David Meara: 'Fleet Street is a deserted village, full of ghosts and memories'

From an address by the Canon of St Bride's Church, Fleet Street, to mark the departure of the Reuters news group from the area

Related Topics

From pigeon post to plasma screens and present-day computer and satellite technology - the story of Reuters is an extraordinary one by any standards.

It began over 150 years ago, but then, as now, the guiding watchwords have always been truth, honesty and impartiality.

Indeed, Punch magazine in 1944 adapted the famous phrase of Keats (from his Ode on a Grecian Urn) to declare : "Reuter is truth, truth Reuter - that is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know".

Now a new chapter is beginning as you leave your headquarters of the past 65 years and move to Canary Wharf. As you go, I want to reflect on the extraordinary fact that we are gathered in this church.

For over 500 years, since Wynkyn de Worde brought his printing press from Westminster and set it up at the corner of St Bride's Churchyard, this church has been the spiritual home for all involved in printing, newspaper-making, journalism, broadcasting and the wider media world. This church has witnessed the baptisms, marriages and burials of booksellers, writers, journalists, broadcasters and proprietors; we have celebrated the lives of those killed on foreign assignments, among them Farzad Bazoft, John Schofield, Kerem Lawton, Daniel Pearl and Mazan Dana.

We remember in prayer and at the Journalists' Altar journalists whose lives are at risk for speaking the truth and those who have lost their lives covering conflicts around the world, especially in Iraq. Here, in this parish where printing was transformed from a medieval mystery into a mind-moulding mass communicator, you are remembered and your work is valued. It is a unique relationship. Nothing like it exists between the Church and any other of the business and professional groups which have such deep roots in London.

This service has been reported as the last rites of the Old Fleet Street. Fleet Street as the geographical home of the press is a deserted village, full of ghosts and memories. But it remains the generic name for the press, now a virtual community scattered across London and beyond, and St Bride's remains the spiritual home for the industry.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The economy expanded by 0.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2014  

British economy: Government hails the latest GDP figures, but there is still room for scepticism over this 'glorious recovery'

Ben Chu
Comedy queen: Miranda Hart has said that she is excited about working on the new film  

There is no such thing as a middle-class laugh

David Lister
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little