The theme of the evening was the historic relationship between the Stationers’ Company and The Times newspaper, as embodied in the person of John Walter II, the son of the founder of The Times and Master of the Stationers’ Company in 1846. Harriet Walter is the great, great, great granddaughter of John Walter II.
James Harding, Editor of The Times, gave the keynote address in which he spoke of his pride in the heritage of The Times and its archives, which are a testament to the culture of the newspaper and nurtured by Rupert Murdoch, himself a proud liveryman of the Stationers’ Company. He hoped that the spirit and the flourish, as displayed in the archives, lives on in the pages of the newspaper today, showing their unstoppable belief in what newspapers and The Times, in particular, can achieve.
Other speakers included Graham Stewart, writer and historian of The Times, and Christopher McKane, the current Master of the Stationers’ Company and Deputy Managing Editor of The Times who commented that it was hard to think of a more appropriate topic for an archive evening during his year as Master.
For guests, who included Liverymen and Freemen of the Company, employees of The Times and a number of direct descendants of John Walter, this was a unique opportunity to see the two archive collections brought together in such a fascinating way.
The event was sponsored by Koenig & Bauer, the German engineering company that supplied the first ever steam-driven presses to John Walter in 1814, a fascinating parallel to the move of The Times to Wapping in the 1980s. Christian Knapp, UK MD of Koenig & Bauer and also a liveryman of the Stationers’ Company, spoke of his company’s continuing commitment to innovation in today’s fast-changing world of newspaper production.
(Photo shows Dame Harriet and John Walter VII with the Master of the Company in front of a picture of John Walter II. Photo by Victoria Cookson.)