STEPHEN LEWIS looks back at 132 years of The Press.

THE very first edition of York's new evening newspaper pulled out all the stops to ensure it gave it's readers the information they needed.

"Leak And Thorp, Commerce House, York, are now showing their new designs for the autumn in Tapestry Curtains," read the main item on the front page of The Evening Press on Monday October 2, 1882.

Beside it, a 'business address' announced that Makins & Bean of Parliament Street were now selling black and white wool at 3d an ounce.

In the left-hand column of that day's front page, meanwhile, under the heading Miscellaneous Sales, were a number of smaller items.

"Steam ploughing tackle, 'in excellent condition', FOR SALE cheap, through failing health of owner," read one.

"For SALE, a Digitorium, as good as new. Price 5s. Excellent for strengthening and equalising the touch," read another.

To be fair, those were the days when the front pages of newspapers were expected to be devoted entirely to advertising.

York Press:

The outside of the former Evening Press and Yorkshire Herald offices in Coney Street


That first edition of The Evening Press - which described itself proudly on its masthead as 'A daily newspaper for Yorkshire, Durham and adjoining counties' - ran to two broadsheet pages crammed with small print..

And on page 2 there was news aplenty - court reports, items of general interest and, under the headline 'Progress in York', the following item: "We understand that Mr Win Chapman of this city has purchased a large extent of property in Leeman Road adjacent to the works of the North Eastern Railway Company and those of the York Engineering Co Ltd, and proposes erecting several hundred cottages for workmen, the rent of which will not exceed £10 a year."

The newspaper, which was based at 9 Coney Street, had been founded by one William Wallace Hargrove.

And in a comment piece in that very first edition, it set out its stall.

"The 'Evening Press' will endeavour to give its readers the latest possible intelligence upon all subjects of interest," it informed readers. "It will have regular correspondents in every important town in the counties through which it will circulate, and its district news will therefore be a special and interesting feature.

"We shall pay very special attention to all sporting events, and our commercial news will enable business men to watch the progress of the markets and the fluctuations of trade. . . Our aim is to present an epitome of everything which may occur during the day."

The times have changed out of all recognition since then. We've had two world wars, the conquest of the skies, the breaking of the atom, the moon landings, the computer revolution and, most recently, the digital communications revolution.

York Press:

 A printer at work in the former Yorkshire Evening Press offices in Coney Street


Newspapers have evolved with the times - the Evening Press along with them. The days when we were a broadsheet laboriously typeset by hand in Coney Street and printed by steam-powered presses are long gone. Today, the print edition of The Press is a tabloid, and we're produced digitally. That means photographs can be flashed around the world at the speed of light; stories can be filed from home or on the move from laptop computers; reports can be updated constantly throughout the day on our website; and a stream of tweets and Facebook postings keep readers up to date with the latest breaking local news.

York Press:

An exterior shot of the former Yorkshire Evening Press office in Coney Street, York


The Evening Press moved from Coney Street to purpose-built new offices in Walmgate in 1989. In those days, we had our own printing presses in a great hall behind the building, and newsprint was delivered by barge up the River Foss.

But times continue to change. Today, we're printed in Bradford; those 'new' offices opened in 1989 are being turned into student accommodation and offices; and The Press itself has moved into a smaller building next door - the old Poads corn and seed merchants building has been refurbished and new offices added behind.

Despite all these changes, however, the aim of The Press - whether in print or online - remains pretty much what it was when that first edition was published 132 year ago: to 'present an epitome of everything which may occur during the day'.

We hope William Wallace Hargrove would have approved.