b. 1905, son of William Cudlipp, a well known commercial traveller in south Wales, and Bessie his wife, of Lisvane Street, Cardiff. He was one of three eminent Welsh journalist brothers (Reginald became editor of The News of the World, 1953-59; and Hugh, editor of The Sunday Pictorial, 1937-40 and 1946-49, and chairman of Odhams Press, 1960). Percy was educated, as were the others, at Gladstone school and Howard Gardens High School, Cardiff. He entered journalism on The South Wales Echo at 14 as messenger and copy boy, and two years later became a reporter. Subsequently he worked on the The Evening Chronicle, Manchester, during which time he contributed articles and light verse to London newspapers which attracted much attention in Fleet Street. His career in journalism spanned 34 years, from junior reporter to editor and he created a particular niche in his first appointment as editor in his encouragement of specialist correspondents in an extended field of news and specialist coverage, a format which was adopted by most national and regional newspapers. He was drama critic and humorous columnist of The Sunday News, London, 1925-29, and special writer and film critic of The Evening Standard, London, 1929-31. In 1931 he was promoted assistant editor and became editor in 1933. His move to daily national newspapers came with his appointment as editorial manager of The Daily Herald in 1938, and then editor in 1940 (when he succeeded Francis Williams who became Prime Minister Attlee's press secretary at Downing Street in 1946) until 1953. His sojourn on The Daily Herald often subjected him to tense editorial restrictions which he resented and fought, but the paper, then the mouthpiece of the Socialist left, was obliged generally to support policies approved by the Trades Union Congress and the Labour Party. Under such strains he moved to the Liberal News Chronicle where he was a columnist, 1954-56. He again moved to be editor of New Scientist from its foundation in 1956. Fleet Street, the hub of British journalism, knew him as an accurate writer and a conversational wit whose instinctive mimicry of the famous was greatly appreciated.
He became a frequent broadcaster both on radio and television and his love of verse from his earliest days was reflected in his book, Bouverie Ballads (1955). He m., 1927, Gwendoline James and they had one son. He d. 5 Nov. 1962.
Published date: 2001
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