The Times Office, London – 1853


Times Office London

THE above is a view of the Times Office, taken in October, [1853].  It is situated at the end of rather an obscure court or lane, in the heart of London, in the vicinity of St. Paul’s Church; a small portion of the dome or spire appears above the roof of the building.  Viewed in its several aspects, this unpretending structure may be considered as the most important place in the world.  The power which emanates from this spot is “greater than the throne,” and controls, in a great degree, the destinies of a mighty empire, and even, to some extent, the world itself.  The principal entrance is at the door over which is a Tablet, on which is inscribed the following:-

“This Tablet was erected to commemorate the extraordinary exertions of the Times Newspaper, in the exposure of a remarkable fraud upon the mercantile public, which exposure subjected the proprietors to a most expensive lawsuit.  At a meeting of Merchants, Bankers, &c, at the Mansion House, on the 1st day of October, A.D. [1841], the most Honorable Lord Mayor in the chair, the following resolutions were agreed to.  Here follows the Resolves, &c

At the close of the meeting above mentioned, 2,700 pounds were subscribed.  The proprietors of the Times, refusing to be reimbursed their heavy costs incurred by them in the above-mentioned suit.  It was resolved, that 150 guineas be applied to the erection of this Tablet, and a similar one in the Royal Exchange, and that the surplus of the fund raised should be invested in the purchase of three per cent, consols, the dividends to be applied to the support of two scholarships, to be called the “Times Scholarships.”

The door over which “The Times Office” sign appears, is the advertising office.  The door at which the papers are delivered is on the other side of the building.  The Times was the first newspaper ever printed by steam.  This was in 1814.  The general speed at which the paper is now printed is ten thousand copies an hour. The daily circulation is about fifty-two thousand, and from eight to nine tons of paper are daily used.  Each sheet costs the publisher a penny and a-half, or three cents, before it is printed; upwards of three hundred thousand dollars are paid to the government for stamps, a penny, or two cents, being paid on each number issued.  Its advertising business is very great, all quack notices are excluded, and it is said, that the most extravagant sum would not procure the insertion of a line of an immoral tendency.  It has correspondents all over the civilized world, and during the sessions of Parliament, a large number of skillful reporters are employed who are relieved every half hour.

Excerpt from European Historical Collections by John Warner Barber 1855