Worcester News: Static HTML image
Worcester News: Static HTML image
Henry Deighton brought to an end an association with the paper of 88 years by the Berrow's and Tymbs families. His own connection had lasted 25 years but apart from a change in the imprint which thereafter recorded that the Journal was ''printed and published by Henry Deighton for the proprietors'' not a word appeared about Tymbs leaving the paper.

TO THE PRESENT DAY

One or two explanations spring to mind to explain his early retirement. He was not ill, for he lived to be 80. His father had only recently died and well-off as the son might have been in his own right he probably benefited from his father's estate and was a rich many. But a more likely reason may be gleaned from what an obituarist wrote about him when he died in 1867 - not in Berrow's Worcester Journal but in the opposition paper, the Worcestershire Chronicle. It implies that the preferred to be self-effacing rather than figuring in the limelight and it said: ''The mildest, gentlest and most unobtrusive of creatures, he found his element not on the platform or in the arena of discussion; but in the quiet of the committee-room, in the management of details and the shaping and adjustment of affairs preparatory to their being presented to the public, his services were as invaluable as they were constantly rendered, and vast must be the amount of work that he discharged in this way during his career of wellnigh fourscore years.

''The tidings of his death carried grief to the hearts of his friends and spread general regret throughout the city in which he had so eminently distinguished himself by his exertions to promote the moral well-being and social advancement of the poorest classes. One concludes that although Tymbs announced when he took over the Journal that it would be his ''unwearied endeavour so to conduct the Worcester Journal as to merit a continuance of the liberal patronage with which it has hitherto been honoured'', twenty years later he had nevertheless wearied of the task and found his responsibilities in conducting the paper an embarrassment in his public work.

The Consortium

He sold out to a consortium of Deighton, John Brooke Hyde (a solicitor) and George Bently (an estate agent) but within three years Deighton died suddenly at the age of 44 and for the second time in the history of the Journal a woman had to step in and run the paper. For the next thirteen years his widow, Anne Deighton, took over the task. Deighton's association with the Journal had mostly been on the managerial side and he had joined Tymbs originally to run the printing business, a retail stationers shop and a news-room which enabled the local citizens, for a small subscription, to see a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, a service eventually taken over by the public libraries.

Like her husband, Anne Deighton also operated more at managerial level and there is evidence after the departure of Tymbs of a developing editorial side, although no-one was named as editor. The leaders, for example, became longer and more literary in flavour. They were sprinkled, in the fashion of the time, with Latin tags, often translated - as was said with malice - ''for the benefit of the un-Latinised Liberal councillors and their supporters.'' Much in the mould of Elizabeth Berrow, who was pitch-forked into the job of running Berrow's Worcester Journal sixty years before, Anne Deighton must have been a woman of fortitude or, with six children to bring up, she would not have taken on such a commitment. In the circumstances she might have been excused for adopting a laissez-faire policy and letting the paper continue on its own momentum without change.

To the contrary, in the twelve years she was responsible for the paper there was no lack of imagination in its direction or failure to move with the times, and notable changes were introduced under the management. These included the absorption of the other Conservative paper in the city, The Worcestershire Guardian, after a short life of eleven years; the enlargement of the printing premises and the introduction of new plant; the opening of a branch office at Stratford-on-Avon; and editorially a better presentation of leading articles, the first use of the ''electric telegraph'' to speed up national news, the collating of London news under a heading ''Talk of the Town'' in the form of a London Letter, the development of local police court reporting and the first use of woodcuts to illustrate news reports. From 1836 to the present day Berrow's has had many changes of proprietorship, although, rather surprisingly, the title has remained unaltered.

In 1880 Charles Henry Birbeck, the then proprietor, founded the Worcester Daily Times, the associated evening newspaper of the Berrow's Worcester Journal Co Ltd was formed by a party of local Conservatives, including Alfred Baldwin, father of Earl Baldwin, who bought the interests of Mr Birbeck. In 1937 the company, by then also owners of a Worcester evening paper, and several other weeklies, was amalgamated with George Williams Press Ltd, owners of the Worcester Evening News and a group of weeklies, to form the new George Williams Press with premises in the Trinity thus now publishing the Evening News and Times, The Berrow's Worcester Journal (in which was incorporated the Worcestershire Advertiser), the Kidderminster Times, the Stourport News, the Droitwich Guardian, The Ledbury Reporter and the Evesham Standard.

The Malvern Gazette was acquired in 1938 and the Malvern News merged with it. After the war, George Williams and Berrow's Limited became a public company known as Berrow's Newspapers Limited. In the late 1940s the News of the World became the majority shareholder in Berrow's Newspapers Ltd, later to come under the wing of News International Ltd, who also publish the Sun newspaper. In 1965 the company moved from the old premises in the centre of the city at the Trinity to a new building in Hylton Road which was officially opened by the Mayor of Worcester, Alderman Exall, on October 14, 1965. In 1982 Berrow's Worcester Journal, together with its sister newspapers were taken over by Reed International. In 1983 a decision was taken to re-launch Berrow's Worcester Journal as the county's weekly newspaper. The re-launch was put into effect with the issue of June 16 that year. The new look Berrow's Journal was aimed at the middle to up-market readership, with a strong county and farming flavour.

The style of Berrow's Journal changed again on June 26, 1987 when it became a free newspaper, mainly for the city of Worcester and on July 8, 1988 a new county edition was published with the title Berrow's Worcestershire Journal. In 1990, we celebrated our Tercentenary (1690-1990) and our 300-year-old link with the community which has been our lifeblood. Specially commissioned china was produced by Worcester Porcelain, at its nearby city factory, to mark the historic occasion.

Now, as we fast approach the Millennium, the new chapter in the Journal's history is one which returns to a theme of independence. Following Reed International's decision to part with its newspaper titles, including the Journal, a new company was formed in January 1996 after a management buyout. Newsquest Media Group is now the proud owner of the World's oldest newspaper which is a living piece of history. Here's to the next 300 years...


Full Chapter List
Chapter 1: A Place in History
Chapter 2: Enter Mr Berrow
Chapter 3: Fatalities in the City
Chapter 4: First Woman Editor
Chapter 5: Mayoral Conflict
Chapter 6: To The Present Day
Chapter 7: Newspaper History

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