THE PRESS has been at the heart of life in York for generations.

Its name and size may have changed over the years - as well as the location of its offices and printworks - but the newspaper's purpose to reflect and represent the people of York has never altered.

Now a new exhibition is about to open looking at the history of newspapers and printing on Coney Street - through the memories and memorabilia of people who worked on them.

Hot Metal is the title of the exhibition. It will feature the memories and private collections of former staff of the Yorkshire Evening Press and the Herald Printers.

York Press: THe Press office in Coney Street - undated

The event will include an introduction by curator Dr Kathy Davies (the historian behind its sister exhibition, StreetLife in Coney Street) and recollections from former staff and associates of The Evening Press and Herald Printers. This is also a reunion opportunity for those wishing to reconnect with former colleagues.

Kathy says: "Newspapers were based on Coney Street for more than 250 years and were fundamental to life in the city.

"These seemingly fleeting objects connected thousands of people, and their creation required the impressive skills of the printers, also based on Coney Street.

"The exhibition and launch event seek to reconnect residents of York, news readers, industry people and scholars alike, with the history of this Press community."

The launch event and exhibition are open to all and free to attend.

The exhibition will run for a month, closing with a film screening at City Screen on July 31. Details on the screening to follow.

If you would like to be added to the guest list for this event, please email

York Press: Coney Street 1989 - showing the former offices of The Press

Meanwhile, let's have a look at some of the stories from the exhibition.

A few weeks ago, Kathy ran an appeal in The Press for former Coney Street staff to get in touch to help her with the Hot Metal exhibition. She was inundated with replies, and several of the people she interviewed feature in the show.

These include Graham Bradbury who started as an apprentice compositor for the Herald Printers in 1967 and worked there until 1974.

Graham has many stories from his time working on Coney Street, including being sent into the river by the overseer to collect lead type that had been thrown out of the window over the years! No health and safety then, he says. Graham fondly remembers the social side of life at the printworks, particularly the annual printers day out, or 'Wayzgoose' as it was called. The annual Wayzgoose in Graham's time was usually a trip to Scarborough or Whitby organised by their NGA branch union leader and it involved lots of drinking. The programmes for the 1972, 73, and 74 Wayzgoose will feature in the exhibition.

Clive Hillen started as an apprentice electrical engineer for the Yorkshire Herald Newspaper Co. Ltd in 1965 and worked for the Press for 32 years until he was made redundant in 1997. Clive kept the presses going as well as servicing the building itself. He remembers it being a dirty place to work, but the people there being lovely. Clive's indenture of apprenticeship will be on display at the exhibition as well as a selection of photographs and a staff list from 1968 naming every person working in every department. Clive's words will also feature in a print being produced for attendees to the exhibition launch: 'With us, ink was in the blood'.

David Garner, former reporter for the press, joined in the 1970s and was Father of the Chapel for the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) members at The Press. David's most prominent memories relate to the 1978/9 national NUJ strike, the first ever for the provincial press.

York Press: Carole Milne who worked at the Press in Coney StreetCarole Milne who worked at the Press in Coney Street

David, along with around 30 others, were on strike for seven weeks that winter before successfully negotiating a pay rise for themselves and their colleagues who crossed the picket line. An original strike poster will be on display at City Screen as well as copies of the strike newspaper 'York Stop Press!', which was sold for the strike hardship fund.

Helen Cook is the daughter of Chris Poole who worked at the Press his whole life as a linotype engineer after starting as an apprentice in the 1940s. Helen has kindly loaned a number of her father's belongings relating to his time at the Press, which were left to her after he died last year. These include a piece of linotype machine that was in action on Coney Street from 1939-1986, and an original copy of the Farewell to Coney Street supplement which was published in 1989. Helen will be speaking about her father and his time at the Press at the exhibition launch; Graham and David have also agreed to give a short speech.

Other people who feature in the exhibition include Carole Milne, now 94 and living in Haxby, who started at the Press in the late 1960s in the publicity department. She then moved on to run the Mark the Ball competition for the newspaper. Before joining the Press, Carole worked for Rowntree's.

Ian Cundall, a reporter who joined the press in 1977 for just over a year before moving upstairs to the Northern Echo's York office, is also quoted in the exhibition. Ian fondly remembers the "eccentricities of the Coney Street building... dimly lit corridors... smells of the most evocative things of the past... Boots perfume department, staircase, cigarettes...The sound of typewriters and linotype machines was actually quite deafening... it was a filthy old place!"

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