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The Street of Ink


The Street of Ink

An Intimate History of Journalism


H. Simonis

With Eighty Portraits
and other Illustrations

Cassell and Company, Ltd

London, New York, Toronto and Melbourne


First Printed March i6th, 1917.
Second Impression March 22nd, 1917.
Third Impression March 29th, 1917.
Fourth Impression, April 3rd, 1917.



In token of

many delightful memories

and of

a debt of gratitude

that has grown with every succeeding year


Lord Northcliffe and Lord Burnham

Printing House Square,
London, E.G.

It is kind and characteristic
of Mr. Simonis in the midst
of a very busy hfe, to try
and get together data about
the newspapers of 191 7. Such
parts of the book as I have
read are fascinating, and I
beheve that it will prove
of great assistance to future
historians of the Press.

Fleet Street,

London, E.C,

For three generations my
family have lived in the
Street of Ink for the best
part of their lives, and, there-
fore, its story is to me of
absorbing interest. Our office
is full of the memories of
great journalists, who came
and went day by day, mostly
for many years, as they had
come and gone through the old
building it replaced.

It was a sound instinct to have
put Delane among the makers
of Victorian England, and none
can understand the political and
social life of the Empire to-day
— the History of the Present —
without they know something
of the journals and the jour-
nalists who proclaim its ideals,
echo its thoughts, and stimulate
its activities.

Your book will, I think, be
important and useful to those
who wish to read aright the
meaning of this tremendous




I. Early Reminiscences. My Start in the Street of

2. The Birth of the Popular Press, Old and New

Journalism g

3. The Times ........ 23

4. The Morning Post ....... 33

5. The Daily Telegraph ...... 39

6. The Daily News . ... . . . .46

7. The Daily Mail and the Evening News ... 59

8. The Daily Chronicle and Lloyd's Weekly Neics . . 68

9. The Daily Express ....... 76

10. Some Picture Papers : the Daily Mirror and the

Sunday Pictorial ...... 79

11. Hulton's : the Daily Sketch and the Sunday Herald 86

12. The London Evening Papers : the Globe, the West-

minster Gazette, the Evening Standard, the Pall Mall
Gazette, and the Star ..... 94

I J. The London Financial and Sporting Papers : the
Financial Times, the Financial News, the Sporting
Life and the Sportsman . . . . .110

14. The London Sunday Newspapers : the Observer, the
Sunday Times, the News of the World, the Weekly
Dispatch, the Referee, the People, Reynolds's News-
paper ........ 126



15. The News Agencies : Renter's, Press Association, Cen-

tral News, Exchange Telegraph Co., London News
Agency, the Imperial Press Conference . . 157

16. The Provincial Press : Aberdeen Free Press, Aber-

deen Journal, Belfast Evening Telegraph, Birming-
ham Daily Post, Birmingham Daily Mail, Bir-
mingham Dispatch, Birmingham Gazette, Bolton
Evening News, Bristol Evening Times and Echo,
Bristol Times and Mirror, Cambria Daily Leader,
Dundee Advertiser, Eastern Daily Press, East
Anglian Daily Times, Edinburgh Scotsman, Edin-
burgh Evening Dispatch, Glasgow Evening News,
Glasgow Herald, Hull Daily Mail, Irish Indepen-
dent, Irish Times, Leeds Mercury, Leicester Daily
Post, Liverpool Courier, Liverpool Post and Mer-
cury, Manchester Guardian, Newcastle Chronicle,
North Mail, Northern Echo, Nottingham Daily
Express, Nottingham Guardian, Sheffield Daily
Telegraph, Sheffield Independent, South Wales Daily
News, South Wales Daily Post, Ulster Echo, Western
Mail, Western Daily Mercury, Western Morning
News, Wolverhampton Express and Star, Worcester-
shire Echo, Yorkshire Post, etc.

17. The Illustrated Papers : the Illustrated London

Neivs, the Sketch, the Sphere, the Graphic, the
Daily Graphic, the Bystander, and the Taller

18. Some Well-known Journals and Journalists :

Punch, Truth, the Field, the Athenceum, the Spec-
tator, the Nation, Land and Water, the Exchange
<ind Mart, London Opinion, John Bull, the Passing
Show, etc. .....

19. The House of Cassell.

20. George Newnes, Limited

21. The Amalgamated Press

22. C. Arthur Pearson, Limited .







Contents xi


23. The Religious Press : the British Weekly, the Chris-

tian, the Christian World, the Church Family
Newspaper, the Church Times, the Friend, the
Guardian, the Methodist Recorder, the Rehgions
Tract Society, the Sunday School Chronicle, etc. 302

24. The American and French Press . . . -318

25. The Paper Everybody Wants .... 325

26. The Trade Press and Conclusion




The Street of Ink ...... Frontispiece


I. — Lord Northcliffe, Lord Burnham, Mr. Frank

Lloyd, Professor Stuart, Lord Glenesk . i6

II. — ^Mr. Ernest Parke, J. P., Mr. J. A. Spender, Mr.
T. P. O'Connor, M.P., Mr. Robert Donald, Sir
F. C. Gould ....... 32

III. — Sir Arthur Pearson, Bart., Mr. H. T. Cadbury,
Mr. a. G. Gardiner, Mr. J. Douglas, Sir E. T.
Cook ........ 48

IV. — The Late Lord Burnham, Sir George Riddell,
Lord Rothermere, Mr. E. Hulton, Sir Frank
Newnes, Bart. ...... 64

v.— Mr. J. M. Le Sage, Mr. T. Marlowe, Mr. R. D.
Blumenfeld, Mr. W. T. Madge, Mr. A. S. M.
Hutchinson ....... 80

VI. — Mr. a. H. Mann, Mr. D. M. Sutherland, Mr. J.

Heddle, Mr. W. J. Evans, Mr. Wilson Pope . 96

VII.— Mr. J. L. Garvin, Mr. W. E. Berry. Mr. R. Butler,

Mr. Emsley Carr, Mr. H. Swaffer . . .112

VIII. — Mr. Roderick Jones, Mr. J. Gennings, Mr. E.

RoBBiNs, Mr. C. Baker, Mr. Winton Thorpe . 128

IX. — Sir Edward Russell, Mr. C. P. Scott, Mr. J. P.

Croal, Mr. J. S. R. Phillips, Mr. A. G. Jeans . 144

xiv List of Illustrations


X. — Mrs. Broomfield, Mr. John Oakley, Mr. A. E.

Spender. Mr. R.A.J. Walling, Mr. David Duncan i6o

XI.— Mr. H. a. Gwynne, Mr. C. W. Starmer, J. P., Mr.
A. Cozens-Hardy, Mr. R. H. H. Baird, J. P., Mr.
G. R. Sims 176

XII. — Mr. Arthur Spurgeon, J. P., Mr. Newman Flower,
Mr. Carmichael Thomas, Mr. G. A. Sutton,
Mr. Kennedy Jones, M.P. .... 192

XIII. — Mr. C. K. Shorter, Mr. Bruce Ingram, Mr. J. M.

Bulloch, Mr. E. Huskinson, Mr. George King 208

XIV.— Sir Gilbert Parker, Bart., P.C, M.P., Mr. J.
St. Loe Strachey, Mr. H. W. Massingham, Rt.
Hon. C. F. G. Masterman, Sir W. Robertson
NicoLL ........ 224

XV. — Dr. E. Hermitage Day, Mr. J. Penderel-Brodhurst,
Mr. Herbert Clarke, Mr. G. E. Morgan, Mr.
H. Upward ....... 240

XVI. — Sir Hedley Le Bas, Mr. H. L. Hendriks, Mr. F. J.
Hillier, Sir Theodore Cook, Mr. Percival
Marshall ........ 256

List of Illustrations




The West End of Fleet Street, with a Glimpse of

Temple Bar, 1799 ....... 14

The House of John Walter the Second, showing the
Elm Tree in Printing House Square, 1794 ; the
Old Printing Office of The Times

The Cambridge Coach leaving the Belle Sauvage
Inn ; Inner Court of the Belle Sauvage Inn .







Original Contents Bill of the Daily Telegraph . . 40

Charles Dickens, Founder of the Daily News . . 47

Facsimile of Extract from Letter written by Charles

Dickens .....•••• 58

Bright Bill of the Evening News ..... 65

One of Phil May's Illustrations from the De Rougemont

Souvenir ...•••••• 72

" Damot "—A Typical S/ay Bill no

Original Contents Bill of the People . . . .150

xvi Acknowledgments


The Publishers acknowledge, with many thanks, the courtesy
of the following firms for kindly granting permission to use the
Photographs specified : —

Messrs. Russell and Sons, for Lord Burnham, Mr. Car-
MicHAEL Thomas, Sir F. C. Gould, Mr. Thomas Marlowe, Mr.
W. J. Evans, Mr. G. E. Morgan, Mr. R. Butler, Sir Theodore
Cook, Sir E. Russell, Mr. J. P. Croal ; Messrs. Elliott and
Fry, for Mr. J. A. Spender, Mr. James Douglas, Sir E. T. Cook,
Mr. R. D. Blumenfeld, Mr. Emsley Carr, Mr. D. M. Suther-
land, Mr. J. Penderel-Brodhurst, Mr. H. Upward, Mr. T. P.
O'Connor, M.P. ; Messrs. Bassano, Limited, for Mr. Robert
Donald, Mr. Bruce Ingram, Mr. H. A. Gwynne ; The Central
News, for Mr. A. G. Gardiner ; Mr. Ernest Brookes, for the
late Lord Burnham ; Messrs. Langfier, Limited, for Mr.
HuLTON ; Mr. F. A. Swaine, for Mr. J. M. Bulloch ; Mr. E. O.
Hoppe, for Sir Hedley Le Bas, Mr. C. K. Shorter, Mr. E.
Huskinson, Sir W. Robertson Nicoll ; Mr. Ernest H. Mills,
for Mr. George King ; The Daily Mirror Studios, for Mr.
J. L. Garvin ; Messrs. Boughtons, Ipswich, for the Right
Hon. C. F. G. Masterman ; Messrs. Vandyk, for Mr. H. L.
Hendriks, Mr. H. W. Massingham, and the Author; and Mr.
Frederick Hollyer, for Mr. C. P. Scott.


Some authors have said that when they write their books
the characters take the narrative into their own
hands, and the story develops into something quite
different from the original conception. That has been my
experience with this contribution to the history of the

I had been playing golf one day at Walton Heath with
Sir George Riddell and my colleague James Douglas,
and in the course of the round Sir George asked me how I
came to take up journalism for a career. When I told
him my modest story he asked why I did not write a book
about my experiences, and the question came from him
with added force, as many of my friends had often told me
that I ought to do so. Hitherto I had never thought that
such an undertaking^ would interest anvone outside the
circle of my intimate friends, but I now began to wonder
if in the course of my experience I had gathered facts and
knowledge which would be appreciated bv a wider circle
of readers.

When I reached home I jotted down some notes about
my early experiences and the wav in which Mr. Ernest
Parke gave me my first real start in life, together with
a few other recollections, but believing that a writer is not
the best judge of his own work, I determined to obtain
the opinion of someone whose judgment I could rely
upon. It seemed to me that my friend. Sir Gilbert Parker,

xviii Introduction

was probably the best person to give me the verdict I
wanted. He is a man of varied gifts, who always im-
presses me as possessing intellectual powers and mental
force which will carry him to any heights that he may
aspire to. He has gathered an unrivalled knowledge of
men and affairs in all parts of the world, and is not only
a great writer, but has an intimate knowledge of all the
best authors. Added to these qualities he is what I may
best describe as a most "understandable" man, who can
look at everything with appreciation of the point of view
of the average individual. I asked this sympathetic and
delightful friend (to whom I am glad to pay this tribute
of regard) if he would kindly look through my preliminary
manuscript, and made up my mind to abide by what he

Sir Gilbert was good enough to say that he was con-
vinced the book would prove a real and valuable addition
to knowledge of life in Fleet Street and journalism, and
the conception of it then became a definite decision.

Much of the material has appeared week by week in
the Newspaper World. I received hundreds of letters
from journalists all over the country, expressing pleasure
and making suggestions, and it became obvious that a
book which would bring the history of journalism up to
date, and show the developments and enterprise of the
Press from an intimate knowledge of the various news-
papers and agencies, would be welcome. Along these
lines the articles developed, and I set myself to obtain
from those whom I met the additional details which
would amplify my own experience. In this book portions of
the Newspaper World articles have been deleted, others
have been enlarged, and many entirely new chapters have

Introduction xix

been added. No history of journalism could be given in
complete detail in the compass of one volume of the normal
size, as this book shows. If one were to take the weekly
provincial papers alone, there are hundreds of such papers,
any of which would afford material for a volume. Each
wields considerable influence, and each is the product of
many enterprising and capable brains. Their work, as in
the case of the dailies, is assisted by outside contributors,
and the literary columns are therefore produced by the
combined efforts of a number of experienced and cultured

All that one can do, short of producing an encyclo-
pcedia, is to indicate the influence and enterprise of the
Press as a whole by means of typical examples which come
within one's own experience.

Unfortunately, also, a number of portraits had to be
omitted because they reached me too late for inclusion,
owing to the time required for the very careful printing
of the photogravure plates. The selection given, although
incomplete, will, I think, be found to be representative of
the various branches of journalism.

It is a good thing that journalists should be able to
stand aside from the details of their work and view from a
detached plane the romance of their profession. The
history of the Press is a record of initiative and per-
severance, and the triumph of pluck in face of stupendous
difficulties. It contains much laughter and many tears. It
disposes very effectually of the general belief that any
fool can run a newspaper, and shows on the contrary that
only the keenest intellects can cope with the problems that
confront a journalist every day of his life. The tears, I
have tried to leave out of the following pages. The

XX Introduction

laughter, I hope, is there side by side with many stories
which will prove an inspiration and encouragement, both
to the critical readers in my own calling and to the general
reader who cannot fail to acquire increased admiration
with increased knowledge of the Fourth Estate.

Many distinguished journalists have taken consider-
able trouble to amplify my personal recollections and
verify my facts, so that the record which I have
set down in these pages may be accurate as well as
adequate. Their courtesy in this respect, the interest
which they have been good enough to take, and the en-
couragement they have given me by their kind references
to my work have strengthened my opinion of the comrade-
ship which is bred in the Street of Ink, and have made my
labour of love doubly delightful.

H. S.




Looking back over the happy years that I have spent in
the Street of Ink I realise more than ever what a fascinat-
ing place it is, and how it offers each day new experiences
and new prospects that can hardly be paralleled in any
other calling. It will be my endeavour in this book to
record from my own experiences, and from those of the
leading journalists with whom it has been my privilege to
come into contact, the story of the modern Press from the
intimate, inside point of view. The result can hardly fail
to impress more strongly upon the mind of its reader, as
it did upon my own, the fact that no career offers more
variety, more interest, and more reward for enterprise and
grit than the profession of journalist. The history of
every paper, be it London or provincial, daily or weekly,
newspaper or periodical, is a romance of enterprise, the
reading of which could not fail to uplift and encourage the
ambitious young man, for whose benefit, as well as for
that of every journalist who is proud of his work, this
book is written. If I begin with my personal experiences,
it is not from egotism but from a desire to illustrate the
truth of this statement as I have proved it for myself.

One of my friends asked me once whether I remem-
bered my first business transaction. It took my mind back
to my childhood's days — I was actually nine years of age— »


2 The Street of Ink

when I disposed of a stamp album which must have been
worth at least ^'8o, for 2d., a piece of chocolate cream,
and a penknife. From that unpromising beginning until
to-day, my memories range over such experiences of
change and progress that I think they will be found in-
teresting to most readers who themselves have witnessed
many of the developments that have taken place, although
in many cases from different standpoints.

Whereas (notice the legal beginning) my personal
leanings were towards the Law, family responsibilities
compelled me to change my plans. Being always fond of
stringing words together and trying to make sense of
them, journalism naturally attracted me. I taught myself
shorthand, and practised it at night time until I was able
to report. I then obtained a small position with a publica-
tion called Latest Bits, where I graduated in the approved
style by combining all sorts of functions, and gained
my first experience in journalistic methods. The first
number was cleverly advertised by means of a contents bill
containing a picture by Dudley Hardy, showing a beauti-
ful nurse carrying a baby which she was showing to the
delighted father. Underneath appeared the words, "The
Latest Arrival." I also recall a bright scheme by which
readers of that paper were invited to send in their photo-
graphs, which were used as illustrations by altering the
faces. For instances, a clean-shaven man would be given
a moustache, a bald man a fine head of hair, and so on.
In this way I had the gratification of discovering myself,
with certain improvements, figuring in an illustration as
the hero of a great naval story.

Changes in Newspapers. — Life in Fleet Street was as
exacting in most newspaper departments then as it is to-
day, though it was very different. We had our }4d. daily
papers in the Morning Leader, the Morning, and, a little
later, the Morning Herald. The latter two did not
long survive, but the Morning Leader always prospered.

Early Reminiscences 3

and the coming of the Daily Mail four years later proved
that the era of the popular Press had arrived. Fourteen
years ago, in some monthly notes, which I v^-rote for a
great many years under the heading of "In and Around
Fleet Street," I prophesied that The Times would be re-
duced in price, and that the Daily News and the Daily
Chronicle would be sold at 5^d. The launching of the
Tribune, Sir George Newnes's Daily Courier venture, and
W. T. Stead's Daily Paper — all three penny papers — ■
showed in their brief careers the difficulty of establishing
a newspaper and the fact that the days of the new penny
London dailies were numbered. We little thought, how-
ever, that we should see the death of the Standard (which,
like the Daily Telegraph, showed evidence of progress,
and had handsome offices erected for it in Fleet Street) ;
nor did w'e anticipate the remarkable progress which would
be made by papers like the Daily News and the Daily
Chronicle, when they reduced their price to >2d., and,
while retaining their old readers, added hundreds of
thousands of new ones to their circulations. It is some-
times suggested that a couple of decades ago conditions
were far more lax than they are to-day. If anything, the
times were more strenuous, and the fact w^as just as
evident then that a man will make or break his reputation
in Fleet Street within two years.

As an example of the "stick-to-it-ness " of the leading
newspaper magnates, I well remember that Mr. Ernest
Parke, the editor of the Star and Morning Leader,
with whom, I am happy to say, I am still closely
associated, used to be at the office at 7 a.m. to
see the Star leaders before going to press, and he
was also to be found in the same place at 10 o'clock in
the evening to put the Morning Leader to bed. He never
took a whole week's holiday, and as a result most of us did
not care to go away either. Both by his example and
kindly encouragement he got the best possible work out

4 The Street of Ink

of all his men, and there is not one member of his old
staff who would not lose his right hand to render him
a service.

Saturday morning holidays and an occasional afternoon
for golf were quite unknown. Indeed, I frequently worked
until quite as late on Saturdays as on any other day in the
week. While, however, this shows how busy we had to
be, I am not at all sure that we are not wiser to-day.

Clothes and the Man. — I also remember that twenty
years ago no man on the commercial side of a newspaper
would have ventured into Fleet Street unless dressed in a
frock coat and silk hat. Even in the hottest July or
August days, a straw hat was very rarely seen, and when
a man did appear in one he was immediately singled out
as a holiday-maker, and certainly was not treated as a
serious business man. As an example of this, I recall an
occasion when I was with a big company promoter and a
card was brought in.

"What sort of a man is he? " the clerk was asked.

"Not important, sir, he's wearing a lounge suit and
straw hat," was the reply.

"Well, then, tell him I'm engaged."

That man, who represented a really important paper,
and was one of the best fellows I ever knew, was refused
an interview because of his clothes. I ventured to say that
I couldn't help catching sight of the name on the card,
and as the man was "Somebody," thought that he ought to
have been seen. The boy was sent after him, but he had
disappeared. I know that this hasty decision on the part
of my promoter friend in not seeing this very able young
newspaper man resulted in heavy loss to them both.

A Pleasing Camaraderie. — It is pleasing to note the
camaraderie that exists to-day in all departments of a news-
paper oflfice as compared with twenty years ago. Mr.
Moberly Bell, then manager of The Times, told me
that a score of years ago it was an unheard of

Early Reminiscences 5

thing for a member of the editorial staff of The Times
to be seen talking to any member of the commercial
department. Indeed, there was a long period when it was
not only a rule that no word of The Times should appear
in the advertisement columns, and no word of advertise-
ment in the news columns, but men working on the paper
were actually forbidden to know each other. Mr. Moberly
Bell also told a story of a man, formerly the head
messenger of The Times, who died some time in 1892. He
is reported to have gone to Delane with bated breath and
said that Mr. Ross was seen speaking to Mr. Wilson in
the passage ; and those two men had been working for
twenty years together in the same building and had never
known each other.

A Start in Fleet Street. — The generally accepted
recipe for acquiring a fortune is either to begin with
an empty pocket or else, like the late Mr. Pierpont
Morgan, to start with a comfortable fortune and
multiply it. I had neither of these advantages, but
struck a happy medium, which I hope may lead to a pro-
portionate result. To be exact, my personal capital when
I entered Fleet Street one Saturday morning amounted to
95^d., plus a good general education — which, with other
advantages, I owe almost entirely to my mother and her
patience and kindness — a rough knowledge of journalism,
and the ability to take a report in shorthand as a result
of laborious self-tuition.

Fleet Street asks nothing from a man except ability to
meet its requirements and industry to carry them out. I
had, however, a valuable introduction to Mr. Ernest Parke,
of the Morning Leader and Star. Replying to my appli-
cation for an editorial appointment, he merely said that he
had no vacancy, but if, in spite of that fact, I still wished
to see him, I could call. So I duly called at Stonecutter
Street, and was very charmingly treated. He listened
patiently to my story, questioned me as to my education

6 The Street of Ink

and experience, and finally suggested that they might find
a niche for me on the commercial side.

As a result I interviewed Mr. W. Homeyard, who
said that Mr. Parke had spoken to him kindly about
me while I was on my way to see him, and to cut a
long story short, I was engaged at the princely salary
of 30s. per week. A sixpenny telegram to my mother
reduced my capital to 3^2d., part of which I ex-
pended on refreshment, the remainder serving to take me
part way home on a tram. Thus, I can claim actually

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