The Bournemouth Echo celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1950s, a prosperous newspaper revelling in post-war glory.
But the recent war was still impacting the availability of newsprint, leading the Southern Newspapers Chairman Mr WRD Perkins to despair that his paper couldn’t tell the public: “more than a fraction of the facts and more than one tithe of the public grievances.” By 1958, the newly named Bournemouth Evening Echo had a new concern, the advent of commercial radio – something the government was starting to invest in and seemingly favour.
You can access details about the roadworks you’re sat in at the scene (if you’re not behind the wheel), get the heads-up on the carnival crossing your path down in the Central Gardens and find out all about the latest global businesses to leave the Big Smoke in favour of our cosmopolitan town centre.
The very first edition of the Daily Echo was a mixed bag of advertising (the front page was all adverts and no news! It told of the British troops in action in South Africa against the Boars, French marines in Shanghai and street fighting in Peking (now Beijing).
By 1906 the Echo was looking for a new site closer to the town centre and its directors secured the offices of the Bournemouth Observer for a sum of £9,500, the Bijou Hall in ‘Observer Chambers.’ The building is on Albert Road and is now the location of local holiday company Bath Travel.
The building had previously been the home of the town’s Improvement Commissioners – the early days of the town council.
So to negotiate the collection, the vans would need to head down the Hill, take a left down Albert Road, make a 600 yard detour round the block and head up parallel one-way Yelverton Road before making the back up the hill.
The Echo bought the neighbouring New Royal Theatre building and demolished it.
The first new press was started on 18 September 1961 by Bournemouth mayor Deric Scott and a year later (24 September 1962) the second started rolling, marking the completion of a £500,000 operation.Staff more used to the heavy lifting and lugging of more traditional processes were gradually trained in state-of-the-art keyboard skills and ‘pasting up’ of pages rather than mechanical press production.While the Echo has evolved significantly again since then with modifications to the type face, publishing systems and layout, as well as becoming all-colour, this was the date our local Echo to quote its late editor Neal Butterworth “put on its new face.”With the advent of digital publishing and NEWSCOM’s acquisition of the newspaper, which moved production to a centralised, state-of-the-art print facility at Redbridge, Southampton in 2000, the Echo’s printing room had become defunct.There was a great buzz around town about the impending launch of the Bournemouth Echo – previously the town’s only source of local news would be the odd item stencilled into the Southampton edition, which was made available daily in Sydenham’s library and reading rooms – occupying the seafront site of the future Bournemouth swimming baths and more recently the IMAX building.In fact, there was a spate of people stealing bundles of papers and some delivery boys were reprimanded for trying to pilfer their own copies.
The move was an epic one because the wire from London was still feeding news and sports results into Old Christchurch Road until 7pm on the night of the 13th.