Tag Archives: Fleet Street

2023 ➤ Join me recalling the heady days of Fleet Street’s newspaper industry

journalism history newspapers, press, library, Evening Standard, Shoe Lane, hot metal,

The Evening Standard newsroom in 1969: viewed from the features desk where Yrs Truly worked… Editor Charles Wintour is just visible on the back bench before the far windows at about three-o’clock [© Shoe Lane archive]

❚ I’LL BE ONE OF FOUR PEOPLE discussing the heyday of Fleet Street newspapers when I worked at the Evening Standard in the 1970s and 80s – on Monday 6:15-7:45pm in the Shoe Lane Library, behind the former Daily Express building on Fleet Street. Remember my trendy column titled On The Line? All free, so do join us.

The day titled Information is Close at Hand is organised by artist Eloise Hawser and it starts 12:30pm with a local walk informed by the working lives of newspaper distributors on Shoe Lane.

From 3:30-5pm there’s Hot Mettle, a hands-on session in the library using 1970s hot-metal printing objects and paraphernalia to create newspaper collages.

Shoe Lane is a back-street deeply connected to the industries producing printed news, the one-time home to the headquarters of the Daily Sketch, the Evening Standard, and the International Press centre. It was also a base for the various allied trades involved in printing and distribution.

Shoe Lane Library is at 1 Little New Street, London, EC4A 3JR. Nearest stations Blackfriars, Chancery Lane and City Thameslink

Journalism, Evening Standard, Shoe Lane, hot metal, library talk, Eloise Hawser, Vic Wilson, David Johnson

Update – Shoe Lane Library talk, L-R: Vic Wilson (Standard distribution veteran), journalist David Johnson and event organiser Eloise Hawser, with the Standard newsroom onscreen

➢ All about the event Information is Close at Hand

Information is Close at Hand, event, Evening Standard, Shoe Lane, hot metal, Eloise Hawser, Mental Fight Club, history newspapers, press, library,


➤ The day Harry Evans answered his interview question for me

Harry Evans, Sunday Times, newspapers, tributes

Harry Evans “on the stone”: pictured by Sally Soames in the days of hot metal production at The Sunday Times

❚ SIR HAROLD EVANS, who has died aged 92 and known to all as Harry, was not only a legendary crusader for investigative journalism but, along with Ben Bradlee of the Washington Post, one of the two greatest newspaper editors of modern times. Crucially he embodied the editor as a lightning rod through which a savvy team can channel their expertise.

I have personal reasons to be grateful to him after seeking a job interview when badly needing a change of direction in 1978. At his office at The Sunday Times in Gray’s Inn Road Harry was armed with a checklist of newspaper know-how on his clipboard which I seemed to be ticking copiously as an all-rounder used to multi-tasking on a variety of projects in print. (Most people in this business tended to do one thing only: Columnist, or Reporter, or Commissioning editor, or Designer etc.) So eventually he asked: “What exactly is it that you do?” – “A bit of everything,” said I. – “Ah,” he replied, “you do what I do.” – “Do I?” (deeply flattered). – “Yes, you’ve got the impresario skills – able to execute every stage from bright idea through to printed page.” Well that put a spring in my step and from there on, my career flew!

books, journalismVisual flair was an ingredient as important to Harry as the words themselves – wisdom he spelt out in five definitive manuals published in the 1970s under the series title of Editing and Design. Here he shared with the rest of Fleet Street how his dramatic impresario skills were key to defining the rigour and astuteness which quality journalism demanded in each of its presentational crafts: Newsman’s English, Newspaper Text, News Headlines, Pictures on a Page, and Newspaper Design.

Easily the best account of journalism’s cut-and-thrust is his 1983 book Good Times Bad Times which nails the pitiless manners and mores of British newspaper execs and the proprietors they serve. Written in anger after his falling-out with Rupert Murdoch, it also reads like a racy thriller.

➢ Tony Allen-Mills in The Sunday Times on the man
who changed the way we tell the news

➢ Columnist Hunter Davies on “the best journalist
I ever came across”

➢ Observer editorial on the formidable career and
legacy of Sir Harold Evans – plus Donald Trelford’s
personal tribute to his “rival without peer”

➢ The master craftsman – obituary in the Financial Times
by Lionel Barber, its editor for 15 years

➢ The most admired newspaper editor of his generation –
obituary by Godfrey Hodgson in the Guardian

➢ Previously at Shapers of the 80s:
2012, Sir Harold’s memories of Fleet Street:
cut and thrust, or be cut dead