Born near Dublin. As a keen cyclist (on a penny-farthing) Harmsworth was submitting freelance articles to the cycle press in the 1880s. In 1886 he was editing Bicycling News. With his brother Harold Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Rothermere, he entered the world of newspaper publishing: turning the almost bankrupt Evening News into a huge success and then starting the Daily Mail. Alfred also started the Daily Mirror.
It was through the Daily Mail that Northcliffe offered the prize for the first aviator to cross the English Channel, won by Louis Bleriot the following year. Diamond Geezer has seen the unusual memorial to his landing in Dover.
Before receiving his title he said: "When I want a peerage I will buy one, like an honest man". Died at home at 1 Carlton Gardens.