It was first advocated by J.H. Rigg, in a letter to the Watchman in 1840, before any of the other nonconformist quarterlies had been launched. It eventually (known more briefly from 1858 to 1862 as the London Review) began publication in September 1853, with the backing of Rigg, William Arthur, George Osborn, W. Burt Pope and Frederick J. Jobson and the financial support of two laymen, John R. Kay and James S. Budgett. In 1862 it was transferred to the London Quarterly Review Company, with Sir Francis Lycett as one of the shareholders and Sir William M'Arthur as treasurer. Recurrent commercial difficulties made it dependent on the help of the WM Book Room until it became connexional property in 1897. Its first editor (1853-1860) was Thomas M'Nicholl, a Methodist surgeon who died in 1863. Under the long editorship ofPope (1862-1886) and Rigg(1883-1898) its scope was wide-ranging and its tone broadly conservative. The First Series ended in 1883 and was succeeded by a Second Series; edited jointly by Rigg and Pope, this carried a more popular style of article, with the price reduced from 6s to 4s. The third series, launched in January 1899, had William L. Watkinson as editor and carried signed articles for the first time. John Telford, editor 1905-1934, saw the post-Union merger with the PM Holborn Review, which was in financial trouble despite the herculean efforts of A.S. Peake (editor 1919-29). In 1968 a further amalgamation with the Church Quarterly Review produced the short-lived Church Quarterly, which ceased publication in 1971. After an interval, in 1974 its place was taken by the Epworth Review, following a Notice of Motion put down in the 1972 Conference by Rex Kissack.
'Its publication history … is remarkable for the longevity and dedication of its founding editors, promoters and contributors; for the consistency with which they maintained the high literary quality of their Christian criticism; and for the Methodists' ingenuity and determination in compensation for the absence of broad and financially sustaining popularity.'
Walter E. Houghton, vol. 4, p.371