The Guardian Family
From caretakers to clerks, reporters to typists, the Manchester Guardian employed a range of workers. CP Scott likened his staff to a ‘boat’s crew, pulling well together, each man doing his best because he likes it, and with a common and glorious goal’.
The paper valued its staff in and out of work time. On-site benefits included a canteen and lending library. Sports clubs, train excursions and picnics encouraged staff to socialise outside of work. Workers became a close-knit family, sharing in life’s highs and lows.
The ‘Ho Jo’ was the nickname given to the monthly staff newsletter, the ‘House Journal’ that ran between 1918 and 1932. Its pages offer an intriguing glimpse into the lives of Guardian employees from cooks, cleaners, porters and errand boys to typesetters, reporters and the editor himself. The stories range from the prosaic events of office life: dances, trips, weddings and births to touching tributes to those killed in the First World War.
Manchester, January 1928
Births, marriages and sporting triumphs were recorded in this monthly staff newsletter. The back page advertised dances, social events and sometimes the staff canteen menu.
The staff directory was an essential tool to help contact employees at home. Can we guess the status of staff by where they live and whether they had a home telephone number?
Manchester, 12 August 1911
To celebrate the Coronation of George V, the Guardian invited its entire staff to a picnic at Matlock Bath in Derbyshire. The party travelled by train and were treated to a tea in the New Pavilion.
Ref. GDN/Add Box 2
East Grinstead, Sussex, 20 Feb 1958
Donny Davies, the sports correspondent for the Manchester Guardian, perished in the Munich Air Disaster. His daughter’s poignant letter that says the stopping of the printing presses on news of his death was of great comfort to his family.
Ref. GDN /223/35/170
To mark the newspaper’s centenary, CP Scott was presented with a photographic album. Inside, division-by-division, all his staff were recorded. Even those who missed the photography day were added in afterwards.