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September 10, 2014

Romford journalistsThe Golden Lion in Romford is hosting a reunion of newsmen and women who kept the population of Havering and Brentwood informed in the 1960s. (2013 Reunion. pic Roger Adams)

The idea of former chief sub editor on the Romford Recorder, John Morris, tomorrow (Thursday September 11) will see the second gathering of old friends and former colleagues in their favourite watering hole.

Last year saw the first venture as more than 50 gathered over a pint or two, with conversations prefaced by ‘Who are You?’

So this year John has suggested name tags as time has not been kind to memories.

Jon MorrisForemost among the guests will be Peter Owen, long time editor of the Romford Times, who brought the area alive with his popular paper. (pic left: Peter Owen 2nd from left, with Fred Schofield, Barry Kirk, June Dole and John Morris. pic Roger Adams)

The circulation battles between papers were quite daunting and manifested in a constant race for readers by being first with the news.

Brian Davis, former editor of the Brentwood Argus  will be there, as will Ron Kentish of the Romford Recorder.

Legends in their own right, the quality of the media in this area was down to the dedication and enthusiasm of all associated with the news.

RT at Romford CarnivalJean Hambleton, with her late husband Arthur owned Hambleton’s Studio in Gidea Park and both freelanced for all the papers from mid 1940s to 1970, and shared three of Arthur’s pictures.

Roy Squire, fondly known as scoop, is sadly no longer with us, but his pictures, like Arthur’s, told the Romford story.

But it is memories that will fill the pub as the antics of colleagues, past and present are recalled with some additions and the joke saying of never let the facts spoil a good story.Romford Carnival through the market

Romford is renown in the media industry as a great news area and provider of many talented journalists who went onto national papers and television like John Fry.after RT party

The capacity for reporting was always an adrenalin rush, and something that never leaves a journalist, so the reunion will abound with stories of battles won and lost in an atmosphere of happy memories and a few pints. (pictures right by Arthur Hambleton)




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  1. First of all I would like to say awesome blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your
    mind before writing. I have had trouble clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas
    out. I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend
    to be lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips?



    • Hi Casie.
      Very sorry for late reply but for some reason this wordpress site puts everything in the spam folder and only just found your question.
      Briefly I am a journalist and have spent the last 40 years first pounding a typewriter and now making the suffering keyboard groan with pain.
      Assume you are American as we spell Centre so, but still love the quotation rumoured to be from GB Shaw ‘England and America are two countries separated by the same language’ though I would imagine Winston Churchill using it.
      It has taken me four decades to reach my level that got me an editorship of a major London east end weekly paper, the Barking and Dagenham Post. I retired from the paper three years ago and have since discovered a second childhood.
      I am a photographer who writes and though I had a pretty poor education, I was introduced to Dickens while studying English Language at evening class. I found his descriptive use of English very exciting and by studying the sentence construction, writing for me became fun. Academe shudders at some of it, but it made me interested and that became an obsession. There are not many trained photographers over here who can also write, particularly to the level of editorship.
      It makes me sound awful to live with, but the opposite is true. From archaic formulae of verbs, adverbs, nouns etc, I discovered the Dickens made a word what he wanted it to reflect. Not re inventing but adapting.
      Journalism is an ideal tool and he was after all, a Journalist.
      I know exactly what you are saying; sitting down with a blank piece of paper and staring at it wishing you were out sailing. Every journalist suffers from this. It called intro block. You have to think up a witty and short beginning to a story that will make people want to carry on reading instead of turning the page to find something more interesting.
      I cured my self of this by first deciding the subject of what I going to write about. The writers block that follows in like a big hole in the ground. For me the trick is first knowing or having loose plan in your head, then for the intro writing scribble :Sod it, Sod it, Sod it, then moving onto the next paragraph where you start to write about the story.
      Actually an intro is very important and a couple of rules that may help. First imagine the intro of no more than 32 words is a précis of the story. No people names, addresses just areas and use words that sum up the story. One of my favourites came from Alistair Cooke, English journalist who became a naturalised American. His story was of a man severely burned in an accident with petrol which could have been an accident or suicide attempt. Heck of a lot to get into 32 words so quoted one of your papers with a headline of : Jo Krupkie stood in a bath of kerosene and lit a match; he may live.
      Yes I do love West Side Story.
      But it does the job. The other tip I use is think up a number of verbs and nouns that apply to the story. Just list them on a separate piece of paper and write your story plucking words as you need them to keep the flow of the story going. Having done that and you are happy with the story, go back to the intro and you will find it flow from the pen or keyboard.
      It is a long job but make sure the fun is in what you do and you will never get bored with it.
      Below are my various sites, blog and website which may be of some use. I don’t claim to be a Dickens but I have made an excellent living from writing and taking photographs.
      My very best wishes.

      Barry Kirk
      Editor and Freelance Photo-journalist
      27 Aveley Road
      Romford RM1 4AB
      Tel: 01708 725979
      Mob: 07930143779
      Twitter: @BarryKirk2
      Former Editor Barking & Dagenham Post
      Archant London


  2. I know this site gives quality dependent articles or reviews and extra material, is
    there any other website which provides these kinds of
    information in quality?


  3. Mr Martin Sharp permalink

    Hi, I was reading about the reunion of staff from the Romford Recorder and saw that a photograph was taken by Roger Adams. Was he the same guy who worked on the paper as photographer in the sixties? His father William (Bill ) Adams also worked on the paper. We were all members of 2nd Romford Scout group. Do you have any contact details, I know Bill passed away some years back but it would be good to contact Roger.
    Regards Martin Sharp. Mauchline East Ayrshire.


    • Hi Martin. Thank you for the email and yes it was that Roger Adams but I have no idea where he is now I am afraid. He worked for the Post Series while I was on the Romford Recorder and with the four other papers serving Havering at the time we were always meeting up on jobs. It was a great time and perhaps the best in local journalism as the competition between us was strong but equally friendly. I knew his dad as well as the Recorder covered the scout group. The sad thing is that any record of our work is now long lost with the virtually total collapse of the local media industry. The Recorders were taken over by the East Anglian group under the title of Archant and Post much later also bought out and placed under the same title. As a photojournalist, I was deputy editor of Romford Recorder for a time and then given the Barking and Dagenham Post as Editor when Archant purchased the Post series. From a fairly major employer in the area with staff levels in double figures for each paper, it is now all done from one office in Barking Creek by a coupleof junior journalists and relies almost totally on copy and photographs from readers. I retired seven years ago or should I say got out before the total collapse. Very sad but many tremendoud memories. I have my own website which as some of the old stories: http://www.// Sorry I can’t be of more help. Kind regards Barry Kirk


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