December 12, 2019 History of Whitchurch Herald & Herald Printers

FROM STEAM TO AUTOMATION

Steam Power

The first Herald was printed by steam power and set by hand with the compositors averaging 6d per 1000 characters set, but the invention of the linotype mechanical typesetting machines saw its introduction to Whitchurch in 1900, followed by another in 1906 and subsequent additions and replacements over the years up to 1978.

Linotype

An indication of the impact of the linotype was that it increased typesetting capacity to about 1000 words or 5000 characters per hour from the handset average of about 150 words per hour and re-distribution costs. In the content was substantial extracts from London and other gazettes which, were of necessity, pre-set well in advance of publication date, leaving just a few columns for local news to be set in publication week.

Automation

Now computerized typesetting has revolutionized the newspaper industry. Mr Robert Barrow Jones was succeeded by his grandson of the same name, and he continued as proprietor until he relinquished his interests in 1923. He lived in Chester Road, Whitchurch, dying in late 1950s, and was a relative of the Smith family of the Foundry.

Circulation Power

The newspaper had always been wholly independent and not affiliated to any other newspaper group and circulated in a 15-mile radius of Whitchurch with circulation centres mainly within the North Shropshire District Council, the Maelor and South Cheshire. A survey to provide information for the Weekly Newspaper Advertising Bureau reference book revealed that 965 of households in the primary circulation area took the Herald with a peak coverage 135% (business and private) for the town of Whitchurch. Few towns of Whitchurch’s small size and population possessed their own independent newspaper – a situation that certainly rarely exists today. A 1996 survey shows 76% of the households in Whitchurch took the Herald and 57% in the Malpas and South Cheshire area.

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