The Daily News was a national daily newspaper in the United Kingdom launched on Wednesday, 21 January, 1846 by Charles Dickens, who also served, briefly, as the first Editor. It was conceived as a liberal rival to the Whig party supporting The Morning Chronicle.
On Wednesday, 4 February 1846, Dickens published a letter he had written reflecting on a recent visit to the Field Lane Ragged School in the Saffron Hill slum area near Holborn. Charles Dickens began an association with the school in 1843 when he visited at the request of philanthropist Angela Burdett-Coutts, which included campaigning through letters.
Just nine days after the launch date he had written to his best friend John Forster expressing his desire:
I have been revolving plans in my mind this morning for quitting the paper and going abroad again to write a new book in shilling numbers.Letter to John Forster, 30 January 1846.
Dickens handed over editorship of the paper to Forster, who had more experience in journalism. Forster became Editor for a year, although continued behind the scenes to run the paper until 1870.
In 1901, the chocolate manufacturer George Cadbury took over The Daily News. A Quaker, Cadbury used the paper to campaign for issues he was concerned for, including old age pensions, sweatshop labour and opposition to the Boer War.
The Daily News continued as a daily newspaper until it was amalgamated with the The Morning Leader in 1912. The last edition of The Daily News appeared on Saturday, 11 May 1912, although it continued in a merged form two days later, as the Daily News and Leader before this title disappeared too in 1928 under further consolidation in the newspaper industry.
In its final edition, The Daily News acknowledged its liberal roots under Charles Dickens:
The history of “The Daily News” is the history of the modern political movement. The social ideals to which Charles Dickens, in founding it, sought to give currency – ideals new and heretical in his day – have become the governing principles of society.The Daily News, 11 May 1912 (p.1).