C. P. Scott was a well-known British journalist who spent several years as editor of the renowned newspaper “The Guardian.” After three unsuccessful general election campaigns as the Liberal Party’s candidate, he was elected as the Member of Parliament for Leigh. As a politician, he fought for a variety of causes, including women’s suffrage and reform of the ‘House of Lords.’ Apart from being an editor of the ‘Manchester Guardian’, which was later renamed ‘The Guardian,’ he became the newspaper’s owner following John Edward Taylor’s death. Scott, in addition to his successful career as a journalist, was also a publisher. He published several books on politics and his experiences as a reporter for the ‘Manchester Guardian’. He fought for the causes he advocated as a politician through the newspaper, and he was also an avid supporter of further education. This extraordinary journalist believed that a newspaper should be accountable and should publish only true facts in addition to being accurate. His most well-known quote, “comment is free, but facts are sacred,” encapsulates his ideals as a responsible journalist and editor. Continue reading to learn more about this multifaceted personality’s life, career, and works.
Childhood & Adolescence
Charles Prestwich Scott was born in Bath, Northeast Somerset, England. He was the eighth child out of eight siblings. When Charles was born, his father, businessman Russell Scott, was the owner of the ‘Manchester Guardian’ newspaper.
He attended a Unitarian school in Brighton, Hove House, and also attended Clapham Grammar School. In October 1865, he enrolled at Oxford’s Corpus Christi College.
Career of C.P
Scott left Oxford after completing his education and embarked on a Grand Tour of Europe. He got his first taste of journalism in 1870, when he worked for six months as an apprentice for “The Scotsman” in Edinburgh.
At the time, his uncle John Edward Taylor, who founded the ‘Manchester Guardian,’ was looking for a Manchester-based editor for the newspaper. This illustrious journalist joined the “Manchester Guardian” in February 1871.
On January 1, 1872, he was appointed editor. He was only 25 years old at the time. He entered politics in 1886, when he stood as a Liberal candidate in the Manchester North East constituency. He was, however, unsuccessful.
He ran for the same seat again in 1891 but was defeated. He failed to achieve success on his third attempt in 1892.
This capable editor of ‘The Guardian’ was elected to the House of Commons for Leigh in his fourth attempt during the 1895 elections.
Scott had a strong interest in higher education and served as a trustee and council member of Owens College from 1890 to 1898.
He was a vehement opponent of the Boer War, which had a detrimental effect on his newspaper and political career, and he lost popularity. Despite this, he won the general elections again in 1900.
He left Parliament in 1906, following the Liberals’ landslide victory. Following the death of John Edward Taylor, he purchased ‘Manchester Guardian’ from the newspaper’s trustees.
Scott was adamant about the newspaper’s role in society, stating that it must report news objectively and accurately. Regarding editorial comments, the journalist is renowned for his celebrated quotes such as “comment is free, but facts are sacred” and “It is well to be candid; it is even better to be fair.”
Though Scott resigned as editor on July 1, 1929, he remained the governing director and spent the majority of his evenings at ‘The Guardian’s’ office. Edward Scott, his youngest son, took over as editor. C. P. Scott was 83 years old when he retired.
Significant Works of C.P
C. P. Scott served as editor of the ‘Manchester Guardian’ from 1872 to 1929, an enviable fifty-seven and a half years that is unmatched in the world.
He also published two additional works, ‘C. P. Scott’s Political Diaries’ and ‘C. P. Scott, 1846–1932: The Making of the Manchester Guardian’.
As a responsible politician, he dealt with numerous issues, including the House of Lords reform. He also promoted Jacob Bright’s Women’s Suffrage Bill through his newspaper and backed Elizabeth Butler’s Contagious Diseases Act.
Awards and Accomplishments
This accomplished publisher was made a Freeman of the City of Manchester in 1930.
Personal History and Legacies
In 1874, Scott married Rachel Cook. She was the daughter of John Cook, a history professor at St. Andrews University. Madeline, Lawrence Prestwich, John Russell, and Edward Taylor were their four children.
This multifaceted figure died in Manchester at the age of 86.
Estimated Net Worth
The estimated net worth of Scott is unknown.
Along with Joseph Priestley, this journalist’s grandfather promoted the British Unitarian movement. This eminent British journalist was rejected from Queen’s College and Christ Church College in his early years due to his lack of a Church of England Baptist certificate.
This British journalist’s wife is well-known for being one of the first students at Girton College, formerly known as the College for Women in Hitchin. In 1821, the ‘Manchester Guardian’ newspaper was founded by the uncle of this prolific journalist and politician.