May 4, 1896
At i a.m. on Monday, May 4, 1896, there was mounting tension at 2 Carmelite Street, London, E.C., premises which had been taken over from Sir George Newnes, who had used them for the business department. of his Westminster Gazette. They were about to be the scene of a more dynamic enterprise, young Alfred Harmsworth's spectacular leap into the twentieth century. Lord Nelson, challenging fate before the battle of Cape St. Vincent, had cried: ' Westminster Abbey or glorious victory!' Less flamboyantly, Alfred Harmsworth said to Kennedy Jones as together they waited while the machine men made ready: 'Bankruptcy or Berkeley Square!' Editorial workers, some of them in frock coats, trooped down the stone stairs to the basement. Other members of the staff whose duties were done for the day stayed on to witness the climax of weeks of anonymous effort. Many of them had been present at an inaugural party given by Alfred and Molly Harmsworth two nights before at their temporary London home in Charles Street, Mayfair. 'There was a bucket of champagne at every man's feet', according to one of the guests, who also reported that 'A.H.'s drink was ginger-beer'. It was noted with still less approval that the company was not invited to share his taste in cigarettes, large, long 'Khedivials', supplied to him from Cairo. They were the first personal luxury that he had allowed himself when he began to make money.
At 1.20 a.m. the three new fast rotary presses throbbed into life. Out of the subterranean roar and clatter the first copies of the Daily Mail were flung, into. the world, telling of war. in Bulawayo, assassination, in Persia, atrocities in Cuba, murder at Reading. An editorial scorned 'the exquisite nonsense of the three-miles-an-hour limit for the newest form of road vehicle, the motor-car. There was the first instalment of a serial, Beauregard's Shadow, by an unnamed author. A page headed 'The Daily Maga
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Publication information: Book title: Northcliffe. Contributors: Reginald Pound - Author, Geoffrey Harmsworth - Author. Publisher: Praeger. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1960. Page number: 193.
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