Dennis Griffiths

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Dennis Griffiths (8 December 1933 – 24 December 2015) was a British journalist and historian, regarded as the founding father of newspaper history from the earliest days of Fleet Street.[1] His Encyclopedia of the British Press 1422–1992 has become a standard work of reference for the whole industry. Born in Swansea, the son of a compositor, he trained as a printer himself, rose to become the production chief of the London Evening Standard for 18 years and wrote six books, including a definitive history of that newspaper from its launch in 1827,[2] much praised in the foreword by its former owner the late Vere Harmsworth.

From 1999 to 2002 Griffiths was an energetic chairman of the London Press Club.[3] In March 2002, he helped organise the 300th anniversary celebration for the first regular daily newspaper to be printed in the United Kingdom. The Prince of Wales unveiled a brass plaque at a service in St Bride’s, the journalists’ church, on the date The Daily Courant was first published in Fleet Street.[4]

In 2006 the British Library published his book Fleet Street – Five Hundred Years of the Press to coincide with an exhibition of newspaper front pages which he co-curated. He also helped prepare an oral archive of newspaper history, and that year was himself interviewed by National Life Stories (C638/06) for the 'Oral History of the British Press' collection held by the library.[5] In 2013 he founded the Coranto Press which published scholarly works on the media.[6]

Griffiths often retold the story of how in 1969 the Evening Standard pre-printed front pages showing a facsimile colour picture of Neil Armstrong being the first man to step onto the moon – 24 hours ahead of actually landing.[7]

Publications

  • The Encyclopedia of the British Press 1422–1992, London and Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1992. ISBN 0-333-52984-7.
  • Fleet Street – Five Hundred Years of the Press, British Library Publishing, 2006. ASIN: B00EKYHS2U.

References

  1. ^ Greenslade, Roy (30 December 2015). "Dennis Griffiths, a prolific and punctilious newspaper historian". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  2. ^ Griffiths, Dennis (1995). Plant Here The Standard. Palgrave Macmillan, 417pp. ISBN 0-333-55565-1.
  3. ^ "Tributes paid to former London Press Club chairman Dennis Griffiths". London Press Club website, 29 December 2015.
  4. ^ "Evening Standard history writer dies". The Independent, 30 December 2015.
  5. ^ National Life Stories, 'Griffiths, Dennis (1 of 6) National Life Stories Collection: 'Oral History of the British Press', The British Library Board, 2006. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  6. ^ "Staunch newspaperman who devoted his later years to studying the history of Fleet Street". The Telegraph, 1 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Former chairman of London Press Club dies". London Evening Standard, 30 December 2015.
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