William Berry, 1st Viscount Camrose
Life and career
Berry was born in Merthyr Tydfil in Wales, the second of three sons of Mary Ann (Rowe) and John Mathias Berry. Berry started his working life as a journalist and established his own paper, Advertising World, in 1901. Berry made his fortune with the publication of the World War I magazine The War Illustrated, which at its peak had a circulation of 750,000. In partnership with his younger brother, Gomer Berry, 1st Viscount Kemsley (the elder brother was Seymour Berry, 1st Baron Buckland), he purchased The Sunday Times in 1915 and was its editor-in-chief until 1937. In 1919 the pair also purchased the Financial Times.
In 1924 the Berry brothers and Sir Edward Iliffe set up Allied Newspapers and purchased the Daily Dispatch, the Manchester Evening Chronicle, the Sunday Chronicle, the Sunday News, and the Sunday Graphic, as well as a string of other newspapers across the country. In Cardiff they merged four newspapers into the Western Mail. In 1927 they purchased The Daily Telegraph from the 2nd Harry Levy-Lawson, 1st Viscount Burnham, with William Berry becoming its editor-in-chief. In 1937 they purchased its rival, The Morning Post.
Berry bought out his partners in 1937 and amalgamated The Morning Post with The Daily Telegraph, with himself as chairman and editor-in-chief. His sons Seymour, the 2nd Viscount, and subsequently Michael, continued to run the newspaper until 1986.
He provided financial assistance to Sir Winston Churchill after the Second World War. He and ten other wealthy well-wishers each donated £5,000 to the Churchills, allowing them to keep their home, Chartwell, on the condition that it would be presented to the nation upon their deaths.
Berry was created a baronet in the 1921 Birthday Honours. He was raised to the peerage as Baron Camrose, of Long Cross in the County of Surrey, on 19 June 1929, and advanced to Viscount Camrose, of Hackwood Park in the County of Southampton, on 20 January 1941.
Berry married Mary Agnes Corns in 1905. They had eight children together:
- Hon Mary Cecilia Berry (born 1906, died 24 June 1996)
- (John) Seymour Berry, 2nd Viscount Camrose (born 12 July 1909, died 15 February 1995)
- (William) Michael Berry, Baron Hartwell, 3rd Viscount Camrose (born 18 May 1911, died 3 April 2001)
- Hon Sheila Berry (born 1913, died 1992)
- Hon Molly Patricia Berry (born 1915, died 31 August 1995)
- Hon Rodney Mathias Berry (born 29 April 1917, died 10 March 1963)
- Lt Col Hon Julian Berry (born 24 May 1920, died 1988)
- Hon Diana Phyllis Berry (born 1924, died March 1995)
Berry died in 1954 and was succeeded in the viscountcy, barony and baronetcy by his eldest son, Seymour.
- "No. 32346". The London Gazette (Supplement). 4 June 1921. p. 4530.
- "No. 33510". The London Gazette. 28 June 1929. p. 4268.
- "No. 35057". The London Gazette. 28 January 1941. p. 559.
- The Peerage, entry for 1st Viscount Camrose
- Biography, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
- The House the Berrys Built by Duff Hart-Davis. Concerns the history of the Daily Telegraph from its inception to 1990.
- William Camrose: Giant of Fleet Street by his son Lord Hartwell. Illustrated biography with black-and-white photographic plates and includes an index.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Viscount Camrose
|Peerage of the United Kingdom|
|New creation|| Viscount Camrose
John Seymour Berry
|New creation|| Baron Camrose|
|Baronetage of the United Kingdom|
|New creation|| Baronet
(of Hackwood Park)
John Seymour Berry