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kelzey2
09-15-2010, 03:55 PM
On what level of society would a journalist in the early 19th century, around 1815, be?

Would it be plausible for a journalist from that time to be the son of the Governor of the Bank of England?

PeterL
09-15-2010, 09:15 PM
Journalists were mostly from the lower middle or middle classes, and at the time the middle class was very narrow. They were all somewhat educated, and some went on to associate with uppers. Bankers were of a somewhat higher class, but they were just tradesmen, so what you suggest is far from impossible, but it would be very surprising. There was some cross over between the trades; for example, the people who started The Economist were in banking in some fashion.

Shakesbear
09-15-2010, 10:55 PM
William Russell, born 1820, was a special correspondent of The Times. He was born of "middle-class stock in the countryside of County Dublin"* He became one of the most well known and famous journalists of the 19th century. His account of the Charge of the Light Brigade, 1854, is amazing and was the basis for Tennyson's poem. He reported on the American Civil war, the Franco-Prussian war and the Zulu war. He is regarded by some as the first War Correspondent. Given his beginnings and what he achieved I would think that it would be plausible for the son of a Governor of the Bank of England to be a journalist. The thing that occurs to me is what sort of newspaper would take him on? The Times? A small regional paper?

*William Russell, Special Correspondent The Times, Intro by Max Hastings, Edited by Roger Hudson, Folio Society 19956

Smiling Ted
09-16-2010, 03:20 AM
Journalists were mostly from the lower middle or middle classes, and at the time the middle class was very narrow. They were all somewhat educated, and some went on to associate with uppers. Bankers were of a somewhat higher class, but they were just tradesmen, so what you suggest is far from impossible, but it would be very surprising. There was some cross over between the trades; for example, the people who started The Economist were in banking in some fashion.

Whatever ordinary bank clerks might have been in terms of class, the Bank of England isn't an ordinary bank, and its governors have never been just tradesmen. The B of E is the central bank of Great Britain, and if you look at the list of Governors of the Bank of England in Wikipedia, you'll see that it's loaded with knights, barons, and members of Parliament.

So a son of the Governor could have been a journalist, but he would definitely have been considered to be working below his class.

Paul
09-16-2010, 03:25 AM
Unless he was more a 'man of letters', sort of what would now be a columnist

pdr
09-16-2010, 04:34 AM
second that.
the Bank of England isn't an ordinary bank, and its governors have never been just tradesmen.

The Bank of England at that time was a vital govt institute and run by friends of the govt. As this is 21 years before the first political reform acts the govt was mainly upper class. Having the Governor's son a journalist is a bit much to swallow. Younger sons usually followed the traditional lines of occupation if they had to do anything - army, navy and church.