News of the World, pictures and people

HM Submarine  P556  is berthed at (as it was then ) Fort Blockhouse. Wrens are pushing the torpedo. (Mike Nolan coll.)

NOSTALGIA: Wrens show the boys how to do it

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The demise of the News of the World brought back some childhood memories for me, although I have not read the paper for some 40 years, maybe more.

There was a time when people used to take three and four Sunday papers at a time - mind you, they were not a hundred pages thick then.

In the early 1960s in the school holidays and at weekends I used to have a paper stand by the toilets on the island at Clarence Pier. I was only 11, maybe 12.

The Evening News circulation manager, ex-Battle of Britain fighter pilot Mr Dale, made sure all was well. One day he asked if I could look after a stand on Sunday on the seafront just across the road. How I got there or where the papers came from I cannot remember, but there were dozens and dozens of copies held down by large pebbles taken from the beach.

Many people came along and ordered in a poetic rhyme: ‘News of the World, Pic and People please kid.’

The ‘Pic’ was the long-lost Sunday Pictorial. Even now, that order rings through my mind. Papers at that time cost, as I remember, eight old pence (about 3p) to day. No wonder so many people had so many papers.

Another location I sold papers was in Cumberland Street, Portsea. Again, many purchased more than one paper.