Site of Herald newspaper office, Caernarfon

Site of Herald newspaper office, Y Maes, Caernarfon

At this corner of Y Maes stood the Brunswick Building – but many people in Caernarfon remember it as the “Caernarfon and Denbigh”. It housed the office of the Carnarvon and Denbigh Herald.

Photo of mastheads of Herald newsapers of 1906By 1834 the Castle Hotel was the main building on this side of Y Maes (Castle Square). Four adjoining houses were built towards the castle but only one this side of the hotel, where four were planned. That left a space where the Brunswick Building was erected c.1850. It became a newspaper office in 1906.

The Carnarvon Herald was the town’s first newspaper, founded in 1831 by Richard Preece, father of electrical engineer Sir William Preece. It was an English-language weekly paper and was renamed the Carnarvon and Denbigh Herald as its circulation area expanded across North Wales. It counterbalanced at least one newspaper funded by the aristocracy and often sided with ordinary people. For example, in 1850 it accused the 1st Baron Penrhyn of appropriating the shore below Penrhyn Castle and hounding poor people for “trifling trespass” there.

A Welsh-language sister paper, Yr Herald Cymraeg, was established in 1855 and was soon outselling the English paper. Between 1836 and 1857, the number of newspapers and magazines sold in Caernarfon increased by 70%, mainly due to chapel Sunday schools teaching people to read.

The image, thanks to the National Library of Wales, shows the papers’ “mastheads” in 1906, when front pages still carried notices and advertisements rather than news.

Other newspapers were also produced here, some eventually being merged with the older titles. The “Herald Group” newspapers remained here until the building was wrecked by fire in 1984. Three houses with ground-floor shops were later built on the site, in the same style as the original houses.

The Caernarfon and Denbigh Herald is still published by Reach Plc, owner of the Daily Post and many other newspapers.

You can find digitised editions of pre-1920 Herald newspapers on the National Library of Wales website – see link below.

With thanks to Clive James, of Caernarfon Civic Society

Postcode: LL55 2NN    View Location Map

Welsh Newspapers digital archive – National Library of Wales website

Website of Caernarfon and Denbigh Herald (Facebook)