Henry Yates Thompson to W.T. Stead (September 28, 1888)

Quoted in J. W. Robertson Scott, The Life and Death of a Newspaper (1952) p. 150

To my eye the vital point now is to revert to the way of conducting the paper which succeeded so well in 1883-4-5. When you began with it in 1883 the average daily circulation was 8,360. In two years that rose to 12,250 for 1885 and it was still better in the first half of 1886. The means of distribution were no better then than now. My belief is that with similar conduct of the paper there would be similar results. By all means let us try and improve distribution but don't let us expect much money return from that. Our plain interest lies in the vigorous but steady conduct of the paper. From that we may expect and shall get a regular if gradual increase of circulation. The vital point now is, can we regain the confidence of our public—the penny as compared with the halfpenny public—which we have to a great extent lost? I speak both of readers and advertisers. My belief is that people's memories are very short, even advertisers', and that the position is recoverable with care, but only with care.

I don't take to the idea of your working the syndicate business on your own account as a quid pro quo.

But I will do this: To show that my move is the result of bona fide distress and alarm at risks already run and losses realised, and more as an insurance against such risks in future than anything else, I will undertake at the end of 1889, if during that year the conditions of caution now agreed to you have been consistently carried out (of which of course I must be judge) to make up to you in one sum the amount (£200) by which your salary will have been reduced for that year. And similarly at the end subsequent years.


About this website

I founded this website in 2001 to assist me in my own research on W.T. Stead, little knowing then that it would become the largest online resource on Stead's life and career. Today this site is used by students, scholars and institutions around the world and has significantly contributed to the Study of W.T. Stead and the evils which he campaigned against. I hope you find it useful.

If you have a question that explicitly concerns any of the content on this website, feel free to Contact me and I will get back to you at my earliest convenience. However, please note that I no longer work in academia. With a very "busy" business to run, the time I can spare responding to enquiries through this website is finite, to say the least. So, please do not ask me to do research for you or assist in matters of family history.

Finally, though this website includes a section on Stead's obsession with spiritualism, I myself am not remotely interested in the subject. So, if you think you have seen Stead's ghost in your kitchen or believe you are the reincarnation of the great editor himself (or anyone else who died on the Titanic), I beg you not to tell me about it..

Owen Mulpetre, BA (Hons) MPhil