The Colne Times turns 140

This is a celebratory column as our spotlight falls on the Colne Times which has now reached the historic age of 140 not out.

FORMIDABLE TEAM: The Colne Times, 140 years old. (S)
FORMIDABLE TEAM: The Colne Times, 140 years old. (S)

The year 1874 saw the very first issue of the then called “Colne and Nelson Times” which has through six reigning monarchs chronicled the life and times of our area.

The very first issue had no photos and, as well as local news, covered national news stories, all for just one penny every Saturday.

Founded by the Colne mill manager Robert Hyde – our Hyde Park is named after him – the newspaper soon became a firm favourite, outselling its local rivals and becoming the voice of bonnie Colne.

By 1935, the Coulton family had taken over the business and the Colne and Nelson Times became the Colne Times, with the Nelson Leader becoming a new title.

Some years later, Harold Coulton launched his very own Barnoldswick and Earby Times with great success.

For over four decades, the Colne Times editor was the erudite Joe Sunter as seen inset on the right of our photo.

Joe, a truly majestic master of the printed page, taught his protégé Noel Wild to become equally renowned as a wordsmith of great substance. Their reign as eminent editors would span a huge slice of the 20th Century.

Noel can be seen here 30 years ago, centre stage with his many Leader-Times colleagues of the day.


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Why here’s the legendary Tim Procter, as is the notable Leigh Morrissey, splendid sports journalist George Embley and the celebrated feature writer John Jackson, all now sadly with Noel gathered round the great news desk in the sky.

Also, here are peerless past editorial staff deputy editor Eric Greenwood, chief sub-editor Roger Siddall and Roy Prenton, who would later become editor.

Prominent past feature writers and reporters Linda Hardman, Tony Livesey and Michael Addison are also pictured along with their other editorial colleagues of the day Vivien Meath, Jeremy Richards and Patricia Hall.

And let’s not forget the three present-day journalists who are on this picture.


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They are the avuncular Andrew Spencer, who this very month chalks up an imposing 40 years service at the Leader-Times. Congratulations Rew!

Here’s the edifying Edward Lee, whose support of the Clarets is second to none but concentrated on more local sporting matters at the time of this picture and Paul Watson who now plies his trade at the Clitheroe office having been chief reporter at the time this picture was taken.
And on the other side of the camera was Anthony Braithwaite, the Leader-Times reliable photographer in five different decades.

At the helm of our local newspaper empire today is the cognizant Chris Daggett whose indomitable spirit as editor has brought in a whole new era to our newspapers.

Our noted news editor, the perceptual Peter Dewhurst, who always has great flair, digital editor, the sociable Sally Dahmke, whose professionalism is outstanding.


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Now to reporters: the redoubtable Rebecca Cohen, a superb talent; the well-groomed Will Cook, an excellent pressman; finally last, but certainly not least, the young lady who transcribes my longhand every week to ensure this column becomes reality, the laudable Laura Longworth, a true colleague.

Here’s to the years ahead for us all.