Herbert S Cater launches Caters
Caters News is the UK’s oldest independent press agency and was founded in 1927 by Herbert S Cater.
Mr Cater came from a family who ran a building business in Barnstaple in the West Country. He served in the tank corps in the first war, he moved around the country before settling in Birmingham, as a sub editor on the Evening Gazette.
He later moved to the Gazette’s sister paper, the Evening Despatch before he decided to go it alone and set up his own freelance agency in 1927. Caters was born.
The move – at the height of the 1920’s economic depression and during a time when journalists didn’t make the news themselves – was a brave one.
And little did he know the small freelance agency he founded would become the international news, picture and video agency it is today.
During the early days, the agency began covering court stories and business meetings which extended to writing and publishing monthly magazines for the big Birmingham industrials – all on typewriters of course!
Soon Caters had a photographic department to serve both industry and newspapers, a reporters room and a library featuring a huge collection of press cuttings.
Herbert led a team of young reporters covering courts, council and football, where it was said he brought “a ferocious energy and an uncanny nose for a news story” to the job.
One reporter who can testify that was Peter Deeley who joined the firm in 1951 and later went on to write a book about Caters entitled ‘Copy Boy!’.
Peter said: “When I arrived at Caters as copy/office boy in 1951, Mr Cater was only semi-active and had further branched out into running local weekly newspapers.
“But by God he terrified this 16 year old. He reminded me of Alfred Hitchcock and his bulbous eyes seemed to bore right through you.
“In those days Caters would often get paid one old penny a line, pictures for Fleet Street were taken to the London train by us boys.
“Alternatively there was a cumbersome system of wiring which involved a phone and a cylindrical drum, sometimes took ages to transmit and often failed.
“Back then you learnt on the job and on your feet, worked about 50 hours a week, running the copy, carrying typewriters, mopping the floor, managing the ancient telephone switchboard, making the tea and fetching the typists’ cream cakes.”
Today, the Caters group has 45 staff working out of our Birmingham HQ, our Broadway based New York Bureau and our sister agency, Mercury Press in Liverpool. It is a supplier of content to news outlets worldwide – with an online archive and access to millions of images and digital assets.
Our text, photographs and videos are published and broadcast daily across National and International newspapers and magazines, websites and TV throughout the world, and our feed is subscribed to by leading world names in several countries.
Cutting edge technology, slick business practices along with the same old Caters determination to succeed, enable us to be the global force we are now – supplying our content to more than 40 countries worldwide. We are sure Herbert would be proud.