To the 21st century reader the scope and variety of the Edwardian press is breathtaking. In the days before television or radio the coverage in the newspapers of current events, court cases and parliament was detailed and comprehensive. The accounts in newspapers of public meetings and legal actions are often the only impartial record of these events.

There was, however, a darker side to the press. Alongside respectable financial papers, such as the Economist, there was a genre of periodicals variously dubbed reptile journals or sham financial magazines. These were magazines published by bucket shops and swindlers, and were designed to offload dud shares onto a gullible public and to blackmail companies by forcing them to pay hush money to suppress unwelcome stories.

Fortunately there was a counterbalance to all this misinformation. Truth and its splendid annual supplement the Truth Cautionary List, which by 1913 listed 750 contemporary swindlers and their tricks, was a pretty reliable guide to financial skulduggery. It was the Edwardian equivalent of the late Paul Foot’s column in Private Eye.

So here, warts and all, are some of the more relevant publications of the age. They can all be found in the British Library’s newsroom.

The Critic kept a close eye on swindling bucket shops

Financial papers

Financial Times, Financier, Financial News

Dailies and Sundays

Daily Chronicle, Daily Express, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Daily News, Daily Telegraph, Glasgow Herald, Globe, Irish Times, London Gazette, Manchester Guardian (now the Guardian), Morning Leader, Morning Post, Observer, Pall Mall Gazette, Reynold’s newspaper, Scotsman, Standard, Times, Tribune, Westminster Gazette

Evening Papers

Edinburgh Evening News, Evening News, Evening Standard, St James Gazette, The Star

Foreign Press

Borsenzeitung, Figaro, Le Journal du Dimanche, Le Journal des Transports, Le Matin, L’Echo de Paris, New York Daily Tribune, New York Times, New York Tribune, New York World, Straits Times

Local press

Brighton Evening Argus, Brighton Gazette, Brighton Herald, Eastbourne Chronicle


Bystander, Candid Friend, Critic, Economist, Electrical Engineer, Electrical Review, Electrical Times, Electrician, Era, Investors’ Guardian, Investors’ Review, John Bull, Lancet, Lloyd’s Weekly, London and China Telegraph, Motorist and Traveller, Punch, Queen, Saturday Review, Rialto, Sketch, Spectator, Statist, Truth, Winning Post

Trade and specialist press

Autocar, Automobile Magazine, The Automobile Owner and Steam and Electric Car Review
Automotive Industries, Automotive World, Automotor Journal, Commercial Motor, Electrical Review, Electrical Times, Electrician, Engineer, Flight, Motor Traction, Tramway and Railway World

Reptile press

City Lantern, Cosmopolitan Financier, Financial Outlook, Motor Finance, Rubber and Oil, Rubber Investor, Wheel of Fortune