Thursday, 30 September 2010

The National News and the Sunday Evening Telegram, Battersea

It is quite amazing how some ghost signs advertising products that disappeared decades ago managed to survive for so long virtually untouched. Such is the case of the one below, which encourages people to read two different Sunday papers, both of which were last published in the early 1920s.

The weekly National News was first published in 1917, the same year Sir Henry Dalziel, the Liberal MP for Kirkaldy and owner at the time of several papers including Reynold's News, launched the Sunday Evening Telegram. Although several newspapers were published on Sundays, there was until then no evening paper. Two editions of the Telegram were printed each week.
In October 1919 Sunday Publications Ltd, a syndicate headed by Horatio Bottomley, MP for South Hackney and the greatest swindler in Edwardian Britain, acquired a controlling interest in both papers. Actually the way Bottomley obtained the money to buy these two publications was unorthodox to say the least: he simply diverted some of the money sent by the public to the Victory Bond Club (the Victory Bond Club was the greatest sting ever mounted by Bottomley, a man with considerable experience in that field!). Bottomley became their editor, a position he shared with Charles Palmer, who in 1920 was elected independent MP for the Wrekin. For his work, Bottomley was paid £2000 a year plus ten per cent of annual profits. He also received 75,000 shares of Sunday Publications Ltd. Yet both papers, which were printed by Odhams Press, had a relatively small circulation and didn't make any profit. In 1921 Bottomley converted the National News into the Sunday Illustrated and ran it in competition with the Sunday Pictorial, for which he had been writing a weekly column until then. Expensive to produce, the Sunday Illustrated only lasted for a few years. As for the Sunday Evening Telegram, it disappeared in 1921.

Spend a Happy Sunday
With the
National News
Sunday Evening
... ... of Horatio Bottomley MP

A few years ago the future of this ghost sign looked uncertain. Indeed Clear Channel UK Ltd installed a high level revolving and illuminated billboard on this wall. When Wandworth Council objected to it, the company argued it didn't need consent from the Council since this location was being used for the purpose of advertising since 1st April 1974. This was challenged and the matter was eventually settled in the High Court, where two judges ruled in favour of the Council: since the two newspapers were last published in 1921, this sign couldn't be considered as still being used for advertising purposes on 1st April 1974. Consequently the billboard was taken down.

Location: Hafer Road / Picture taken on: 07/03/2008

No comments: