in 1921.

The Guardian Weekly

The Guardian Weekly was created in 1919, aimed at an international readership, and was printed as a compact weekly edition. When C P Scott retired, he gave control of the newspaper to his sons, John Russell Scott and Edward Taylor Scott, keeping the newspaper in their family. The sons agreed that the others’ share would be bought if one passed away, to ensure the newspaper would be kept independent in the future. John bought the Manchester Evening News and brought the two publications under the same ownership. When Edward passed away, John formally gave control of the paper to the Scott Trust trustees in 1936. 29th September 1952 marks the first time the newspaper printed news stories on the front page.

 

The Guardian Original Newspapers

The Guardian, May 20, 1969

Current Ownership

Today, The Guardian is owned by Scott Trust and is part of the Guardian Media Group along with the Manchester Evening News and the Observer. At the moment, The Guardian is released each day with an accompanying ‘G2’ supplement containing features on TV, radio, sports, music, society and technology to name a few. The topic of the supplement varies every day of the week.

Where is The Guardian Published?

The publication became “The Guardian” when “Manchester” was dropped from the name back in 1959, as influence of the newspaper began to expand beyond the North. The first-ever London edition was printed alongside the Manchester edition in 1960, and the newspaper changed its format from broadsheet to mid-sized in 2005. Following the publication of the London edition, the newspaper’s editor and editorial staff moved to London in 1964 to publish The Guardian newspaper we are familiar with today.

 

the guardian building

The window of The Guardian building in London
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Political Stance 

On the political spectrum, the publication generally supports the mid liberal to left wing side of British political opinion, officially supporting the Liberal Democrats in 2010 for the first time. In 2005 and 2015, The Guardian backed the Labour Party. As of 2017, The Guardian was considered Britain’s most left-wing newspaper by a YouGov poll, with the Mirror not far behind. The poll revealed that 16% of Britons saw The Guardian as “very left-wing,” placing it ahead of other newspapers.

 

Guardian Newspaper Archive

The Guardian, July 4, 1960

The Guardian Circulation Figures

DateCirculation
18523,173
191040,000
193047,000
193951,000
1956163,585
1961245,000
1966281,000
1976306,000
1980377,000
1987494,000
1992492,062
1997428,010
2005376,816
2010302,285
2015184,429
2019141,160

These figures are the average circulation figures for each year for The Guardian. The figures show that circulation increased between 1980 and 1987, hitting a peak in 1987. 

However, after 1987, the print figures have steadily been in decline. When the Manchester Guardian became The Guardian in 1959 and printed the first London edition in 1960, the newspaper was then reaching more of the public. Between 1956 and 1961, the circulation figures rose by 81,415.