The Gazette was a popular local mid 20th Century newspaper run and owned by John. Clifford.
Mr Clifford (born 1867) released his founding edition on 27th November 1925 at the age of 58, the first edition appearing in local shops in December 1925. According to the valuation roll of 1930, the printing office was based at 236 Glasgow Road.
The office and printing press were located at that address, on the north side of the street, directly across from the junction of Victoria Street. The printing office had signage on the outside above the door saying “Clifford Printers” with “The Gazette” signs in the 2 large windows, either side of the door opening out on to the Glasgow Road pavement. The building itself was stone built, not particularly large, one storey with a pitched roof, slated. On the apex, running north and south was a 2-foot high sign saying “Printers”.
John did not live in Glasgow Road, but instead commuted a short distance to his house at Station Road. His 2 sons Andrew and John L Clifford (John Junior) assisted him.
The newspaper was to run faithfully for several decades recording all notable events in Blantyre, including births, marriages and deaths. It was initially priced at one penny and was the essential reading for all Blantyre households, run as a business. The paper was actually called “The Gazette” but known locally and referred to as “The Blantyre Gazette.”
It was published every Friday although due to its wider circulation expanding into Hamilton and the Fifth District of Lanarkshire, the published dates changed in the 1950’s to Saturdays. Typically it was 4 pages, black and white in broadsheet style (just over A3 size).
The paper sold well and enabled Mr Clifford to branch out and purchase other properties. However, John Clifford died in 1950 at the age of 83, his son Andrew died at home in Edinburgh in 1958, leaving John L Clifford to run the business himself.
By 1959, sixteen hundred editions had been printed. In the 1950’s the paper cost 2 pence, the price raised after the death of the father. The very last edition of the Gazette was printed on 31st January 1964.
Throughout its 39-year history, the paper covered many important developments in Blantyre including wartime, nationalisation of the mines and closure of the mines. Throughout the great strike of 1926 and the world war 1939-1945, the paper missed only one issue (thought to be during the strike period.) The following paragraph was written by John L Clifford himself and appeared in the last issue of the Gazette Newspaper in 1964. “Now for reasons of indifferent health: being no longer a young man and after the tragic death of his only son, John jnr, and having no one to hand over the reins to, Mr. Clifford is reluctantly forced, in the Paper’s 39th year, to cease publication. The journey has been long, eventful, satisfying, happy and good company, but now it is time to say goodbye. We have come to the end of the road…”
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul D Veverka (c) 2016
Pictured in the 1930s is the Clifford Printers offices, home of the Gazette on Glasgow Road.
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