ALTHOUGH the Telegraph & Argus is undoubtedly the longest-lived paper in Bradford it wasn’t the first.

That accolade belongs to the weekly Bradford Courier and West riding Advertiser which was first published on July 11, 1825. The Courier was followed just days later by the Bradford and Wakefield Chronicle.

This nascent newspaper war didn’t last long, however. The Chronicle closed after less than a year and the Courier only staggered on until 1828.

A couple of years later however a liberal-minded local businessman - William Byles - gave it another go. Crucially, Byles had the commitment, and the money, to see his plan through to fruition.

The first edition of Byles’ paper, The Bradford Observer, was supposed to be a turning point for the print industry: the moment at which automation made the process so ridiculously easy it could be accomplished by one man, dispensing with the need for a (costly) print crew.

This modern-day miracle was the invention of one man, Joseph Kitchen, a self-taught engineer from Tyneside.

Kitchen started his career on newspapers as a compositor, a skilled job because compositors had to be able to spell backwards to put all the individual letters and punctuation (known as sorts) in the right place before they were bound together and transferred to the press for printing. The job was difficult and - because compositors had to assemble the pages at speed - errors were not uncommon.

As he stood at his desk sifting through the cast metal sorts, Kitchen began to wonder if there wasn’t a more efficient way to print newspapers and books.

After a spell as a reporter on The Newcastle Courant, Kitchen began to sketch out his ideas for a new kind of printing press to replace the noisy, heavy and inconvenient rotary presses of the day.

Kitchen called his invention the “patented self-inking printing press” and took his drawings to a local engineering company, Messers. Hawthorn, of Newcastle, with instructions to build the new press in conditions of great secrecy. By the time The Newcastle Press reported on the invention, in September 1833, the first example was close to completion. So impressed was the author of the report that, having had chance to peruse the drawings and see some sections of the press itself, he noted that it could not fail to be anything other than a complete success. Kitchen’s idea, said the article, would confer “ease, rapidity” and (crucially) “less manual labour” on the process of newspaper creation.

Kitchen had done away with the rotary printing press drum altogether. Instead, the plate was placed upright at a 90-degree angle so it could be easily manipulated. The platen and tympan - a frame made from cloth or paper placed over the actual page prior to making the impression - moved together.

This system simplified the inking process to the extent that one man could be dispensed with. Nor was a separate inking table required; everything could be done on the press itself. Kitchen boasted that with his machine the work formerly done by three men on two separate presses could be accomplished by just one man.

Having sunk his savings into this innovative new contraption Kitchen sought to prove it in the heat of battle. Newcastle was already well served with newspapers so he looked south to Bradford where Byles was preparing to launch the Observer.

The first edition of the Bradford Observer was printed on February 6, 1834,from premises in Exchange Street, Piccadilly. It was a weekly newspaper costing 7d (just under 3p), of which a whopping 4d was stamp duty. Kitchen was delighted with the results and looked forward to more orders for his innovative press.

Unfortunately for him during the printing of the second issue, the machine broke and the frame was so badly damaged that it could not be repaired.

This was good fortune for Byles who was still negotiating Kitchen’s cash payment for use of his press. When the contraption failed Kitchen was told in no uncertain terms that the Observer would not be buying his invention. The money saved was spent on a more conventional press instead.

Poor Kitchen - who had bet his family fortune on the machine’s success - returned home to Newcastle a broken man. All he had to show for his endeavour was a collection of broken bits. Soon after he was forced to declare himself bankrupt and endured a spell at His Majesty’s pleasure in Morpeth Jail. On leaving prison he emigrated to Australia and lived in Melbourne until his death.

However, Kitchen wasn’t alone in his endeavours to create a better printing press.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the noted author Mark Twain was busy investing his considerable fortune in the Paige Compositor which used a mechanical arm not unlike Kitchen's self-inking press. The Compositor’s foibles - and the need for regular cash injections to keep the business on track - led to a decline in the Twain family fortunes and a marked downturn in his noted good humour and wit.

Meanwhile, back in Bradford.

Despite the serious setback, Byles managed to print his second issue by calling in some favours from a couple of local printers he knew. Incredibly, the Observer came out on time with the first copies on the streets by 7am.

The Bradford Observer cantered along nicely for more than three decades, having the field to itself. But then, in 1868, it had to make an abrupt change from weekly to daily to meet the challenge from an upstart. The Bradford Daily Telegraph had arrived on the scene, launched by a Scot called Thomas Shields.

Born in Pollokshaws, near Glasgow, in 1832, Thomas Shields was educated at Glasgow High School. On leaving he became a lawyer’s clerk and then moved to work for the Union Bank of Scotland.

Shields wasn’t happy working in banking and craved the excitement of working in a bustling newspaper office. He left the bank behind and joined the commercial department of the North British Daily Mail.

This, however, was merely a stepping stone to management where he could have a real say in how a paper was run. He left the Mail to manage a newspaper set up and paid for by the Free Church of Scotland.

In 1864 he left Scotland to assume control of the North and South Shields Gazette, England’s first half-penny newspaper which had been established by James Stevenson, also an emigre of Glasgow having uprooted his family and taken the stagecoach to take over the town’s chemical works in 1844.

Stevenson was an astute businessman and the chemical concern thrived under his management becoming the largest in England. He set up the Shields Gazette in 1849. As a sign of his good intent (and philanthropy) the paper was originally a not-for-profit enterprise.

Stevenson used it as bulwark against the growing influence of Newcastle before handing the reins over to his son, JC Stevenson.

In a strange quirk of fate, JC Stevenson’s great grandfather, Hew, would become the managing director of The Bradford Telegraph & Argus and, for a time, the Shields Gazette and the T&A were sister titles in the portfolio of papers owned by Westminster Press. The connection came full circle when Hew became chief executive of Westminster Press, and thus ran both titles until he retired in 1996 aged 56.

Four successful years in Shields inspired Thomas to look for new challenges. He had managed to put by a small amount of capital and longed to launch his own newspaper rather than manage them for someone else.

HIs original plan was to start a paper in Norwich but, after a visit to East Anglia, he changed his mind and looked instead to Bradford which was enjoying remarkable growth thanks to the textile trade. If he were to launch a newspaper in the country’s fastest growing city there would be no shortage of readers and potential advertisers.

Although the Bradford Observer was well entrenched - having a 34-year head start - it was still a weekly and Thomas had something more ambitious in mind: a daily newspaper.

However, he was dismayed on his first visit to find a town still struggling to cope with such rapid change.

The population had exploded from approximately 26,000 in 1821 to more than 100,000 just 30 years later. What had been a small market town had become "worstedopolis" - the capital of the West Riding worsted manufacturing industry and a world leader in textiles. In 1801 the town had just one mill. Fifty years later there were 129.

The population increase would have been enough to put intolerable strain on Bradford's infrastructure, but the weaving industry had suffered serious disruption as a result of mechanisation. Handloom weavers had been replaced by large scale factories using machines operated by women and children. Weavers and combers who found themselves out of work lived in overcrowded slums in the town centre - over 80,000 of them in one square mile without adequate water or sanitation. Poverty and disease were rife.

No wonder one health commissioners memorably described Bradford as "the dirtiest, filthiest and worst regulated town in the Kingdom".

Even worse, being dependent on one industry left the town's population at the mercy of the usual boom-and-bust cycle. The entrepreneurs who ran the mills were constantly on the lookout for new ways to cut costs and boost profits. Although Bradford was a world leader in mixed worsteds - in which woolen fibres were blended with cotton warp or other fibres to produce a cheaper material - they were beginning to feel the heat from foreign competition and trade tariffs which eroded their price advantage.

By the time Thomas Shields arrived there were signs of improvement to living conditions. A basic sewer network had been laid, plague spots had been cleared and even a public baths opened. But the child death rate was still higher than the (none too impressive) national average and the roads were narrow and rough. Bradfordians often had to pick their way along streets ankle deep in mud, cursing the passing horse drawn cabs and carts which splashed filth onto their clothes if they passed too close.

Shields lost no time in scoping out the opposition. One day he arrived at the Observer office and announced that he was from Tyneside and was considering starting a printing business in West Yorkshire. Innocently he asked if he could have a look around the Observer to get some idea of what equipment might be required. If the Observer would just let him have a peep he would be forever indebted to the management.

In the words of diarist and Observer reporter William Bell: “The gentleman was graciously received, toddled about from cellar to ceiling, technicalities were unriddled by a peripatetic printers’ grammar. The stranger departed - ‘booing’ like Sir Pertinase Macsysophant.

“Shortly it was discovered that the ‘gentleman from Glasgow’ was no other than the head-centre in Bond Street, Tyrell Street, Bradford, who had furtively gone to ‘take stock’ of the appliances of the Observer office, prior to commencing operations with the Telegraph!

“We leave others to give a name to this dissimulation. There is the tinge of ‘the sneak’ hovering about.”

Not only that but Shields was ready to launch his new paper in double quick time. He had managed to recruit many of the reporters, printers and compositors he had worked with north of the border. He had even managed to talk some of them into taking a personal financial stake in the enterprise and by this method had amassed a ‘war chest’ of some £1,000 - a considerable sum for the time and the equivalent of £120,000 in today’s money.

Despite the cash pile, Shields still encountered local resistance to his plans. Attempts to find suitable premises floundered as the town’s businesses circled their wagons against the interloper from the North-East. A number of prominent traders scoffed at the idea of a halfpenny daily paper and ridiculed the notion of someone like Shields running such a thing.

Nevertheless, Shields wouldn’t be denied. Eventually he won the support of two local businessmen - Henry Dale of John Dale and Sons, and David Payne, who hailed from Otley - and most importantly, a builder by the name of Bailey Blackburn who agreed to convert a small warehouse he was fitting out in Bond Street into premises fit for a newspaper. The Bradford Telegraph had its first office.

Not that it was a home to be particularly proud of. Out of necessity the accommodation was very cramped. A boiler took up most of the cellar, the ground floor housed the printer and the two floors above where just about sufficient for the editorial and composing departments. Mindful of the Observer’s bruch with near disaster for experimenting with new technology (and anxious not to waste a penny more than was necessary) Shields bought a Wharfedale two-feed flat-bed printing press. He installed it as near to the window as possible so passers-by could see the paper as it came to life (and might be encouraged to pop in and buy a copy). More than a century later Westminster Press would try the same trick - fitting out the new press and enclosing it in a toughened glass exterior so anyone who drove or walked past the building in Hall Ings would see the press running.

The birth of a new paper was probably the biggest news of all on Tuesday, July 16, 1868.

Large crowds gathered outside the Telegraph offices to watch as Shields and his employees laboriously hand fed the paper into the printing press. As they jostled for a prime position, a proud Shields held up the first edition and declared that Bradford now had its own halfpenny daily newspaper.

If he had hoped for a great news story to launch the paper with he was disappointed. The first edition was just four pages of densely packed type and contained nothing of great note. The front page was, however, filled with advertising - a sure sign that the traders who had been reluctant to support Shields had cast aside any doubts about the venture now that it was a reality. Of particular note were the advertisements for Midland Railway’s cheap excursions which took up the entire second column of page one.

Elsewhere on the front page a bird-lover had placed a wanted ad for a grey parrot (and cage), a ‘gentleman’s residence’ in Manningham was for sale with a list price of £1,600 (a huge sum when a large family home could be had for £300 or less) and St George’s Hall was to feature a performance by “the famous and gigantic American slave troupe and brass band’.

William Bell was among the crowds that gathered. He wrote: “When the trumpeter of the Daily Telegraph issued forth his blasts at the street corners, crowds rushed to empty the wallet at his back. Agents were eager for the undertaking; flying stationers entered the lists, and young Arabs became eloquent and hoarse with bawling the praises of the new venture. Everybody was glad of the possession of this bawbee chicken.

“From the first hour the Bradford Telegraph was an immense success in its advertising and circulation. Great spirit was evinced; the leading articles, reports of meetings and police news, markets and commercial affairs, local and district pars were all well attended to, with men of ability in each department.”

Bell delivered begrudging praise for Shields, the man he had labeled a sneak for daring to bluff his way into the Observer’s office: “Mr Shields… bid at defiance to everything obstructive; was conversant of every trick in newspaper management, and well qualified to launch and steer his little vessel through gusts in summer or storms in winter. He was a fear-naught pilot. Never daunted, he steered ahead.”

The birth of the Telegraph came as a huge shock to the staff of the Observer who were convinced Shields would not be able to pull off such a thing. Even worse, the new upstart was conspicuously good value at a halfpenny. An entire week’s worth of the Telegraph, filled with all the news worth printing from 2pm to 6pm, only cost a penny more than the once-a-week Observer.

Less than three months later the Observer gave in and moved to a daily published schedule in a bid to see over the new interloper - but by then it was too late. Shields and his team were firmly established.

The Telegraph’s first editor was William McKinlay, who was just 27-years-old in 1868. In the first edition he wrote: “We do not expect to please everyone in what we say, but we trust at all times to express our sentiments in such a manner as to give no unnecessary offence and, by allowing the most ample latitude to our correspondents, enable those who differ from us to have the opportunity of stating their side of the question.”

The General Election held the following November was to prove a godsend for a the fledgling Bradford Telegraph. It was the first election held since as the passage of the Reform Act 1867, which gave many men a vote for the first time. It was the first election held in the United Kingdom in which more than a million votes were cast; nearly triple the number of votes compared to the previous election three years before and in the run up there was great interest in what the leading parties had to say.

Bradford’s most prominent politician, the Leading Liberal MP and industrialist William Edward (W.E) Forster, was impressed by the paper’s fleet footedness when, after making an important election speech at St George’s Hall, he dropped into the office for a chat with Shields. He was most impressed to find a report of his electioneering already filling seven columns and ready for printing.

Forster turned to a proud Shields and proclaimed: “Well this is the finest piece of work I have ever seen in Bradford. I don’t believe you have missed a single word. It’s simply splendid.”

In fact, he was so impressed he asked Shields to print an extra 20,000 copies for distribution to his constituents.

Shields was courted by both the main parties and it seems both thought they had the Telegraph’s endorsement in the bag at various points in the campaign. Shields and McKinlay had to endure weeks of complaint and accusations of being underhanded. As Bell put it: “They shilly-shallied with both parties, proclaimed their nole independence, seldom revoked, but always held the leading trump cards whatever the suit. Shields was termed a ‘charlatan’, an unconscionable, bouncing dare-devil etc.”

But as every good reporter knows, if they are being criticised by both sides then they must be doing their job right.

And the Telegraph must have been doing something right because sales were soaring and advertising revenues were looking very healthy. Indeed, by the end of its first year the paper had carried an incredible 35,000 advertisements, a fact that helped turn a £1,000 profit for Shields and his backers.

By the time of the November General Election the Telegraph was selling 6,500 copies a day. Five years later that had risen to 8,750 . By this time the Telegraph’s weekly circulation exceeded by 20,000 copies the combined circulations of Bradford’s two other papers, the Observer and the Times. By 1876 it was selling more than 12,500 copies per day.

Shields and mcKinlay had fashioned a highly efficient newsgathering operation that put rivals firmly in the shade. When W.E Forster opened the town’s new Mechanics’ Institute in October 1871 he finished speaking at 2pm and just two-and-a-half hours later was handed a copy of the paper with a four-and-a-half column report of his words. Forster purred: “I don’t think there are many towns in the country that could do that.” Of course, the advent of the internet means that stories in the 21st Century can be broken in real-time - something the Telegraph & Argus now does on a daily basis.

Such was the paper’s success that it quickly outgrew the Bond Street office, which had been a tight fit from the very start. Shields needed a new base and paid £2,150 for land opposite what was known as the Bowling Green in Bridge Street.

By 1871 Shields and his team had moved into a new purpose-built newspaper office. When a new four-feeder Hoe press and various fixtures and fittings were accounted for the new Telegraph building had cost a princely £8,500. The new press was more of a necessity than a luxury, however. It allowed Shields to print up to 8,000 copies per hour - more than enough to keep ahead of the competition. In appreciation of the support he gave in the 1868 election, Shields named the new press William Edward Forster.

But such was the Telegraph’s apparently unstoppable upward trajectory that within five years it had transferred to the Yorkshire District Banking Company building in Market Street, where it remained until 1916. Shortly after this move, the worn out Hoe printer was scrapped in favour of a state-of-the-art Victory machine which could crank out 22,000 copies an hour.

The Telegraph’s good fortune led to industrial unrest, particularly among the print crews who felt they weren’t getting paid enough.

Just before Christmas 1873 the discontent came to a head when the printers put forward a wage claim. They asked for a rise in basic wages of 2s. A week, more generous overtime rates and a reduction in hours from 55 to 54. Their claim was considered by members of Bradford Master Printers who met in the Mechanics’ Institute. From the journeymen printers’ perspective it was not a great success.

Nearly every aspect of the claim was rejected apart from a modest increase in the overtime rate (to time and a quarter) for hours worked over 55 per week.

The reason for turning down the weekly wage rise was frankly bizarre. Fixing a minimum wage, said the Master Printers, was “injurious to workmen who, from physical and other causes, are not able to do a fair day’s work; it is unfair to the good and clever workman by placing him on an equality with an inferior workman”.

They also rejected calls for a shortened working week on the grounds that “[it] is not called for by any moral or physical necessity; and as the last hour on Saturday is often one of great importance to the trade and its customers, it is not advisable to depart from the custom established a few years since of working 55 hours a week”.

By then Shields was a very sick man. He fell ill in 1873 and suffered what the Telegraph described as “a painful and hideous form of paralysis” - possibly some kind of stroke. After this he was rarely able to work from his office but remained determined to retain a proprietor’s grip on the paper from home. Although he continued to play an active role in the Bradford business his illness put paid to other plans, such as launching a companion newspaper in nearby Leeds, although he did manage to oversee the takeover of the Bradford Chronicle and Mail in 1883.

Despite this success, Shields gradually succumbed to his paralysis and his condition suddenly took a turn for the worse in September 1887. He died at his home, Park Mount, Manningham, on Sunday, October 23. Despite everything he had achieved, Thomas Shields was still only 55 years old.

He was buried at Undercliffe Cemetery four days later in a polished oak coffin fitted with brass furnishings and a breastplate bearing the inscription: ‘Thomas Shields born March 23rd 1832, died October 23rd 1887’. His coffin was carried in a hearse with glass sides and drawn by a fine pair of Belgian horses.

Naturally, the Telegraph carried a fulsome tribute to its founder who was, it said, “a man of strong character and possessing rare business abilities, backed by keen intelligence, great powers of organisation and an almost unique grasp of possibilities of any case presented to him.”

After Shields’ death the paper was run by his sister, Agnes. He left a personal estate valued at £24,821 16s - the equivalent of £3.5m in 2018. Among the beneficiaries were William McKinlay, the Telegraph’s first editor, who received £300 (equivalent to £38,000 at today’s rates) and £200 (£25,500) to the paper’s print manager Jasper Patterson.

This latter bequest must have left poor Shields spinning in his grave because within a couple of years Patterson had left the Telegraph to set up his own newspaper - the Bradford Daily Argus.

In the immediate aftermath of Shields’ death, Agnes turned to his trusted lieutenants to get the paper through its first crisis. David Eastwood, who had deputised for McKinlay in the editor’s chair and would take the role for a short time when he left, took the reins for a time but Jasper Patterson soon took charge of day-to-day operations.

Patterson had been there at the birth of the Telegraph. He had been among the small group recruited from South Shields when Thomas Shields set out on his quest to become a newspaper owner. In 1868 he was just 20 years old and was set to work as a proofreader and typesetter for the newspaper bills. Nevertheless the nascent talent that had prompted Shields to offer him a job flourished in the new business and, after a brief spell with any company, he returned as printing manager and then took over the overall manager’s role.

Patterson is credited with the introduction of carrier pigeons as a way of speeding up news reporting (Karl Benz had only just filed the patent for his ‘motorwagen’ when the first carrier pigeons took flight in Bradford and motor cars would not be in widespread use for many years). Under the new regime the paper not only stabilized but continued to pioneer new methods.

When a 4,000-ton chimney crashed down on a mill three days after Christmas in 1882, killing 54 people and injuring many more, the Telegraph used an artist to record the aftermath pictorially. The Weekly Telegraph - published three days later on the following Saturday - used a sketch drawn shortly after the disaster and the following week employed the services of an artist who had previously worked for the world famous Illustrated London News.

The paper turned to an artist’s sketch again to record the Diamond Jubilee and honour Queen Victoria’s 60 years on the throne in 1897. The results were rather less impressive, however, with the resulting family portrait of the Queen with her son, grandson and great-grandson looked stilted and rather less than life-like. Nevertheless, it was the best the paper could do at a time when it did not have the equipment to print photographs. And by then Jasper Patterson was long gone from the Telegraph and had, in fact, become a thorn in the paper’s side.

In 1892 a group of leading Conservatives - Lord Masham, Sir John carr, J.H Ackroyd, Francis Willey and Sir E. Flower among them - approached Patterson with an offer: they planned to start a new paper in Bradford and wanted him to run it. The name they had in mind was The Bradford Daily Argus. The word Argus was taken from Argus Panoptes, a multi-eyed giant in Greek mythology who was an all-seeing observer.

The backers of the new Bradford Argus weren’t quite so dispassionate, however. They wanted a Conservative newspaper to counterbalance what they saw as the Telegraph’s liberal-leaning perspective.

Patterson was torn. As a leading member of the original gang from South Shields he had played a key role in establishing the Telegraph and as the paper’s manager had taken it to great success. However, the Telegraph would always be Thomas Shields’ paper and here was a chance to create his very own. After much soul-searching he gave Lord Masham his answer: Yes.

Patterson’s stewardship of the Bradford Daily Argus (later the Yorkshire Evening Argus) would last three decades. When he stepped aside the title would last only four more years before it merged with the Bradford Telegraph.

The rivalry between the two titles pushed them to even greater heights. When The Telegraph used a sketch artist to create an eye-catching front page for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Patterson went one better. He helped Bradford photographer and inventor Richard J Appleton, who was keen to demonstrate the abilities of his new Cieroscope, film the Diamond Jubilee procession in London and screen it for an audience in Bradford the same day. The ambitious plan was a huge a success, and an estimated 250,000 spectators are reported to have seen the films which were projected outside the Bradford Argus building throughout the week - a record which lasted for most of the 20th Century. Patterson’s genius for showmanship certainly got one over on the Telegraph that time.

In 1898 Agnes and Archibald Shields decided to relinquish control of The Telegraph. It was bought by a company created specifically for the job: the Bradford and District Newspaper Company. Its chairman was James Hill (later to become Sir James Hill and the Liberal MP for Bradford Central), a successful wool merchant. Meredith T. Whittaker, who had extensive experience of running a newspaper business, was managing director. Other members of the board were Alfred Holden Illingworth, Percy Holden Illingworth, David Wade and Thomas Whiteley.

The paper changed hands for a total of £67,000 - £37,000 for the share capital and a further £30,000 for ‘goodwill’. The prospectus of the changes valued the Market Street offices at £18,880 and says business was both profitable (£3,505 in 1897) and stable. There was ever reason to think the Telegraph’s best days were still ahead: the Shields had authorised the installation of three new Linotype machines in the composing room and the printing plant was capable of churning out 42,000 copies an hour; a far cry from the days when Thomas Shields had to hand feed paper into the printer himself. Switching from hand compositing to the state-of-the-art Linotype machines would be both more efficient and far cheaper saving the business around £500 a year.

The new proprietors wasted no time in ringing the changes and when Meredith T Whittaker stepped aside they turned to another successful newspaper man to steer the Telegraph into the new century.

Henry Casaubon Derwent had been born in Middlesbrough on November 13, 1857.He entered the printing business in Cleveland and was soon running a newspaper on Teesside. He also displayed an unusual (at the time) sympathy for unionised labour and enjoyed excellent relations with his workforce. As president of the Middlesbrough Trades and Labour Council he won praise for his delicate handling of labour relations with the miners’ unions as well as representing his town at the national Trades Union Congress.

In 1891 he joined a syndicate setting up a new paper in Birmingham. Derwent was appointed news editor and general works manager, eventually assuming full control of the print business. Clearly he had a nose for news and, having noted the passionate following football enjoyed in the Midlands, launched a Saturday sport special which proved to be a huge success with sales of more than 100,000.

But changes in the paper’s ownership saw Derwent fall out of sorts with the Birmingham Argus and when an offer to take up the reins in Bradford came his way he jumped at the new opportunity.

Derwent demanded - and was given - total autonomy. He controlled every inch of the business and amazed staff with his boundless energy and enthusiasm for the job. Under him the paper’s offices in Market Street and Mildred Court were reconstructed to create a workplace fit for the 20th Century. At the same time, he improved working conditions to the point where the Bradford Telegraph was a magnet for journalists and print workers through West Yorkshire. No wonder circulation continued to rise to the point where the Telegraph was Bradford’ biggest paper by far.

Derwent also replicated his Birmingham experiment by introducing a sports-only publication on Saturdays. The Yorkshire Sports paper was an unqualified hit.

Soon the Market Street business was publishing a whole roster of titles - the Telegraph daily backed by the sports paper and various other weeklies. The office also went into book publication, mainly on local or scientific subjects.

Derwent’s success brought him to the attention of the noted Quaker George Cadbury who tried to prise him away from Bradford to run the London Daily News (then one of the largest and most successful newspapers in the world). So anxious was he to have Derwent that Cadbury offered him a huge salary and no doubt Derwent was mighty tempted.

However, the board of directors in Bradford stood firm and held Derwent to his contract. “Bradford needed good men as well as London,” they said. Derwent was nothing if not an honourable man. Despite the incredible opportunity before him decided not to break his contract because the board had agreed to upgrade the Market Street office on his say-so. Besides, he said, his work in West Yorkshire had only just begun and he was anxious to get on with it.

As well as a successful businessman Derwent was also a social reformer who took a great interest in the welfare of poor children.He was chairman of the Bradford Sunday School Union which had 3,500 teachers and 28,000 pupils, and president of the Westgate Baptist Men’s Society which ran popular evening literacy classes.

Derwent used the Telegraph’s reach to launch and raise money for the Cinderella Club, a philanthropic enterprise which provided help to poor children and sought to reduced the still appalling infant mortality rate, The Telegraph and its readers raised almost £4,000 to fund the club.

He also set up an organisation to take blind folk on seaside holidays and even paid their wages while they were enjoying a break.

His family home was at 3 Farcliffe Terrace, between Toller Lane and Lilycroft Road. There were four sons two of whom, Ivor and Norman, fought in the war and were killed. Ivor - a member of the Bradford Pals - was killed in action in July 1916, on the first day of fighting on the Somme alongside thousands of young Englishmen. His brother died the following year.

Derwent would remain the Telegraph’s manager from 1900 until his death 27 years later. His son, W. Raymond Derwent, joined the business as advertisement manager in 1907 and ran the ad department until 1920. He took over as manager when his father died in 1927 and was later managing director of the Westminster Press group, which had bought Bradford & District Newspapers in 1926. He died in 1960 aged 77.

Of course, Henry Casaubon Derwent had to see off his predecessor who was busy making the Argus a success. The rivalry between the two publications sometimes led to physical confrontations such as the scene outside the Town Hall on May 6, 1908. A contemporary report says: “Scene in the Town Hall this morning: Fleming of the Bradford Daily Telegraph and Illingworth of Bradford Argus entertaining a crowd of people near the Lord Mayor’s parlour with brawling and abuse of each other. Another victory for the Telegraph blackguard. One would expect a Sunday School superintendent (Derwent) to have men of respectability and clean mouths about him.”

The Fleming mentioned is almost certainly William Fleming whose combative manners wouldn’t prevent him winning promotion under Derwent. He took over the Telegraph’s editorship from Robert Garner in 1921 and would be one of the paper’s longest serving editors.

The enmity between the Telegraph and Argus led to some outrageous behaviour.

Once the Telegraph printed the results of the Derby - choosing the three most fancied riders - in a bid to beat the Argus and ended up destroyed hundreds of copies bearing the wrong information. They even employed a signaller to stand atop the Piccadilly building whose job it was to flag the racing results to compositors who would hand stamp them in the late news columns.

On March 19, 1917, the Telegraph raised its cover price to one penny. The days of the halfpenny paper were over. Nevertheless, it seems remarkable that the management were able to hold the Telegraph’s price for almost half a century; something only made possible due to the paper’s rapid growth over the same period. Although a doubling of the cover price prompted a few grumbles to the editor, Arthur Brown Kay, the decision was received with equanimity, possibly because the readership had far more important things to worry about.

During the First World War newspapers were the principal means of distribution for worried families anxious for news from the front. As a result the Telegraph’s sales hit new heights.

However, the Telegraph, in common with every other British newspaper at the time, felt the hand of Government-imposed censorship during this period. In August 1914 Westminster passed the "Defence of the Realm Act" (which gave the Government extensive powers to take any steps necessary to win the war. This included censorship of the press as well as a general ban on discussions of any war related topic in public places.

To police this a Press Bureau was set up, under the control of Lord Horatio Kitchener, the newly appointed Secretary of the State for War, to prevent the publication of anything "that would depress the public, assist the enemy, disclose movements of the army or navy or otherwise imperil the national safety."

The Press Bureau had first sight of any messages sent from France to newspapers back home because it was handed control of the Central Telegraph Office.

The truth was, however, that the Telegraph largely self-moderated its reporting of the war so as not to unduly alarm its readers, many of whom were women with husbands and sons fighting abroad.

The paper did at least explain the reasons behind the price increase. A notice placed in the first penny paper said production costs had soared by 300 per cent, that no extra profit would be made and that the only alternative to a price increase would have been to reduce the pagination and cut some of the readers’ favourite features. The notice also pointed out that all the leading halfpenny papers in the country had already increased their prices.

Having served his apprenticeship in the editor’s chair at the Telegraph Arthur Brown Kay left shortly after the end of the First World War to work for The Times in London where he distinguished himself as a reporter during the Irish ‘Troubles’ in 1922. Kay had several uncomfortable brushes with death but always managed to escape the clutches of the Irish revolutionaries. He died in 1956, aged 72.

Kay’s move opened the way for Manchunian Robert Garner who was editor for 12 months before being lured back home for a job with the Manchester Guardian (now The Guardian). He died in 1958 at the age of 70. Garner’s decision to leave so quickly opened the door to William Fleming who had proved his loyalty to the Telegraph over many years.

Fleming started his journalism career on The Craven herald in Skipton and always retained a fondness for the Dales life. However, he was never happier than at the Bradford Telegraph where he stayed from 1921 until 1936, when he stepped down due to ill-health. He died three years later at the age of 69.

It was during Fleming’s era that the Telegraph moved from Market Street to Hall Ings - a site it still occupies to this day - when the board sanctioned the purchase and refitting of a Victorian warehouse for the purposes of newspaper production.

Opened in January 1853 for Milligan, Forbes and Company, the impressive warehouse was described at the time as “the most imposing commercial building yet erected within the precincts of Bradford”.

Work on the neighbouring St George’s Hall had begun two years earlier, in 1851, but when rumours began to circulate that the warehouse would be not only more impressive to look at but also five feet taller a compromise deal was sought. Milligan’s agreed to reduce the height of the warehouse by 30 inches, while an extra 30-inches were added to St George’s Hall. The cost of this unnecessary one-upmanship? A princely £600.

Milligan, Forbes and Co. had history with newspapers. The Bradford Observer had occupied one of its other properties in Piccadilly.

Although the impressive exterior was retained the interior of the warehouse was gutted to add the extra floor space needed for a newspaper office. The official opening was carried out by the noted industrialist Lord Leverhulme on September 30, 1925.

The following year the Telegraph changed hands again when it was acquired by the Westminster Press group. Westminster Press would retain ownership of the title until 1996 when WP’s entire regional publishing arm was sold to Newsquest, owner of the regional titles previously run by Reed Elsevier.

And later the same year Westminster Press engineered a merger of the Telegraph and the Bradford Argus, creating one title: The Bradford Telegraph and Argus. The amalgamation took place on December 15 and brought to an end a long-running rivalry (although The Telegraph dominated in the top end of Bradford while the Argus had the better of it in the lower end).

Announcing the new Bradford Telegraph & Argus (the Bradford bit would be dropped in 1947) an editorial in The Telegraph said: “It will not be a party political paper. It will be an impartial news paper. It will give a complete news service, with special emphasis on the woollen and allied industries, which are, and must remain, the lifeblood of the city and the district.” Grand words and ones which successive editors have always sought to live up to.