A NEW book about County Durham’s favourite artist, Norman Cornish, has been launched this week, written by his daughter and son-in-law, Ann and Mike Thornton. Packed with 400 of his splendid images, he asks whether his work will stand the test of time.

In our preview of the book last week, we showed one of Norman’s pictures of a newspaper street seller, whose hoarse, strangulated cries used to echo across town centres as he reminded people of their need to buy a paper.


The Northern Echo: Newspaper vendor, by Norman CornishNewspaper vendor, by Norman Cornish

For Dr Keith Wilson, who has written one of the essays in the new book, the picture brought back memories of “sporting pinks” – that Saturday evening newspapers that. Final whistle was at 5.45pm in those days – no 10 or 12 minutes of extra time – and the first edition with results in was printed and out on the streets, sold by the vendors, by 6pm.

“In the days before transistor radios, buying the match edition on the way back to the bus station was the best way of finding out how our rivals were doing,” says Keith, a Sunderland fan, who was director of higher education at Darlington College. “Copies were sold in the pubs and clubs later in the evening.

“Can you recall the Sunderland Echo’s Saturday edition Football Echo which changed colour according to the fortunes of the team?” asks Keith, “We were blue in the Second Division and ‘in the pink’ when we were promoted.”

This is a fascinating question. Practically every league team had a sporting Saturday evening paper associated with it. They were usually printed on slightly coloured paper, presumably to differentiate them from a boring news paper, which was most commonly pink but in the cases of Hartlepool and Hull green.

The Echo’s sister paper, the Evening Despatch, had a “sporting pink” which had vague tinge to it to bring all the latest on the Quakers.

Many of the papers were promoted by a cartoon character who would have its thumb up or down depending on the result.

We believe that in 1958, after a financial scandal, Sunderland FC were relegated for the first time in their 68 year league career to the Second Division and that is when the Football Echo went blue, to match the Black Cats’ mood.

Sunderland remained in the Second Division until they were promoted in 1964. Did the Football Echo remain blue for all six years?

If you can tell us another about sporting pinks or “the green uns”, we’d love to hear from you. Please email chris.lloyd@nne.co.uk

  • For more on Norman Cornish: Test of Time, go to normancornish.com

The Northern Echo: The Northern Echo's clock-turning advice from October 7, 1933

LAST week’s reproduction front page from Saturday, October 7, 1933, featured a prominent reminder to Echo readers to put their clocks back – but nowadays, as Chris Eddowes points out, clocks go back on the last Sunday in October. When did it switch from the start of the month to the end of the month, she asks.

British Summer Time, or Daylight Saving Time, was a First World War measure introduced in 1916, just weeks after the Germans had introduced a similar switch, to save fuel by making the evenings lighter longer.

It ran from May 21 to October 1 – although on October 1, people were advised put their clocks back by only 11 hours because it was feared that turning them back the full 12 in one go would cause many mechanical timepieces to explode.

During the Second World War, Britain adopted Double BST, which saw the summer two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and the winter one hour ahead, but after 1947, the country reverted to single BST.

But, on October 27, 1968, Harold Wilson’s government didn’t put the clocks back at the end of BST and kept them running an hour ahead of GMT until October 31, 1971, when they decided the experiment hadn’t worked. These dates are interesting in relation to Chris’s question, though, because they show that by the late 1960s, the end of October was established as when the clocks were tinkered with.

The 1972 British Summer Time Act specified that the changes would occur in late March and late October and then the good old European Union standardised the switch as taking place on the last Sunday in March and the last Sunday in October across all of its member states from 2002.

When exactly Britain decided that the clocks would go back at end of October and not the start as it was in 1916 we cannot discover – can you tell us?