Worthing Herald celebrates 100 years of truly local news

For 100 years, the Worthing Herald has been been your truly local newspaper. Our journalists work at the heart of the community and we are delighted to celebrate the centenary of our Herald.

Friday, 22nd May 2020, 6:07 pm

Gary Shipton, the Editor and Editorial Director, said: “A survey by YouGov just a couple of years ago showed that people trust the content of their local newspaper more than just about any other source of local news.

“Local papers were three times more trusted than social media and for those of us who have committed our working lives to titles such as the Worthing Herald this comes as no surprise.

“That is because we have always taken seriously our responsibility to the people that we serve - you the readers.

The Worthing Herald, first edition, published on Saturday, May 15, 1920

“Our journalists are trained to the highest standards by the National Council for the Training of Journalists. Our reporters are bound in their contracts of employment to the ethics laid down in an industry-wide Editor’s Code of Practice. We are all held to account by some of the toughest independent regulation in the world through IPSO.

“But more than that, being based in Worthing our reporters are directly accountable to the community.

“That does not mean giving decision-makers an easy ride. We are here to hold them to account on your behalf. But we believe in Worthing and the surrounding area and we want it and you to succeed and prosper.

“We are by your side no matter how tough the times are - as the current crisis proves. It’s a journey we have been proud to walk with local people ever since our foundation.

Joss Loader, Adur district councillor and Shoreham Beach Residents’ Association chairman, has had a long association with the Herald series

“Thank you for your support. For your adverts. For your reading of our website. And for buying a copy of the Herald every week. Most of all, thank you for believing in us and believing us. That’s what trust is all about.”

The Worthing Herald was launched on Saturday, May 15, 1920, by T.R. Beckett Ltd and was part of a long-standing group of newspapers based in Eastbourne.

The group had been founded in 1871 by Thomas Richard Beckett, a Yorkshire journalist who ran a weekly journal with his brother before moving south with his young family.

His son took over the company in 1908 and Arthur William Beckett went on to launch a number of local newspapers, including the Worthing Herald and later the Shoreham Herald.

Worthing Herald Great Storm special edition, published on Saturday, October 17. 1987

Arthur died at his Eastbourne home on May 8, 1943, aged 71. His obituary in the Worthing Herald on Friday, May 14, 1943, said had been a great ambassador for Sussex and for many years, was recognised as one of the premier authorities on the county, having acquired an encyclopaedic knowledge of its people, customs and lore.

The article stated: “Worthing has cause to remember Mr Beckett. It was due, in no small measure, to him, in his capacity as president of the Society of Sussex Downsmen, a position he held for many years, that an amicable settlement was reached in the Cissbury Down disfigurement controversy of 1930.”

The town was also served by the Worthing Gazette, which dates back to May 12, 1883, and had its printing presses in Chatsworth Road. The same company also launched the Littlehampton Gazette in 1896.

T.R. Beckett Ltd, later known as Beckett Newpapers, bought the Worthing Gazette in 1966 and the two papers continued to be printed separately, the Worthing Gazette on Wednesdays and the Worthing Herald on Fridays, until they were merged into one title, the Worthing Gazette and Herald, on May 15, 1981.

Looking from Cannon House, as it was built built, back at the original Worthing Gazette offices, later taken over by the Worthing Herald

Some six years later, the newspaper was rebranded and since July 10, 1987, we have used the original title, Worthing Herald.

The Worthing Herald published a separate Shoreham, Lancing and Southwick edition, and when Beckett Newspapers acquired the Shoreham, Lancing and District Times, including its offices in Shoreham High Street, the two were combined into the new Shoreham Herald, which launched on May 8, 1937.

The Worthing Herald has always been proud to be part of the town, covering major events and items of local interest such as 100th birthdays and golden weddings.

For the coronation of King George VI, a specially enlarged issue was printed, to include the full Coronation Day programmes of Worthing, Shoreham, Southwick, Lancing, Storrington and ‘all the other places within the Herald’s area of circulation’. It was billed as ‘the best guide available’ to the West Sussex plans for the commemoration.

Another special edition treasured by staff to this day is the coverage of the Great Storm in October 1987.

Winds of more than 100mph battered Sussex in the early hours of Friday, October 16, 1987. That week’s paper had just been put to bed and no-one wanted to wait another week to get the news of such a dramatic event out there.

Worthing Herald staff outside Cannon House, built on the site of the old car park

So the decision was made to produce a totally separate, special edition –something that was unprecedented. Reporters and photographers worked throughout Friday to put it together and it was out on the streets the next day, Saturday, October 17, 1987.

Joss Loader, Adur district councillor and Shoreham Beach Residents’ Association chairman, has wished us a happy anniversary, having had a long association with the Herald series.

The Shoreham Herald was known as the Adur Herald from July 8, 1977, to January 26, 1990, and Joss joined the newspaper in 1984 as a trainee reporter in the former newspaper offices in East Street, opposite St Mary’s Church.

She said: “Within just two months of joining, I was part of the news team covering the Brighton bombing – a memorable introduction to the world of local news!

“It was a different world back in the early ’80s. My first stories were bashed out on a manual typewriter and a courier collected the carbon copies and took them to Eastbourne, where they were typeset in the traditional way. We were seated in a small office that was thick with cigarette smoke and was served by a spider-ridden, outdoor loo.

“When computers arrived, they were basic and viewed with huge suspicion. I remember one memorable press day when our flamboyant and inimitable editor, Patrick Formoy, threatened to kick the ‘thing’ out of the window.

“As the months rolled by, I was promoted to the Shoreham paper’s news editor. After a short stint on The Argus, I returned to the Worthing Herald as news editor, working there until 1993, when I ventured into the far less exciting – but more lucrative – world of PR, following the birth of my first child.

“As the years rolled by with alarming speed, I have always had such a soft spot for the Herald and all it stands for. Local newspapers play a key role in community life and provide a lasting, accurate record for posterity.

“From courts’ coverage to local crime, and local council stories to community events, the Herald series has provided unique and in-depth coverage over the decades.

Looking back, Shoreham was a different place back in the ’80s but in some ways it remains the same. Fundamentally it will always be my home town – I had my children in Southlands Hospital, I was married in St Mary’s Church and I grew up here.

“Now a local councillor, I often wryly reflect that the items that dominated the headlines back in the mid ’80s aren’t so different in 2020. Over development, parking issues even ongoing issues with dog poo – does anything truly change? But if it does, you can guarantee that the Herald series will have charted all the milestones and provided a fascinating chronicle. Here’s to another 100 years.”

A message from the Editor, Gary Shipton:

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news, I am asking you to please purchase a copy of our newspapers.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspapers.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

Stay safe, and best wishes.