I’ll let you into a little secret. I get all weak at the knees at the thought of newspapers. Particularly newspaper offices and printing presses. At an early age, I showed an interest in newspapers. I was particularly fascinated by the Plymouth Evening Herald arriving hot off the presses at 5pm and being chucked onto the hot pavement of the Strand, Bude in front of Tremeers newsagents. The “Stop Press” column used to fascinate me. How did they do it? What is in it today? Oh, it’s the “Closing Prices”. Never mind. I did have a collection of pristine newspapers somewhere including the Daily Sketch (remember that?), the last issue of broadsheet Sun (yes, it was, sort of, a broadsheet once!), the first issue of the tabloid Sun and copious newspapers covering the first man on the moon.
I was fortunate to have parents who encouraged my interest. They bought me a wonderful book called “Discovering Newspapers” about the adventures of a boy working on a local newspaper in the summer holidays. I still revere it. When I was about 12, my dad took to the offices and press of the Cornish and Devon in Launceston to be personally shown round by the Editor, Mr Arthur Venning. My goodness me. Thrills on sticks. I still treasure the memory. The man who was making up the “hot metal” for the presses made up a little block with my name on it. I still have it somewhere.
I also have a picture of me and my family visiting Fleet Street when they actually produced newspapers there (it was when you could walk up to the door of Number 10, Downing Street -which we did). Later, my brother managed to blag me into Financial Times presses which was great.
So, the invitation recently to attend a meeting at the “Guardian newsroom” was received with quivering hands by yours truly. Thank you Sunny Hundal of Liberal Conspiracy.
It turned out that it was an invitation to the Guardian’s “Newsroom”, which isn’t, funnily enough, a newsroom. Darn it. Never mind. It is actually a exhibition centre just opposite the Guardian main offices in Farringdon Road, London EC1.
Still, I entered into the whole thing with boyish enthusiasm. To prove it here are a series of photos I took of the Guardian, the meeting arranged by Liberal Conspiracy and its surroundings.
In passing, I would very much recommend the exhibition of photographs by the late Don McPhee, which is currently showing at the Guardian’s “Newsroom”. He was an extraordinarily talented photographer. He could capture a geometrically perfect photo of a split second event. His collection is quite wonderful and includes many memorable photographs, including one of Jeremy Thorpe being interviewed in the Lotus position and Cyril Smith conducting do-it-yourself brain surgery on himself through his eye. (Well, he was just rubbing his eye actually, but it looked as though his finger was going so deep that it was actually entering his brain).
The main Guardian building in Farringdon Road.
The front of the main Guardian building
The reception entrance to the main Guardian building
The Guardian “Newsroom” exhibition centre
The pub just opposite the Guardian – the “Betsey Trotwood”. Perhaps the scene of many a post-deadline sup of Brown ale by Guardian journos? Probably not, it is far too obvious to go to the pub opposite for Guardian types. They’ve probably found somewhere much better nearby.
Some of the LibDem bloggers at the meeting. From left, Mary Reid, Gavin Whenman and Chris Richards.
Exmouth Market, a superb place, just near the Guardian.
Mount Pleasant, the main London Post Office sorting office. At 6pm I saw a queue of people waiting to post letters. A bit weird in a way. A scene you see in towns all over the country, but, in the case of this Post Office, it covers acres and sorts millions of letters and parcels a day.
The Liberal Conspiracy meeting in the theatre of the “Newsroom”. Or, more precisely, the rather stern-faced wait for everyone to arrive.
The discussion on Women bloggers, or more accurately, feminist bloggers