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Ipstones Historical Society - April 2014

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: April 18, 2014

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THE Ipstones Historical Society met on 27th March in the Memorial Hall extension for a talk entitled, 'Hitting the Headlines', given by John Butterworth.

Mr Butterworth has previous connections to Ipstones, having lived here when he was young and being the son of the former headmaster at St. Leonard's school.

He began by outlining his entry in the world of journalism when he saw an advert for trainee investigative reporters for the Daily Mirror in London.

Soon after leaving school he applied and became one of the fortunate candidates to be offered a place.

This course attracted many now more famous faces such as Angela Rippon and Alistair Campbell, and was based in Plymouth where he learnt his craft.

After his training he got a job at the Yorkshire Evening Post and this was punctuated by a trip to Nepal.

Then Mr Butterworth moved to several positions but eventually the lure of the Staffordshire Moorlands beckoned and he took up the Editorship of the Leek Post & Times in 1985.

Again this was interrupted by a journalistic foray to China during 1986 where he travelled and reported in such places as Shanghai.

On his return he gained an insight into the challenges of owning and financing a local paper and this lead to our speaker setting up the Stone and Eccleshall Gazette, a paper which is still going today. Once again Mr Butterworth got itchy feet and sold the paper moving to the Express and Star in Wolverhampton.

Only 12 months later he was invited to edit the Bromsgrove Messenger and Advertiser which won the best weekly newspaper accolade.

Our speaker remained at this paper until 1997 when he became the editor of the country's fourth oldest paper, the Shrewsbury Chronicle.

The Chronicle was founded in 1772 by Thomas Wood and it reported on such major events as the Battle of Trafalgar and the death of Queen Victoria in 1901.

The news in those days was a little less instant than it is today, as the death of Admiral Lord Nelson took 10 days to reach the press!

Over his 12 years at the Shrewsbury Chronicle the circulation increased to 19,000, its highest ever and Mr Butterworth was awarded the MBE for services to journalism and charity.

In 2009 our speaker was made redundant, but he jetted off to Albania for further escapades and upon his return he freelanced and began writing historical books about the Red Lion Hotel in Shrewsbury, which is a very historic building having hosted Charles Darwin, Paganini and even the Beatles.

When later a move to Worcester for his wife's work beckoned, our speaker was asked to edit the Black Country Bugle historical paper.

This he does to the present day and he told the society he finds his latest job very satisfying and interesting.

There will be a change to the usual meeting day for the next gathering of the Historical Society.

The AGM will be held on Wednesday, 23rd April in the Memorial Hall extension at 7.30pm.

Cheese and wine are provided and a reminder is given that the yearly subscriptions will be due.

Anyone wishing to join or find out more about our meetings and events please come along and join in. Everyone is welcome; £2.00 for members and £2.50 for non-members.

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