Hugh Cudlipp

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Hubert "Hugh" Kinsman Cudlipp, Baron Cudlipp, OBE (28 August 1913 – 17 May 1998), was a Welsh journalist and newspaper editor noted for his work on the Daily Mirror in the 1950s and 60s.

Life and career[edit]

Hugh Cudlipp was born at 118 Lisvane Street, Cardiff. He left the Howard Gardens High School for boys (later Howardian High) at the age of fourteen, working for a number of short-lived local newspapers before transferring at age sixteen to Manchester and a job on the Manchester Evening Chronicle. In 1932, aged nineteen, he moved to London to take up a position as features editor of the Sunday Chronicle. In 1935, he joined the staff of the Daily Mirror.[1]

He was editor of the Sunday Pictorial (later renamed the Sunday Mirror) from 1937 to 1949. During this period, he saw war service with the Royal Sussex Regiment, and was involved in the First Battle of El Alamein. He was head of the army newspaper unit for the Mediterranean from 1943 to 1946, and oversaw the launch of a British forces' paper, Union Jack, modelled on the US Stars and Stripes. He thereafter returned to the Daily Mirror and the Sunday Pictorial until 1949; when owing to disagreements with his then boss, Harry Guy Bartholomew, he left to take the post of managing editor of the Sunday Express for a two-year stint. By 1951, Bartholomew had left, replaced by Cecil King, who reappointed Cudlipp; and with whom, Cudlipp enjoyed a good working relationship for many years.[1]

In 1952, Cudlipp was made Editorial Director of the Daily Mirror in the period in which it sustained its position as one of the best selling British newspapers, and accrued considerable social and political influence. Roy Greenslade identifies Cudlipp as the mastermind of the paper's editorial formula, responsible for design, choice of campaigns, gimmicks, stunts, and author of iconic headlines.[2]

He was Chairman of the Mirror Group of newspapers from 1963 to 1967, where he oversaw the 1964 launch, as a broadsheet, of The Sun. Intended to replace the failing Daily Herald, the choice of format was to prevent it encroaching on Daily Mirror sales.[1] The paper was not successful and, in 1969, was sold to Rupert Murdoch, who turned it into a tabloid imitator of and competitor to the Daily Mirror; by 1978, it was outselling the Mirror.

From 1968 to his retirement in 1973, he was Chairman of the International Publishing Corporation. His brothers Percy Cudlipp and Reginald Cudlipp were also national newspaper editors.

Cudlipp was knighted in 1973 and created Baron Cudlipp, of Aldingbourne in the County of West Sussex in 1974. Initially a Labour peer, he joined the nascent Social Democratic Party in 1981.

In 1974, director/producer John Goldschmidt made the documentary film Telling It Like It Is: Cudlipp's Crusade, featuring Hugh Cudlipp about the "state of the nation", for ATV.[3] The IBA[4] insisted that the film was withdrawn from transmission so as not to conflict with legislation on broadcasting in periods just before general elections.[5] The script of the film was instead published in sections by several newspapers. The film was finally transmitted on ITV after the election.


After his death his widow, Lady Jodi Cudlipp, joined with former colleagues from the British press to found the Cudlipp Trust with the aim of "education and furthering the interests and standing of journalism".[6] The trust organises the annual Hugh Cudlipp Lecture and student journalism prize. The lecture has been given by some of the biggest names in British media including Piers Morgan, Alan Rusbridger, Paul Dacre.

Between 1999 and 2004 the lecture was given at the London Press Club, since 2005 at the London College of Communication. Delivering the 2005 lecture Michael Grade, then Chairman of the BBC described Cudlipp as "one of the giants of British journalism and one of its greatest editors."[7]

The British Press Awards gives an annual "Hugh Cudlipp Award".[8]

The Hugh Cudlipp Lecture speakers 1999 to date[edit]

2015 Emily Bell [9] 2014 David Walsh [10][11] 2013 Sir Harold Evans [12][13] 2012 Jon Snow [14] 2011 Lionel Barber [15] 2010 Alan Rusbridger [16] 2009 Rebekah Wade [17] 2008 Alastair Campbell [18] 2007 Paul Dacre [19] 2006 Andrew Marr [20] 2005 Michael Grade [21] 2004 Felicity Green 2003 Piers Morgan 2002 Geoffrey Goodman 2001 Derek Jameson 2000 Bob Edwards 1999 Peter Carter Ruck

Personal life[edit]

His first wife was Edith Parnell, who in 1929, when only a 16-year-old schoolgirl, had become the second person to swim across the Bristol Channel from Penarth to Weston-super-Mare.[22]

Publications by Cudlipp[edit]

  • Publish and be Damned: The Astonishing Story of the "Daily Mirror" (1953)
  • At your peril: A mid-century view of the exciting changes of the Press in Britain,and a Press view of the exciting changes of mid-century (1962)
  • Walking on the Water (1976) - an autobiography
  • The Prerogative of the Harlot: Press Barons and Power (1980)
  • Cudlipp and be Damned! A 'British Journalism Review' collection of writing by Hugh Cudlipp to celebrate the centenary of the 'Daily Mirror' on 2 November 2003 (2003) - posthumous

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography remarks that Publish and be Damned and At your peril were rumoured to be ghosted works.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Howard, Anthony. "Cudlipp, Hubert Kinsman (Hugh), Baron Cudlipp (1913–1998), journalist and publishing executive". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 2009-12-09. 
  2. ^ Roy Greenslade, "Why all journalists should read Cudlipp's Publish and be Damned!", The Guardian (blog), 8 December 2009
  3. ^ Telling It Like It Is: Cudlipp's Crusade, BFI Film & TV Database
  4. ^ "Be Damned If You Publish", New Law Journal, vol.124, No.5666, 19 September 1974, p.853
  5. ^ Transmission dates: Telling It Like It Is: Cudlipp's Crusade, BFI Film & TV Database
  6. ^ "THE HUGH CUDLIPP TRUST :: OpenCharities". Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  7. ^ Michael Grade, Making the important interesting: BBC journalism in the 21st Century - The Cudlipp Lecture, London College of Communications, 24 January 2005
  8. ^ Press Gazette, Roll of Honour, accessed 24 July 2011
  9. ^ "Hugh Cudlipp Lecture: Students scoop journalism award with Scots Independence referendum video". mirror. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  10. ^ "David Walsh on Lance Armstrong: My battle for truth about his doping was worth it". mirror. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  11. ^, retrieved 2015-10-22  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ "Sir Harold Evans' 2013 Hugh Cudlipp lecture - full written version | Press Gazette". Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  13. ^, retrieved 2015-10-22  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^, retrieved 2015-10-22  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^, retrieved 2015-10-22  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ Rusbridger, Alan; Wells, Matt; Gallagher, y. "Video: Alan Rusbridger on the future of digital media". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  17. ^ "Cudlipp lecture: Sun editor Rebekah Wade's full speech | Press Gazette". Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  18. ^ "Alastair Campbell: The Cudlipp Lecture". The Independent. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  19. ^ "Mail editor slams 'Orwellian' BBC". BBC. 2007-01-23. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  20. ^ "Andrew Marr to deliver Cudlipp lecture - Journalism News from HoldtheFrontPage". HoldTheFrontPage. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  21. ^ "BBC - Press Office - Michael Grade Hugh Cudlipp Lecture". Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  22. ^ BookOxygen Wonder Girls by Catherine Jones

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
David Grant
Editor of the Sunday Pictorial
Succeeded by
Stuart Campbell
Preceded by
Stuart Campbell
Editor of the Sunday Pictorial
Succeeded by
Phil Zec
Preceded by
Phil Zec
Editor of the Sunday Pictorial
Succeeded by
Colin Valdar