The Newark Advertiser 
 
Bringing home the news
The Advertiser had its beginnings in 1847, when printer William Tomlinson of Stodman Street issued the first Newark Monthly Advertiser. It had four pages and cost 1d.
After the 1854 repeal of the Stamp Act, which had made newspapers prohibitively costly, hundreds of papers were founded, but only the best survived.

In 1854 Mr Tomlinson made his journal a weekly publication, called it the Newark Advertiser And Farmers' Journal, doubled its size to eight pages and trebled the price to 3d.

He needed some help and he engaged a 21-year-old shorthand writer from Nottingham, Samuel Whiles, to be editor and reporter.

Within eight years, Mr Whiles (pictured left) had married Mr Tomlinson's daughter and when his father-in-law died he became the sole owner of the Advertiser.

He decided to concentrate on the printing and stationery side of the business so he in turn brought in a young journalist to be the Advertiser editor.

The year was 1874 and the move was one of the most signifant in the Advertiser's story. The new editor was a 22-year-old from Lowdham who was working as a reporter on the Nottingham Daily Guardian.

His name: Cornelius Brown (pictured right).

In the next 33 years Cornelius Brown was to become the author of seven major books, including the massive two-volume History of Newark, which took 15 years to write, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Within months of taking the editor's chair, young Mr Brown was ready to buy a half share in the newspaper, for which he paid Mr Whiles 600.

The two partners agreed that until a working fund of 300 had been created out of the profits neither would draw more than 8 a month from the profits for his own use.

Mr Whiles was to manage the business side; Mr Brown was in charge of editorial matters. The Advertiser was being printed in Nottingham because there were no adequate facilities in Newark.

But young Mr Brown found this a tedious disadvantage and in 1880 the firm took premises at the corner of Appletongate and Magnus Street to house a Wharfedale printing press.

Cornelius Brown married and set up home at Almar House, Westgate, Southwell. It was there that his first child was born in 1881. She was named Ethel and later became Mrs R. P. Blatherwick.

Cornelius Brown already had one book to his credit The Annals of Newark and in 1882 came The Worthies of Notts. Then Mr Brown laid his author's pen aside for three or four years to concentrate on the second important step in the Advertiser story.

The Newark Advertiser Co Ltd was incorporated; the date: September 19 1882.

Six weeks later half a dozen men met at the Middlegate offices of solicitors Newton and Wallis (now Tallents Godfrey).

They were the subscribers to the Memorandum of Association of the Newark Advertiser Co Ltd namely: Mr Brown Major George Mark Leycester Egerton Captain William Henry Coape Oates MP Mr William Newzam Nicholson Mr John Burton Barrow and Mr William Newton.

They were all allocated shares as were four more men who had made application: Mr Joseph Gilstrap Branston Mr William Evelyn Denison Viscount Newark (later MP for Newark) and Colonel James Thorpe.

Mr Barrow's interest in the firm was short-lived. Either he found a better use for his money or he had little faith in the new venture for he sold his four shares two and a half years later.

Mr Branston followed suit the next year. But at that meeting in 1882 the company got off the ground. Major Egerton was made chairman and Mr Brown was appointed secretary, manager and editor at a salary of 200 a year.

That salary remained unchanged for 21 years, at the end of which time Mr Brown himself proposed that it should be cut to 156 because he was handing over the responsibility of night-work to a younger man.

Under young Mr Brown's editorship the Advertiser continued to flourish.

The board spent 50 shillings (2.50) on a treat for the workmen to celebrate Queen Victoria's golden jubilee. And though it was also decided to buy a new printing press Mr Brown later reported that he could alter the present one to make it do.

The economy-minded Mr Brown was still travelling daily from Southwell but in 1889 a house was built for him next to the works. It was built by Brown and Son at a cost of 490.

The Advertiser began to move into a technological age, buying a 2hp gas engine to supplement the steam power, and in 1895 installing The Telephone. Two years later came the first Linotype machine on hire.

Within months came electric light installed at a cost of 100.

Mr Whiles, original owner of the Advertiser, had maintained his connection with it as cashier and publisher, for the paper was still being published from Stodman Street.

When he died in 1900 he was succeeded by his son Mr Herbert Whiles. It is a fact of life that newspapers thrive on bad news and in February 1901 Mr Brown was able to report to the board that "owing to the death of Her Gracious Majesty they had been exceptionally busy and the paper for the last three weeks had sold extremely well."

It It was in 1903 that Mr J. C. Kew (pictured left) came on to the Advertiser scene in a significant way. He had already been writing for the paper for some years and also ran a coal business at Beaumond Cross.

He was later to be chairman of Newark Rural District Council for 21 years and during that time served two years as Mayor of Newark. Mr Brown at the age of 51 decided to hand over some of his editorial ponsibillities to Mr Kew who was then 35.

It was a prophetic decision for just four years later Cornelius Brown died and Mr Kew became editor. Mr Brown had attended the October board meeting in 1907 but was taken ill ten days later after correcting the final proofs of his History of Newark.

He died on November 4 without seeing the published version of Volume II. The death of Cornelius Brown was a tragic blow to the Advertiser.

But it is the way of newspapers to keep publishing on the appointed day whatever the circumstances. A board meeting was convened.

It was attended by the then chairman Mr Denison and one other director, Mr Francis Hamer Oates. Mr Oates was asked to act as temporary managing director; Mr Kew was appointed editor and manager and Mr Whiles was invited to continue his work as cashier and publisher but now under the title of secretary.

With Within three months Mr Oates was confirmed in his managing directorship at a salary of £40 a year. The Advertiser settled down to a long and successful period under Mr Kew's editorship which went on through the 1914-18 war and beyond.

When the war ended it was possible to think in terms of streamlining the organisation. In 1919 the publishing of the paper was at last moved from Mr Whiles' Stodman Street shop to the Appletongate premises. And in 1921 some major expenditure was approved.

The old Wharfedale press was to be replaced by the Advertiser's first web press (where paper is fed through from a reel instead of individual sheets). It was a Cossar and cost 760.

It was also decided to spend 235 on building alterations and 100 on a new gas engine. Technological advance was moving again.

The Advertiser's second editor died as unpredictably as the first and once again the changeover to a successor had to be made without interrupting regular publication.

The next editor was Mr Kew's nephew Mr Cyril Parlby (pictured right) who had joined the Advertiser staff as a reporter when he came home from the first world war.

He had been made a director in 1923 and on January 11 1930 he was formally appointed editor. He was then 34 years old and was destined to remain in the editorial chair longer than either of his predecessors: 37 years.

Mr Kew had been chairman as well as editor at the time of his death and he was succeeded by Lieutenant-Colonel William Coape Oates.

Two years later the Advertiser lost its secretary, Mr Whiles, who died after a long illness.

His successor was Miss Kitty Garner and thus a woman's name appeared for the first time in the company's minutes. The Cossar press was replaced by a new Cossar in 1935.

Two combustion stoves in the composing room and the machine room were replaced by "a central heating apparatus" cost: 60.

In 1938 Miss Garner resigned because she had other business interests which were expanding. Her successor was Miss Violet Froggatt who died aged 92.

Mr Alan Willows was appointed and then in 1995 Mr Paul Dover became company secretary.

The Advertiser's link with Cornelius Brown has never been severed. His son-in-law Mr R. P. Blatherwick became a director in 1939 and was followed by his son and then his grandson.

The 1939-45 war brought stupendous production problems. War-time controls restricted the size of the paper. Like his uncle 28 years before editor Mr Parlby became a wartime Mayor of Newark.

As such he presided on the borough bench and wrote court reports for the paper which had at one time only one reporter too old for military service.

The smallest editions of the Advertiser were published in the last years of the war for despatch to servicemen in the Far East.

One page 9 by 6in was printed on the inside of an airmail letter form and relatives wrote their own message on the back and posted the letter.

The sheet contained a selection of news and pictures from the parent Advertiser and was described as the Indian Miniature Edition. 700 were printed weekly.

After the war but before the Advertiser could get moving again in peace-time ease it faced a historic libel suit brought by Professor Harold Laski then chairman of the Labour Party.

It was historic because it was the last libel action to be heard before a special jury. The action concerned a remark made by Professor Laski in Newark Market Place during the 1945 General Election campaign.

Professor Laski denied saying in an open-air question-and-answer session that if Labour could not obtain what it needed by general consent "we shall have to use violence even if it means revolution." The remark was reported by the Advertiser on June 20 1945.

The case was tried in the High Court of Justice King's Bench Division before Lord Goddard Lord Chief Justice of England at the end of November 1946.

The co-defendants, the Advertiser and editor Mr Parlby, won and were awarded costs. Now the Advertiser could concentrate on moving forward once more.

Demand for the paper still exceeded the output allowed by post-war restrictions. A fourth Linotype machine was bought a photographic department was set up for the first time and plans were drawn for improvements to the premises.

The war had been over for nearly four years but the possibility of getting the plans approved seemed remote. In fact they were never used and it was not until 1952 that a modernisation scheme could get under way. It was to take three years.

The original tiny reception office was enlarged as were the composing room and the machine room.

In 1958 it was time for the old Cossar press to give way to a rotary press a Hoe. This took about three months to instal during which time the Advertiser was printed at Retford.

After a few teething troubles the Hoe began rotating to great effect circulation reached 15,000 and plans were afoot to attract a readership in the Radcliffe area.

A Bingham and Radcliffe edition and a Dukeries edition were both launched by 1960 in which year the Advertiser also bought out its competitor the Newark Herald.

More extensions to the building were started in 1964 adding to the second floor which at that time consisted only of the photographic department.

The biggest addition was a light and spacious newsroom. The original publication day, Wednesday, was altered first to Saturday and finally to Friday. The next technological step forward was the biggest in the Advertiser's history.

Mr Roger Parlby (pictured left) son of the editor was appointed Deputy Editor with a special responsibility to research offset-litho printing.

Within four months he submitted to the board a recommendation that a web offset printing press be purchased largely to give better picture reproduction and to make colour printing possible. Chairman Mr R. P. Blatherwick was by now 87 years old.

He felt it was time to resign from the chair and from the board. Mr Cyril Parlby became chairman and resigned the editorship to Mr Roger Parlby.

The year was 1967. A custom-built printing works went up behind the town's courthouse and in the first days of 1968 a super-modern web offset printing press made by Solna was brought over the sea from Sweden.

It printed its first Advertiser together with a full-colour supplement on the memorable but long long night of March 1 1968.

The next month the Advertiser's first commercial contract was undertaken. Photo-setting was introduced into the composing room in 1970 for speedier and cleaner production.

The hot-metal equipment used in varying stages of development over the previous 73 years was sold and printer's ink was banished for ever. Now the Advertiser was in the forefront of newspaper production.

It was the subject of Anglia TV's documentary Saturday's Paper. Earlier in 1969 the paper won a national Newspaper Design award. Circulation exceeded 23,000.

The latest expansion doubling the size of the premises got under way with the purchase of property next door to the original premises in Appletongate.

The plans were approved by the board, not least by the far-sighted chairman Mr Cyril Parlby. But he died days after presiding at a board meeting before the foundations could be laid.

Lieutenant-Colonel John Oates who had been a director since 1946 succeeded to the chairmanship like his father and uncle before him.

In due time a second press was needed and an eight-unit Creusot-Loire machine made in Nantes was installed. Later a separate pressroom was built in Brunel Drive on Newark's industrial estate.

In 2002 the printing operation was acquired by Mortons of Horncastle, allowing the newspaper to concentrate on its core business. When Colonel Oates died Mr Peter Blatherwick became company chairman following his grandfather.

Mr Parlby, already managing director, ceased to be editor in 1984.

He became editor-in-chief, with Mr Donald Wright appointed editor. In 2000, Mr Wright retired and was succeeded by Mr Harry Whitehouse.

Mr Parlby's daughter, Miss Joanna Parlby, established a new generation of the family at the Advertiser when she was appointed assistant managing director in 2001.

In the last ten years computers have become the paper's main production tool with pages being designed and created electronically.

With ISDN and megastream systems linking the pressroom to the Appletongate premises, pages with pictures are moved from one building to another as a series of electronic impulses.

And for the blind 200 tapes are sent out weekly to blind and partially sighted members of the community by a team of 100 volunteers.

The talking newspaper has been in existence for 20 years. Newspapers, like famous regiments, are very much creatures of their own traditions, style and pride.

The Advertiser's development is powered by a vigorous history - a thriving tradition that depends and feeds on enterprise.

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