Launched in 1903 by Alfred Harmsworth (of the Daily Mail - later Lord Northcliffe) as a newspaper for women by women, the penny Mirror had the first woman editor in Fleet Street. That, however, lasted just six months before a new editor fired all the women! Now carrying the masthead "A paper for men and women", it was the first in the world to print photographs: the illustrated front pages (no adverts!) are a remarkable pictorial record of the first third of 20th century.
In 1937, under Cecil King, the Mirror was restyled in the model of the New York tabloids, with a political stance firmly behind the Labour Party. By the late 40s, it was the UK's biggest-selling newspaper, peaking at 5million copies in the 60s during the Profumo tribulations of the MacMillan Government and the subsequent Labour victory under Harold Wilson. Despite its politics, the Mirror is mainly pacifist - unsympathetic to the Falklands War and consistently opposed the invasion of Iraq. Contributors include Cassandra (William Connor), Keith Waterhouse, Paul Foot and cartoonists Philip Zec and Reg Smythe (Andy Capp).