IAs an archivist on the Heritage Lottery funded Heritage Builds Bridges project Richard Daniels is creating an online catalogue for the archives held by Hillingdons Local Studies, Archives and Museum Service. Through the project he has compiled a file on the history of the Gazette, of which he gives a taste here.
The Gazette began life as a Buckinghamshire paper and continues today as the Gazette with various editions for different areas but sources are confused about its origins. The ‘Victoria County History’ states that the paper began its life in 1840 as Broadwater’s Buckinghamshire Advertiser and Uxbridge Journal.
The British Library however claims that the origin of the paper is the Buckinghamshire and Adjacent Counties Advertiser, first edition 15th November 1853 and that this newspaper changed its name twice in 1855, firstly to the Buckinghamshire Advertiser, and Middlesex, Herts, Berks, Beds, and Oxon Gazette and then to the Buckinghamshire Advertiser, Uxbridge Journal, and Middlesex... Gazette.
The library claims that it was not until 1861 that the newspaper became Broadwater’s Buckinghamshire Advertiser, Uxbridge Journal etc.
The newspaper itself claims to have originated in 1840 as Broadwater’s Journal. It seems most likely that Broadwater started his journal in 1840 but it was not officially established as a newspaper until 1853, which is why that is the first edition kept at the British Library.
Whatever the origins of the paper, in 1860 its production was moved to premises in the King’s Arms Yard, Uxbridge.
William Broadwater seems to have been a bit of an entrepreneur, the 1861 census lists his occupations as: Chemist, Druggist, Printer, Stationer, Tea Dealer, Tobacconist, Artificial Manure Dealer, Printer & Publisher of the Standard Psalmist, Printer Publisher and Editor of the Buckinghamshire Advertiser, Employer of 7 men and 1 boy, clerk at home. He was living at the Crown Inn, Amersham.
Broadwater died in 1866 and his widow and daughter both named Elizabeth moved to Oxfordshire. Ownership of the newspaper probably passed to William Avery. In 1869 the paper was once more renamed as the Buckinghamshire Advertiser, Uxbridge and Middlesex Journal, etc. William Avery sold the newspaper to Samuel Loseby Torey in 1871 (a notice of the sale is kept in the archives). In 1890 the name was changed again to the Middlesex and Buckinghamshire Advertiser. In 1903 the paper was bought by Walter J. Hutchings who had established a printing works in Uxbridge High Street in 1880.
Mr Hutchings’ printers traded under the name of Hillingdon Press. Hillingdon Press had premises in Vine Street. James Hutchings (Walter’s nephew) recalled that by the mid 1880s, Walter J. had moved his printing works from the High Street to premises in Cricket Field Road.
The Advertiser’s offices were at 126 High Street, Uxbridge. The first edition of the newspaper under Hutchings’ ownership carried an insert from Walter J. stating that he had bought the paper and that he welcomed any reader’s suggestions for improvements.
Under Hutchings the newspaper was a supporter of the Liberal Party and in direct competition to the Conservative Party-supporting Uxbridge Gazette of John King. In 1906 Hutchings appointed Harry Tom Hamson (sub editor at the Merthyr Express) as editor of the advertiser, a position he was to hold until his retirement in 1946.
Hamson was also a keen local historian and the founder of the local history collection held at the Central Library at Uxbridge, he was also a member of the Ancient Order of Foresters in Uxbridge.
In 1917 Walter Hutchings died and his brothers Howard and Leonard sold the advertiser to the King Family. John King had established a printing business in the King’s Arms Yard and published the Uxbridge Gazette their from 1880. The King family continued to publish the Advertiser and discontinued the Gazette. In 1919 fire struck the King’s printing works, this led to the amalgamation of the two printing companies to form King and Hutchings Ltd. Printing of the Advertiser was returned to the works in Cricket Field Road. In 1922 the paper’s name was changed to the Middlesex Advertiser and County Gazette.
King and Hutchings Ltd acquired and published a number of local newspapers reaching as far as Hammersmith to the East, Beaconsfield and Buckinghamshire to the West, Chesham, Harrow and Kingsbury to the North and Southall and Heathrow to the South.
In 1952, the newspaper was significantly changed when its front page advertisements were replaced with news.
As with many other local newspapers and printing businesses, King and Hutchings was bought out in 1955 and became part of a growing publishing empire.
It was acquired by Westminster Press and by 1968, had become the King and Hutchings division of Westminster Press Ltd., which in turn was owned by S. Pearson Publishers Ltd.
Another fire in 1968 consumed the Cricket Field Road works and the paper had to be printed from other presses within Westminster Press Ltd. in Slough, Oxford and High Wycombe. But the Cricket Field Road premises were producing newspapers again by 1969.
In 1976 the newspaper became as it remains - the Gazette
The newspaper was bought by Middlesex County Press in 1986, and the following year the Cricketfield Road building was demolished.
The final name change came in 1989, when the Uxbridge and Hillingdon Gazette became the Uxbridge and West Drayton Gazette, with editions for Ruislip and Northwood, Hayes and Harlington and Harefield.
Around 1994, the Gazette moved offices to Times House, Ruislip, and by 2004, the newspaper was under the ownership of Trinity Mirror PLC. with offices Bakers Road, Uxbridge.