THE BAYLIS FAMILY
Generations of the same family have shaped the reporting of local news in Maidenhead.
In 1869 the Maidenhead Advertiser was established by Edwin Bushell Prosser. It cost 1d and had a circulation of 1000, about one fifth of the town’s population. A year later the newspaper was bought by a syndicate of local businessmen, before in 1873 a journalist from Gloucester, Frederick Baylis (1841 – 1906) became the sole editor and proprietor.
The Advertiser stayed in the Baylis family for over 130 years. From the early days when it was produced in the Broadway, it moved in 1901 to Queen Street, where it stayed for 68 years before moving to the current site of Newspaper House in Bell Street, with an office in Queen Street.
When Frederick died his four children – Edith, Bertha, Gerald and Watson took over and ran the business as a partnership. The Advertiser changed little through two world wars, until Frederick’s grandson Louis took charge. As the wartime restrictions eased, Louis rebuilt and modernised the paper. He brought in new technology to make the paper even more successful and enjoyable to read.
In 1962, Louis gave the Advertiser to the town, and it is now run as the Baylis (Maidenhead Advertiser) Charitable Trust. The trust distributes money annually to local good causes.
When the business came under the administration of Louis’ brother Norman, circulation had risen to 75,000. Norman retired in 1989 and his son Gerald took over as chairman of the company. Five generations of the Baylis family have provided this service to Maidenhead and the surrounding villages. Norman’s eldest grandson, Jeremy Spooner, is now the paper’s managing director.
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