A History of The Glamorgan Gazette

Caroline Street, c.1899.

For over 100 years, The Glamorgan Gazette has been and continues to be a household name. After being given a few hundred original copies of the newspaper (dating 1946 - 1965) I have been researching the history of this well-known local publication.

An advertisement from the Cardiff and Merthyr Guardian, Glamorgan, Monmouth, and Brecon Gazette: 22nd June 1866.

On 29th of June 1866, the 'Central Glamorgan Gazette and General, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser' commenced publication. The newspaper was of four-page broadsheet format with seven columns.  The 'Central Glamorgan Gazette and General, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser' was founded and managed by John Hemming of Coity Road, Bridgend. He was connected with newspaper for over 30 years before moving on to other newspapers. At the time of his death in 1915, John Hemming was noted as "one of the oldest working journalists in the Principality".

In the August of 1877, South Wales was subjected to highly destructive floods. As a result of the flooding, the 'Central Glamorgan Gazette' offices were flooded. The stock of paper along with the files of the 'Central Glamorgan Gazette' were destroyed.

On 2nd of January 1880, the first issue of the 'Bridgend Chronicle' was published. With a cost of 1d, the papers subtitle was 'The Cowbridge, Llantrisant and Maesteg Advertiser'. This publication was published and printed by a John Hopkin of 2 Union Street, Bridgend.

The 1881 census lists that John Hopkins lived at 2 Union Street with his Wife Annie Hopkin. His occupation is listed as a 'Newspaper editor'. Later in 1889, the 'Bridgend Chronicle' changed its name to 'The Bridgend & Neath Chronicle'.

An advertisement for Central Glamorgan Gazette, 1880.

In May of the same year (1880), the Central Glamorgan Printing & Publishing Company Ltd was formed to run the 'Central Glamorgan Gazette and General, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser'. The new company took over the premises at Queen Street, which had previously been managed by John Hemming.

In the April of 1894, 'The Bridgend & Neath Chronicle' and 'The Central Glamorgan Gazette and General, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser' amalgamated. The coming together of these two publications resulted in a 'new' publication called 'Glamorgan Gazette, Bridgend & Neath Chronicle Incorporated'.  This subsequently became we now know as 'The Glamorgan Gazette'. The newspaper was published and printed by John Evans at Bridgend.

An article from the Evening Express: 31st March 1894.

An advertisement for Glamorgan Gazette, 1909.

In 1899, the company hired a Linotype Machine at the cost of £100 per year. (During 1911 and 1926, the company purchased further Linotype Machines.)

On 6th of June 1919, the first issue of the 'Glamorgan Advertiser' went into circulation. It was published in Commercial Street, Maesteg. It later became the 'Bridgend & Maesteg Advertiser' and appeared alongside the 'Glamorgan Gazette'.

In 1923, the Hope Baptist schoolroom was purchased by 'Glamorgan Gazette Company' at the cost of £595. The space was need by the 'Glamorgan Gazette' to accommodate their machinery and ever expanding workforce.

In 1936, the assistant manager of the 'Glamorgan Gazette' was Arthur Franklin. He later succeeded W J Parker Harries as managing editor and secretary of the newspaper. During 1938, the company acquired a new flat-bed rotary press capable of printing 3,400 copies an hour.

An advertisement for Glamorgan Gazette, 1946.

In 1949, Olaf Jones joined the newspaper as a senior journalist but later the same was appointed as editor of the 'Glamorgan Gazette'. Olaf Jones went on to edit the newspaper for a further 27 years and was later appointed, managing director.

Other long serving members of the Gazette staff include
  • Fred Timewell who worked at the paper for forty-four years. 
  • Jack Apsee who worked at the paper for forty-five years. 

During the year of 1962, the amalgamation of the 'Glamorgan Gazette' and the 'Bridgend & Maesteg Advertiser' took place. The last issue of the latter was on 29th January 1962.

The Glamorgan Gazette Offices at Queen Street were demolished in 1973. The offices moved to Caroline Street, then to Nolton Street.

In 1994, the newspaper saw the end of the broadsheet format and 'went tabloid'. Ten years later in 2004, Deborah Rees was appointed the first female editor of the 'Glamorgan Gazette'.

Demolition of the Glamorgan Gazette Offices, Queen Street, 1973.

(Sources: Bridgend 900 - Glamorgan Archives - LLGC - Dr. Randall - BLHS - WalesOnline) 

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