The London Free Press began as the Canadian Free Press, founded by William Sutherland in 1847. It first began printing as a weekly newspaper in 1849. In 1852, it was purchased for $500 by Josiah Blackburn, who renamed it the "London Free Press and Daily Western Advertiser." In 1855 Blackburn turned the weekly newspaper into a daily.
From 1863 to 1936 the Free Press competed for readership with the London Advertiser, which was a daily evening newspaper.
The Blackburn family was also involved in other forms of media in London. In 1933 they established CFPL radio, which expanded into a television station in 1953. These are now owned by the CHUM media network, based in Toronto.
In 1997 the Blackburn family sold the newspaper to the Sun Media Corporation.
The Free Press currently has a circulation of about 650,000, second only to the Toronto Sun among Sun Media newspapers. It is the largest newspaper in Southwestern Ontario outside of Toronto, and is Western Ontario's main regional newspaper.