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British Industrial History

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William Ewert Berry

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William Ewert Berry, first Viscount Camrose (1879–1954), newspaper proprietor

1879 born in Merthyr Tudful, the second of the three sons of John Mathias Berry, an estate agent and a Liberal alderman, and his wife, Mary Ann

c.1883 Joined the Merthyr Times, moving on to neighbouring newspapers in order to widen his experience.

1898 Appointed a City reporter on the Investors' Guardian.

1901 Berry launched his first commercial venture, Advertising World, using £100 borrowed from his elder brother, Henry Seymour Berry; he fulfilled several of the roles himself initially and involved his younger brother, Gomer Berry, who later became a press baron in his own right.

1905 married Mary Agnes Corns; they had four sons and four daughters.

1905 Sold Advertising World at a considerable profit

WWI An insatiable seven-day demand for news from the western front convinced the 2 brothers that the moment was right to acquire the Sunday Times.

1919 Purchased the St. Clement's Press, including its flagship the Financial Times

1921 William Berry became a baronet. By buying up a variety of ailing enterprises, Berry expanded his business interests to cover a wide spectrum of media activities, ranging from Kelly's directories to the Gaumont-British film studios but especially provincial titles.

1924 Established Allied Newspapers, a consortium involving the Berrys and the owner of the Midland Evening Telegraph, Sir Edward Iliffe. Acquired the Hulton chain from Lord Rothermere, including the Daily Dispatch, the Manchester Evening Chronicle, and the Sunday Chronicle

Later acquired the Sunday News which was merged with the Sunday Graphic

1926 Acquired Amalgamated Press from Lord Northcliffe's executors

1927 Eventually acquired a major London-based daily newspaper when he (Allied Newspapers) bought The Daily Telegraph. William Berry became editor.

1928 Inherited the steel and coal holdings of the eldest Berry brother, Lord Buckland.

1929 Elevated to the peerage as Lord Camrose. The 3 Berry brothers attained peerages, probably a record for a non-aristocratic family from an unfashionable industrial town.

1932 The Berrys had 27 titles, not including Iliffe's Midlands title.

To consolidate what was intended to be a fully integrated publishing operation Allied Newspapers next acquired Edward Lloyd Ltd, then one of the largest paper mills in the world.

1937 Gomer succeeded William as editor-in-chief of the Sunday Times. William took over the Morning Post.

1937 The Allied Newspapers partnership was amicably dissolved. Each partner needed a distinct raft of holdings to pass on to his heirs; William assumed sole control of the Daily Telegraph, the Financial Times, and Amalgamated Press; Lord Kemsley became proprietor of the Sunday Times.

Through the newspapers the Berrys played an important part in British life during and after WWII.

1954 William died in the Royal South Hampshire Hospital, Southampton

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Biography of William Ewert Berry, ODNB