Victorian Periodicals Review
With circulation as high as 40,000, Cleave's Weekly Police Gazette, published 1834–36, was one of the first and most popular unstamped newspapers to mix political news with coverage of non-political events like sensational crimes, strange occurrences, and excerpts from popular fiction. Scholars have differed widely in their interpretations of the fact that the paper's mixture of radical politics and "entertainment" outsold unstamped papers that offered undiluted political news, such as Hetherington's Poor Man's Guardian (1831–35), whose circulation peaked at around 16,000. Some, like Louis James and Virginia Berridge, argue that Cleave's helped to co-opt legitimate working-class political discourse by cultivating a taste for sensational Sunday papers and melodramatic fiction. Others, like Ian Haywood and Iain McCalman, argue that the paper's mixture of what Haywood calls the "genres" of "popular pleasure and radical politics" empowered radicalism, by articulating its "new" political discourse onto popular traditions of festivity and sensationalism. And while both Joel Wiener and Patricia Hollis recognize the difference between purely political papers and "mixed-genre" ones like Cleave's in their histories of the unstamped press, they interpret that difference only minimally, focusing instead (and quite reasonably) on the unstamped press as a politically homogenous radical movement.
Original Publication Citation
Jacobs, E. (2008). The politicization of everyday life in 'Cleave's Weekly Police Gazette' (1834-36). Victorian Periodicals Review, 41(3), 225-247. doi: 10.1353/vpr.0.0046
Jacobs, Edward, "The Politicization of Everyday Life in Cleave's Weekly Police Gazette (1834-36)" (2008). English Faculty Publications. 27.