The demise of Fleet Street

It seems ironic that today, the spiritual home of home of journalism has only one editorial office and that is for a publication whose favourite son is Dennis the Menace.

The world’s first newspaper was started at the bottom of Ludgate Hill in 1702 (now a Leon restaurant on Ludgate Circus). A single sheet with two columns, it claimed to provide the facts, letting the reader make up their own mind.

[R]ecently on this website we have explored some of the lanes and alleys running off Fleet Street as this area still possesses much of the evidence from its industrial past, something that Katie Wignall explores on her Look Up London tours.

By the 20th century this street barely a mile in length produced most of the reading public’s newspaper consumption. Three evening newspapers: Star, News Stann’d! The mighty Daily Express when in those halcyon days it actually gave you news was produced at the ‘Black Lubyanta’, the striking Art Deco building on the north side of Fleet Street.

Reuters the news agency who gave us news of the Titanic has left its Lutyens designed headquarters at 85 Fleet Street and removed to Canary Wharf. The Daily Telegraph was produced at No. 135, the Sun and its predecessor the Daily Herald even the Jewish Chronicle was here, now moved to Golders Green.

The evenings on Fleet Street would see dozens of low loaders arriving carrying giant reels of newsprint for the morning editions.

Now physical newspapers are changing, the Independent being the first major paper to turn its output into a digital publication. Soon many to embrace the move from ‘hot metal’ and moving away from ‘The ‘Street’ to print their editions in Docklands will lose their jobs as information now is consumed online. The Daily Mail’s online sister Daily Mail Online is one of the most read sites in the world. Others have followed either free or subscription based.

Soon the only journalistic conversation in Fleet Street’s watering holes will not be the shenanigans of politicians but a larks perpetuated by a boy in a red and black striped jumper called Dennis.

6 thoughts on “The demise of Fleet Street”

  1. Great piece. A traditional London trade dispersed. Check out the film “Banging Out”.
    Will the taxi trade be next?


    1. When I was banged out at the end of my apprenticeship two of us were covered in flour and water, tied to a trolley and pushed down the length of Leather Lane and left outside Gamages.


    2. Same here bruv, left outside in a forme trolley in Leadenhall Market for two hours. Then bought the journeymen drinks in The Ship, LimecSt. Did you watch this film yet?


    3. Just got round to watching the film, it brought back many memories of a trade now lost. I never worked in Fleet Street but more of the film applied to my life in the print. Pity they had the composing stick upside down though!


    4. I didn’t mind those sticks the screw ones I found couldn’t be tightened effectively.
      My copy of Just My Type was loaned to my daughter-in-law, who is now a 21st century typesetter and produces a weekly magazine on her own. I don’t think she was impressed with my enthusiasm for typefaces but she was very polite when she returned my copy.


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