Read all about it – the pa­pers that brought us news

Gloucestershire Echo - - NOSTALGIA - nos­te­[email protected] Robin BROOKS

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

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