was considered the father of pictorial journalism through his founding of The Illustrated London News
. He was a Liberal
The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties of the United Kingdom during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a third party of negligible importance throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, before merging with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the present day...
politician who favoured social reform and represented Boston
Boston was a parliamentary borough in Lincolnshire, which elected two Members of Parliament to the House of Commons from 1547 until 1885, and then one member from 1885 until 1918, when the constituency was abolished.-History:...
for four years until his early death in a shipping accident.
Ingram was born at Paddock Grove, Boston
Boston is a town and small port in Lincolnshire, on the east coast of England. It is the largest town of the wider Borough of Boston local government district and had a total population of 55,750 at the 2001 census...
Lincolnshire is a county in the east of England. It borders Norfolk to the south east, Cambridgeshire to the south, Rutland to the south west, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire to the west, South Yorkshire to the north west, and the East Riding of Yorkshire to the north. It also borders...
, the son of a butcher,. After being educated at Laughton's Charity School and the free school in Wormgate (a street in Boston), he was apprenticed as a fourteen-year-old to town printer Joseph Clarke. When Ingram finished his training he moved to London where he worked as a journeyman printer.
In 1832 Ingram established his own printing and newsagents business in Nottingham
Nottingham is a city and unitary authority in the East Midlands of England. It is located in the ceremonial county of Nottinghamshire and represents one of eight members of the English Core Cities Group...
, in partnership with his brother-in-law, Nathaniel Cooke. As a newsagent he noticed that when newspapers included woodcuts, their sales increased. He concluded that it would be possible to make a good profit from a magazine that included a large number of illustrations. However, it was to be a while before he could put this theory into practice. The newsagent business failed to make much progress until Ingram purchased the rights to a laxative known as Parr's Life Pills. The profits from marketing these pills provided the capital which enabled him to set up and publish The Illustrated London News
The Illustrated London News
Ingram moved back to London and after discussing the matter with his friend, Mark Lemon
Mark Lemon was founding editor of both Punch and The Field.-Biography:Lemon was born in London on the 30 November 1809. He was the son of Martin Lemon, a hop merchant, and Alice Collis. His parents married on 26 December 1808 at St Mary, Marylebone, London...
, the editor of Punch
Punch, or the London Charivari was a British weekly magazine of humour and satire established in 1841 by Henry Mayhew and engraver Ebenezer Landells. Historically, it was most influential in the 1840s and 50s, when it helped to coin the term "cartoon" in its modern sense as a humorous illustration...
, he decided to start his own magazine - The Illustrated London News
. The first edition appeared on 14 May 1842. Costing sixpence, the magazine had sixteen pages and thirty-two woodcuts and targeted a broadly middle class readership. It included pictures of the war in Afghanistan, a train crash in France, a steam-boat explosionmm in Canada and a fancy dress ball at Buckingham Palace. That pictorials were viewed as being as important as text for reporting was clear from the first issue, which stated that the aim was to bring within the public grasp "... the very form and presence of events as they transpire; and whatever the broad and palpable delineations of wood engraving can achieve, will now be brought to bear upon every subject which attracts the attention of mankind".
Ingram was a staunch Liberal
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...
who favoured social reform. He announced in The Illustrated London News
that the concern of the magazine would be "with the English poor" and the "three essential elements of discussion with us will be the poor laws, the factory laws, and the working of the mining system". Despite arguing the case for social reform, the paper claimed to be non partisan. Its first editorial had stated, "We commence our political discourse by a disavowal of the unconquerable aversion to the name of Party." However, this may have been no more than a desire to gain the widest possible readership, because as time progressed the paper displayed its Whig
The Whigs were a party in the Parliament of England, Parliament of Great Britain, and Parliament of the United Kingdom, who contested power with the rival Tories from the 1680s to the 1850s. The Whigs' origin lay in constitutional monarchism and opposition to absolute rule...
inclination. It showed moderation and caution in its reportage and this extended to that of the Irish Famine, which was largely sympathetic even if not quite able to denounce the inadequacy of government policy or the ideas of prevailing economic or political orthodoxy. There was none of the overt negative stereotyping found in the most acerbic Punch
cartoons. Overall there was an attitude that England had a responsibility towards the victims of what was largely interpreted as a natural disaster.
The magazine was an immediate success and the first edition sold 26,000 copies. Within a few months it was selling over 65,000 copies a week. High prices were charged for advertisements and Ingram was soon making £12,000 a year from this publishing venture. Encouraged by the success of The Illustrated London News
, Ingram decided in 1848 to start a daily newspaper, the London Telegraph
. When Andrew Spottiswoode started a rival paper, the Pictorial Times
, Ingram purchased it and merged it with the Illustrated London News
. In 1855 Ingram took over another rival, the Illustrated Times
Ingram employed leading artists of the day to illustrate social events, news stories, towns and cities. The whole spectrum of Victorian Britain was recorded pictorially in The Illustrated London News
for many decades. Special events were important to the success of The Illustrated London News
. The magazine did very well during the Great Exhibition
The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations or The Great Exhibition, sometimes referred to as the Crystal Palace Exhibition in reference to the temporary structure in which it was held, was an international exhibition that took place in Hyde Park, London, from 1 May to 15 October...
of 1851 and the edition that reported the funeral of the Duke of Wellington
Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS , was an Irish-born British soldier and statesman, and one of the leading military and political figures of the 19th century...
in 1852 sold between 150,000 or 250,000 copies, according to various accounts. Illustrations came from all corners of the globe. By 1855 Ingram was using colour and had artists in Great Britain and continental Europe racing to the scene of stories to capture the drama in print. The Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...
caused a further boost to sales. By 1863, after Ingram's death, the Illustrated London News
was selling over 300,000 copies a week. This was far higher than other journals. For example, newspapers such as the Daily News
sold 6,000 copies at this time, and even the largest selling newspaper, The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...
, only sold 70,000 copies.
The Illustrated London News
is still published today. Alison Booth, current editor, said: "He was very inventive and far-sighted and his legacy of bringing pictures to journalism can still be seen on the front pages of newspapers and magazines all over the world. The Illustrated London News
had many imitators, but none came close. His first edition featured a great fire in Hamburg, Germany, and drawings portrayed the horror for readers. The popularity of the paper soared and attracted the most talented artists."
MP for Boston
In 1856 Ingram became the Liberal candidate in a by-election in his home town of Boston. With help from his friends Mark Lemon and Douglas Jerrold
Douglas William Jerrold was an English dramatist and writer.-Biography:Jerrold was born in London. His father, Samuel Jerrold, was an actor and lessee of the little theatre of Wilsby near Cranbrook in Kent. In 1807 Douglass moved to Sheerness, where he spent his childhood...
, and from the team at The Illustrated London News
, Ingram advocated a policy of social reform
A reform movement is a kind of social movement that aims to make gradual change, or change in certain aspects of society, rather than rapid or fundamental changes...
. He told the people of Boston they needed a "representative who is at once the product and the embodiment of the progressive spirit of the age". The electorate responded to Ingram's message and he won an overwhelming victory. However, several daily newspapers attacked Punch
and The Illustrated London News
for the part they had played in Ingram's victory.
He continued his campaign for social reform in the British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...
until his death four years later.
Ingram was instrumental in bringing the railways to Boston, which forged new links with other parts of the country and got the town on track for a new era of growth. He also played a major part in supplying fresh piped water to the town, a move which was met with rejoicing and brass bands when the taps were turned on for the first time.
Death and legacy
In 1860 Ingram went to the U.S.A. with his eldest son to obtain material for The Illustrated London News
. On 8 September, they were aboard the Lady Elgin
on Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. It is the second largest of the Great Lakes by volume and the third largest by surface area, after Lake Superior and Lake Huron...
when the ship was sunk after colliding with another vessel. Herbert Ingram, his son, and hundreds of other passengers were drowned. Herbert was bought back to Boston for burial in the Victorian Cemetery on Horncastle Road Boston. His son's body was never found and identified and probably buried in an unmarked grave in Winnetka nr Chicago. Another son of Ingram, William
Sir William James Ingram, 1st Baronet was Managing Director of The Illustrated London News and a Liberal politician who sat in the House of Commons in three periods between 1878 and 1895....
took over the newspaper, was also MP for Boston and became a baronet
The Ingram Baronetcy, of Swineshead Abbey in the County of Lincoln, is a title in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom. It was created on 9 August 1893 for William Ingram. He was Managing Director of The Illustrated London News and Liberal Member of Parliament for Boston...
There is a statue of Ingram in the Market Place in Boston in front of St. Botolph's Church
St Botolph's Church is a parish church in the Church of England in Boston, Lincolnshire. It is famous for its extraordinarily tall tower, known as the Boston Stump.-Background:...
(Boston "Stump"). The statue was designed by Alexander Munro and was unveiled in October 1862. The allegorical figure at the base of the monument is a reference to Ingram's efforts to bring the first piped water to the town.