Recorder unable to publish 60 years ago thanks to printing dispute

Printing dispute

Printing dispute - Credit: Archant

In a world obsessed with 24 hour news, it is difficult to imagine newsagent shelves devoid of local papers.

Printing dispute

Printing dispute - Credit: Archant

But 60 years ago today, a nationwide dispute saw just that, with the Recorder unable to publish its newspapers, leaving residents questioning what was happening in the borough for eight weeks.

An article entitled “We regret” was published in the first edition after the break, apologising for the inconvenience caused to readers.

It reads: “In all its history of more than 50 years, the Recorder had never failed to appear weekly on its appointed day.

“Through the General Strike of 1926, despite severe damaging by bombing during the last war and through the printing dispute of 1950, the paper managed somehow to come out, achievements in which we found some pride.

“It was with acute regret that this creditable record of service to the public had to be broken and our first word on our reappearance must be one of apology to all who have suffered loss, annoyance and inconvenience through our inability to publish since February 10.”

Printers had downed their tools and walked out over a wages dispute. They complained that proposed pay increases would remove the difference in wages between skilled and less-skilled workers.

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So those including the London Typographical Society and the Association of Correctors of the Press refused the offer and told their members to walk out.

The loss of news during this time was described as “severe”.

An article published eight weeks after the Recorder stopped running temporarily said: “Leaving aside the effects of the participants in the current dispute, local traders who rely on a great extent upon press advertising have been hit, the proceeds of many events put on my local organisations have been reduced by lack of publicity and local authorities, who are bound by law to recourse to the local press to advertise certain projects, have suffered costly delay.”

Pending negotiations encouraged printers to go back to work but a gap in what happened during those missing weeks still remains.