Thursday, May 13, 2021

About us

The Cumberland & Westmorland Herald celebrated its 160th anniversary in 2020. 

One of the few remaining independently owned newspapers in the UK, we’ve come a long way from our original owner Thomas Hodgson’s first editions. 

What hasn’t changed is the company’s commitment to being at the heart of your community. 

Over the years, we’ve reported on the major issues and stories affecting the people of Eden and pledge to continue to do so. 

First edition of the Herald
November 17 1860: Thomas Hodgson launches the Penrith Herald

The first editions of the Penrith Herald contained two pages of local news printed by Thomas Hodgson.

They were printed on a small hand press in premises on King Street in Penrith.

The printing office was at the rear of the building, overlooking St Andrew’s churchyard.

The other six pages were pre-printed sheets of general news and items of interest, supplied by a firm in Bolton, Lancashire.

Possibly just a few hundred copies were sold of the early editions, as distribution was limited and many people could neither read nor write.

Pride of place was given to report of a lecture at Penrith by county court judge Ingham on Old Saws and their Lessons.

One firm still in business in Penrith had an advertisement in the first issue — James and John Graham, which advertised its Castle Gate warehouse.

It sold Peruvian guano, Odam’s Blood and bone manure for wheat, superphosphate and linseed cake for feeding.

Other news items in the first edition were a robbery at the Black Bull Inn, Penrith; Patterdale Brass Band’s formation and the presentation of a guinea by the Hon C Howard, MP for East Cumberland, to the Temperance Library at Renwick.

Thomas Hodgson, who launched the Penrith Herald in 1860

Farm workers’ hirings at Carlisle, Keswick, Appleby, Kirkby Stephen, Penrith and Brough were reported and it was stated: “Men of known character had no difficulty in engaging for £10 to £12 for half the year.”

On December 8th, the Herald reported that the erection of the obelisk to the memory of the late Philip Musgrave Esq was slowly progressing.

It reported: "We had ourselves become very impatient for its completion, but the old church clock having partially recovered from a chronic distemper, we are better able to exercise the virtue of patience."

On January 26th 1861, an announcement was made that a veto had placed on all letter carriers conveying parcels of newspapers.

The Herald said: "Our publishing day not being market day it is on this mode of conveyance we are dependent for half our issue."

The final words of the editor were: "We say - not Farewell, but got the present, Good-bye."

Saturday February 13 1869: The paper re-emerges “bigger and better”.

The relaunched Penrith Herald

Called the Penrith Herald and East Cumberland and Westmorland News, by now four of the eight pages contained local news and advertisers were beginning to support the paper in numbers.

At the time, there were two other newspapers in Penrith. 

Thomas Hodgson had become active in various spheres and had also become an auctioneer - he advertised two sales by auction in the first edition - the drapery stock-in-trade of Mr John Bewley and the furniture and stock-in-trade of Mr and Mrs Simpson, Castlegate. 

He also advertised for apprentices to the printing and bookselling business: "Apply at the Office of the Paper". 

The news columns introduced the first of monthly publication of the railway timetables, a feature which continued until the First World War.  

Advertisers included John Simpson, leather merchant, King Street - who was advertising Jones's Sewing Machines; john Hair, dyer and cleaner and John Yates, watchmaker and jeweller, Little Dockray. 

The first advertiser from Appleby was John Pearson, announcing the extension of the Coupland Beck Woollen Mill. 

In March 1872, the Herald introduced a second title - The Appleby and Kirkby Stephen Herald. 

Mr J Whitehead, Appleby, and Mr Andrew Bell, Kirkby Stephen (and later a director of the Herald company) were named as publishers.

Advert from the Herald in 1870

At a date that has not been able to be traced, the Herald moved from King Street to No 1 Cromwell Road, then No 7 Great Dockray, before moving on to part of the Exchange premises in Angel Lane. 

The Herald was issued from Angel Lane until 1890. 

Notable stories included:

1870: A riot occurred between English and Irish navvies working on the Carlisle to Settle railway a man was killed.

1871: At Brough Hill, horses from the Franco-Prussian war were marked by bullet holes in the ears.

1877: The Ullswater Steamboat Company decided to name its new boat Penrith Castle, but altered this to the Lady of the Lake.

1890: New owners take over

In 1890, ownership of the Herald switched from Thomas Hodgson to the hands of a company - The Mid Cumberland and North Westmorland Herald Newspaper and Printing Company Ltd. 

The prospectus stated that as the Herald had bee "carried on under great mechanical disadvantages" the promoters of the company felt that, with improved machinery, success would be assured. 

Thomas Hodgson was the largest individual shareholder, but was not among the first directors.

He remained as editor.

Of the original 57 shareholders, 33 lived in the Appleby and Kirkby Stephen areas.

The first decision of the directors was to appoint a manager, who was brought from Glasgow to Penrith.

However, he did not reign for long, and Mr Hodgson became manager as well as editor.

The company — with the aid of an 100 per cent mortgage — bought premises in Burrowgate — now occupied by Country Homes — installed new machinery and removed the publication from the Exchange.

All type was set by hand and a single-feed Wharfdale press was installed on the ground floor, driven by a gas engine.

The engine needed “two strong men” to start it.

Tom Sarginson, later to become known as Silverpen, joined the company as a compositor, then for a time was a compositor-reporter.

Silverpen’s Notes and Comments was first published on June 9, 1896 and he continued to file it for 54 years.


Tom Sarginson, known as Silverpen


The first linotype compositing machine was bought in 1898 which semi-automated the printing process and speeded up production considerably.

A new press delivered in 1901 was another huge step forward.

In 1901, Mr Hodgson acknowledged the Herald's 40th anniversary - which took place the November previously. 

His comment said: "Though, like many newspaper enterprises, we have had to wander up and down in the wilderness, we have found our Canaan at last and are enjoying the pleasures of a land flowing with milk and honey." 

Notable stories from the period included:

1890: Keswick Electric Light Company made their first supplies to the Keswick Hotel, Royal Oak Hotel, Mr Birkett (jeweller), Mr Gatey (draper), Messrs Graham (grocers) and Mr Adamson.

1891: The miners’ strike at Coanwood, Alston, reached its 25th week. The demand of the men is for free houses which the owners refuse to concede.

The company bought 14 King Street and moved the printing plant from Burrowgate.

By this time, the linotype machines had increased to two and a monotype was also installed. 

While the printing press was being installed, the Herald was printed by Robert Scott, owner of the Penrith Observer.

The Herald’s commercial offices were to remain at Burrowgate until about 1924.

Also in 1903, Mr Hodgson moved to Keswick.

From then on, most of his energies were devoted to building up the paper’s circulation in the town.

Robert Irving

This left the editorial side of the Penrith operation in the hands of Tom Sarginson and Robert Irving, both of whom would later serve as editors of the Herald.

Mr Irving was responsible for a large portion of the newspaper's contents and compiled weekly notes on cricket and football. 

In 1904, the paper carried Nature Notes, written by Vulcan. 

Vulcan was John Graham, a Blencowe blacksmith, who loved nature and Nature Notes continued until shortly before his death in 1928. 

Harry Hodgson - Thomas Hodgson's son - also worked for the paper and arranged for the serialisation of several North Country novels, especially by Theodora Wilson. 

Notable stories from the period included:

1903: Cumberland Standing Joint Committee decided by one vote to remove the police headquarters from Carlisle to Penrith.

1906: The Liberal Party swept the country in the general election.

In North Westmorland Liberal Leif Jones, often called tealeaf because of his abstinence views, held his seat by just a handful of votes.

Also that same year, the Penrith memorial to the men who fell in the South African war was unveiled by General Rimington.

1908: The Speaker, Mr JW Lowther, cut the first sod at Hayeswater for the new water supply to Penrith.

1910: Crosby Ravensworth vicar Sidney Swann makes a short flight in a biplane of his own design, resulting in the death of a sheep.

1911: At 12.50pm on Tuesday, July 25, a plane piloted by a Frenchman passes over the town. The Carlisle road, Beacon Edge, Fairhill and fields at Skirsgill and Castletown were crowded with onlookers.

That same year, Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the Women Suffragists, spoke at Keswick before undertaking a Scottish tour.

1912: After being immune for over 25 years, Cumberland was again affected by foot and mouth disease, an outbreak occurring at Bellmount Farm, near Penrith, occupied by Mrs Bellas. The entire herd of noted dairy cattle was destroyed.

1912: The tragedy of the Titanic touches Eden

On April 13 1912, the Herald carried an advert for passenger broker J Richardson, of Middlegate, advertising the White Star Line’s Olympic and Titanic for “emigrants and tourists”.

Advert for the White Star Line which appeared in the Herald in 1912

A week later, it reported on the Titanic disaster, including the local people who had lost their lives in the disaster.

It said: “Among those who have lost their lives in the deplorable wreck, the name Andrew Latimer, chief steward appears.

“Mr Latimer is well known and highly respected in Tebay, which he has often visited at the house of his sister, the later Ms Geo. Warriner, and many Tebay people had the pleasure of being shown over the White Star liners from time to time by Mr Latimer.

“A Carlisle young man, Mr Richard C. Geddes, was one of the first class stewards.

"He has been in the service of the White Star Company for about 14 years.

“Another Cumberland man who appears on the list of crew is J. Shepherd, the junior assistant second engineer.

"He cannot be traced at the moment as the name of the town from which he came is not stated. His age is given as 35.

“The chief engineer was Joseph Bell, son of the late Mr. John Bell, who at one time farmed at Farlam, but subsequently lived for many years in retirement at Edentown, Carlisle.”

The mantle of editor passed to Tom Sarginson, who saw the Herald and the people of Eden through two world wars and three changes of heads of state.

Arnison & Sons wartime advert

On July 2, 1914, World War One was declared.

On August 8, the 4th Border Regiment Territorials returned from training following the order for mobilisation.
Some 130 men mustered at Penrith Drill Hall under the command of Major Hastwell and the Appleby Company, commanded by Capt GH Heelis, was joined at Appleby by the Kirkby Stephen detachment.

At Keswick, Major Broatch had his company mustered at the Drill Hall prior to its departure.

Many local tradesmen had their horses and
lorries taken from them and the horses which drew the George and Crown Hotel buses from the railway station were commandeered.

Penrith’s first fatal casualty was Corp Robert Cowan, son of Mr Cowan, Great Dockray.

In August, the Herald began to publish Last Night’s War Telegrams on the front page, with all the latest news from the front.

On 29th August, 1,000 new recruits joined Lord Kitchener’s new army.

They were training at Carlisle Castle, the paper reported.

On the front page, the paper ran a letter from a Penrith guardsman at the front:

Mr Harry Moffat, Penrith, who is with the Coldstream Guards at the front, has written to his sister, Miss Moffat, from the Army base under date 20th August.

He says: “Just a line to let you know that I am in the best of health and – (here the censor has blacked a portion out).

“I want to tell you that we are not giving any news in letters, in case such news goes astray or into other hands. NO news is good news for us.

“I shall tell all when I get back to Penrith. I am putting on weight here, the place agrees with me.

“The sun is shining beautifully this morning and it is quite a treat to be out.”

On September 5, there were over 10,000 men listed as killed, missing or wounded in the Great War. Penrith and Appleby began to welcome refugees, mainly from Belgium, into the area.

On November 21, Penrith’s Belgian refugees sent a letter of thanks to the townsfolk.
It said: “We desire to express our thanks for all the kindness we have experienced since our arrival in Penrith.

“A dreadful calamity has befallen our land but we have learnt that there is still a hospitable country to succour the unhappy victims of war. We are much moved by all the kindness.”

Penrith recruits at Aldershot

During the First World War, the Herald printed photographs, if available, of all the servicemen who lost their lives in the war, called the Toll of War.

The Herald also opened a waste paper department, to aid the national drive and handled hundreds of tons of paper during this time.

Notable stories from the period included:

1913: A railway disaster on the Midland line at Aisgill, near Kirkby Stephen, involved two Scottish expresses on their way to London. Fourteen people were killed and 10 were injured.

1914: Penrith’s first fatal casualty was Corp Robert Cowan, son of Mr Cowan, Great Dockray.

1915: Keswick’s first war casualty was rifleman James Dover.

Fifty-five wounded soldiers arrived at Penrith’s auxiliary hospitals at Wordsworth Hall, St Andrew’s Parish Rooms and Skiddaw Grove.

1916: Heavy casualties recorded by the Lonsdale Battalion, almost all men from the two counties.

Of 28 officers and 800 men, 23 officers and 490 men were killed, missing or wounded.

1918: First German prisoners for farm work at Culgaith, Kirkoswald, Langwathby and Calthwaite.

The Victoria Cross is posthumously awarded to Private Ralph Matthews Beatham, Glassonby.

1920: The Lake District Herald appears on the shelves

The company buys the Lakes Herald, based in Ambleside in 1920, and establishes the Lake District Herald. 

A 1920s advert for Cunard

The Lakes Herald had been established in 1880 and suspended publication in 1916. 

The company decided to issue a localised edition of the Herald.

Its first issue said: "It has long been felt that the English Lake District, with its unique charm and growing popularity as a health resort, deserves and requires a newspaper devoted to its own interests."

The printing press, which was installed in 1903, meant printing began on Friday morning and lasted until 8pm or 9pm. the second run started at around 10pm or 11pm and would not end until 6am or sometimes even 8am. 

Technological advances followed, speeding up the printing process.

In 1933, a new press was installed at the King Street premises which revolutionised the production of the paper and will still used up until the 1960s. 

In the same year, the company bought premises fronting on to King Street for use as commercial offices.

Notable contributors included Dr HJ Moon, who wrote the Lake District Echoes column, and Mr RH Lamb. 

At the 1937 coronation of George VI, Mr Sarginson was one of five weekly newspaper editors invited to represent the local press, and his account of the scene in Westminster Abbey was widely praised.

Notable stories from the period included:

1920: Francis Percy Toplis, wanted for the murder of a taxi driver in Hampshire, was shot dead by police at Plumpton. Toplis was buried in Penrith cemetery after an inquest recorded a verdict of justifiable homicide.

1923: Dramatic debut of the recently formed Penrith Players was a four-act comedy, Uncle Ned.

1930: Work begins on 82-mile aqueduct from Hayeswater to Manchester.

1934: Dalesman, the greatest Fell or Dales pony stallion for the past 25 years, died. He was bred by Mr. R Bousfield, Little Asby and owned by John Relph, Newby.

Also that year, Sir Oswald Mosley, leader of the Fascist movement, spoke at Appleby.

1939: The Second World War breaks out

July 1939 saw the death of Henry Hodgson, who had been devoted to the Herald like his father before him.

Henry Hodgson

On his death, responsibilities of management passed to Mr RE Burne, who had joined the staff as an office boy in 1914, transferred to the journalistic side a year later and was secretary to the company from 1933.

He joined the board on Mr Hodgson's death and shortly after became managing director. 

Learning from their experiences during the Great War, when the Second World War broke out, Silverpen and his colleagues, immediately took the decision to drop from 16 to eight pages.

They were later forced into a further cut to six pages.

Throughout the war, copies of the Herald were dispatched weekly to servicemen all over the world, who wrote home to say they read them with eagerness. 

The first evacuees to Cumberland — more than 500 schoolboys from Newcastle Royal Grammar School — arrived by train at Penrith station in 1940. A further 70 arrived that evening, plus another 675 arrived from South Benwell in Newcastle at Lazonby station.

Land girls at Newton Rigg

The Herald reported: “There was not a sad face among them to reflect the tragedy which brought them from their homes to seek refuge from the horror of possible air invasions, but to the onlooker there was something very pathetic about it all.”

Two trains were expected with 430 mothers and young children from Newcastle and another two trains, with 450 and 675 mothers and children were also on their way to the area.

More than 1,200 were due to arrive in Keswick and 300 evacuees for Appleby and North Westmorland were also due to arrive in the coming days.

In 1941, the Herald joined forces with the Westmorland Gazette in Kendal in sponsoring and accepting donations for the Westmorland Spitfire Fund. 

The total raised by the appeal was £10,000. 

Notable stories from this period included:

1939: Westmorland farmers promise to plough out 6,000 acres of farm land as war is declared.

Penrith’s curfew bell rung at sunset daily. Food control office issues 24,000 ration books.

1940: Roedean School evacuated to Keswick Hotel. Penrith and district receive 650 schoolchildren from Tyneside.

1941: Penrith’s population swollen by 4,500 evacuees.

It is feared Penrith’s first war victim will be Seaman Horace Wilkinson, who was on the RMS Navasota, which was torpedoed on its way from Liverpool to the Argentine

1944: In five years the Penrith War Comforts Committee sent 2,880 parcels to men and women from the town serving in the forces.

1944: The president of the Kirkby Stephen savings fund receives a letter from Major John D. Ellerbeck to thank him for the Churchill tank purchased by the town.

It was one of two the town bought after a campaign in 1942.

His tank has been named the Iron Duke and Major Ellerbeck says a brass plate has been fixed on it, bearing an inscription that it has been adopted by the town.

He adds that the squadron is “somewhere” in the Middle East.

1945: Two soldiers from Westmorland Military Camp are sent to prison for a year for trading in Army petrol and stores.

Thirteen civilians, including six farmers, who received stolen goods, were fined a total of £252.

1945: On the eve of the first post-war Remembrance Day, the Herald publishes a list of the fallen from the area.

It says: “The list has been compiled from the casualties which have been recorded in the Herald throughout the war, and from other inquiries and is, we believe, fairly complete.”

Tom Sarginson died on April 20 1951, at the age of 81.

He had been Silverpen for 54 years and editor for 38 years.

Robert Irving, Silverpen's colleague of 50-plus years, took over the editorship for a year, before passing it on to George Hobley.

Mr Hobley was in charge when Elizabeth II ascended to the throne in 1953.

In 1957, he oversaw an extensive reorganisation of the works and streamlining of the whole operation.

Only the rear of the Herald’s King Street premises were used for printing as the front was

leased by a motor engineering firm, Messers Armstrong and Fleming.

The printing works remained largely unchanged from 1903 and extra machines installed on the top floor were causing anxiety for the management due to their weight.

Armstrong and Fleming moved into new premises and the directors of the Herald took the opportunity to bring together editorial, commercial and printing staff.

The Herald's new composing room in 1957. From left, Alan Chapelhow, Mike Holder, Billy Parkin, Charlie Varty, Geoff Abbott, Bert Winskill, Sidney Tyson, Robert E. Burne, Lol Wilson, Gordon Powley and Tom Varty

In 1959, the Herald installed its own plant for making news pictures - an electronic engraving machine. 

The cover price rose to 4d. 

Notable stories from the period included:

1952: The people of Cumberland and Westmorland share the grief of the whole country at the death of the monarch, George VI, and salute the new Queen, Elizabeth II. As an expression of mourning events are cancelled across the two counties, flags fly at half mast and cinemas remain closed.

1953: Four men were killed in the Greenside mining disaster at Glenridding. Two years later, operators Basinghall Mining Syndicate Ltd agreed a settlement out of court with the dependents of John Miller, Richard Mallinson, Patrick Leo Mulryan and George William Gibson. Basinghall agreed to pay a total of £2,650 and £300 costs.

1955: New diesel trains came into service
on the Penrith to Keswick route. The Herald reported: “A Herald reporter travelled on the train on Monday and found not only that it was a speedy, comfortable and enjoyable mode of transport, but that it gave the traveller extensive views of the countryside.”
In January, blizzards cut off fellside villages, snow drifts of up to eight feet high blocked the door of a house and imprisoned the occupant. The cold weather allowed Derwentwater Curling Club to practice the sport after a hard frost put a good surface on their pond.
And despite the cold, 90 rally cars taking part in the Monte Carlo rally passed through Penrith. About a third of the 362 cars had set off from Glasgow.
Penrith Urban Council celebrated the chairman’s new chain of office, acquired to mark its diamond jubilee.

1956: Commercial television programmes are seen in the North of England for the first time when the Independent Television Authority station at Winter Hill, near Bolton, opened.

Also this year, Donald Campbell sets a new world water speed record of 255.63mph in his speedboat Bluebird on Coniston.

1955: World record trials on Ullswater by Donald Campbell 

Donald Campbell, who was aiming to break the world water speed record in his speedboat Bluebird, made his first slow-speed trial on Ullswater in February 1955.

Donald Campbell's Bluebird on its first run

Large crowds gathered to see the craft christened by his 26-year-old wife Dorothy.

On March 12, the high-speed trials began and Mr Campbell told the Herald that he “had touched speeds which were a long way over 100mph”.

On April 16, the paper reported that Mr Campbell was due back in Ullswater the following week to carry out more tests.

He reached 203.32 mph on July 23, 1955, on Ullswater, then took the boat to Nevada and raised the record to 216.2mph.

In 1956, Mr Campbell set the new world water speed record of 255.63mph in his speedboat Bluebird on Coniston.

This decade saw Frank Shaw take the reins in 1963, following the sudden death of George Hobley.

The big freeze in Eden

Mr Shaw joined the Herald as a cub reporter in 1936.

War interrupted his continuous service at the paper, but following demobilisation, he resumed his role as a reporter.

Mr Shaw was the seventh editor in the paper’s history and within a decade, took on responsibility for managing the Herald company, upon the death of the long-serving managing director, Robert E Burne, as the result of a road accident in Carlisle.

Mr Shaw died in 2001, and his obituary said: “His contributions were wide-ranging and, through his grasp of technology and new printing techniques, he initiated the modernisation of the production of the paper, as well as doing his work as editor.”

In 1963, one of the worst winters on record ravaged Cumberland and Westmorland.

Blizzards and high winds in January and February brought the two counties to a standstill.

Snow reached the rooftops of homes and people were stranded in their villages.

Helicopters were brought in to deliver supplies, but post continued to be delivered as postmen went by foot.

Transport dominated the decade.

On January 15, 1966, the Government decided that the Penrith to Keswick railway line would stay open.

However, the section between Keswick and Workington was to be closed.

It was announced by Barbara Castle, transport minister, on behalf of British Rail and the Herald reported that the decision had been ‘long delayed’.

Sir Percy Hope, Keswick, who took a leading part in opposition to the closure proposals, commented: “It’s good news for Keswick. I think it is a very wise decision and everybody will be delighted.”

Also in 1966, work began at Redhills, near Penrith in preparation for the motorway link road from the Skirsgill roundabout to the one near Stainton. On 12th February of that year, the route of the M6 in North Westmorland was published.

In 1968, the ribbon was cut on the M6 Penrith section.

The eight-mile stretch of road cost £7 million and traffic queues along the A6 through the centre of Penrith disappeared overnight.

Alston was completely isolated and a 20-year-old Alston mum-to-be, Brenda Rowell, made a five-mile sledge journey for a hospital appointment, pulled by 15 members of an RAF mountain rescue team.

It took two hours and the team also took her back home.

Her doctor was concerned that she was cut off from medical attention.

A hurricane tears through Eden

Also in 1968, 134mph gusts of wind left a trail of wreckage across Eden.

At the time, it was the highest speed ever recorded in England and Wales and
caused a chimney to fall through the roof of Brent Cottage, Fell Lane, trapping 76-year-old May Stringer in her bedroom.

Notable stories from the period included: 

1962: Lord Norman Birkett saves Ullswater from being turned into a reservoir.
Manchester Corporation Waterworks proposed building a weir on the River Eamont at Pooley Bridge, creating a reservoir and increasing the level of the lake by around three feet.

There was an immediate outcry against the plans.

Locals formed the Ullswater Preservation Society and organised a petition, which was signed by more than 500,000 people.

Lord Birkett persuaded the House of Lords to reject the plans when the issue was debated on February 8.

His speech was heralded as one of the most powerful ever heard in the House of Lords.

1966: Hundreds of fish washed up on the shores of Ullswater were thought to be schellies, peculiar to Ullswater, Haweswater and Red Tarn.

1966: In March, plans were revealed to redevelop the centre of Penrith, in the area bounded by Devonshire St, St Andrew’s Churchyard, Burrowgate, Sandgate. Plans included improved shopping facilities, office accommodation, a county library and more car parking space.

1966: Permission given for Manchester to use Ullswater as a reservoir.

1967: On January 7, the Herald reported that the wreckage of Donald Campbell’s Bluebird speedboat had been found in Coniston.

1967: Linda Hodgson, 18, became the first girl police cadet to be attached to a police division in the two counties force when she joined Penrith police.

1970s: A new way of working

The introduction of photosetting and lithographic printing in the 1970s revolutionised the way newspapers were produced.

Computerisation and fully electronic page make-up was then introduced to replace them, and is the way the newspaper has been produced ever since.

In the advertisement department, word processors replaced manual typewriters.

Managing-editor Frank Shaw led the transformation.

He retired in 1986, but remained as director and still had an office in the building.

He was succeeded in the editor’s chair by John Hurst in 1986.

Mr Hurst began as a junior reporter in 1945, for £1 a week, after an interview with then editor Tom Sarginson, known as Silverpen.

Notable stories from this period included: 

1972: Panic buying of coal was reported by fuel merchants in Penrith, Keswick and outlying areas as national miners’ strike continued. Power cuts resulted in 1,200 workers being laid off in the Penrith area.

1976: Little Strickland’s 100-year-old village school, with just 12 pupils, closed its doors for the last time.

1980: Penrith community library plan was in the balance as the county council put the brakes on a £436,000 plan and deferred its discussion until May.

1982: Eden servicemen were among those deployed as part of the task force sent to retake the Falkland Islands after Argentine invasion.

1982: Penrith FC made club history
by reaching the second round of the FA Cup competition, where they were defeated by Doncaster Rovers at Doncaster.

1986: The rise of the talking newspaper

Readership of the Herald is extended with the launch of a new talking newspaper for the blind and partially sighted by the Penrith Lions.

Talking newspaper

Sixty-five copies of the first issue were recorded with a special feature being a signature tune recorded by the band of the King’s Own Border Regiment.

It is still going strong today.

Notable stories from the period included:

1986: Greystoke stable jockey Phil Tuck equalled a 27-year-old National Hunt record by riding his 10th successive winner.

1987: Queen Elizabeth Grammar School pupil Jason Hale captained the Cumbria under-16s rugby side on a tour of Africa. Alongside him in the squad is Paul Nixon, a pupil at Ullswater Community College.

Workers at Penrith’s Lilliput Lane factory prepared to stage sit in after bosses revealed plans to increase output, which could see workers’ wages dropping to as little as £28 a week.

1988: Penrith Cricket Club won the North Lancashire League title outright for the first time in the club’s history under the captaincy of Dougie Parker.

1993: Eden planners defer a decision on a new £100 million holiday village in Whinfell forest, although most have come out in favour of the scheme.

1998: A visit by the Queen to Eden generates a huge turnout of well-wishers, with thousands crowding the streets of Penrith for her arrival.

Full colour arrives

John Hurst bowed out as editor in 1995, after more than 60 years with the paper.

He was succeeded by Colin Maughan, who was at the helm until 2019.

Colour was introduced to the paper on October 16 1999 and the first colour edition’s front page included a photograph of Penrith man Alan Carter piloting an amphibious ex-Army vehicle in the shallows of Ullswater.

First colour edition on the Herald

With the arrival of colour, the decision was taken to print the paper off-site and pages were sent electronically to contract printers.

The arrival of digital photography and the internet also revolutionised all aspects of newspaper production.

Notable stories from this period included: 

1991: Three Penrith nightclub owners said they planned to appeal after the town’s licensing justices said the clubs must have a 1am curfew for selling alcohol.

Owners said that although they will still be allowed to offer music and dancing until 2am, the curfew would affect their livelihoods.

1993: Eden planners deferred a decision on a new £100 million holiday village in Whinfell Forest, although most came out in favour of the scheme.

1995: The £700,000 scheme to protect Appleby from flooding was officially opened when a plaque was unveiled by Steele Addison, chairman of the National Rivers Authority’s flood defence committee in Cumbria. Severe flooding occurred most recently in January, when 70 homes were affected.

1995: Prime Minister John Major opened Penrith Queen Elizabeth Grammar School’s new £450,000 science and technology block.

1996: Langwathby Parish Council asked the county council to replace a bridge over the River Eden to the village. Costing an estimated £3 million, it would replace the temporary bridge, which had been in place since 1968.

1998: A visit by the Queen to Eden generated a huge turnout of well-wishers, with thousands crowding the streets of Penrith for her arrival.


The new millennium arrived with a bang and in the Herald, readers were looking forward to a fresh decade with optimism.

However, that optimism was soon dashed with the arrival of foot and mouth in the county in 2001.

Cumbria was the worst affected area of the country, with almost 900 cases.

On March 3, the Herald reported that a five-mile special restriction zone was set up, allowing no animals from the area into the food chain.

Then Prime Minister Tony Blair made a surprise visit to the county on March 22 and pledged that all resources possible would be made available to help fight the disease.

Foot and mouth continued to move through the Eden Valley and the rest of Cumbria, and the last recorded case was at Whygill Head Farm, near Appleby, on 30th September.

On January 5 2002, the Herald reported that the county was officially foot and mouth-free.

The National Farmers Union and Defra thanked farmers, but warned them to stay vigilant.

This decade also saw two of the worst flooding events to hit the area.

RNLI volunteers during the floods at Eamont Bridge in 2009.

In January 2005, what was described as a ‘once in a 100-year flood’ took place, decimating communities, causing landslips and damaging bridges.

Prince Charles was among the first donors to help raise £50,000 for county victims.

Just four years later, in 2009, floods wreaked havoc in that November.

Called a one in a 1,000-year event, it saw Glenridding Hotel flood for the second time the same year.

The River Eden burst its banks and flooded Appleby, residents at Eamont Bridge were rescued by boat and schools and roads were closed.

Volunteers from mountain rescue teams, the RNLI and other groups turned out in force to help residents displaced by the floods.

Then Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu met victims.

In December 2005, more than 2,000 people took to the streets of Penrith in a mass protest over the potential closure of community hospital beds across North Cumbria.

Crowds from across the county gathered at Penrith Town Hall before embarking on a two-mile march, after which rousing speeches were given to cheering crowds that community hospitals must not close.

The crowd, which tailed back for about a mile, made its way to the town’s rugby club, which would have been the venue for the meeting at which proposals for closure were finalised.

However, this meeting was postponed, with the statement that a Government White Paper was due on out of hospital care, which would need to be considered before final proposals could be drawn up.

Notable stories from this period included: 

2001: Eden Council urged to challenge a report on Rheged’s effect on Penrith’s economy.
The centre, near Penrith, lodged a planning application for additional retail space and use of cinema for general release films. Lake District planners have asked Eden Council to challenge the centre’s economic assessment.

2002: A group of between 100 to 200 local farmers and businessmen pledged £295,000 to take over the running of Penrith mart and set up LLP.

2005: The last hurrah for hunting as hunting foxes was banned.

Ullswater Foxhounds held their last ever meet, the Herald reported on February 19.

“Over 100 followers gathered in Patterdale with tears shed and times remembered”, the paper said.

2005: Work was due to start on the £36.6 million Temple Sowerby bypass, the paper reported the work was due to begin “after a 40-year wait” and trees and hedges had begun to be removed. It opened in 2007.

2007: 100 years of cricket were celebrated at Tynefield Park in February.

Although cricket had been played in the town since 1834, it was in 1907 that the club moved to Tynefield Park, and it bought the land in 1947 for £750.

Also in 2007, Newton Rigg campus gained university status with over £20 million funding.

2009: Music festival Kendal Calling moved to Lowther Deer Park and saw more than 600 people enjoy 150 acts across six stages, headlined by The Zutons.

Also that year, firefighters spent all night tackling a blaze at Penrith’s Morrisons store.

Nearby residents were evacuated.


The Herald was named Weekly Newspaper of the Year at the 2013 Newspaper Awards.

Judges said it was engaging, varied, interesting and visually impactful and “absolutely jam-packed with news... it really stands out from the pack”.

They added: “These were just a couple of the comments from the panel which expressed genuine admiration for the density of its highly-detailed local news and comment.

“An excellent weekly newspaper packed with local interest news for all age groups... it really involves and engages its community.”

Save our Cinema march in 2011.

The end of the decade saw Emily Atherton become the Herald’s eighth editor – and the first woman to take the role in the paper’s history.

She took over in 2019 from Colin Maughan, who worked for the Herald since the mid-1970s and edited the still independent newspaper for 24 years.

Emily worked alongside him as news editor and was deputy editor since 2015.

In 2011, a high profile campaign, backed by the Herald, to save Penrith’s Alhambra Cinema was launched.

In April, the news was given to campaigners that the cinema had had its current lease extended for 10 years.

The paper said it was “a win for the people of Penrith who petitioned and donated”.

Weather continued to dominate the headlines throughout the decade, firstly with a big freeze at
the start of 2015.

Heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures made roads impossible to use across much of Eden in January, and mountain rescue and an RAF helicopter had to evacuate drivers from the A66.

Edenhall recorded a temperature of minus 17.2C.

The end of the year heralded the arrival of Storm Desmond. Countywide flooding destroyed homes and businesses and Pooley Bridge washed away.

In Appleby, the cricket club washed away and cattle and horses had to be rescued by the Bousefield family at Home Farm.

The town’s river repeatedly broke its banks, resulting in three weeks of flooding.

The Glenridding Hotel was flooded for the third time and workmen had to remove 8,000 tonnes of gravel to get Glenridding beck to flow properly.

Prince Charles visited Appleby, and praised the recovery effort and the community spirit of people in the area.

In 2018, the Beast from the East hit the area.

Temperatures plummeted as heavy snow from a Siberian weather system came across to the UK.

Alston was cut off completely and Cumbria Fire and Rescue had to ferry goods to residents in 4x4 vehicles.

The armed forces helicoptered in food and medical supplies to isolated communities across the area as the bad weather continued.

Notable stories from this period included: 

2011: Penrith got the first broadband in Cumbria and in November, Sainsbury’s opened the doors of its Rolls-Royce store in the New Squares development, 15 years after it was first mooted.

2012: The London Olympic Games torch is carried through the area, with around 17,000 onlookers gathered in Brough, Appleby and Penrith. Torch bearers included Sir Chris Bonington and Langwathby schoolteacher Julie Labbett, aged 42, who was nominated for her dedication to school sport in her community, coaching and organising transport for youngsters to compete in events.

2013: The first shop in the New Squares development in Penrith was due to open the following week, the Herald reported. Hallmark cards and chocolatier Thorntons would share the unit on the corner of Princes Street and Bowling Green Lane.

2014: Successful Save Our Pump campaign, headed up by locals, paid off as Government plans to mothball Penrith’s fire engine were shelved.

2015: The Tour of Britain rode through Eden. Hundreds of people line the streets to watch top athletes, including Mark Cavendish and Sir Bradley Wiggins, on their way to Hartside.

2016: Ullswater Way — a 20-mile circular walk around the lake — opened. Also in this year, Eden voted to leave the European Union in the EU Referendum.

2018: Haweswater’s water levels dropped and uncovered Mardale, Eden’s drowned village.

Mardale was flooded in the 1930s to supply water to Manchester.

June was the driest month since records began, the Met Office said.

2018: People across Eden marked the centenary of Armistice Day. Beacon lit, church bells rung, the two-minute silence observed — 100 years since the guns of World War One went silent.

The Herald commemorated the occasion with a historic cover, reflecting the paper’s aesthetic of 1918.


In February 2020, administrators were called in to the Cumberland & Westmorland Herald and it looked as though the paper would stop printing in its 160th year.

But Eden businessman Andy Barr stepped in and bought the historic company.

Mr Barr, an engineer whose company, Barrnon, operates successfully within the nuclear industry, said his decision to buy was driven by emotion and a desire to protect the heritage of the place in which he grew up.

Editor Emily Atherton said at the time: “This is a fantastic result. Andy has known the Herald all his life and shares its values.

"He has been incredibly brave, stepping into a new business in support both of its employees and of the wider community.”

Speaking about his decision, Mr Barr said: “I felt emotional about the potential loss of the Herald, because of my individual history with it and the fact it had reported on events in the community and involving me throughout my life.

“I was taken aback with the support shown by our community fearing the potential loss.

“The Eden Valley is my home. I travel a lot but I have an affinity with the place and the paper, which has been here for a long, long time.

“The Herald frames the lives of local people.

“I was concerned for the future of the community if the local paper was published from outside the area — I felt the community could have lost its heritage.

“It is emotionally important to me to preserve that heritage and that has been my main driving factor in this.

“The vision I have for the Herald is that it maintains its integrity, that it delivers strongly for the community and reaches out to new, as well as established readers.

Andy Barr, his wife Natali, and the Herald team when he took over the newspaper

Managing director John Holliday revealed in September that the Herald was back in profit, thanks to the hard work of the team and the support of the local community.

He added: “Our strategy is built around growth.

“It’s all about local names, local faces and local places.

COVID-19 has dominated the world this year and brought much of the country to a standstill, thanks to government restrictions and lockdowns, but Mr Barr and Mr Holliday are determined that the Herald will continue to be at the heart of the community.

Mr Barr said: “The Herald is still here, and we are working hard every week to make sure your local paper is there for you when you need it.

“It is challenging, but we are incredibly grateful to our readers and advertisers for their support.

“These are unprecedented times but we will continue to do everything in our power to serve this community, as the Herald has done for the past 160 years.”

Mr Barr, Mr Holliday and the team at Barrnon Media Ltd, are looking forward to the future and to continue to be a voice for the people of Eden for another 160 years.

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