Victoria Gardner

Lecturer in Modern British History

Manchester University

Victoria Gardner is a Lecturer in Modern British History at Manchester University, specializing in business, kinship, and print culture in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Her current work explores the socio-economic context of print production in local, national, and global perspective in the early modern period.

Examining newspaper proprietors and the business of English newspaper production over the politically turbulent later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Gardner's doctoral work challenged traditional analyses of the press that place politics at its heart. It established that even in an era of intensive press politicisation, the contents of individual newspapers and the trade as a whole were shaped by an intricate web of responsibilities – to family, friends, the local community, and the newspaper trade. ‘News’ was therefore often the long-term product of social, cultural, and economic exigencies. On the other hand, by reconsidering the later eighteenth-century press as a crystallising web of connections, she established that emerging social and business networks between entrepreneurial proprietors were a key factor in the emergence of a national newspaper industry with an increasingly powerful position in local and national politics.

Taking international news stories from across the British World, Gardner's new research examines the transmission and reception of news around the globe. Bringing a uniquely comparative approach to bear on the newspaper press through Britain, Canada, the Caribbean, the Cape Colony, Gibraltar, India, and New South Wales, her work investigates how news was distributed across the globe, how stories were adapted to suit local concerns and tastes, and how this crucial form of communication shaped notions of identity across a geographically-disparate empire.

Gardner is the reviews editor of the Journal of the Printing Historical Society. She is also a member of the 'Print Networks' committee and currently editor, with John Hinks, of the 'Print Networks' conference proceedings. Their next edited volume, 'The Early Modern Book Trade' is due to be published in 2012.