Berrow's Worcester Journal

Berrow's Worcester Journal
The world's oldest newspaper: Established 1690

Berrow's Worcester Journal Header
Type Weekly Freesheet Newspaper (Thursday)
Format Tabloid
Owner(s) Newsquest Media Group
Subsidiary of Gannett
Founded 1690 (1690)[1][2]
Headquarters Berrow's House
Hylton Road
WR2 5JX.
City Worcester
Country England, UK
Circulation 39905 (as of December 2014 - January 2016)[3]
Sister newspapers Worcester News
OCLC number 31683341
Free online archives

Berrow's Worcester Journal is a weekly freesheet tabloid newspaper, owned by Newsquest, and delivered to homes across central and southern Worcestershire, including the towns of Bromyard, Droitwich, Pershore and Upton-upon-Severn as well as the city of Worcester.


16th Century Printing Press

Worcester was one of the earliest location in Britain to have a printing press where its first press was established in 1548[4] (about 100 years after Johannes Gutenberg's invention of movable type) and set up by John Oswin who printed several books on it between 1548 and 1553.[5]

Stephen Bryan

The first established records of a Worcester newspaper date from 1690 when Stephen Bryan founded the Worcester Post-Man, which has been published ever since, although its name changed to the Worcester Journal and then to the current name Berrow's Worcester Journal, thus laying claim to being the oldest newspaper in the world in continuous and current production.[6][7]

Local news was relatively rare in the first decade of publication and it was published irregularly from 1690 until 1709, the period following the deposing of James II (& VII) after the Glorious Revolution of 1688 which had seen the beginning of a free press in this country. After about 1720 Bryan began to include more local items.[8] In the time that Bryan owned the paper it was published on Fridays.[9]

Berrow Family

Front page of Berrow's Worcester Journal dated 7 January 1779.

In April 1748, Bryan sold the paper to Harvey Berrow who changed its name to The Worcester Journal and its publication day to Thursday.

From 11 October 1753 the paper was published as Berrow's Worcester Journal.[10]

This final name change was prompted when a competitor, Richard Lewis, tried to profit from the success of the Worcester Journal by launching the similar-sounding New Worcester Journal. Lewis's other efforts to take market share from the older paper included publishing on Wednesdays (the day before Berrow) and circulating a report in Bewdley, Kidderminster, and Stourbridge that Berrow's newsmen had left his service.[11]

Berrow was the third son of Capel Berrow (died 1751), a clergyman, and younger brother of Capel Berrow the writer,[12] and was an apothecary in Peterborough. This was not unusual during this time as early newspaper proprietors would sell medicines alongside their newspapers. Berrow promoted in his paper his elixir for dropsy and his powder for gout. The paper was sold for 2½d every week with five pages.

Harvey Berrow carried on the Journal until his death on August 16, 1776, when his eldest son, also Harvey Berrow, continued the publication until his death in the following year, on June 11, 1777. The newspaper was succeeded by his sister, Elizabeth Berrow, whose name appeared upon the Journal until December 23, 1779 after which her name is superseded by that of John Tymbs, to whom she was married on September 23, 1779.[13]

Present Era

In 1982 Berrow's Worcester Journal was taken over by Reed International.[14][15] The style of the newspaper changed on 26 June 1987[14] when it became a free newspaper.

In 1990, the newspaper celebrated its Tercentenary (1690-1990) and specially commissioned china was produced by Royal Worcester Porcelain, at its nearby city factory, to mark the historic occasion.[14]

Although the Berrow family have long ceased to have any connection with the paper, their name has perpetuated and the paper continues to be published weekly.

Alongside free doorstep delivery, the newspaper is accessible as a free and unsubscribed online edition.


  1. "World's oldest newspaper celebrates its 325th birthday". Worcester News. Worcester. 2015-10-21. Retrieved 2016-07-30.
  2. "History of British newspapers". News Media Association. London. 2015. Retrieved 2016-07-30.
  3. "Audit Bureau of Circulation: Summary Report – Worcester Journal (Berrow's)". Retrieved 2016-07-29.
  4. Worcester Civic Society (2015). "Vol.9 Issue.2" (PDF). Newsletter. Worcester. Retrieved 2016-07-30.
  5. "Worcester Printing "Where it all began" - page 2". Worcester News. Worcester News. Retrieved 2016-07-30.
  6. "Berrow's Worcester Journal - History of the newspaper". Worcester News. Newsquest. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
  7. Franklin, Bob; Hamer, Martin; Hanna, Mark; Kinsey, Marie; Richardson, John E (2005). "Institutions". Key Concepts in Journalism Studies. SAGE Publications. p. 298. ISBN 0 7619 4481 8.
  8. Wiles, p. 257
  9. Wiles, p. 65
  10. Wiles, p. 506
  11. Wiles, p. 91
  12. Cooper, Margaret. "Berrow, Harvey". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/70356. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  13. "Newspaper Surveys Berrow's Worcester Journal". Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  14. 1 2 3 "History of the newspaper - Berrow's Worcester Journal". Retrieved 30 July 2016.
  15. "Timeline". Reed Elsevier. Retrieved 19 September 2015.


External links

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