Falkirk Herald is a weekly newspaper and daily news website
published by Johnston Press. It provides reportage, opinion and
analysis of news, current affairs and sport in the towns of Falkirk,
Larbert and Denny as well as the neighbouring villages of
Polmont, Redding, Brightons,
Banknock and Bonnybridge. The paper's
circulation area has a total population of 151,600, the fifth largest
urban area in Scotland. The
Falkirk Herald had an audited circulation
of 21,937 in the six months from July-December 2012, making it the
biggest selling local weekly newspaper in Scotland. It was named
Newspaper of the Year at the 2013 Scottish Press Awards.
1 Early years
2 Charity appeals
3 Modern era
5 Digital age
7 External links
The front page of the first edition of The
Falkirk Herald, published
on 14 August 1845
Falkirk Herald and Stirlingshire Monthly Advertiser was
established by Alexander Hedderwick, a Glasgow-based lawyer. The first
edition went on sale on Saturday, 14 August 1845.
Less than a year later the fledgling title was sold to Archibald
Johnston, whose grandfather had first established a printing business
in 1763. Johnston moved production of the Herald to Falkirk, and the
first edition to be printed in the town went on sale on 13 August
1846. The Herald was the first newspaper purchased by the Johnston
family, and the title's increasing size and influence would play a
crucial part in growing the company which would become the present day
Johnston Press publishing empire.
Falkirk Herald switched from monthly to weekly publication in 1851
and its first full-time editor, Mr J. Finlay, was appointed on the
recommendation of Alexander Russell, editor of The Scotsman.
During its first decade of publication the newspaper campaigned
vigorously for its
Falkirk to be granted municipal burgh status. This
would allow for the creation of a modern council to replace the
medieval system of 'stentmasters' who had controlled local affairs for
centuries and were widely viewed as incompetent. Burgh status would
also mean the town could raise money needed to fund urban
improvements, such as water supply and roadworks. A parliamentary bill
enshrining these changes in law was eventually passed in 1859.
Following the death of Archibald Johnston in 1877, control of the
paper passed to his fourth son James, and eventually to Frederick, his
youngest son, in 1882. Frederick Johnston was to remain as publisher
Falkirk Herald for 53 years. Under his leadership, circulation
of the Herald grew from around 7000 to 15,000 a week as public
literacy rates improved and the demand for reading materials
increased. In 1891, Johnston established the Linlithgow Gazette to
serve the neighbouring county of Linlithgowshire.
The author Neil Munro worked briefly as a journalist for the paper in
The newspaper's staff moved into a purpose-built two-storey office in
Falkirk High Street in 1909.
Falkirk Herald launched several notable appeals in the first
decades of the 20th century. A fundraising drive on behalf of Belgian
refugees from the First World War earned a formal thank you from the
King of Belgium. In the aftermath of the Redding pit disaster in 1923,
Falkirk Herald appealed for its readers to give generously on
behalf of the victims. The appeal raised a staggering £63,000 –
equivalent to several million pounds today.
In 1940 an appeal was launched to raise money to buy a
the RAF. The paper's readership subsequently donated £5,000, which
was used to build a plane which was named ‘The
Falkirk Bairn’. It
took to the skies in 1941, serving with three squadrons before being
written off in combat in September 1942.
Following the end of the war in 1945, The
Falkirk Herald War Relief
fund was launched to help injured soldiers, their families and
prisoners of war. It raised £8,100.
The masthead was changed to The
Falkirk Herald and Scottish Midlands
Journal in the early 1920s, reflecting the paper's readership across
central Scotland. Publication day was switched to Saturday, with a
smaller 'pictorial' edition being produced on Wednesday.
Frederick Mair Johnston became managing director of the Herald's
parent company in 1936. Under his leadership, the family firm of F.
Johnston & Company grew from publishing two newspapers to a total
His son, Frederick Patrick Mair Johnston, took over the chairman's
role, remaining at the helm until his retirement in 2001. Under his
charge, the company made its first English acquisition, the Derbyshire
Times. Further acquisitions followed in Yorkshire, Sussex and the
Circulation of The
Falkirk Herald peaked at 40,000 in 1979, around the
time production of the paper was threatened by a printer's strike.
Falkirk Herald left its office in the High Street in 1982, moving
a short distance to Newmarket Street. The former Herald building is
now a branch of W.H. Smith.
In 1988, the Herald's parent firm F. Johnston & Co. Ltd was
Johnston Press and was floated on the Stock Exchange. Johnston
Press is now the third largest publisher of regional newspapers in the
The paper celebrated its 150th anniversary on 14 August 1995. Letters
of congratulation were received from Her Majesty The Queen and Prime
Minister John Major, amongst others.
Production and printing of the newspaper moved to Camelon, a suburb of
Falkirk, in 2001. In November 2010, all editorial and advertising
staff moved to a new office in Grangemouth. A small office in Manor
Street was opened to maintain a presence in
Falkirk town centre.
Falkirk Herald was named Weekly
Newspaper of the Year in 2008 and
2009 at the Scottish Press Awards, and regained the title in 2013.
It was announced in the edition published on 26 October 2011 that the
newspaper would switch to tabloid format the following week. The
decision to end the paper's 166 years as a broadsheet was taken
following the results of a consultation in which readers were asked to
comment on the newspaper and its coverage. The Scottish Midlands
Journal section of the masthead was dropped, with the paper now simply
Falkirk Herald website was set up in 1996 by chief reporter
Graeme Smith. It underwent a series of relaunches between 2011 and
2013 and is now updated on a daily basis with breaking local news and
sport, a range of columnists as well as items first published in the
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Scottish Press Awards winners announded including Herald and
Scotsman - Journalism News from HoldtheFrontPage
Falkirk Herald ... made in 1845 -
^ a b Another milestone in Herald’s history -