Henry Crossley


Postman, Parish Constable, Book Seller, Stationer & Publisher. Established and printed The Wetherby News 1856 in premises next to the Angel Inn. In the following years he went on to also publish the Knaresborough News, Tadcaster News, Boston Spa News, Harrogate News and the Otley News.

Henry was the son of a hat and cap maker who lived in a house on Crossley Street. He had received little education and started work as an errand boy to Rev William Raby. Then for 11 years he was a postman walking the round of Kirk Deighton, Walshford and Hunsingore to Ribston Hall every day. During that period he earned 14 shillings per week and saved six shillings. Out of those savings he bought a stationers business in 1855. He was then 29 years old.

He founded the Wetherby Magazine within the year but it was not a success. Undaunted, he then founded the Wetherby News which was an immediate success and sold at 1d per copy; far less than most other newspapers and a price only made possible by the abolition of newspaper stamp duty of 4d in the previous year. Until then only people with a fairly high income could afford to buy newspapers. As the years rolled on other editions of the paper were published.

The offices and printing were originally at Bridge Foot with the stationer’s shop in the Market Place. The original printing press was a hand one made by John Miles and the engraving of the office as it was in 1857 clearly shows that one. It was only used for the first few issues and Henry Crossley then purchased a Caxton Printing Machine run by steam engine. By 1891 the steam press had been found to be too dangerous and had been abandoned in favour of a gas engine and a newer, larger and more up-to-date printing machine.When the Angel Hotel and adjoining property were put up for sale, Henry Crossley purchased it for £1,750. The printing office was moved into the Angel Yard and he erected a shop where the old Court Room had stood. That shop was to remain the home of the Wetherby News for about a century and is now the Post Office.

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