First published as the Weekly Dispatch in 1801, the newspaper was bought by Alfred Harmsworth and Lord Rothermere in 1903 from the Newnes family. The pair turned it around from bankruptcy, and made it the biggest selling Sunday newspaper. The name was changed to the Sunday Dispatch in 1928.
In light of comment from Randolph Churchill that Esmond Harmsworth, 2nd Viscount Rothermere was "pornographer royal" for his ownership of the Daily Sketch and Sunday Dispatch, Rothermere fired both Eade and the editor of the Daily Sketch in 1959. Under its last editor Walter Hayes, it still had pre-printed posters with the headline "CHURCHILL IS DEAD", in preparation of the death of Randolph Churchill's father Winston Churchill.
In December 1960 the paper had a circulation of 1,500,000, but in the following June Associated Newspapers announced that the title was to be merged with the Sunday Express. In an era when other papers such as the News Chronicle, the Empire News and the Sunday Graphic were rapidly falling to the influence of television, the Sunday Dispatch ceased publication in 1961.
Famous stories and headlines
- September 1927 – In light of the trial verdict of the murder of PC Gutteridge of the Metropolitan Police, the headline read "Hanged by a microscope". An early case of ballistics science, it reflected the fact that microscopic examination of the Smith & Wesson gun cartridge cases had provided the crucial evidence to convict car thieves Frederick Browne and Pat Kennedy of the murder.
- 1933 – published Harry Price's book Leaves From a Psychist's Case-Book in a series of 10 articles
- 1945 – the first Miss Great Britain contest was held by Morecambe and Heysham Council in association with the Dispatch, which as a preliminary to the personal appearance heats at Morecambe, photographic heats held in the newspaper attracted contestant from all over the country. The first prize was 7 guineas and a basket of fruit.
- 2 December 1945 – broke news that British spy John Amery was dying of Tuberculosis. A post mortem revealed after his conviction and execution for high treason that he had not been suffering from the disease.
- 13 February 1949 – in light of the importation of American "dark humour" comics, the headline read: "Horror has crept into the British nursery. Morals of little girls in plaits and boys with marbles bulging in their pockets are being corrupted by a torrent of indecent coloured magazines that are flooding bookstalls and newsagents." The counter article was co-written by the Reverend Marcus Morris, later founder of The Eagle comic
- 1950 – in late summer, the Dispatch was partly responsible for launching the Flying Saucer debate in the UK, when in a circulation battle with the Sunday Express. Both papers competed to serialise the seminal books by Major Donald Keyhoe Flying Saucers are Real, Frank Scully’s Behind the Flying Saucers and Gerald Heard's Riddle of the Flying Saucers. Eade had been encouraged to promote "flying saucer" stories by his friend Lord Mountbatten whom he had served as Press officer during the Second World War. The Dispatch later reported on the 1951 Mount Kilimanjaro incident and the West Freugh Incident in April 1957
- June 1953 – serialisation of "The Rommel papers" edited by military historian Basil Liddell Hart.
- 25 April 1954 – the headline read "Doctor's Journal Launches a Startling Campaign – Smoking sensation – MP Urges Ban On Manufacture Of Cigarettes As Move Against Cancer Peril" on the risks of smoking and lung cancer. The article was later cited in 2000 by Gallaher Tobacco to the UK Parliamentary Health select committee showing that such risks had been known for some while
- 1954 – broke the story that racing driver Mike Hawthorn was not called up for National Service because he cited that he was not in the country, while actually he was
- 1959 – exposed a story about Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, where he sold shares at $65 each in a company that didn't exist. Hubbard apologised, and returned all monies, allegedly commenting: "It's lucky the police did not become involved, otherwise something most unpleasant might have happened."
Former journalists and editors
- Ursula Bloom – reporter. A later fictional novelist who wrote under numerous pseudonyms, she published over 500 books in her lifetime, an achievement that won her recognition in the Guinness Book of Records.
- William Brittain – editor from 1931 to 1934. He then bought the short lived London Daily Recorder
- Collin Brooks – editor, 1930s.
- Randolph Churchill – political columnist. Resigned in 1936 following papers refusal to publish one of his articles.
- Dorothy Crisp – a regular contributor of provocative articles. One edition in 1943 was banned in Ireland because it contained her criticisms of the de Valera’s government.
- Charles Eade – editor, Press Liaison officer for Lord Mountbatten during the Second World War
- Alastair Forbes – wrote weekly column called "Behind the World Political Scene" from 1945, but he was fired in 1956.
- Walter Hayes – editor, 1957-1961. Later Ford PR Vice President.
- Gerald McKnight – editor. Later founder of News Shopper
- Reverend Marcus Morris – first feature he ever wrote. Later founder of The Eagle comic
- Max Miller – the comedian wrote a weekly column.
- Bill Tidy – cartoonist
- Margaret Williams – reporter. Went to Berlin in 1946 with the first batch of British Army wives to rejoin their husbands serving in Germany.
- Ian Wooldridge – journalist
- 1801: Robert Bell
- 1815: George Kent
- 1816: Robert Bell
- 1818: Williams
- 1838: Joseph Wrightson
- 1856: Sydney French
- 1862: T. J. Serle
- 1875: Ashton Wentworth Dilke
- 1876: Henry Fox Bourne
- 1883: W. A. Hunter
- 1892: Frank Smith
- 1895: Charles John Tibbits
- 1903: Evelyn Wrench
- 1911: Monatagu Cotton
- 1915: Hannen Swaffer
- 1919: Bernard Falk
- 1933: Harry Lane
- 1934: William Brittain
- 1936: Collin Brooks
- 1938: Charles Eade
- 1959: Bert Gunn
- Concise History of the British Newspaper in the 19th Century: The British Library Newspaper Library Archived 2008-02-24 at the Wayback Machine
- Georgian Index - British Newspapers
- "Merging of "Sunday Dispatch"". The Times. 19 June 1961. p. 6.
- Harold Harmsworth, Lord Rothermere Archived 2007-06-11 at the Wayback Machine
- Popular Newspapers During World War II, Parts 1 to 5, 1939-1945
- Greenslade, Roy (12 December 2000). "Can Desmond really make things OK! at the Express?". The Guardian. London.
- Peter Betts || Biography
- "Sunday Paper Merger. "Dispatch" and "Express"". The Glasgow Herald. 12 June 1961. p. 1. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
- DMGT, Rothermere and Northcliffe: landmarks Archived 2006-12-11 at the Wayback Machine
- Maslin, Janet (26 May 1996). "Yesterday's Papers". The New York Times.
- Metropolitan Police Service - History of the Metropolitan Police Service
- Writings by Harry Price - Introduction
- Miss Great Britain
- John Amery Archived 2012-02-05 at the Wayback Machine
- Faber, Michel (24 November 2006). "Review: Great British Comics by Paul Gravett & Peter Stanbury". The Guardian. London.
- The Eagle comic
- case histories photo hoaxes
- Globe In Transit
- ufo - UFOS at close sight: The West Freugh Incident, 1957
- Liddell Hart 9 Military writings; books, 1925-1970
- House of Commons - Health - Minutes of Evidence
- Mike Hawthorn's Tribute Site – the story of Mike and National (Compulsory Military) Service – and how he managed to intentionally avoid it. During the enforcement period, 2.5 million young men did their time for National Service with around 6,000 called up every month. The disruption caused by national service to young lives was major
- The Scandal of Scientology / Chapter 15: Is Scientology Political?
- Ursula Bloom (1892-1984) Archived 2013-12-28 at the Wayback Machine
- "The Press: The Promising Editor". Time. 9 November 1953.
- Departments of Medieval and Modern History
- Randolph's Resignation - TIME
- Obituary: Alastair Forbes by Geoffrey Wheatcroft. The Guardian, Friday 27 May 2005 | https://www.theguardian.com/media/2005/may/27/pressandpublishing.usnews
- "Aston Martin creator dies". BBC News. 27 December 2000.
- News Shopper: About/Contact Us: Our History
- "The Art of Donald McGill" | Nick Lewis: The Blog
- Tidy, Bill
- BBC - WW2 People's War - The Williams at War
- "Ian Wooldridge - Obituaries, News - Independent.co.uk". London. Archived from the original on March 8, 2007.
- David Butler and Anne Sloman. 'British Political Facts, 1900-1979. p. 445.
- Joanne Shattock. The Cambridge bibliography of English Literature. 4. p. 2904.