Back to search results
Name: TILLER, William Henry
Birth Date: 1864 Exmouth, Devon
First Date: 1900
Profession: The first proprietor and manager of the Standard Printing and Publishing Works of Mombasa and Nairobi in 1902
Area: Mombasa, Nairobi
Married: In St Thomas, Devon 1888 Henrietta Finch b.1866 Clovelly, d. 13 June 1923 Calcutta
Children: Mildred Ashford Maria (1890); (Leslie William (1891 Croydon); Stewart Ashford (1899 Kensington, London)
Book Reference: Gillett, KFA, Land 1903, EAHB 1905, EAS, North, Playne, EAHB 1904
War Service: London Regt.
KFA - Started the 'East African Standard' in 1902 and sold it in 1905 to Messrs. Anderson and Rudolf Mayer, who moved it to Nairobi from Mombasa, where it had begun. (The first Nairobi issue was on Feb. 1st 1910)
Land Grant 1903 - Mrs Tiller - Agricultural and building, 10 acres - Nairobi - Apl. 10 - 99 years leasehold. Further Grant - H. Tiller - Agricultural and building, 10 acres (extension) - Nairobi - May 20 - Leasehold (rent includes 10 acres of previous application). Further Grant - W.H. Tiller - 640 acres - Near Nairobi - Sept. 22 - Freehold
The African Standard - 26-2-1903 - Invited to the wedding of H.R. Phelips & Miss Jacquette Edith Lambe in Mombasa (Mr & Mrs W.H. Tiller)
Playne - The East African Standard newspaper, published by the Standard Printing and Publishing Works, of Mombasa and Nairobi, was founded in the year 1902. Mr W.H. Tiller, who was the first proprietor, combined the positions of manager and editor until 1905, when he sold the business to Messrs Anderson and Mayer, who have been the proprietors since that date. ............. In the year 1904 the only newspaper in BEA and Uganda was the 'African Standard', but even at that time Nairobi was coming to the front as the probable future capital of EA. Mr Tiller, editor and proprietor of the 'African Standard', alert to the possibilities of journalistic enterprise in the uplands town, conceived the idea of a Nairobi newspaper. He wired to a number of up-country residents asking their views as to whether, in the event of his starting a journal, it should be in cyclostyle or printed. A reply from Mr MacLellan Wilson, hon. sec. of the Colonists' Association, that he should leave his cyclostyle in Mombasa and bring his press to Nairobi, had the effect of causing the proprietor of the 'Standard' to make his venture; and on the 1st of February 1905, the first issue of the 'Nairobi News' made its appearance.
As the building for the printing works of the Nairobi Printing and Publishing Company was not completed, the first number was composed and printed in a stable. Much of this issue was Mr Tiller's own handiwork - the editing, composing, and proof-reading; aye even the printing. The plant was not an elaborate affair - consisting of an Albion hand-press a guillotine, and a small octavo treadle machine. About half a dozen cases of type completed the outfit. Although it was a small paper (the first two numbers were of four pages each and the later issues of eight pages) the work was heavy, for, owing to the shortage in type, much of the matter had to be printed and distributed before the remainder could be set up.
Mr S.E.J. Howarth, who had been manager for Mr Tiller at Mombasa, was installed as editor from the second issue but after three weeks he resigned. It was the proprietor's intention to float a company locally to take over the business, and with this end in view he invited Mr W. MacLellan Wilson to assume the position of managing editor from the 1st of March following. The new editor worked on the paper indefatigably, carrying on the duties until the 10th May, when orders from Mr Tiller to close down the enterprise brought the 'Nairobi News' to an end.
The success of the paper was practically assured as figures in the possession of Mr Wilson undoubtedly show. But there were difficulties in the way of floating a company at the time, and the proprietor, Mr Tiller, wished to have time to make other arrangements, which, as he left the country shortly afterwards, did not eventuate. The plant was put up to auction, and was purchased by Mr Frank Watkins and by Messrs Newland, Tarlton & Co. who, under the editorship of Mr Newland, brought out the 'Times of East Africa' on the 22nd of July 1905.
EAS - 15/1/1903 - W.H. Tiller - Manager, African Standard
North - arr. Mombasa from Nairobi with wife and son, Stewart 13/4/1903; blackballed for Mombasa Club May 1903; at meeting of settlers protesting at death sentence on Max Wehner, Nairobi 10/2/1905; assigned book debts to M. MacJohn of 'The Cecil Hotel', Mombasa 26/8/1905; 'Tillard [sic], the drunken editor of a native paper rejoicing in the name of the "African Standard"' (F.J. Jackson, FO 2)
EAHB 1905 - Editor, African Standard, Mombasa. "... the drunken editor of a native newspaper" (Frederick Jackson)
Gazette - 1/9/1905 - Re W H Tiller - Notice is hereby given that by a Deed of Arrangement dated the 25th day of August 1905 the above named W H Tiller assigned all book debts due to him in connection with the business until recently carried on by him as Editor of the newspaper known as the "African Standard" and Printer to me the undersigned for the benefit of his creditors.
All persons having any claims against the said W H Tiller and desiring to come in and share under the above-mentioned Deed of Arrangement which lies in my office, are requested to call and sign the same, and are also requested to send particulars of their claims to me and all persons indebted to the said W H Tiller are requested to pay the amount of their respective debts to me. Signed M. MacJohn, Trustee at Hotel Cecil Mombasa August 26th 1905
Back to search results