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Daily paper's launch team reunites 40 years on

A group of veteran local journalists gathered last weekend to mark the launch of a new daily newspaper.

But this wasn’t news hot off the presses. For the journalists in question were those who worked on the Evening Mail that launched in Slough 40 years ago in May 1969.

Ex-staffers from all over Britain had come back to the Crown and Cushion in Eton High Street – one of the reporters’ many office pubs – to meet up and remember good times on their old patch.

  • Former Slough Evening Mail journalists reading the first edition from May 1969.
  • “It was an exciting time to be in local journalism,” said photographer Jeff Wright, one of the organisers.

    “There is nothing journalists enjoy more than starting up a new publication in a new area, and it was a daily. It was both scary and exciting.

    “It was a great paper to work on, a really good looking paper that featured in the newspaper design awards several years running.”

    The Mail later added other editions as it successfully expanded its circulation area into Staines and West London taking on the both well-established local weeklies and the two London evening papers.

    But the swinging 60s turned into the economic downturn of the late 70s and early 80s and the Evening Mail’s presses stopped rolling in May 1982 after 13 years.

    The Evening Mail was originally launched by Westminster Press – now part of Newsquest – but eventually became a partnership between WP and Thomson Regional Newspapers.

    It had been one of seven new evening papers encircling London that had opened in the 1960s in what proved to be the last major expansion of regional newspapers.

    After last week’s final daily edition of the Reading Evening Post, only one of the groundbreaking newspapers now survives – The Echo, in Basildon.

    The others were the Evening Post, Luton and the Watford Evening Echo – both owned by Thomson Regional Newspapers, the Evening Advertiser, Guildford, owned by the Surrey Advertiser Group, and the Evening Post, Maidstone, owned by the Kent Messenger.