Printer and newsagent Herbert Ingram moved from Nottingham to London in early 1842. Inspired by how the Weekly Chronicle always sold more copies when it featured illustrations, he had the idea of publishing a weekly newspaper which would contain pictures in every edition. He originally considered having it concentrate on crime, as per the later Illustrated Police News, but his collaborator Henry Vizetelly, instead convinced him that a newspaper which covered more general news would be more successful.
In association with Mark Lemon, the editor of Punch, as his chief advisor, Ingram rented an office, located artists and reporters, and employed as his editor the writer Frederick William Nayloy Bayley, former editor of the National Omnibus. The first edition of The Illustrated London News appeared on 14 May 1842. It contained 15 pages and 32 wood engravings, and covered the current war in Afghanistan, (Things don't change much do they?), a train crash in France, a steam-boat accident on the Chesapeake, a survey of the candidates for the US presidential election, in addition to lengthy crime reports, stage and book reviews, and three pages of advertisements.
By the end of the first year the circulation had risen to 60,000, by 1855 it was selling, over 300,000 copies every week, enormous figures compared to other British newspapers of the time. Competition appeared but it did not last long; Andrew Spottiswoode's Pictorial Times lost £20,000 before it was sold to Ingram, while Henry Vizetelly, who had left Ingram to found the rival Pictorial Times, eventually sold it to Ingram, who closed it down.
Herbert Ingram died on 8 September 1860 in a paddle-steamer accident on Lake Michigan, and he was succeeded as proprietor by his youngest son, William, who in turn was succeeded by his son, Bruce Ingram in 1900. The Illustrated London News was published weekly until 1971, when it became a monthly. From 1989 it was bi-monthly, and then quarterly. The magazine is no longer published, but the Illustrated London News Group still exists. It produces in-house magazines and website and offers consultancy services in addition to owning the archive of the Illustrated London News.