The Leeds Intelligencer was founded by Griffith Wright in Leeds in 1754 as a four-page weekly and originally known as Wright’s Leeds Intelligencer. By the 1790’s it was viewed as the leading Tory organ in Yorkshire. Griffith Wright passed on the running of the paper to his son, Griffith Wright junior. The poet Alaric Watts was editor 1822-5 and was a friend of Michael Sadler and Richard Oastler, prominent Tory leaders of the Ten Hours movement for factory reform.
The Intelligencer held its own amongst a plethora of Liberal and radical newspapers, its most vociferous opponent being Edward Baines’s Leeds Mercury, which supported the interests of the manufacturers. With the alliance of the radical and the Tory press over the issue of factory reform, the Intelligencer frequently locked horns with the staunchly Liberal Mercury. It showed its support for Sadler and Oastler’s Ten Hours movement and was sympathetic to the anti-Poor Law movement, printing many of Oastlers letters including one entitled “Slavery in Yorkshire”, which appeared in the Intelligencer on 20th October 1831. In it Oastler castigated conditions in Yorkshire factories and incited voters not to return any MP who would not support a Ten Hours Bill. Feelings ran high. During a public meeting in Leeds in support of factory reform the crowd visited the offices of the Intelligencer, and Foster’s radical Leeds Patriot to show their appreciation, then proceeded to burn an effigy of Edward Baines for his paper’s criticism of the reform movement.
The Intelligencer strongly opposed the Chartist movement and took a protectionist stance in the debate over free trade. It also adopted an anti-slavery position during the American Civil War.
Christopher Kemplay, owner of the Academy for Young Gentlemen in Leeds, was the last sole proprietor and publisher of the Intelligencer. He sold the paper to the newly-formed Yorkshire Conservative Newspaper Company which turned the weekly Leeds Intelligencer into the daily Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, launched on July 2, 1866.
For this newspaper, we have the following titles in, or planned for, our digital archive:
- 1754–1809 The Leeds Intelligencer
- 1809–18 Wright's Leeds Intelligencer
- 1819–66 The Leeds Intelligencer and Yorkshire General Advertiser
This newspaper is published by Johnston Press plc in Leeds, Yorkshire, England. It was digitised and first made available on the British Newspaper Archive in Jan 12, 2013 . The latest issues were added in Jul 3, 2014.