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Father and son early editors

The Wells Journal and its sister papers are celebrating being 150 years old. This article, which first appeared in the celebration special edition, looks at the early days of the Central Somerset Gazette.

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When John Brook, who came to Glastonbury from Shepton Mallet to take over the printing, book-selling and stationary business in High Street, which had been carried on for many years by Mr W Welch, he soon decided to enlarge his printing department and publish a local newspaper.

Launching the Central Somerset Gazette on Saturday, June 1, 1861, he placed before his readers the principal reasons for entering on “so bold and onerous an undertaking” and traced out the course he intended to pursue.

“There are local interests, manifestly growing from year to year, of sufficient importance to occupy more than a few short paragraphs occasionally appearing in the provincial press,” he wrote.

“To meet this want the Central Somerset Gazette has been originated and puts forward its claims for support and patronage.

“In the columns of the Gazette will be found correct reports of judicial proceedings, county courts and of meetings-scientific, political, or religious, which may be held in the neighbourhood, accurate and early returns of local and more distant markets, especially those which are important to our agricultural friends.

“Parliamentary and political intelligence, as well as domestic, and foreign, will be collected from the most reliable sources and impartial surveys of passing events, with occasional dispassionate articles on the leading and engrossing topics of the day, will be given.”

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