AFTER John Russell Fox and then his younger brother, Richard Parsonage Fox, the third editor and proprietor of the Andover Advertiser was John Burgiss Brown.

He was born at Windsor in 1846, son of John Burgiss Brown senior and Mary Anne Brown.

His grandfather Edward Brown was a maltster and corn dealer in nearby Uxbridge who had married Elizabeth Burgiss in 1800; following a common 19th-century practice, the mother’s maiden surname was preserved as a second Christian name for one or more of the children.

Stepping back a generation from the Andover Advertiser’s future editor, John Burgiss Brown senior, son of Edward and Elizabeth, settled in Windsor with his wife Mary Anne after marriage, where for a short period in the 1830s he ran the Windsor and Eton Express with Richard Oxley.

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However, he resigned in 1835 after a particularly virulent general election in which Brown, as joint proprietor of the Liberal-leaning newspaper, was subject to some virulent attacks by supporters of the Tory opposition, who threatened to boycott his separate business of bookseller, stationer and printer in Castle Street, Windsor.

This was patronage he could ill afford to lose, as Castle Street was a prestigious location close to Windsor Castle, a connection that provided him with some wealthy and influential custom, including printing orders from the royal family.

From then on, John Burgiss Brown senior concentrated on his business interests.

He married three times, the last in 1859, just one year before he died; his widow’s description as ‘fundholder’, in the following year’s census suggests a degree of wealth and income from both property and investments.

All of the children were as yet still at home – all step-children to John’s widow Ann Gifford Brown.

John Burgiss Brown junior was then aged 15 and a ‘stationer’s apprentice’.

Perhaps John junior inherited a sum of money when he was 21 – he certainly seems to have spent heavily soon afterwards.

By this time, he was established as a stationer and printer in Windsor and may have had a yearning to run a newspaper; the Andover Advertiser was then up for sale and his name first appears in the imprint in May 1868.

That was a busy year for him: apart from buying the Advertiser itself, he also purchased the building from John James Fox of Devizes — the father of the first two proprietors — pulled down and rebuilt those premises and in October married Louisa Luck in Tunbridge Wells.

He was then aged just 22.

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It is recorded that a ‘competitor’ – probably Frederick John James Browne who ran the rival newspaper across the street – described Burgiss Brown not very kindly as a ‘little peppery man with a beard, full of ideas and full of bounce. All of his geese were swans.’

However, optimism is no bad thing in business and he involved himself in the life of his adopted town with enthusiasm and sat on various committees.

His rival editor Browne (with an ‘e’) was also an early photographer and he may have resented his territory being invaded through the introduction by Burgiss Brown in 1871 of a series of carte-de-visites photographs of the local area and other subjects for sale at 10 High Street.

These included views of the church, the High Street, Bridge Street, the Iron Bridge, the Norman Arch, the upper High Street and the monument in Harewood Forest.

Of wider interest were portraits of the royal family, the clergy and other ‘celebrated men of the day’, all for sale at 6d each.

A special exclusive for those wealthy enough to take advantage of it at 1/- was a ‘new photograph of the vicar of Andover’.

Sadly, John Burgiss Brown’s first wife Louisa died at the end of 1872 and in 1875 he married Mina Ivimey.

This second marriage created a family link between the two rival editors as Mina was a cousin of William Gradidge, F J J Browne’s son-in-law – and joint partners in Browne and Gradidge, the chemists and photographers at 19 High Street.

In 1876, John Burgiss Brown put the Advertiser up for sale again and it was sold to James Charles Holmes whose family were to run the paper for more than 100 years.

John Burgiss Brown moved to Maidstone where he reverted to the business of bookselling, printing and publishing.

The family stayed in Maidstone for a number of years and by 1891 there were six children, five from the second marriage and one from the first.

Interestingly, the name Burgiss evolved from a second Christian name into a double-barrelled surname over time; John died in 1908 but according to the 1911 census his widow and the two youngest children still at home were all Burgiss-Brown.

Another of the sons in 1911, Leslie Burgiss-Brown, though trained as a land surveyor, was then listed as a professional stage singer.