Former reporter recalls work in 1960s at the Kenilworth Weekly News in new book

John Lamb
John Lamb

A former reporter for the Kenilworth Weekly News has published a book based around the memories of his career as a journalist in the 1960s.

John Lamb, the author of a new book called the “Telegraph People,” will be signing copies of his book at the Kenilworth Books shop in Talisman Square from 10am to 2pm on Saturday October 19.

“Telegraph People” traces two decades of John Lamb’s career, including the time when he worked as a journalist on the Kenilworth Weekly News.

In "Telegraph People," Lamb also traces two decades of the Evening Telegraph and its PINK Saturday night sports edition at their famous Corporation Street headquarters, now to be a hotel.

Mr Lamb was a copy boy when the newspaper occupied the new building in 1960 and progressed to become its assistant editor, broken by spells on the KWN, Birmingham Evening Mail, the London Evening News, the Sun and the News of the World in Fleet Street and the Birmingham Post.

He spent four years training at the KWN with an editor whose preferred office transport was his bicycle. The editor was then Charles E Porter, who created a newspaper that was as popular for its humour as it was for its serious reporting.

Mr Lamb said: “Charlie would tour the streets of Kenilworth and Warwickshire on his bicycle, clad in shorts and vests gathering news as he went. If it was a formal occasion, like a black-tie dinner or council meeting, he would studiously keep his bicycle clips firmly attached to his legs.

“Silly headlines were his forte and I recall several of them in the book from the time I was Charlie’s apprentice and only other member of staff on the KWN.

“I was lucky that Charlie took me on because I had only worked as an office boy on the Coventry Evening Telegraph. But after training with Charlie, I returned to the Telegraph and became its deputy editor before going on to work in Birmingham and Fleet Street.”

Mr Lamb was then editor Charlie Porter’s first apprentice reporter and Telegraph People features recollections of KWN stories.

Porter had a penchant for funny headlines and Lamb recalls some of them, which include:

- How the sensation of shots fired at the Queen was missed

- Why the Sky Blues’ manager banned the Telegraph

- How the John Lennon killing was played down

- Why the tea lady threatened to quit

- Who NEMO and NIMROD were

- What happened on a day of rugby notoriety

- Why the Specials were cold-shouldered

Mr Lamb added: “I was lucky that Charlie had confidence in me because I had left school at 15 without a qualification. However, he ‘knocked me into shape,’ as he put it, and I succeeded in getting all the necessary journalistic qualification as well as undergoing an amazing and at times funny four years’ training.

“It really was also an incredible time to work in the evening newspaper industry. I would say they were the halcyon days before printed evening newspapers disappeared and the digital revolution took over."