Informing, educating, and entertaining the community

for more than 200 years



On 1 August 1812 Charles Knight Sr and his son Charles Knight Jr published the first edition of the Windsor and Eton Express in their bookshop at 2 Castle Hill, Windsor...200 years later the paper is still going strong.

Before the Windsor and Eton Express  came into being, there was only one newspaper published in Berkshire, the Reading Mercury, founded in 1723. Charles Knight Jr wrote in his autobiography:

My friend would make the stirring events of the week known to his household in reading aloud the Reading Mercury which was duly delivered at his door by an old newsman on a shambling pony. How eagerly we looked for this message.

1812 was a particularly bleak year. One historian has recently voted it the worst year in British history. The country had been at war with France for 19 years (since 1793), a war that was till dominated by Napoleon's successes in Europe, although he had just embarked on his disastrous Russian campaign...

Across the Atlantic, the USA had declared war on Britain, a trade war, but also a war in support of the French. The economy at home was in dire straits, a disastrous harvest caused bread prices to rise at an alarming (rate)...the poor were desperate and the Luddites were breaking machinery around the country. In May, Spencer Percival, the Prime Minister, had been assassinated; it could not get any worse.


Extracts from: Windsor and Eton Express 1812-1830: The Charles Knight Years


It was into this period of distress the newspaper was born. While news from the national and international stage was reported, so too was local news, as well as entertainments, theatre and revels. Local businesses advertised, notices were published, court cases reported, and charitable appeals were made. A panoply of local nineteenth century life is to be found within it's pages.



Charles Knight Years


200 pages including 12 in colour

Windsor and Eton Express 1812-1830 was written to celebrate 200 years since the first edition of the newspaper was published. It tells the story of the founders, Charles Knight and his son, also Charles, and looks at the world, and the town of Windsor through the articles in the newspaper during the period.


In 1812 George III was ill and his son had just been made Prince Regent. In 1820 he became George IV and in 1830 he died. In the intervening eighteen years, the face of Windsor changed and many of the buildings we recognise today were constructed or enlarged. The book covers the building of the parish church and the bridge across the Thames, while the round tower at the Castle was heightened and the Guildhall extended. We read the stories as they were told in the newspaper at the time.


There is also much about the lives of ordinary people from those who could afford to travel in stage coaches to the poor who relied on charity and criminals and their punishments. Soldiers and the wars they fought in are of course an important part of the story, and the authors have managed to find a large number of quirky stories that will amaze the twenty-first century reader.

 Special Offer  £4.00 plus P&P


The contents include

a wide variety of topics

under these headings:

The Windsor and Eton Express

Castle and Court

Trade and Commerce


The River

Windsor Mayors


Schools and Churches

War and Peace


Law and Order

Life and Death

National and International Events

The Weather



Who did Knight refer to as the 'unconstitutional guardians of the public peace'?

What did they do to offend him?


Have you heard about the kite-drawn vehicle?


What about the the Taglioni Windsor Coach?


What happened to the Windsor Bank?


Was the last fatal duel fought in Old Windsor?


What is the sad tale of the camelopard?


In fact, what's a camelopard?


Take 6ozs of rue, 4ozs of garlic, 4ozs of Venice treacle, 4ozs of the scrapings of pewter, then boil it all in 2 quarts of strong ale until it was reduced to one quart. What is this alledgedly the cure for?




©Windsor Local History Group