1844 - 1896 (52 years)
|William Syme MACKIE
|Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland
|6 Nov 1896
|Dunfermline Cemetery, Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland
MACKIE, William Syme (1845-1896)
British (Scottish) journalist and newspaper editor.
Born 1845 in Dunfermline, son of John Mackie and Janet Syme. Brother of Robert Syme Mackie (q.v.) and John Beveridge Mackie (q.v.). Was married and John Beveridge Mackie, jun. (q.v.) was his son. A member of the Manchester Press Club and its second President. Joined the Institute of Journalists in 1887. Died 6 Nov. 1896. Address at 1893-at 1896: New Park Villa, Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent. At death: 29 Caledonian Road, Leeds.
Scotsman, rep. c.1866
Manchester Examiner & Times, chief rep. c.1870-
City Lantern (Manchester), cont. c.1875
City Jackdaw (Manchester), cont. c.1880
Edinburgh Daily Review, Ed. 1877-?
Manchester Examiner, Parl. & Ldn. corr. at 1881-1888
Staffordshire Sentinel, Ed. 1888-at 1896
North Staffordshire Herald, fndr. & Ed. c.1890's
Leeds Mercury, rep.: Ed. 5 Oct.-Nov. 1896
LETTER FROM WILLIAM SYME MACKIE TO WILLIAM WOODALL
From a 19th century collection made by William Woodall, the radical Liberal M.P. for Stoke-on-Trent and Hanley and a trustee of the Wedgewood Institute.
5 October 1896
"I am leaving here today to take up new duties at Leeds on Monday. When I came to Hanley 8 years ago I never dreamt it possible that I should leave it with such a keen regret as I feel today. The appointment conferred upon me at the Leeds Mercury is from my point of view an ideal one and the principle offices in it are filled by warm personal friends of old standing. In that, except for my own deficiencies I have no [lessening of the sense of pleasure in my work. But it's hard to part with friends, who have shown me invariable kindness, foremost among whom I must reckon yourself. Not the least of the pleasures you have conferred on me is the great happiness of a close intimacy with our mutual friend, Mr Solon who, in the spirit of a brother, has brought me much help (unconsciously on his part & out of sheer good nature) on some very lonesome Saturday evenings of late when I have been weary and depressed. I am sorry to go without having a moment to run over to Bleak House to see you. I am uneasy about the future of the Liberal Party (or as far as journalism is concerned) in North Staffordshire and I could have wished not only for my own sake that something could have been done to maintain the Herald as a watchdog on our neighbours. I am trying all I can to sell and hope it may fall into good hands. With kind regards and good wishes, particularly under the affliction you suffer, I am my dear friend, yours" etc.
NEWS ARTICLE APPEARING IN THE JOURNALIST AND NEWSPAPER PROPRIETOR
Contains an account of the journalistic career of William Syme Mackie leading up to his appointment as editor of the Leeds Mercury.
William Syme Mackie began his career at the Scotsman under Alexander Russell before spending time as a reporter on the Manchester Examiner. He was a keen reporter on parliamentary affairs but an accident suffered at a cricket match (when a ball hit him in the eye) led him to give up the reporter's gallery of the House of Commons for what was, by comparison, a quite backwater on the Staffordshire Sentinel and the North Staffordshire Herald (which he founded). His deft reporting style, however, continued to be in evidence and he was rewarded by appointment to the editorship of the powerful and influential Leeds Mercury, one of the foremost newspapers of the day. His reference to Mr Solon in his letter to Woodall refers to Marc-Louis Solon, the French artist and porcelain designer, who had worked for Sevres before coming to England in 1870, where he worked for Mintons in Stoke-on-Trent.
THE SUDDEN DEATH OF AN EDITOR.
7 November, 1896
A painful sensation was caused in journalistic circles yesterday by the death, so sudden as to be almost tragic, of Mr W. S. Mackie, editor of the ?Leeds Mercury?. Mr Mackie, who was only 52 years of age, had only been recently appointed to that responsible position, entering actively upon the duties with the hearty good wishes of all who knew him, at the beginning of last month. Pending the settlement of his family in Leeds, Mr Mackie had taken apartments at 29, Caledonian-road.
As he felt somewhat indisposed on Friday he remain indoors on the two following days, but resumed his occupation on Monday. He quitted the ?Mercury? office, apparently in good health, at 3 o?clock yesterday morning, and leaving his bedroom shortly before 10 o?clock, he mentioned that he was again ill, and agreed to a suggestion that the doctor should be sent for. He retired to his room, and in a few minutes Mrs worth, at whose house he was staying, found him in the lounge chair with his head thrown back, and in a dying condition. Mr Cameron, a colleague who resides in the neighbourhood, with sent for, but on his arrival Mr Mackie was quite unconscious. Death ensued almost immediately after the attack, and was obviously due to failure of the heart s action. Under the circumstances an inquest was necessary, and this was held in the afternoon by the City Coroner (Mr J. C. Malcolm). The principal witness was Mrs Worth, the landlady, who informed the jury that the deceased had lodged with her for five weeks. He was in good health till Friday morning last, when he complained of palpitation and pains in the back. He stayed at home on Saturday and Sunday, and then, feeling better, he resumed his duties of the office on Monday. Yesterday morning he rose fairly early, and witnesses noticed that he was not looking well. She asked him if he had been ill again. He said ?Yes,? and she asked him if he had better not have a doctor. He said ?Yes.? He went out and took a seidlitz powder. When he returned he retired to his room, and witness heard a gurgling noise. Rushing into his room she found him in a lounge chair, with his head thrown back. She loosened his collar, but he died soon afterwards. The Coroner: Did he die in the chair?-Witness: in my arms. - Witness added that she concluded he had been seized with a fit. ? The Coroner said that the deceased had apparently been taken with a fit, and the jury found the death was due to natural causes. -
Mr Mackie?s predecessor in the editorship of the ?Mercury? was Mr Herbert Baines, who died from fever off the West Coast of Africa a very short time ago, the seizure being equally sudden. Though new to Leeds, Mr Mackie had gained the esteem of those about him, and was rapidly making friends on every hand. His connection with the Press was lifelong. He commenced as a reporter on the staff of the ?Scotsman,? under the skilful guidance of the late Mr Alexander Russel, and showed remarkable aptitude for journalistic work. About 27 years ago he joined the staff of the ?Manchester Examiner? when that newspaper was in the height of its popularity, and his abilities soon gained for him the appointment of chief reporter, which he held for a number of years, doing excellent work. Then he joined his two brothers in the purchase of the ?Edinburg Review,? and under their direction the newspaper was greatly improved, though it eventually succumbed to the keen competition of old-established journals. It?s failure brought no discredit upon the three brothers, and such experienced and able journalists had no difficulty in finding employment elsewhere. Mr William went to the Parliamentary Gallery, and as London correspondent of the ?Manchester Examiner? gave further evidence of his powers. Whilst there he met with an accident which brought about another change. One day whilst watching the Gallery Cricket Club at play the ball struck him in the eye, with the result that the sight was rather seriously impaired. Mr Mackie thereupon wisely sought a less arduous field of labour than the ?Gallery,? and he obtained the editorship of the ?Staffordshire Sentinel.? At Hanley he did splendid work, as indeed he had done elsewhere, and as it was anticipated he would do in Leeds. Alas! expectation has been disappointed. In the brief space of five weeks he has been able to do little more than indicate through the columns on the ?Mercury? what were his qualities as a journalist. But in the office, and especially amongst those of his colleagues who have long known his worth, his editorship was regarded with the utmost confidence, and, outside his own family, none will deplore his too early death more than those who had the satisfaction of working side-by-side with him during his brief period. It need not be said that to his brothers - the one is editor of the ?North-Eastern Daily Gazette,? at Middlesbrough, and the other of the ?Northern Daily Telegraph,? at Blackburn - and to his son and three daughters, who were shortly to have moved from Hanley, as well as to the other members of the family, the news of Mr Mackie?s sudden death was a terrible blow. To his colleagues, who little thought that only six months after that the no less tragic death of Mr Herbert S. Baines, they were once more to lose their chief, the event came with painful surprise. The regret will be shared in many other newspaper offices in the country, for Mr Mackie was widely known and esteemed. His remains are to be laid beside those of his wife, who died about four years ago, at Dunfermline, his native place.
The ?Leeds Mercury? of to-day, commenting on the loss of its editor, says: ?We feel that we shall not ask in vain for the sympathy of our readers under the very sudden and distressing bereavement that has again within the brief period of six months befallen the proprietors and the staff of this journal. By the death of Mr William Syme Mackie, which occurred yesterday morning with terrible sadness, the editorial chair in this office is once more vacant. Only six months ago it was our very sad duty to record the sudden death in the flower on his manhood of Mr Herbert Baines, then editor of the ?Mercury.? Five weeks ago Mr Herbert Baines was succeeded by Mr Mackie, who has since discharged the arduous duties of his position with the zeal of a journalist his whole heart was in his word, and with an nurturing energy that was characteristic of the man. Mr Mackie had shown here as elsewhere that he was an indefatigable worker, and when he left his post yesterday morning, after seeing the earlier editions of the paper to press, he gave no sign of physical weakness or depression. He parted from his colleagues with all his habitual cheerfulness and high spirits. But the paper with the latest contributions from his pen had not been long in the hands of its readers ere it?s editor of a few weeks had passed away. During a connection with the newspaper Press extending over more than 30 years, Mr Mackie had made a host of friends both among public men and among his colleagues and associates in journalism, and sincere and deep will be the regret with which they will learn the news of his unusual death. Few journalists have had a more brilliant and more honourable career. Mr Mackie had the pen of a ready and a gifted writer, together with the capacity for and love of work that were the admiration of all who knew him intimately. His connection with the ?Scotsman? in the days of Alexander Russel his subsequent career on the ?Manchester Examiner? under the late Alexander Ireland and of the late Dr. Dunckley, and his editorship of the ?Edinburg Daily Review,? gave him an almost unequalled experience of public men and public affairs. He was overflowing with reminiscences of that most varied experience, and his friends both of the Press and outside the ranks of journalism will reflect with mingled pleasure and sadness over the genial, entertaining, and loyal-hearted friend they have lost so suddenly. To work, and work hard, was no effort to Mr Mackie. To have his pen in hand was a joy to him. Nothing daunted him in the way of duty. The task that had to be done he did seemingly without effort. He had the capacity of always rising to the occasion, and this capacity he would certainly have shown here if only he had been spared to continue the work on which he had entered with so much zeal and energy, and so much promise. Mr Mackie showed in a striking degree the qualities of thoroughness, straightforwardness, and sincerity in all he did. A man of deeply-rooted convictions, nothing would induce him to?
|Johnson & Hanson
|11 Jan 2018