50 years of the Newham Recorder

PUBLISHED: 12:00 13 June 2018 | UPDATED: 15:05 13 June 2018

Newham Recorder, issue No 1. Picture: Archant/Newham Archives and Local Studies Library

Newham Recorder, issue No 1. Picture: Archant/Newham Archives and Local Studies Library

Archant/Newham Archives and Local Studies Library

Presses for the Newham Recorder whirr into their sixth decade this week.

Tom Duncan was the Newham Recorder's first ever editor. Pic: Colin Grainger. Tom Duncan was the Newham Recorder's first ever editor. Pic: Colin Grainger.

Three years after the East and West Hams merged, the Recorder became the first independent paper to serve the new London borough on Thursday, June 13 1968.

The inaugural issue promised “big features”, “the best pictures” all the news and sports its 64 pages could hold.

Alongside a column from World Cup winner and West Ham legend Bobby Moore, the issue contained a manifesto from news editor Tom Duncan, The Part We Hope To Play In Your Life, which put forward our hopes for serving our community.

It’s something we’ve tried to stick to ever since. Year after year, decade and decade, we work hard to remain a key part of life of one of the capital’s most vibrant – and deprived – boroughs.

This commitment to publishing the good, bad, weird and wonderful things that make life in Newham unique was clear from Issue No 1.

“Family May Be Split By Red Tape,” fumed the front page lead on Stratford mother Susan Wooldridge, 32, who was evicted from her home despite appeals to three council housing departments.

“Husband in jail – wife makes desperate plea for a home.”

Future weeks featured a centre spread on elderly people suffering from loneliness, who were trapped in their own homes due to huge demand on wheelchairs; a far-right group trying to gain a foothold in Manor Park; and a blaze at the Tate & Lyle sugar refinery that caused 150 workers to run for their lives.

Attitudes, of course, have moved on a lot since the 60s. The the issue published June 19 1969, for example, which features a local doctor’s “forthright views” on women and the contraceptive pill, or a feature the year before on the sneers and jeers faced daily by interracial couples.

Yet, while adverts for cigarettes and lady typists fade from the pages, many problems remain. Racism, crime and a lack of affordable, well-maintained housing continues to blight the borough, and the Recorder will do its best to shine a light on the ills that surround us.

Half a century ago we set in print The Part We Hope To Play In Your Life. Here’s to the next 50 years...

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