Belfast Telegraph

Tele's first owner celebrates its 150th year

By David Elliot

The printing company behind the first ever issue of the Belfast Telegraph has celebrated 150 years in business.

W-amp;G Baird marked the occasion with a ceremony at its Antrim headquarters attended by Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster who said it provided a good example of how innovation is essential to ensure longevity in business.

"You just have to look at the plant to see it's very much a modern complex," she said. "Being able to adapt, looking to the future and investing are key to the survival of companies, just as Baird's have shown."

Managing director Henderson Allan, who has been with W-amp;G Baird for 39 years, said keeping up with changes in the printing world has been essential.

"It's a milestone which shows how adaptable our people are," he said. "We've been here through huge technical change and the fact we've prospered in such a difficult economic environment bares testament to our forward thinking."

W-amp;G Baird was formed in 1861 by William and George Baird and they began printing the the Belfast Evening Telegraph in September 1870. In 1961 the Thomson Organisation bought W-amp;G Baird and the Tele before the British Printing Company bought a 60% stake in the former in 1964.

A management buyout in 1976 saw the business move into private hands and separate from the Belfast Telegraph which remained with Thomson, then moved to Trinity Mirror, then Independent News and Media which still owns the newspaper.

W-amp;G Baird was bought out again by the current management in 2006.