The Gleaner Company has been through a lot and marked many a milestone over the course of its 180-year existence. Today, we single out eight important dates in the company’s history, including external events that affected us.
- September 13, 1834 – The day it all began! The first publication, The Gleaner and Weekly Compendium of News, the predecessor to the current Gleaner, was issued as a four-page, octavio-sized (8 to 10 inches tall) weekly paper.
- December 11, 1882 – The Company suffered great losses when fire struck and destroyed its printing plant at 148 Harbour Street. After an interlude at the Government Printing Office, business was moved back to its former address, from which the paper was successfully printed up to 1902.
- June 10, 1897 – The business model of the company changed significantly when it registered as a public company. Up to that point, the company had operated as the private business of the deCordova’s family. The first directors were: JL Ashenheim, Charles E deMercado, Archibald Munro, FL Myers, Col AH Pinnock and Dr Arthur Saunders. Charles deMercado was elected Chairman.
- January 14, 1907 – It was a double disaster for the company as Kingston’s most devastating earthquake not only destroyed the building, then located at Harbour Street, but also killed chairman Charles deMercado. The Gleaner was again the guest of the Government Printing Office until it was moved back to a temporary building on the old site. Permanent rebuilding started in 1909 and the premises grew until they covered the entire block of 148-156 Harbour Street.
- 1964 – Another significant milestone for the Gleaner, came in 1964, when the Company’s shares were quoted on the Jamaica Stock Exchange at 12 shillings per five-shilling share.
- April 1966 – To facilitate persons from the western region of the island, a branch was opened at 7 St James Street in Montego Bay, and served the Editorial, Circulation and Advertising departments. That office is now located at 9 King Street, Montego Bay and is currently referred to as the Gleaner’s Western Bureau.
- July 14, 1969 – The site at North and East Streets on which the Company currently sits, was purchased in 1969 and operation started there the same year. The location, which spans 2.5 acres, houses the head office, the printing plant, warehouse and corporate offices of the company.
- November 8, 1982 – The production of The Gleaner was revolutionized by the advent of a three million dollar computer system. In the newsroom, typewriters all but disappeared, their incessant bang and clatter replaced by the electronic hum and gentle percussion of computer terminals.
Click here to read more about the history and structure of the Gleaner Company.