Express Newspapers is a publisher of midmarket and red-top national newspapers. It’s naturally most famous for its flagship title, the Daily Express, and sister title the Sunday Express, but also publishes two much newer red-tops, the Daily Star and the Daily Star Sunday.
The story of Express Newspapers begins in 1900 with the foundation of the Daily Express by Arthur Pearson, later appointed Pearson, 1st Baronet of St Dunstan’s for his philanthropic work on behalf of blind people; he had no connection with the Pearson publishing company that produces the Financial Times.
In late 1916 the Express came under the control of British-Canadian tycoon Sir Max Aitken, who was created 1st Baron Beaverbrook early the following year and was appointed Minister of Information in 1918 to conduct Allied propaganda in Allied and neutral countries (alongside Lord Northcliffe, who was responsible for propaganda in enemy countries). Beaverbrook took the Express and livened it up substantially, making it the first British newspaper to carry a crossword and adding gossip and sport to its coverage – as well as the Rupert Bear comic strip and satirical cartoons by “Giles”. By the late 1940s its circulation had soared to to over 3.7 million.
After Beaverbrook’s death in 1964 the Express and Sunday Express went into decline. In 1977 both titles were bought by Trafalgar House, who renamed the publishing company from Beaverbrook Newspapers to Express Newspapers and launched a new red-top, initially for northern England and the Midlands only, the Daily Star. A hostile takeover by United Newspapers (later United News & Media, now UBM plc) in 1985 saw the two Express titles change their names four years later to The Express and The Express on Sunday.
Meanwhile, in 1974 Richard Desmond had founded a publishing company, Northern & Shell, which published a number of magazine – including, from 1983 onwards, the UK edition of pornographic magazine Penthouse as well as a range of other pornographic titles (all sold in 2004). Northern & Shell bought Express Newspapers from United News & Media in 2000.
Desmond launched the Daily Star Sunday in 2002. So far, it’s retained a separate editorial existence from its stablemate, in contrast with other red-tops, which have moved to seven-day operation.
- Express Newspapers
Northern & Shell Building
Number 10 Lower Thames Street
- 020 8612 7000
- 020 8612 7966
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