St James's Gazette

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A youthful H.H. Gibbs, founding proprietor of the St James's Gazette. Miniature portrait by Magdalena Ross (1801-1874)[1]

The St James's Gazette was a London evening newspaper published from 1880 to 1905. It was founded by the Conservative Henry Hucks Gibbs, later Baron Aldenham, a Director of the Bank of England 1853-1901 and its Governor 1875-1877; the paper's first editor was Frederick Greenwood, previously the editor of the Conservative-leaning Pall Mall Gazette.[2]



The St. James's Gazette was founded in 1880 out of the Pall Mall Gazette, which was (in the phrase of Leslie Stephen, the father of Virginia Woolf) 'the most thorough-going of Jingo newspapers'.[3] The Pall Mall was owned by George Murray Smith of Smith, Elder & Co., who founded the world-famous Apollinaris mineral water firm with Edward Steinkopff in 1874.[4] In April 1880 Smith handed control of the Pall Mall Gazette to his new son-in-law Henry Yates Thompson who, with his editor John Morley (later Viscount Morley),[3] determined to turn it into a radical Liberal paper.

In order to continue his advocacy of the old policy of the Pall Mall, H. H. Gibbs[n 1] founded the St James's Gazette, taking Greenwood and the Pall Mall's entire staff; the first issue appeared on 31 May 1880.[5][6]


In the new paper Greenwood fought for the same cause with the same spirit and capacity as in the old. He powerfully advocated the occupation of Egypt in 1882, and was the whole-hearted opponent of the Irish nationalists. One occasional contributor to this 'strongest of Tory voices' was the critic George Saintsbury.[5] No newspaper helped more effectively to destroy W. E. Gladstone's power and to prepare the way for the long predominance of the Liberal Unionist Party. But various causes, of which the strongest was the decline of a taste for serious journalism in the public, rendered it impossible for the St. James's to attain to the prosperity of the Pall Mall.[3]

After the death of one of the proprietors, George Gibbs, on 26 Nov. 1886 the financial control passed to his cousin Henry Gibbs, who was not equally in harmony with Greenwood's views. In 1888 Greenwood persuaded Edward Steinkopff (still in the Apollinaris business with George Smith, the ex-proprietor of the Pall Mall Gazette) to buy the St. James's. But the new proprietor refused his editor the freedom he had so far enjoyed; and Greenwood retired suddenly and in anger within the year, to be succeeded by Sidney Low.[3]

Hugh Chisholm joined the St James's Gazette as assistant editor in 1892 and was appointed editor in 1897.[7] In the same year the paper's proprietor Edward Steinkopff sold the massively successful Apollinaris business to the hotelier Frederick Gordon, receiving £1,500,000 as his share.[8][9]

During these years, Chisholm also contributed numerous articles on political, financial and literary subjects to the weekly journals and monthly reviews, becoming well known as a literary critic and Conservative publicist. He moved in 1899 to The Standard as chief leader-writer. His place on the St. James's Gazette was taken by the Irish barrister Ronald McNeill, (later Baron Cushendun).[n 2] Eric Parker (editor of The Field from 1911 until 1932) also worked there.[n 3]

One of the concerns in Britain around the turn of the century was immigration into the UK, prompted partially by the Anti-Jewish pogroms in the Russian Empire[10] One of the most vociferous and outspoken anti-alien critics of the day was Major William Evans-Gordon, MP for Stepney, whose 'restrictionist' rabble-rousing activities with the British Brothers League led to the Aliens Act 1905. Evans-Gordon's 1903 book The Alien Immigrant[11] on the plight of Jewish and other (undesirable, in his view) immigrants was dedicated "To my friend, Edward Steinkopff", the owner of the St James's Gazette.[12] Steinkopff's only child, Mary Margaret Steinkopff, married Evans-Gordon's brother-in-law, Col. James Stewart-Mackenzie, 1st Baron Seaforth.[13]


C. Arthur Pearson (later described by Winston Churchill as "the champion hustler of the Tariff Reform League") had had a financial interest in the St. James's Gazette for several years.[14] When the Tariff Reform battle started Pearson was the head of a syndicate which bought the morning Standard newspaper in 1904 for £300,000. With the acquisition went the London Evening Standard, which published every day a full list of Stock Exchange prices and was largely purchased on that account.[14]

Pearson amalgamated the St. James's Gazette with the Evening Standard on 13 March 1905,[6][14] and the Gazette ceased publication.

See also


  1. Gibbs, director of the Bank of England was a Conservative merchant banker and a member of Antony Gibbs & Sons, a firm of merchant traders. His uncle's firm Gibbs Bright & Co. (of Bristol & Liverpool) had been previously involved in the West African slave trade to their Caribbean sugar plantations and acted as shipping agents for Brunel's SS Great Britain; the firm was latterly involved in the guano fertiliser trade with the Bolivian & Peruvian governments and later in the sodium nitrate trade (needed for munitions) in Chile.
  2. Chisholm became editor-in-chief of the 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica in 1903, with McNeill as assistant editor from 1906-1910
  3. In his book Memory Looks Forward (1937) Parker recounted his memories of journalism beginning with the St. James's Gazette under Ronald McNeill, afterwards Lord Cushendun. Source: J. B. Atkins, The Spectator, 29 October 1937, p. 34.
    "Those who were journalists then will be made by the realism of the narrative to feel that they are living their lives again. The atmosphere and the methods described have almost passed away. Such papers as the St. James's Gazette, the Globe and the Westminster Gazette were conducted by small thinking and writing staffs who, working anonymously, were ready to accept a collective credit or discredit. The well-known exaggeration that the influence of a paper is in inverse ratio to its circulation might have been invented for them — particularly for the Westminster Gazette."
  1. Christie's sale 6572, lot 203
  2. Lee 1976, p. 165.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Lee et al. 2012, p. 56.
  4. C&D 1906, p. 399.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Jones 1992, p. 91.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Chapman-Huston 1936, p. 47.
  7. Shattock 2000, p. 2934.
  8. 'Summary of World's Happenings' London, 2 March. "Mr. Edward Steinkopff, who received £1,500,000 as his share of the Apollonaris business which he helped to found, died [in Feb. 1906] at Hayward's Heath." Poverty Bay Herald, Volume XXXIII, Issue 10637, 12 April 1906, Page 4
  9. Frederick Gordon owned numerous hotels in London & the UK, and turned Bentley Priory into a hotel. Source: "Frederick Gordon, the world's greatest hotelier". Visit Stanmore. Stanmore Tourist Board. 
  10. "Leaving the Homeland". Moving Here. The National Archives (UK). Archived from the original on 3 November 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  11. Evans-Gordon 1903.
  12. Evans-Gordon 1903, p. v.
  13. Vancouver Daily World, April 6, 1906, p. 4
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Berry 1947, p. 36.