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Illustrated London News History 1951 This article appeared in the Illustrated London news magazine June 23rd 1951


MAY 14TH 1842

So reads a bronze plaque on the front of Ingram House, 195 - 198 Strand, the new headquarters of Illustrated Newspapers Limited. Behind this imposing building stands the great printing works of The Illustrated London News, where our master craftsmen pioneered most of the printing processes now in common use all over the world.

In the One Hundred and nine years which have elapsed since Herbert Ingram (grandfather of the presenr Editor-in-Chief, Sir Bruce Ingram, O.B.E., M.C.) first started publishing in the modest building shown below, the development of the weekly illustrated newspaper, peculiar to our country, has grown to be one of the great pillars in British journalism.

To-day, the impressive Illustrated Newspapers Group comprises The Illustrated London News, The Sketch, The Tatler, The Sphere, Sport & Country and the popular monthly magazine, Britannia and Eve. Each paper, in its particular field, produces a record and mirror through which readers in every civilised country in the world may keep abreast of events. For British advertisers some of these publications offer selective coverage and penetration unequalled in any other country.

A Brief Story of Historical Interest to every Business Executive

This week is a red letter occasion for Illustrated Newspapers, who take over their new premises in the Strand at thr corner of Milford lane, on the site where the world's first illustrated newspaper was produced one hundred and nine years ago.

On May 14th 1842, the first issue of the Illustrated London News was published. Its founder was a young printer, Herbert Ingram, a native of Boston, Lincolnshire. He had come to London and had decided that the time was ripe for the public to have a newspaper full of pictures in addition to the printed word.

Each picture had to be drawn by an artist and then engraved by hand on pieces of box-wood. Captions and articles had to be hand-set, letter by letter. A small steam engine powered the printing machine.

The new paper was a success from the beginnng: 26,000 issues of the first copy were sold, and by 1851 , the year of The Great Exhibition in Hyde Park,sales reached 130,000 per week. The issue of March 14th, 1863, dealing with the marriage of the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, numbered 310.000 copies. Special numbers in those far-off days cost Three Shillings.

In the year 1879, The ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS claimed to be the fastest wood-cut printing establishment in the world. The Ingram Rotary machine had been invented. It printed both sides of the paper at once aand turned out 6,500 copies per hour. It required only four men to operate it, whereas thirty men and five machines were needed previously.

Although photography had been used since 1842 as a basis from which wood engravings were copied it was not until 1860 that an illustration was photographed onto the box-wood and then engraved by hand.

The advent of "process" engraving was marked by the publication in the Illustrated London News of 23rd february,1884. Halftone blocks commenced to appear towards the end of the 'eighties and during the 'nineties. The success of the halftone process brought into being new Illustrated Newspapers, among them The Sketch, 1893, The Sphere, 1900 and The Tatler, 1901.

The richness of reproduction offered by the photogravure process first appeared in a periodical in 1911, when Sir Bruce Ingram, present Editor-in Chief of Illustrated Newspapers, caused to be installed rotary photogravure printing machines whose copper cylinders each print eight pages of illustrations and text.

In the Christmas Number of The Illustrated London News, 1855, the first pictures in colour were published. They are crude by comparison with the superb art-paper colour of our own time.

Printing and publishing without a break through all the wars of the last century, the passage of time and bomb damage in World War II, brought opportunity for us to acquire our imposing new Headquarters on the site of the old. We are proud of our tradition and progressive contribution to the technique of our craft.


All Departments for all papers have moved to

INGRAM HOUSE, 195-198, STRAND, W.C.2, TEM. 5444