The Sunday Times was launched in 1821 as the New Observer in direct competition with the The Observer. A few months later it was renamed the Independent Observer. In 1822 the newspaper tried to imitate the success of the Times by adopting the name, the Sunday Times. In 1855 its chief proprietor was Joseph Moses Levy, who later became the owner of the Daily Telegraph.
In 1959 the Sunday Times was acquired by Roy Thompson and three years later it became the first British newspaper to include a free colour magazine. Thompson also bought the Times in 1966 but in 1981 sold both newspapers to Rupert Murdoch.