July 2nd Cornwall's Oldest Newspaper

The year 1801, saw the first publication of  ‘The Cornwall Gazette and Falmouth Packet’  founded by, Helford – born, Thomas Flindell (1767 – 1824) (July 11th). 

It got off to a bad start with his fellow founders becoming bankrupt and with Flindell consigned to the Bodmin debtors’ gaol. The final edition appeared on October 16th, 1802 but a group of subscribers funded its re-establishment again with Flindell as publisher and printer with ‘The Royal Cornwall Gazette’ first appearing on this day in 1803.

Over time, it emphasised its claim to have been established in 1801. The paper was distributed to private subscribers such as landowners, bankers, doctors and lawyers and was also, in order to increase advertising,  distributed to public houses and inns and guesthouses.

‘The Royal Cornwall Gazette’ posed immediate competition to the Dorset – based ‘Sherborne Mercury’ which was distributed to private subscribers across the south west and Flindell also sold the newspaper at markets.  Due to its anti-Tory stance, it was eventually bought by Tory-leaning merchants and landowners in order to neutralise its political stance. This action was the inspiration for the Whig-supporting ‘West Briton’ which has been published since 1810.

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