Printing Pictures

The Daily Graphic was the first daily British newspaper to be fully illustrated. We’re not talking printed photographs on paper, but images engraved and printed using wooden blocks – a very time consuming task.

The first issue of the paper in 1913, which we have here at St Bride, looks wonderful; on newspaper stands up and down the country, such images would have made all the difference. However, as you can imagine with such advanced technology (for its time), there were a few teething problems.

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A year later, it seems the Daily Graphic were having issues. The first four pages of the newspaper are dedicated to an apology, and it sounds like there were some serious problems with the print process: “The machines are novel, admirable in construction and workmanship, but unfortunately some of the folding machines are too complicated”. This resulted in ‘hundreds of miles of damaged paper and hundreds of thousands of smeared copies of the paper going broadcast all over the world’.

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As you can tell, the editors were not happy with the incident and, on their first birthday, spent four pages of the paper apologising. That said, to take the title of first daily illustrated paper ever to be published in England is no bad thing – in many ways, it paved the way for the modern newspaper.

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