The Shuttle

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The Shuttle
Type Weekly newspaper
Format Tabloid
Owner(s) Newsquest Media Group
Editor Peter John
Founded 1870
Headquarters Kidderminster
Circulation 36,706 (Jan to July 2011)[1]

The Shuttle, formerly known as the Kidderminster Shuttle, is a free weekly newspaper distributed to households in the Wyre Forest area of Worcestershire, England on a Thursday. In the Stourport area it was known as the Stourport News, and there was also a paid-for edition, the Kidderminster Times; all three papers have had identical editorial content since 2005 although each had its own masthead front page until April 2006. Since then all three papers have been renamed as The Shuttle incorporating the Kidderminster Shuttle, the Kidderminster Times and the Stourport News. The local office in Stourport was closed at the same time.

The paper remains a local institution in the Kidderminster area, notably with its in-depth coverage of local politics and Kidderminster Harriers F.C..

The Shuttle was first published in the 19th century, and takes its name from the carpet industry for which Kidderminster is famous.

The current editor of the Shuttle is Peter John.[2]

The newspaper is owned by Newsquest Media Group which was acquired by the Gannett corporation in 1999. The Newsquest head office is based in Weybridge, Surrey and employs a total of more than 9,100 people across the UK.

In 2009, the newspaper carried advertisements on both its online and print editions from the British National Party, resulting in widespread condemnation.[3]


The Kidderminster Shuttle was founded by Edward Parry, a Unitarian minister, local headmaster, and local politician who became Mayor of Kidderminster in 1898 and in 1899. In 1870 he bought an old flour mill in Mill Street and opened it as a printing office.

Edward Parry, with little knowledge of the printing and newspaper interest and little starting capital, purchased a second-hand steam-driven printing machine that was then the first of its kind in Kidderminster. Other equipment necessary for newspaper printing was bought second-hand from Mr. Friend, who once ran a printing business in the Bull Ring, Kidderminster. The first edition of the Kidderminster Shuttle was produced on 12 February 1870.

After only 12 months of trading an office for reporters and staff was created in Oxford Street, Kidderminster. The steam-driven printing press required a lot of maintenance and most often had to be dismantled and cleaned before it would work, so it was replaced by a horizontal gas engine driven press. So in 1884 with this faster and more economical press the format of the newspaper was enlarged.

Edward Parry was a keen supporter of the Liberal Party policies and in 1890, he gave most of the responsibilities of running the newspaper to William Wimbury, who started with the company as a reporter in 1871. This gave him more time to concentrate on public life, as he was elected to the Town Council of Kidderminster for the Park ward, as a Liberal councillor.

The Kidderminster Shuttle during this time heavily supported Liberal politics, and so in 1891 Frank Fearneley founded The Sun newspaper (also known as the Kidderminster Sun) as an outlet for promoting Conservative Party policies. The Sun was printed first in the Bull Ring, Kidderminster but soon after moved to Trinity Lane, also in Kidderminster. During the Sun's reign many editorials were written in both papers attacking each other, however, the Sun was short-lived.

Soon after the demise of the Sun J. G. Dalton founded the Kidderminster Times, but this newspaper was also short-lived and became absorbed into the Shuttle. The Shuttle however grew in circulation and by the turn of the 20th century the Shuttle started to produce directories and other publications.

During the First World War the Shuttle was an invaluable means to get messages from families at home to the soldiers on the battlefields, and also stories and pictures of men at war were published. This war effort compelled the purchase of a double-demy cylinder machine and the introduction of the point system of printing, along with Lanston monotype type setting.

At the end of the war and coming into the 1920s the Shuttle which was still chiefly run by Edward Parry and William Wimbury, but Wimbury became ill and died in 1920. Also Edward Parry became unable to run the business so it was passed over to his two sons, Clive Parry and Arthur Parry. They were supported from Fred W. Yates, who started as a printer's devil and worked his way up the organisation.

The responsibilities were split between the two brothers; Clive Parry looked after the printing side of the business while Arthur Parry concerned himself with the newspaper and journalistic side of the business.

In the 1920s the Shuttle seemed to be in jeopardy. In 1926, Edward Parry died at the age of 98, and so ended his 56 years of commitment to the newspaper. His son, Arthur Parry became ill from the stress of running the newspaper and the death of his father. During the 1920s a rival newspaper, the County Express from Stourbridge, wanted to extend their circulation to the Kidderminster area and even produced a Kidderminster edition of his newspaper. However, in the same year that Edward Parry died, Lt. Col. A. H. Moody, proprietor of the County Express, also died. His widow kept on his wish for expansion into Kidderminster and so on 11 July 1931 the County Express bought the Shuttle. The County Express decided to keep the two newspapers to run separately and appointed Fred W. Yates as editor.

This acquisition accounted for big changes in The Shuttle, printing of the newspaper was moved from the flat-bed machinery in Kidderminster to the County Express's rotary press in Stourbridge. Most of the type setting was also moved from Kidderminster to Stourbridge. The style of the newspaper was totally revamped, and London agents were used to handle advertising aspect of the business. The change was seen as a success as the number of advertisers rose rapidly and the popularity of the newspaper improved.

The change was set back, however, with the Second World War, availability of paper and ink were in short supply and strict censorship was applied to all newspaper at this time. The paper was cut down in size and in staff. It took five years after the end of the war for the newspaper to recover.


External links[edit]

Additional Newsquest Newspaper titles with online presence around the Kidderminster area