CLARK family, printers and publishers in Monmouthshire

JAMES CLARK (1781 - 1859) settled in Chepstow in 1823; born 22 January 1781 at Gloucester, he became an apprentice in the offices of The Gloucester Journal, and afterwards worked in London and Portsmouth. He married Mary Baker (died 1875, a centenarian) about the time that he returned to Gloucester, which was in 1808. He appears to have lived at Gosport, Hants., and Trowbridge, Wiltshire, before he settled at Chepstow (1823). A little later his son, WILLIAM EDWARD CLARK (died April 1891), became partner, and it was the firm of Clark and Son which began (23 June 1855) to print and publish The Chepstow Weekly Advertiser, which continued to appear until 1916. The business was continued by WILLIAM EDWARD NEW CLARK and EMMELINE CLARK, son and daughter of William Edward Clark; it was sold in 1903 to Enoch Williams. James Clark died 12 June 1859.

A fortnight after The Chepstow Weekly Advertiser began to appear, another Monmouthshire newspaper started its career — The Illustrated Usk Observer; this was printed and published at Usk by JAMES HENRY CLARK (1818 - 1913), another son of James Clark. J. H. Clark and his elder brother GEORGE A. CLARK (who, however, died at Chepstow 12 April 1835) began business at Usk on 1 January 1834. Both brothers had learned the craft of printing at their father's office. J. H. Clark was born 23 January 1818 in Gloucester and died 16 February 1913, aged 95. During his long life as printer and publisher he wrote and published several books, e.g. Usk and its Neighbourhood, 1856; Handbook to Monmouthshire and South Wales, 1861; Sketches of Monmouthshire, 1868; History of Monmouthshire, 1869; Usk Past and Present, 1893; etc. — for further details see Ifano Jones, History of Printing and Printers in Wales and Monmouthshire, and the ‘Monmouthshire Bibliography’ of William Haines (in manuscript in N.L.W.). The newspaper begun in 1855 continued, with change of name, to appear until 1907. J. H. Clark married, 15 March 1838, Sophia (died 1901), eldest daughter of William Howell, Chepstow. For some years he had a book-selling shop in Cardiff also. In August 1875 he began to publish a monthly, The Usk Gleaner and Monmouthshire Record, which continued to appear until the end of 1878. The Usk business was continued by his daughter, ELIZA BLANCHE CLARK.

WILLIAM HENRY CLARK, eldest son of J. H. Clark, left Usk in 1866 for Brecon, where he founded The Brecon County Times.


Published date: 1959

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