History of Hull Newspapers

Part 2: The Twentieth century

The Great War and the beginning of the end…
The pre-eminence of Hull’s two Liberal dailies continued through the Great War and after, and is reflected in the usage of their photographs and other material by the City Council, postcard publishers and others. In the changed post-war world, however, a number of factors ushered in the demise of multiple newspaper publishing in British towns and cities. It must be impossible to exaggerate the advent of radio broadcasting. The BBC’s early broadcasts and the regions of its Home Service were already up and running by the early 1920s, producing the rapid growth of a mass listening audience reducing public dependence on printed news and opinion.

The decline
The cinema, the first truly mass entertainment medium in history, affordable and already pervasive by the early 1920s, would pull unhelpfully in the same direction by including newsreels before film showings. In 1925, in a narrowing market, the Hull Daily News, now the Hull Evening News, and the Daily Mail fell to litigation over a Mail complaint that its rival had plagiarised its ‘Final City’ edition logo. The outcome was the Mail winning a legal forfeit over the Evening News.

In a wider perspective, the Eastern Morning News and Hull Daily News sisters belonged to a group which owned daily and weekly newspapers on both banks of the Humber (including the Grimsby Evening Telegraph), that once prospered in the political and commercial period of pre-First World War Britain. The times had changed; as had newspapers’ supremacy in news reporting. By the time of the Evening News’ body blow from the courts, the two papers’ return on capital must have been declining, though, as evidenced by its editions after the General Strike, the News was clearly extending its appeal to a growingly active and politicised working class, with columns devoted to local labour and trade union affairs.

With recession adding its own twist to the deteriorating economics of news publishing, the Eastern Morning was the first casualty, its final issue of 8th November 1929 concluding a long and distinguished history lasting 65 years. In closing the Eastern Morning News (and with it, the long-standing Saturday paper, the Hull News) the company staked all its interests on its sister paper, producing an enlarged Hull Evening News.

However, if the reality had become that only one daily newspaper could be viable in Hull, the Daily Mail had one unbeatable trump card. For several years it had been part of the Rothermere newspaper group, which already included flagship nationals and was steadily expanding into the regional press as well. With the Mail’s financial future assured, and with overwhelmingly superior resources, the outcome could scarcely have been doubted. On 17th April 1930 Evening News readers learned that this edition was the last, their paper taken over by its long­standing rival.

return to Part1: The early years or see details of our Newspaper holdings.