Read all about it – the papers that brought us news
THE Gloucestershire Echo first appeared on January 1, 1873, but had previously been titled the Cheltenham Express Telegram of which 1,468 issues were published.
The evening daily was founded by S H Brookes Esq, who announced that the new venture was “started with the idea that it will supply an existing want”.
Readers were warned, however, that “if it does not pay it will be dropped, but if encouragement is given no effort shall be spared in producing a paper of greater pretensions”.
Looking to the future, the paper promised to improve on the past “and trust that our little venture may possess the qualification of multum in parvo and will be acceptable to the town generally”.
In 1891 the Echo moved to Promenade House, which had previously been home to Hale’s pianoforte, harp and music rooms.
A number of other newspaper titles have served Cheltenham readers over the centuries.
Two of the earliest were the Morning Post and General Advertiser, both of which were published in the 18th century and listed important visitors who had arrived in town to take the spa waters.
The Cheltenham Chronicle was founded in 1809 and supported the Tory party.
Similar in political leaning was the Cheltenham Journal, established 1824.
The Cheltenham Free Press was a weekly launched in 1834 and styled itself radical in outlook, while the Cheltenham Looker-on first rolled off the press in the same year.
To redress the political bias of the town’s press, the Cheltenham Examiner appeared in 1839 and sought to promote the Liberal viewpoint.
Readers of ripening years may recall the Cheltenham Circular.
Presented in a magazine format with orange-coloured cover, the monthly was free and claimed a circulation of 10,200 copies. It first appeared late in 1932 and remained in business until the Second World War, when paper shortages dealt the death blow.
The magazine was edited, compiled and published by Ray Bennett from offices at 2 North Place, telephone 4920.
» In Gloucester, throughout the April of 1876 fly posters were seen all over the city bearing the single word “Citizen”.
No doubt their appearance puzzled local people and became a topic of conversation. Was it something to do with a political movement? Did it herald an uprising against the monarchy? Could revolution be in the air?
All became clear on May 1 of that year when issue number one of “The Citizen - An Evening Newspaper” hit the streets.
Gloucester had never had its own daily newspaper before and local people swooped on the novelty with enthusiasm.
All but a few of the 1,000 copies printed were sold.
So what did those first readers of the new four-page, broadsheet discover?
In common with national dailies of the time, The Citizen’s front page was entirely taken up with adverts.
To present-day eyes it seems that advertisers in those days never used one word when three or four would do.
One of them was “Mr G Clifford. Tenor singer educated in the Royal Academy of Music under Signor Crivelli, who begs to acquaint the inhabitants and musical Dilettanti of Gloucester that it is his intention to give lessons in Italian and English singing to the pianoforte.”
News coverage in issue number one was a blend of local and national affairs.
A report was given of the 11th annual session in the city of the Young Men’s Religious Improvement Society.
There was another on a shareholders’ meeting by the Gloucester and Birmingham Navigation Company, at which plans to upgrade Sharpness docks were revealed.
Peppering such local items was news that the House of Commons ice skating society had taken out block membership at a new rink in Chelsea.
There was also concern over the high cost of an exhibition shortly to be staged in Paris.
Gloucestrians who had the distinction of being named in The Citizen’s first issue included brothers James and John Shurmer (16 and 13 years old respectively) who appeared at the County Police Court on a charge of leaving their employer Mr W Lawrence of Churchdown without working out a week’s notice. The case was dismissed.
Less fortunate was James Griffin, who was charged with causing a disturbance in the Docks where he’d been found “dancing about” behind the Mariner’s Chapel by Constable Murray. To make matters worse, Griffin replied to the policeman’s request that he move on by punching him in the face.
Speaking on behalf of the prisoner, the Rev Jo Turner “believed him to be insane and a source of some danger to the public. This was attributed to the prisoner being in the army for 10 years, during which time he suffered sunstroke”.
» Tewkesbury’s first recorded newspaper dates from 1633, when the town council paid a correspondent £5 for six months to send a newsletter from London so that local people could learn what was happening in the capital. The first local title – the Tewkesbury Magazine and Literary Journal – was launched as a monthly in 1843, but lasted only three issues.
Tewkesburians were then without a paper of their own until a decade later when the Tewkesbury Monthly Record
and General Advertiser appeared. Liberal in tone, the publication changed its name to the Tewkesbury
Weekly Record in 1855. William Gardner published the paper from his shop at 7 Barton Street, which also sold guides, fancy goods, musical instrument strings and stationery.
The title Gardner founded continued in business until 1922.
Many people will remember the Tewkesbury Register and Gazette.
This was founded in 1858 by a local printer and historian named William North who operated from premises at 139 High Street and the first editor was Frederick Moore.
The last issue of the Tewkesbury Register and Gazette was published in 1964.
The former Gloucestershire Echo office
The Echo’s centenary edition
The Echo’s centenary supplement
The Citizen’s first issue
The former Citizen office in St John’s Lane