AddThis SmartLayers

HTFP at 20: Vote for the best front page of the 21st century

HoldtheFrontPage is 20 years old today and over the course of those two decades we have featured scores of memorable newspaper front pages on the site.

Many of the more recent ones can be seen on our Front Page News channel, set up six years ago to showcase the best in regional press splashes.

But as its name suggests, HoldtheFrontPage has from its earliest days sought to highlight great regional newspaper fronts, and to mark our anniversary we’ve come up with what we think are 20 of the best.

Over the next week, we will be asking our readers to choose which one is worthy of the accolade ‘best front page of the 21st century.’

As well as hopefully providing a bit of debate, our shortlist also illustrates how newspaper front pages and design styles have envolved over the lifetime of the site.

Here, in roughly chronological order, is our Top 20.  Scroll to the bottom of the page to take part in our poll –  you can vote for up to five contenders.

1. A hard-hitting page one comment from the early years of the site as the Ipswich Star took on PM Tony Blair over the 2001 foot and mouth epidemic.



2. Mike Lowe’s oft-imitated Bristol Post classic from 2005 reporting on the announcement that Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles were to marry.



3. In another slightly off-beat splash from the same year, the South London Press lifted the lid on the drug habits of the city’s squirrel population.

Squirrels on crack


4. And still in 2005, The News, Portsmouth produced this stunning front page to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.



5. On to 2008, and the Birmingham Mail changes its masthead to report on the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States.  How long ago that seems!



6. Dramatic scenes in Croydon as rioting broke out in the summer of 2011 provided this front page for the Croydon Guardian.



7. One of two Hillsborough-related splashes in our shortlist, Sheffield daily The Star devoted ten pages to a 2012 report on an alleged police cover-up over the disaster.Starfront (2)


8. The North West Evening Mail – now simply The Mail – was voted the first winner of our Front Page of the Year competition with this mosaic splash from 2013.

North West Evening Mail campaign.pdf


9. The Scottish independence referendum in 2014 produced a number of great front pages, but we think the Press & Journal’s with its Alex Salmond silhouette stood out. Bx4EuKQIgAA7n19


10. Newcastle daily The Chronicle was gunning for Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew after a run of poor results in 2014 – but he survived calls for the chop before joining Crystal Palace at the end of the year.




11. Also from 2014, the Dundee Evening Telegraph published one of the most shocking front pages of the decade as it highlighted the extent of the city’s drugs problem.
Dundee award winner


12. Part of a front and back page wraparound, this tribute to a local policeman who died suddenly aged 52 earned the West Briton the Front Page of the Year prize at the Regional Pres Awards for 2015.

Thanks Andy 1


13. A spate of shop closures in Kirkaldy prompted this unusual splash from the Fife Free Press, winning our annual Front Page of the Year contest in 2016.

Fife shops


14. The Liverpool Echo has produced many great Hillsborough splashes as it fought to reveal the real truth about the 1989 disaster. This one produced in the wake of the 2016 inquests was perhaps the most moving.


Echo late


15. Winner of our Front Page of the Year poll in 2017 was this splash from the Warrington Guardian, published to mark the first anniversary of the deaths of rock band Viola Beach in a road accident while on tour.

Warrington Viola 1

16. The Manchester Evening News earned worldwide plaudits for its coverage of the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017. This was perhaps the most moving of a series of brilliant front pages produced in the wake of the tragedy.

The MEN has been nominated for its Manchester terror attack coverage


17. The day before, sister title the Bristol Post produced this iconic Banksy-inspired front page to send a message of solidarity to Manchester.

MAnc Bristol

18. The death of Blackpool football legend Jimmy Armfield prompted this Gazette splash, voted 2018’s Front Page of the Year by HTFP readers.

The front page of yesterday's Gazette


19. Another death which prompted a glut of memorable front pages was that of Cambridge scientist Professor Stephen Hawking. This one from the then newly-launched Cambridge Independent stood out.

Cambridge Hawking


20. And finally, from last year, cult movie Trainspotting provided the inspiration for this Herald on Sunday front page, urging politicians to get a move on over Brexit.

Trainspotting front

Now cast your vote!  You can vote for up to five contenders.

What was the best front page of the last two decades?

  • Beyond Belief - Dundee Evening Telegraph (29%, 193 Votes)
  • Jimmy Armfield 1935-2018 - The Gazette, Blackpool (19%, 127 Votes)
  • Remembering Viola Beach - Warrington Guardian (14%, 97 Votes)
  • Remember to look up at the stars... - Cambridge Independent (8%, 57 Votes)
  • There is a light that never goes out - Manchester Evening News (8%, 52 Votes)
  • Choose Something - Herald on Sunday (7%, 48 Votes)
  • Our hearts go out to you - Bristol Post (6%, 41 Votes)
  • Tetbury Man to Wed - Bristol Post (6%, 39 Votes)
  • Scotland Says No - Press & Journal (5%, 32 Votes)
  • Hear Our Voices - North West Evening Mail (5%, 31 Votes)
  • Squirrels on Crack - South London Press (4%, 30 Votes)
  • Sea of Fire - The News, Portsmouth (4%, 28 Votes)
  • Unlawful Killing - LIverpool Echo (4%, 26 Votes)
  • The night madness took hold - Croydon Guardian (3%, 19 Votes)
  • The man who hid the truth - The Star, Sheffield (3%, 17 Votes)
  • Thanks Andy - West Briton (3%, 17 Votes)
  • Will town centre now lose BHS - Fife Free Press (2%, 13 Votes)
  • Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! - Ipswich Star (1%, 9 Votes)
  • Obama: Let's change the world - Birmingham Mail (1%, 6 Votes)
  • P45 Due - The Chronicle (1%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 673

Loading ... Loading ...