The Inquirer is the longest-lived non-conformist paper. Its first issue was published on 9 July 1842.
It was founded, as a Unitarian Christian Newspaper, by Edward Hill, a rather shadowy figure who was probably not himself a Unitarian and who hoped for commercial success. It was then, and for many years, published weekly.
The cover price was 6d – the equivalent perhaps of £10 today.
Curiously it was not the first paper to bear its name. Another Inquirer, published by a group of Quakers bent on defending the literal truth of the Bible, first saw print on 1 January 1838 but had evidently failed by 1842.
The choice of name for the very different, theologically free-thinking Unitarian paper may have been no more than a coincidence but it is certainly ironic.
In its 163 years, The Inquirer has had twenty editors, many of them also Unitarian ministers.
The first, the Rev William Hincks, went on to be Professor of Natural History at Cork and then Toronto. The position was held for the longest period, from 1855 to 1888, by the Rev Thomas Lethbridge Marshall. The first woman editor, between 1927 and 1932, was Laura Ackroyd.
With the exception of Gavin Walker, who is a Quaker and edited the paper for a time between 2003 – 2005, all the editors have been Unitarians.