The Leader was a radical weekly newspaper, published in London from 1850 to 1860 at a price of 6d.
George Henry Lewes and Thornton Leigh Hunt founded The Leader in 1850. They had financial backing from Edmund Larken, who was an unconventional clergyman looking for a vehicle for "Christian liberal" views.Others involved were George Dawson and Richard Congreve. After a year Larken and Holyoake took over the rest of the shares.
Lewes contributed theatre criticism under the pseudonym 'Vivian'. Later editors appear to have included Edward Frederick Smyth Pigott (proprietor from the end of 1851 to 1860)and Frederick Guest Tomlins. Contributors included Thomas Spencer Baynes, Wilkie Collins, George Eliot, Andrew Halliday, the future theatre manager John Hollingshead (1827–1904), the future politician James Mackenzie Maclean (1835–1906), the future anthropologist John McLennan, Gerald Massey, the art critic Henry Merritt (1822–1877), Edmund Ollier (1826–1886), Herbert Spencer, and the political journalist Edward Michael Whitty (1827–1860). The paper carried correspondence from William Edward Forster (proposing state farms and workshops) and Barbara Bodichon (on prostitution).
Mary Ann Evans, known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, poet, journalist, translator and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She wrote seven novels, Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Romola (1862–63), Felix Holt, the Radical (1866), Middlemarch (1871–72) and Daniel Deronda (1876), most of which are set in provincial England and known for their realism and psychological insight.
William Wilkie Collins was an English novelist, playwright and short story writer best known for The Woman in White (1859) and The Moonstone (1868). The last has been called the first modern English detective novel. Born to the family of a painter, William Collins, in London, he grew up in Italy and France, learning French and Italian. He began work as a clerk for a tea merchant. After his first novel, Antonina, appeared in 1850, he met Charles Dickens, who became a close friend and mentor. Some of Collins's works appeared first in Dickens's journals All the Year Round and Household Words and they collaborated on drama and fiction. Collins achieved financial stability and an international following with his best known works in the 1860s, but began suffering from gout. Taking opium for the pain grew into an addiction. In the 1870s and 1880s his writing quality declined with his health. Collins was critical of the institution of marriage: he split his time between Caroline Graves and his common-law wife Martha Rudd, with whom he had three children.
Household Words was an English weekly magazine edited by Charles Dickens in the 1850s. It took its name from the line in Shakespeare's Henry V: "Familiar in his mouth as household words."
William Charles Macready was an English actor.
The Cornhill Magazine (1860–1975) was a monthly Victorian magazine and literary journal named after the street address of the founding publisher Smith, Elder & Co. at 65 Cornhill in London. In the 1860s, under editor William Makepeace Thackeray, the paper saw a large circulation, peaking at around 110,000. Due to emerging competitors, circulation fell to 20,000 by 1870. The following year, Leslie Stephen took over as editor. When Stephen left in 1882, circulation had further fallen to 12,000. The Cornhill was purchased by John Murray in 1912, and continued to publish issues until 1975.
The Northern Star and Leeds General Advertiser was a chartist newspaper published in Britain between 1837 and 1852, and best known for advancing the reform issues articulated by proprietor Feargus O'Connor.
The Olympic Theatre, sometimes known as the Royal Olympic Theatre, was a 19th-century London theatre, opened in 1806 and located at the junction of Drury Lane, Wych Street and Newcastle Street. The theatre specialised in comedies throughout much of its existence. Along with three other Victorian theatres, the Olympic was eventually demolished in 1904 to make way for the development of the Aldwych. Newcastle and Wych streets also vanished.
Frederick Daniel Hardy was an English genre painter and member of the Cranbrook Colony of artists.
The Dickens family are the descendants of John Dickens, the father of the English novelist Charles Dickens. John Dickens was a clerk in the Royal Navy Pay Office and had eight children from his marriage to Elizabeth Barrow. Two were from previous wives, having had ten children overall.
Tavistock House was the London home of the noted British author Charles Dickens and his family from 1851 to 1860. At Tavistock House Dickens wrote Bleak House, Hard Times, Little Dorrit and A Tale of Two Cities. He also put on amateur theatricals there which are described in John Forster's Life of Charles Dickens. Later, it was the home of William and Georgina Weldon, whose lodger was the French composer Charles Gounod, who composed part of his opera Polyeucte at the house.
Brooks's is a gentlemen's club in St James's Street, London. It is one of the oldest and most exclusive gentlemen's clubs in London.
Edmund Roberts Larken (1809–1895) was an English cleric and Christian Socialist, a patron of radical causes and author on social matters. Along with other unconventional views, he was noted as possibly the first parish priest of his time to wear a beard.
Elizabeth "Eliza" Ann Ashurst Bardonneau was a member of an important family of radical activists in mid-nineteenth-century England and the first translator of George Sand's work into English. The family supported causes ranging from women's suffrage to Italian unification.
Matilda Mary Hays was a 19th-century English writer, journalist and part-time actress. With Elizabeth Ashurt, Hays translated several of George Sand's works into English. She co-founded the English Woman's Journal. Her love interests included the actress Charlotte Cushman, with whom she had a 10-year relationship, and the poet Adelaide Anne Procter.
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