It’s published by Bristol News & Media (formerly Bristol United Press Ltd), part of what used to be the Daily Mail & General Trust‘s regional newspaper publishing division, Northcliffe Media. (Northcliffe is now the major constituent part of the Local World group.) They also publish Northcliffe’s paid-for daily paper for Bristol, the Bristol Post. The Observer shares the Bristol Post‘s editorial offices and its new website at bristolpost.co.uk, launched in April 2013 alongside Northcliffe’s thisisbristol.co.uk portal website for the area.
There have been several Observers over the years. The first, The Bristol Observer and Gloucester, Monmouth, Somerset and Wilts Courier, was founded in 1817 but apparently lasted only six years before folding in October 1823.
The second was founded in February 1859 as The Bristol Observer. It changed title to The Penny Observer in October 1860, but reverted to the original title (minus the The) less than two years later. It ceased publication in 1962.
The third and current version was established in February 1965 as The New Observer. It split into two editions (Keynsham and Kingswood) in 1980; editions for Northavon and N & E Bristol were added in 1983, with South Bristol and West Bristol joining them in 1984. All were renamed the Bristol Observer in 1985.
Since then the number of editions has fluctuated, but it currently has three. In order of size of circulation, they are:
- East, Kingswood and Keynsham
- South Gloucestershire
- South West Bristol
All come out on Thursdays.