The South Gloucestershire Chronicle was founded and published by Mr. Edward Brown at around the turn of the century – in 1901 or 1902 – from the premises in High Street, Thornbury, still a newspaper shop, now owned by Mr. Marcus Mogg. This Chronicle, which bore the sub-title, ‘Thornbury, Chipping Sodbury, Berkeley, Kingswood, Staple Hill, Mangotsfield and Warmley Journal, claimed to ‘Circulate throughout the whole of the Severn Vale between Bristol and Gloucester and is the ONLY Newspaper published in the Thornbury Division of Gloucestershire.’
The eight-page tabloid size newspaper appeared regularly week by week until the death of Mr. Edward Brown in the autumn of 1921 and the newspaper was acquired and taken over by ‘the Gazette’ in January, 1922. It was on January 14th, 1922 that the Chronicle was taken over by ‘The Gazette’ although the Gazette proprietors, F. Bailey Et Son Ltd. had been printing at Dursley in 1920 and 1921, possibly even earlier, ‘The Thornbury Gazette, Chipping Sodbury and Gloucestershire News’. However from January 14, 1922 the paper became ‘The Thornbury Gazette’ incorporating ‘The South Gloucestershire Chronicle’ until with the advent of Local Government reform it became ‘The Northavon Gazette’- ‘Thornbury Edition’ from 1974.
The merger of the Chronicle into the Gazette in 1922 rated only a small announcement in about two inches of type stating ‘This newspaper which was founded by the late Edward Brown about 21 years ago has this week changed hands and will be incorporated in ‘The Thornbury Gazette’ which enjoys such a large circulation throughout a wide district’.
A copy of the old South Gloucestershire Chronicle dated Friday, October 21st, 1921 makes very interesting reading. Present day politicians trying to cope with raging inflation would go green with envy at the news item ‘A Fall of Ten Per Cent in Cost of Living’ due mainly ‘to reductions in the prices of food, the prices of nearly all the principal articles, including meat, flour, bread, potatoes, butter, cheese, bacon and sugar being considerably cheaper on October 1 than a month earlier’. Unemployment was rife and the Premier, Lloyd George, outlined Government proposals for solving the unemployment problem which included the provision of £300,000 to aid more ex-Servicemen to emigrate; Export credits — guarantee to traders to be raised from 85 to 100 per cent. Government guarantee of interest on new capital for industrial undertakings limited to £25 million; £10 million to be spent on forestry, drainage, roadmaking, etc.; and the establishment of an Unemployed Workers’ Dependents’ Fund, maximum allowance 9s per week.
A report of Thornbury Rural District Council, over which Mr. A. S. Williams presided, stated that several unemployed men attended to make application for work and after an interview, at which each applicant asked to state his case, the Surveyor, Mr. W. A. Phillips, was requested to start them on the following Monday.
One of the applicants said he had a wife and four children to maintain out of a total income of 12s. 8d. which was his disability pension he having contracted a serious kidney complaint through exposure in the trenches.
Another paragraph states ‘We regret to hear that when returning from Divine service to their residence last Sunday Mr. and Mrs. G. Whitfield met with a nasty accident. The pony which Mr. Whitfield was driving slipped on the treacherous tarred Gloucester road and fell, throwing out both occupants into the road and smashing the governess cart. Fortunately Mr. Whitfield thrown on the pony but Mrs. Whitfield sustained a fractured aim and other bruises.’
New magistrates appointed included Captain W. R. H. Jenkins of Thornbury and Mr. Edmund Cullimore of Thornbury.
The Picture House, Thornbury was flourishing with prices of admission of 1/3, 9d and 6d including entertainment tax.
Almost the only advertiser remaining in business in Thornbury is ‘Savery & Son’ although ‘Young & Luce’, the auctioneers, still carry on under a rather different title.
Some may still remember Bevan’s, Hand-Sewn Bootmakers, The Plain, Thornbury; Wm. Morton was the proprietor of The Exchange Hotel, Thornbury and the Swan Hotel was advertising ‘Taxi, Sir’; Petrol and Oil. The Whole Brick & Tile Co., Ltd. of Littleton-on-Severn advertising Brick Bats and Clinker and the Tockington Lime Works state the Kiln has ‘recently been re-opened’ for Best White Lime. Warmley Rural District Council invited application for the tenancy of Council houses at Bitton at rents of 12s 6d a week plus rates of about 7s