The Daily Telegraph and Courier

was founded by Colonel Arthur B Sleigh in June 1855 to air a personal grievance against the future commander-in-chief of the British Army, Prince George Duke of Cambridge. Joseph Moses Levy, the owner of The Sunday Times, agreed to print the newspaper, and the first edition was published on 29 June 1855. The paper cost 2d and was four pages long. Nevertheless, the first edition stressed the quality and independence of its articles and journalists:- “We shall be guided by a high tone of independent action”.

However, the paper was not a success, and Sleigh was unable to pay Levy the printing bill. Levy took over the newspaper, his aim being to produce a cheaper newspaper than his main competitors in London, the Daily News and The Morning Post and to expand the size of the overall market. Levy appointed his son, Edward Levy-Lawson, and Thornton Leigh Hunt to edit the newspaper. The former re-launched the paper as The Daily Telegraph, with the slogan “the largest, best, and cheapest newspaper in the world”. In 1876, Jules Verne published his novel Michael Strogoff, whose plot takes place during a fictional uprising and war in Siberia. Verne included among the book’s characters a war correspondent of The Daily Telegraph, named Harry Blount—who is depicted as an exceptionally dedicated, resourceful and brave journalist, taking great personal risks to follow closely the ongoing war and bring accurate news of it to The Telegraph‘s readership, ahead of competing papers. Good publicity for the paper!

In 1908, Kaiser Wilhelm 11 gave a controversial interview to The Daily Telegraph that severely damaged Anglo-German relations and added to international tensions in the build-up to World War I. It included wild statements and diplomatically damaging remarks, the most infamous of which was “You English are mad, mad, mad as March hares. What has come over you that you are so completely given over to suspicions quite unworthy of a great nation?”

In 1928 the paper was sold to William Berry, 1st Viscount Camrose, in partnership with his others including his brother. In 1937, the newspaper absorbed The Morning Post, which traditionally espoused a conservative position and sold predominantly amongst the retired officer class. Originally Camrose, bought The Morning Post with the intention of publishing it alongside The Daily Telegraph, but poor sales of the former led him to merge the two. For some years the paper was retitled The Daily Telegraph and Morning Post before it reverted to just The Daily Telegraph. In the late 1930s Victor Gordon Lennox, The Telegraph‘s diplomatic editor, published an anti-appeasement private newspaper The Whitehall Letter that received much of its information from leaks from Sir Robert Vansittart, the Permanent Under-Secretary of the Foreign Office, and Rex Leeper, the Foreign Office’s Press Secretary As a result, Gordon Lennox was monitored by MI5. In 1939, The Telegraph published Clare Hollingsworth’s scoop that Germany was to invade Poland.

In November 1940, with Fleet Street subjected to almost daily bombing raids by the Luftwaffe, The Telegraph started printing in Manchester at Kemsley House (now The Printworks entertainment venue), which was run by Camrose’s brother Kemsley. Manchester quite often printed the entire run of The Telegraph when its Fleet Street offices were under threat. In 1986 printing of Northern editions of the Daily and Sunday Telegraph moved to Trafford Park and in 2008 to Newsprinters at Knowsley, Liverpool.

During the Second World War, The Daily Telegraph covertly helped in the recruitment of code-breakers for Bletchley Park. The ability to solve The Telegraph‘s crossword in under 12 minutes was considered to be a recruitment test. The newspaper was asked to organise a crossword competition, after which each of the successful participants was contacted and asked if they would be prepared to undertake “a particular type of work as a contribution to the war effort”. The competition itself was won by a man from Dagenham who finished the crossword in less than eight minutes.

Both the Camrose (Berry) and Burnham (Levy-Lawson) families remained involved in management until 1986. On the death of his father in 1954, Seymour Berry, 2nd Viscount Camrose assumed the chairmanship of the Daily Telegraph with his brother Michael as his editor-in-chief. During this period, the company saw the launch of sister paper The Sunday Telegraph in 1960.

Canadian businessman Conrad Black, through companies controlled by him, bought the Telegraph Group in 1986. He also had other publications such as the Chicago Sun-Times, the Jerusalem Post and The Spectator. On 18 January 2004, Black was dismissed as chairman of his holding company Hollinger International board over allegations of financial wrongdoing. Black was also sued by the company. Lawsuits flew and United States Judge Leo Strine blocked Black from selling his Hollinger Inc. shares to the Barclay brothers. On 7 March 2004, the Barclay twins announced that they were launching another bid, this time just for The Daily Telegraph and its Sunday sister paper rather than all of Hollinger Inc and succeded for around £665 million.

On 10 October 2005, The Daily Telegraph re-launched to incorporate a tabloid sports section and a new standalone business section. They got back Simon Heffer from the Mail, where he has become associate editor. In November 2005 the first regular podcast service by a newspaper in the UK was launched. Just before Christmas 2005, it was announced that The Telegraph titles would be moving from Canada Place in Canary Wharf, to Victoria Plaza near Victoria Station in central London.

In October 2006, with its relocation to Victoria, the company was renamed the Telegraph Media Group, repositioning itself as a multimedia company. On 2 September 2008, the Daily Telegraph was printed with colour on each page for the first time when it left Westferry for Newsprinters at Broxbourne. The paper is also printed in Liverpool and Glasgow. In June 2014, The Telegraph was criticised by Private Eye for its policy of replacing experienced journalists and news managers with less-experienced staff and search engine optimisers.

The Daily Telegraph has been politically conservative in modern times. The personal links between the paper’s editors and the leadership of the Conservative Party, along with the paper’s generally right-wing stance and influence over Conservative activists, have resulted in the paper commonly being referred to, especially in Private Eye, as the Torygraph. Even when Conservative support was shown to have slumped in the opinion polls and Labour gained the ascendant through Tony Blair the newspaper remained loyal to the Conservatives. This loyalty continued after Labour ousted the Conservatives from power in 1997.and continued with other election wins.

The Daily Telegraph‘s sister Sunday paper was founded in 1961. The writer Sir Peregrine Worsthorne is probably the best known journalist associated with the title (1961–97), eventually being editor for three years from 1986. In 1989 the Sunday title was briefly merged into a seven-day operation under Max Hastings’s overall control. In 2005 the paper was revamped, with Stella being added to the more traditional television and radio section.

In May 2009, The Daily Telegraph obtained a full copy of all the expenses claims of British M P’s. The Telegraph began publishing, in instalments from 8 May 2009, certain MPs’ expenses. The Telegraph justified the publication of the information because it contended that the official information due to be released would have omitted key information about re-designating of second-home nominations. This led to a number of high-profile resignations from both the ruling Labour administration and the Conservative opposition.

In September 2016 Telegraph reporters posing as businessmen filmed England manager Sam Allardyce, offering to give advice on how to get around on FA rules on player third party ownership and negotiating a £400,000 deal. The investigation saw Allardyce leave his job by mutual consent on 27 September and making the statement “entrapment has won”.

The Daily Telegraph has been named the National Newspaper of the Year in 2009, 1996 and 1993, while The Sunday Telegraph won the same award in 1999. In 1979, following a letter in The Daily Telegraph and a Government report highlighting the shortfall in care available for premature babies, Bliss, the special care baby charity, was founded. In 2009, as part of the Bliss 30th birthday celebrations, the charity was chosen as one of four beneficiaries of the newspaper’s Christmas Charity Appeal. In February 2010 a cheque was presented to Bliss for £120,000.

Notable editors have been Arthur Watson 1924-50,  Bill Deedes 1974-86, Max Hastings 1986-95, Charles Moore 1995- 2003. The current editor is Chris Evans. Notable journalists and columists have been Boris Johnson a former Brussels correspondent, William Hague, Auberon Waugh, Peter Simple, the pseudonym of Michael Wharton, who wrote a humorous column, “Way of the World”, from 1957 to 2006.

The Telegraph building was designed for the newspaper of that name by Elcock and Sutcliffe with Thomas Tait and built in 1927–8. It has a very bold, ultra-imposing facade with a row of giant fluted columns topped by carved Egyptian capitals. Bands of abstract carved ornament run along cornices and over window lintels. The whole thing is designed to make a big mark, to overwhelm the passer-by

Further decorative touches make a big difference. The clock, itself enormous, lends colour to this stony frontage. Its design is full of the diamonds, jagged edges, chevrons, and radiating, sunburst-like motifs that Art Deco artists loved. The relief above the doorway, by, Alfred Oakley, is another such feature. With its sun-rays, compass rose, Britain at the centre of its hemisphere, and the two caduceus-bearing messenger figures racing out across the empire with news, it symbolises the newspaper’s business of communication, and sets it, and Britain, at a pivotal place in the world that would not have seemed inappropriate in 1927.


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