Memory Lane: Reporter Beryl’s wartime memories of the Grantham Journal

The former Grantham Journal building, taken in 1957. The archway which was once used by stagecoaches remained until the following year when the frontage was knocked down and incorporated into F.W. Woolworth's new store. Photos printed in 'The Changing Face of Grantham'.
The former Grantham Journal building, taken in 1957. The archway which was once used by stagecoaches remained until the following year when the frontage was knocked down and incorporated into F.W. Woolworth's new store. Photos printed in 'The Changing Face of Grantham'.

With the demolition of the former Grantham Journal offices, we asked you to get in touch with your memories of the place.

One of those who did was 87-year-old Beryl Neal, who started working at the Journal back in 1941, after leaving school at the age of 14.

Her first job was as a copyholder, which as the name implies did indeed require her to hold the copy while it was checked and corrected for errors.

Beryl then went on to proofread the copy herself – and no doubt her experience will spot any mistakes in this – before eventually taking on a reporting role.

Working at the Journal during the Second World War came with its own challenges, such as the walk home in the blackout. Beryl remembers one eventful journey back when she ended up walking into a wall while going past the George Hotel.

Her colleagues at the paper included brothers Norman, Alan and Richard Neal, and in 1947 Beryl and linotype operator Alan were married at St Wulfram’s Church.

Among the many stories Beryl wrote during her time with the Journal, the court stories stick out in her memory, and the fact that she would sometimes get a lift with the police whenever she had to travel to cover news for Melton too.

She relates how the culprit of an arson was caught after he left an imprint of his teeth in an apple thrown away at the scene, and sitting in on a complex divorce case when Victory in Japan was announced by the judge, who also expressed his wish for an end to the fighting in court.

Although Beryl stopped working at the Journal to bring up her family, it’s clear that her time as a reporter has left a lasting impression. She said: “Once you’ve worked in newspapers you have ink in the blood.”