The Pall Mall Gazette was founded in London in 1865 by George Murray Smith. The brainchild of Frederick Greenwood, who became its first editor, the Pall Mall took its name from the fictional newspaper in William Thackeray's novel, The History of Pendennis. In 1880, the newspaper came under the control of Smith's son-in-law, Henry Yates Thompson, whose Liberal stance made Greenwood's position as editor untenable and the latter resigned, with some bitterness, and was replaced by John Morley. Under Morley, the Pall Mall quickly became a dull and ponderous organ that soon began losing money; and within months of Morley taking up the reins, Thompson took the decision to bring in radical Northern Echo editor, W. T. Stead to assist him in his struggling editorship. When Morley resigned in 1883 to enter parliament, Stead took over and immediately set about involving the Pall Mall in numerous sensational political crusades, most notably, "The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon" (1885). Such crusades consolidated Stead's journalistic power and, for a time, made the Pall Mall one of the most influential newspapers in London, with literary contributors that included George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde. But Stead's methods often put him at odds with Thompson and, in 1889, he resigned his editorship to found the Review of Reviews. Stead's departure took some of the life out of the Pall Mall, and despite returning to its Conservative roots in the 1890s, it never again reached the heights of Stead's editorship. In 1921 it was merged with The Globe, and two years later, the fifty-eight-year history of the Pall Mall Gazette came to a close when it was absorbed into the Evening Standard.
© Owen Mulpetre 2012