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Ex-editor writes history of ‘the most famous little paper in the world’

A retired editor who ran “the most famous little paper in the world” has written a history of the title.

John Marquis has chronicled the story of the Falmouth Packet, which dates back to 1855.

The 280-page book, entitled ‘The Most Famous Little Paper in the World: The Story of the Falmouth Packet’, looks back at the stories of the paper from its maritime origins to the present day.

During his long career, John also edited The Tribune, the Bahamas’ leading daily.

Falmouth book

The 78-year-old said: “Wherever I’ve been in the world, I’ve heard hacks saying how much they would have liked to be editor of the Falmouth Packet. Well, I was, for ten happy years.

“I always wanted to live in the West Country, and the Packet gave me the opportunity to work in the best place in Britain.”

“In my early days as editor, I made a formal visit to the Birmingham Post and Mail the day after Max Hastings of the Daily Telegraph had been there on a similar mission.

“The Mail editor organised a poll among editorial staff asking whose job they would most like to have. I need hardly add that the Packet editorship won hands down.”

Among the Packet’s cub reporters were the former head of Conde Nast, Nicholas Coleridge, the acclaimed PA Royal correspondent Grania Forbes, and Hollywood writer and broadcaster Richard Mineards.

Tabloid reporter Graham Johnson of the News of the World and Sunday Mirror was among juniors during John’s tenure in the 1980s and 1990s.

Tales featured in John’s book include that of a former Packet editor who was strongly suspected by staff of being a Soviet spy during the Cold War.

Former Thomson group diplomatic correspondent Tom Arms, a Packet junior during the 1970s, said: “I think he hated me because I was American.

“He showed an unhealthy interest in a secret military installation on the north Cornwall coast. We were convinced he was beaming information back to Moscow.”

The Most Famous Little Paper in the World: The Story of the Falmouth Packet is published by First Edition Press, and will be available on Amazon.