Cheltenham Looker-On

The Cheltenham Looker-On was a social and literary weekly periodical published in Cheltenham, England between 1833 and 1920.

The Looker-On was founded in 1833 by Henry Davies, then the librarian and bookseller of Montpellier Spa,[1] with its first issue in May 1833. Davies had established his own newspaper in preference to taking a post offered with the Gloucester Chronicle.[2] Initially, the Looker-On was a literary periodical professing itself to be "A Note Book of the Sayings and Doings of Cheltenham". It quickly established a reputation as a weekly fashionable and literary paper, the Gentleman's Magazine in 1837 crediting the editor "whose talents as an essayist and editor have been honourably displayed".[3] The periodical's news and social gossip was widely quoted. For example, its report regarding the nursing of Queen Victoria's daughter was quoted in 1841 as far away as New Zealand[4] as was a report in 1847 of the Turkish Minister's wife arriving at Court in Court Dress rather than veiled.[5]

The Looker-On mixed social news and literary contributions and followed its editor's opinions being very partisan in the Conservative cause.[6] Following the death of its founder and editor for 57 years in 1890, it was taken over by his son Edward Llewellyn Davies until his death in 1898. The Looker-on became more a journal of news and fashion, and remained in publication until 1920. The Looker-On's Printing Works were also employed for local publications.[7]

The Cheltenham Looker-On has been widely referenced in local studies publications,[8][9] biographies,[10][11] music [12][13] and miscellaneous articles.[14]

Historical copies of the Cheltenham Looker-On, dating back to 1833, are available to search and view in digitised form at The British Newspaper Archive.[15] The Cheltenham Local Studies Centre at Cheltenham Public Library holds physical copies of the periodical.[16] There is also a set at the British Museum.[17]


  1. ^ Boase, Frederick (1904) Modern English Biography
  2. ^ In Memoriam H. D. Cheltenham Looker-On March 1890
  3. ^ Gentleman's Magazine March 1837
  4. ^ "New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator, Volume 10, Issue 52, 10 April 1841, Page 3". Archived from the original on 4 October 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2008.
  5. ^ "New Zealand Spectator and Cook's Strait Guardian, Volume III, Issue 223, 18 September 1847, Page 3". Archived from the original on 4 October 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2008.
  6. ^ "Adrian Courtney Cheltenham Spa and the Berkeleys, 1832-1848:Pocket Borough and Patrol?" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2009-03-16. Retrieved 2008-10-01.
  7. ^ Beale, D. (1904) History of the Cheltenham Ladies' College 1853-1904
  8. ^ Miller, Eric. "Eminent Cheltonians Commemorated at Leckhampton". Cheltenham Local History Society. Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  9. ^ The Other Alstone Archived July 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Wellcome Library Summers Higgins". Archived from the original on 2014-09-13. Retrieved 2020-07-16.
  11. ^ "Paul P. Reuben Perspectives in American Literature - A Research and Reference Guide - An Ongoing Project Chapter 8: Dion Boucicault (1820-1890)". Archived from the original on 2008-11-23. Retrieved 2008-10-01.
  12. ^ 'A Cheltenham Music-Making The Musical Times, Vol. 45, No. 733 (Mar. 1, 1904), pp. 165-168
  13. ^ "Glos Folk Resource Information". Archived from the original on 2008-09-29. Retrieved 2008-10-01.
  14. ^ Guardian Newspapers Pioneers and Packets 2 May 2003
  15. ^ "Digitised copies of the Cheltenham Looker-On". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2014-11-18.
  16. ^ "Cheltenham Local and Family History Society". Archived from the original on 2007-10-08. Retrieved 2008-10-01.
  17. ^ "Devon County Council Local Studies Service". Archived from the original on 2008-12-02. Retrieved 2008-10-01.