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Ford Grandad for sale – and other classic howlers

The regional press may be the most trusted source of news in the UK according to various surveys – but over the years it has also proved to be a rich mine of sometimes unintentional humour.

One of the most popular features on HoldtheFrontPage is our regular ‘Friday Funnies’ digest of press howlers.

Now author Martin Toseland is to publish a new collection of misprints entitled “From A Steroid Hit The Earth” – with the regional press figuring prominently.

Martin says that despite the increased use of computer ‘spell-checkers’, unintentionally funny misprints in newspapers and adverts are actually becoming more common.

His book ‘From A Steroid Hit The Earth: The Catastrophic World Of Misprints’ is published by Portico Books on October 10 at £7.99. To order call 0845 155 0720.

Here are some of the highlights.


The skeleton was believed to be that of a Saxon worrier. (Exeter Express and Echo)

One man was admitted to hospital suffering from buns. (Bristol Gazette)

Londonderry Development Commission plans to spend about £24,000 on improving the standard of street fighting in the city centre and a number of housing estates. (Belfast Telegraph)

Police in Hawick yesterday called off a search for a 20-year-old man who is believed to have frowned after falling into the swollen River Teviot. (The Scotsman)

Arthur Kitchener was seriously burned on Saturday afternoon when he came in contact with a high-voltage wife. (Surrey Advertiser)

The first aid treatment for a broken rib is to apply a tight bandage after you have made your patient expire. (Manchester Evening News)

Mr S. Butters for reasons of ill-health, is permanently discontinuing widow-cleaning. (Cambridgeshire Times)

The bride was very upset when one of her little attendants accidentally stepped on her brain and tore it. (Kent Messenger)


Due to an error in transmission we stated in an inquest report on Saturday that Mrs Susannah Vincent, of Porth, was found dead with a bottle in her left hand and a plastic bag over her head. This should have read ‘a Bible in her left hand’. We apologise for any distress caused to the family. (Swindon Evening Advertiser)

Error: The Observer wishes to apologise for a typesetting error in our Tots and Toddlers advertising feature last week which led to Binswood Nursery School being described as serving ‘children casserole’ instead of chicken casserole. (Leamington Spa Observer)

In a recent report of a competition held at one of Pontin’s holiday camps it was inadvertently stated that it was for ‘elephant’ grandmothers instead of elegant grandmothers. We apologise to Mrs Helen P—, who gained third place, for any embarrassment this may have caused. (Stockport Advertiser)


Children shot for Christmas in the home – Regent Photographic Studios. (Morecambe Visitor)

Dog Kennel, suit medium-sized dog. Good condition. Very turdy. Buyer collects. £9.99. (Wisbech Standard)

For sale: 83 Ford Grandad. (Express and Star, Wolverhampton)

Lady, 65, reasonable looks, medium build, 65, likes short walks, outings, the occasional drunk. (Westmorland Gazette)

Male (24) seeks doom in central flat. Please phone 0141 xxxxx. (Edinburgh Evening News)


Chip shop owner battered man. (Gateshead Post)

Schizophrenic killed herself with two plastic bags. (Milton Keynes Gazette)

Unfortunate names

Letchworth Spiritualist Church. An evening of clairvoyance with Mr Deadman Saturday, July 27, at 7pm. (Stevenage Express)

With the Chief Constable will be Chief Superintendent Peter Skinner, and Chief Inspector G. Bollard of the traffic division. (Buckingham Advertiser)

Double entendre

People in Preston ward are invited to a meeting at 7.15pm tonight in St Mary’s Church Hall, Brighton, to meet councillors and beat police officers. (The Argus)


Roland Rat (02/10/2008 10:17:20)
“despite the increased use of computer ‘spell-checkers'”
Surely that should read BECAUSE of the increased use of spellcheckers … virtually all the examples given here are of the wrong words being used, albeit spelled correctly?

Robin Vyrnwy-Pierce (02/10/2008 13:21:38)
Of course if you remove deliberate headline ‘funnies’, and those items left by subs so that they can send them in, and the unfortunate names (which are not misprints), you would still end up with a heap of items, but not as much as you would get from the nationals.

Alicia Denny (03/10/2008 00:15:35)
The increased number of misprints is for three reasons:
Lack of education on the part fo reporters;
Lack of time for checking properly;
Lack of experienced sub-editors.

Observer (03/10/2008 13:24:46)
Add another from Thursday’s South Wales Echo. Apparently the turn was on Page 0. So who says cutting staff leads to mistakes!