Paper staff from 50s and 60s to meet up

Free Press staff in the 1950s. ANL-140209-102304001
Free Press staff in the 1950s. ANL-140209-102304001
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It’s the 1950s and the offices of the Lincolnshire Free Press are in Hall Place, Spalding with premises backing right through to the now demolished telephone exchange in Gore Lane.

While those of the Spalding Guardian in Station Street are closing. Hot metal production is on site and there is a separate commercial printing company managed by George Bland.

General manager is Walter Cook and the editor of the papers is CJ “Sid” Franks. Advertisement manager is Derek Abel, an outstanding local artist. The reporters’ room is led by the late Douglas Byrne.

Chairman of the magistrates is Coun Derek Frost with his deputy Mr WH Waldock.

There’s ice skating on Cowbit Wash. The town boasts three cinemas. At one end of the Sheep Market is the Regent – which has double seats for courting – and is run by G Aspland Howden who also owns the Savoy in Westlode Street while the third, the Odeon, is in London Road.

The magistrates, with courts at Long Sutton and Holbeach, are led by Eric Grief and Mr GA bWorth and the clerk to the local council is Mr JC Pywell; there is also a Spalding Rural Council.

A decade on and the newspapers’ offices are in The Crescent, shared with local businessman Coun CF Ford. The local coroner is Charles Bowser to be later followed by his son, John.

Charles Johnson is superintendent of police, local solicitor Raymond Hastings is clerk to Spalding Urban Council. Judge Ralph Shove sits at the County Court and the local quarter sessions. Canon MHR Synge is vicar at St Mary and St Nicolas while cricketing Canon Lancelot Smith holds court at St John’s.

Competitive winter ice skating has moved to a specially flooded field at Tongue End.

At the newspapers Sid Franks is succeeded by Tonie Gibson and later David Young. People like Tommy Clay and Sheila Robson MBE join the staff of an office that becomes a training ground for outstanding journalists.

At noon on September 20 this year many of those from the 50s and 60s will meet up at the Kitchen Pub, Springfields.

Among them it is hoped will be: John Clarke, John Thorne, John Claridge, Mary Fulcher (nee Goddard), Anna McKane (nee Henshell), Howard Johnston, Pat Prentice, Colin Sutherill, Malcolm Scott, Pip Spencer, Ray Tucker, Fay Young, David Young, Brenda (Reeson) and Alan Steadman, Richard Snasdell, Bruce Robinson, Les Prudden, Dave Cook, Ray Blackburn, Mary Chapman, Phil Braund and Tonie Gibson.

Were you at the Free Press and Guardian in those days? Why not pop along and say hello?