Victorian newspaper proprietor,
publisher and entrepreneur
This website has been set up by a group of Edward Lloyd's family who believe that his life's work has been overlooked and belittled by the historical record.
Our researches are at an early stage. If you know something about Lloyd or have any leads on where we can improve our information, please contact Joy Vick who manages this website.
The page on Industrial Innovation is now live. It is supplemented by pages on The Rotary Press and Paper-Making. We are grateful for the help given by Matt McKenzie of the Paekakariki Press on printing.
Photograph albums: The best of the pictures we have found of Salisbury Square now have a page of their own, and a few have been added to Houses. In addition, there are photo pages on printing and paper-making.
Monday, 16 February 2015, was the 200th anniversary of Edward Lloyd's birth. Commemorative blogs were written:
British Library’s “Untold Lives” (Margaret Makepeace)
St Bride's Foundation (Joy Vick)
Friends of Lloyd Park (Joy Vick)
‘s PhD thesis, The Spectacle of Crime: Edward Lloyd and the Mass-Market Periodical, 1830-1855, sheds new light on Lloyd's early works.
Edward Lloyd, 1815-1890
Edward Lloyd was one of the 19th century’s leading newspaper proprietors. His two titles – The Daily Chronicle and Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper – were among the century's best sellers, yet he and all his achievements fell into oblivion in the 20th century.
He is now being reinstated to an extent, less as a newspaper magnate than as a publisher of popular fiction. With the advent of internet, his "penny bloods" have gained new fans. He was responsible for one character whose popularity endures to this day – Sweeney Todd.
By understanding what people would enjoy reading, he brought material that was attractive, decent and affordable to poor people. Even his detractors concede that he contributed to literacy. This led to commercial success, driven by his enthusiasm for popular publishing and industrial innovation. He never gave up on his life's work until illness finally overtook him.
Edward Lloyd's chutzpah
This is a George III halfpenny stamped with the words "Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper 3d Post Free". The scale on which Lloyd did this led to his being denounced in The Times. This created quite a stir, and gave Lloyd's Weekly welcome publicity. As a result, the defacement of coins was made a crime and stamped coins ceased to be legal tender under an Act of Parliament passed in 1853.
Edward Besly, a numismatist and great great grandson of Edward Lloyd, wrote an article about this episode. We reproduce it here by courtesy of the National Museum of Wales.
In another publicity drive, Lloyd sent men out overnight to paint advertisements for Lloyd's Weekly on London's pavements.
A factor in the launch of Lloyd's Weekly was inclusion of the penny post to distribute newspapers in the 1d stamp duty under the 1836 Act. This enabled Lloyd to ignore the newsagents who boycotted the paper because the low price prevented them earning a large enough margin.
Lloyd’s second passion – innovation and industry in the cause of making his newspapers more efficient.
This poster illustrates the paper mills at Sittingbourne
Obituary of Edward Lloyd (Lloyd's Weekly, 13 April 1890)
The Family of Edward Lloyd, by Nigel Lloyd, great great grandson
My Life's Pilgrimage, by Thomas Catling (1911)
New Light on Sweeney Todd, by Helen R Smith (2002)
Edward Lloyd's private life did not conform to the high-minded principles that developed during his lifetime. When he was young, attitudes to marriage were still relatively fluid for those without property.
He had 18 children who survived into adulthood, two sons with his wife Isabella, one son from a short-lived liaison with Mary, and eight sons and seven daughters with Maria. When Isabella died in 1867, Edward and Maria married within three weeks, but 11 of their children remained illegitimate. It is believed that this impropriety was the reason why he was not given the official honours traditional for leading newspaper proprietors.
More mysterious is why the benign view of those who met him (see Lloyd the man) was replaced by scorn and sarcasm long after his death. The high prudery of the Victorians waned from the First World War onwards, yet these more liberal-minded times have elicited disparagement. One can only imagine that it has something to do with his wealth.
A few facts
• Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper was the only UK newspaper to sell a million copies in the 19th century
• That landmark was achieved on the 81st anniversary of Lloyd's birth – 16 February 1896
• Lloyd introduced the rotary press to English newspaper publishing
• He was the only newspaper publisher to make all his own newsprint
• He revolutionised paper-making by growing a vast crop of esparto grass in Algeria
• Sweeney Todd was published in serial form by Lloyd in 1846-47
• He popularised vampire fiction 52 years before Bram Stoker's Dracula
• Marie Lloyd (Matilda Alice Victoria Wood) took her stage name from the popular Sunday paper (a cartoon in 1893)
• Percy Lloyd, Edward's youngest son, built Voewood House in Norfolk
• Deflation prevailed over Lloyd's lifetime – £144 at his birth was equal in buying power to £100 at his death
• By contrast, £100 at his death was equal to £287 in 1920, £558 in 1960 and £11,477 in 2014
• Money was particularly volatile while Lloyd was developing his businesses – in the late 1840s, sterling's purchasing power fluctuated by more than a fifth