Sir George Newnes, 1st Baronet (March 13, 1851 – June 9, 1910) was a publisher and editor in England.
His father was a Congregational church minister. He was educated at Shireland Hall, Warwickshire, and the City of London School.
His arguably best known publication was The Strand Magazine, begun in 1891, in which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was first able to publish his Sherlock Holmes mystery series. He also founded other magazine titles, including The Westminster Gazette (1873), Tit-Bits (1881), The Wide World Magazine (1888), and Country Life (1897).
Newnes served as a member of the British parliament representing the constituency of Newmarket (1885–1895).
Aside from his publishing activities, Newnes built a large home in the West Country, and was a key player in the development of the twin towns of Lynton and Lynmouth in North Devon. He built an innovative cliff railway to join the two towns, and also provided the Town Hall and other amenities.
Largely as a result of Sir George's efforts, the 19-mile Lynton and Barnstaple Railway opened in 1898 ostensibly to bring visitors from the mainline railways at Barnstaple. At the time, Newnes was seen as being a great benefactor to the area by bringing the railway, but in truth, he may have been less altruistic. By building the line to a narrow gauge of only 1' 11 1/2", by terminating the line some distance from both towns (and incidentally, also hidden from his own home at Hollerday Hill) and by linking the twin towns to Barnstaple, rather than Minehead, from where more people wanted to travel, it is believed that he may have been keen to preserve what was known as "The little Switzerland of England" for the wealthier classes.
Never a major revenue earner, the line closed, after passing into Southern Ownership, in 1935, largely as a result of increased competition from road transport and the private motor car.
Seventy years on, a group of enthusiasts are now recreating the atmosphere of Newnes' Railway, and steam trains are once again carrying passengers along part of the old route.
Member for Newmarket
Sir John Talbot Dillwyn-Llewellyn, Bt
Member for Swansea
Sir Alfred Mond
(of Wildcroft, Surrey)
Frank Hillyard Newnes
- List of publishers
- List of British MPs
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