Before Wapping

Asa Briggs

  • Victorian News and Newspapers by Lucy Brown
    Oxford, 305 pp, £32.50, November 1985, ISBN 0 19 822624 1

‘Alas! We are a Press-ridden people,’ one of the Commissioners for the Great Exhibition exclaimed in 1851. He wished to exclude members of the press from the Crystal Palace or at least to make them buy their entrance tickets. Henry Cole, who was prepared to consider all ‘novelties’, was appalled at this reaction, and eventually it was he who won the day. The Exhibition, he felt, above all else needed publicity, and he was relieved not only when the reporters came in dozens but when the artist of the Illustrated London News was allowed to make drawings of the buildings, the objects inside them, and the crowds.

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[*] Cape, 510 pp., £16, 21 November 1985, 0 224 02156 7.