The Manchester Guardian was founded by John Edward Taylor in 1821, and was first published on May 5 of that year. It was published weekly until 1836 when it was published on Wednesday and Saturday. In 1855, when the abolition of Stamp Duty on newspapers permitted a subsequent reduction in cover price, the paper started being published daily.
As the influence of the Manchester Guardian grew beyond its Northern hinterland, a new challenge faced the paper in 1944. The limited number of pages in the paper, poor quality of the printing and sometimes peculiar news agenda were once perceived as part of the regional charm of the paper. When compared to national newspapers The Manchester Guardian lacked the resources (despite costing slightly more expensive than the others) and the commercial instincts to make it really successful.
When the editor of the paper moved to London in 1964 the Guardian was facing an uncertain future. They were made worse by financial problems. There were even talks of a merger with The Times, but they came to nothing. Investments in printing were made, plus an expansion programme that included the revamping of the paper. In the political climate of the late 1970’s and 1980’s The Guardian was able to position itself as a strong voice of opinion of the left during the right-wing Thatcher years. The opinion pages were the birthplace of the SDP, and the letters page was where the battle for the future direction of the Labour Party was played out, while the coverage of industrial disputes including the 1984-1985 Miners’ Strike defined the paper’s position.
In 1993 the intensely competitive market was again thrown into confusion by the reduction of the cover price of many newspapers, started by The Times. The Guardian didn’t participate in this price war but instead invested resources in journalism and distancing itself from the price war through marketing, product development and consistently breaking big stories.
Investigations by the Guardian in the late 1990’s on important news stories caused critical acclaim from all sides – including the prestigious Newspaper of the Year Award in both 1997 and 1998.
In 2002, Kim Wilde started writing a gardening column for The Guardian’s weekend magazine. Entitled ‘Wilde side’, she answered horticultural questions from readers from June 2002 until March 2004.