Hampshire Chronicle, 1967

In fancy dress round the Hampshire Chronicle's Cossar press in 1967

WINCHESTER Chamber of Commerce organised a "Great Race" in the summer of 1967 as part of their Festival Week.

Several teams were to race to a point on the Isle of Wight, picking up clues on the journey as to where this would be, each clue led to the next clue (as I recall) and the first team back would get a prize. We managed eventually to find our way to Southampton and across to the island.

Several local businesses entered including the Hampshire Chronicle … our team consisted of several reporters, a photographer and me, the printer (in the top hat in the pic) I was supposed to run off A4 copies of our "special edition" on a proofing press during the run, in the event I just took a load with me and pretended to but don't tell anyone, we had a bedecked and emblazoned VW Kombi bus, a forerunner of the modern People Carrier!

Chris Barham was the photographer (in the striped blazer) but, apart from Faith, time has reduced the other reporters to faces with no names. As I recall we were last back late in the evening having missed our boat in Cowes and were too late to take part in any of the celebrations. We just slunk off and had a pint or two before closing … but the event was great fun and the race promoted Winchester in those far off pre-computer and pre-mobile phone to lots of other towns around the south.

The press was a double unit Cosser located in the basement of the offices in Winchester High Street. The paper itself was started in 1772 and the owner when I was there in 1965 / 1970 was a direct descendant of an employee of the original owners! As a comp apprentice I used to knock up the papers into bakers dozens and tie them into bundles for distribution to the newsagents on a Friday afternoon after the paper was off stone — and clean the formes on the press on a Saturday morning before sending them on a rope lift back to the comp room. This was half the reason I volunteered for the linos … to get away from that … typewash got into every crack in your fingers!

The paper is now part of Newsquest I believe and is printed at their Southampton Redbridge facility … and I doubt they use a Cosser or letterpress today … or have apprentices that are used as general dogsbodies and cleaners! But, as I said before, they were happy days as I look back.


Copyright © Dave Hughes 2000-2015. All rights reserved.