Good-bye to Fleet Street

The Independent newspaper, now online only, reports that the last journalists have now left their Fleet Street premises. The final departures were two reporters for the Dundee Sunday Post. In a panegyric to the former home of British journalism. the Independent looks back to a Waugh novel of the 1930s, which was probably Fleet Street’s golden age:

By the 20th century, Fleet Street as a national and international centre for journalism had been cemented, and was captured in its pomp in Evelyn Waugh’s 1938 satirical novel Scoop in which unscrupulous authoritarian editors battle for prominence as their writers drink heavily in bars. But Fleet Street’s demise began in 1986 when Rupert Murdoch moved publication of his News International titles The Times, News of the World and The Sun to new premises in Wapping. Despite furious opposition from print unions, all of Mr Murdoch’s Fleet Street print staff were sacked, thereby breaking the power of the unions, and electronic printing began in Wapping. The following year, the Telegraph left its mock-Egyptian tower for Canary Wharf and the Financial Times moved out of Bracken House near St. Paul’s Cathedral, crossing the river to Southwark.

The story features a 1932 photo of the aggressively Art Deco front of the Daily Express building where Waugh’s short-lived newspaper career took its course a few years earlier. According to the Independent, the Express moved out of that building in 1989 and is now just across the river on Blackfriars Road SE1.

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