The Northern Echo

The Northern Echo
The Northern Echo - front page.png
Typical Northern Echo front page
Type Regional daily
Format Compact (Tabloid)
Owner Newsquest
Founder John Hyslop Bell and the Pease family
Editor Peter Barron
Founded 1870
Political alignment Independent
Language English
Headquarters Priestgate, Darlington
Circulation 41,000[1]
Sister newspapers Darlington & Stockton Times, The Advertiser
Official website

The Northern Echo is a leading daily regional morning newspaper, serving the North East of England. The paper is based in Priestgate, Darlington. Its covers national as well as regional news. It is one of the UK's most famous provincial newspaper titles.[2]

Its first edition was published on 1 January 1870. One of its editors, Harold Evans subsequently went on to edit The Times, but its most famous editor was probably W. T. Stead, the early pioneer of British investigative journalism, who earned the paper accolades from the leading Liberals of the day, and it was applauded by one as "the best paper in Europe."



The Northern Echo was started by John Hyslop Bell with the backing of the Pease family, largely to counter the conservative outpourings of rival newspapers, the Darlington & Stockton Times and the Darlington Mercury.[3] The paper enjoyed early success under its second editor, W. T. Stead, an early pioneer of investigative journalism, who brought the paper international notoriety during the Bulgarian Atrocities agitation in 1876. Leading Liberals such as Gladstone and Joseph Chamberlain became great admirers, and the historian E. A. Freeman went so far as to declare the Northern Echo, as "the best paper in Europe."[4]

However, the loss of Stead to the Pall Mall Gazette in 1880 and the resignation of founder Bell in 1889 took a heavy toll on the Echo and its sales slumped to a critical low for decades after. The collapse of the Pease dynasty and increased competition from rival newspapers added to the Echo's troubles and, by the time it limped into the twentieth century, it was on the verge of bankruptcy.

The paper was saved from ruin in 1903, when it was acquired by the North of England Newspaper Company, a group owned by chocolatiers Rowntree. An acquisition by Westminster Press (also known as the Starmer Group) in 1921 secured the Echo's future.

In 1936 Edward Pickering begun his apprenticeship at the Echo, eventually rising to the position of district reporter and sub-editor, before leaving to sub-edit the Daily Mirror.[5] He eventually became editor of the Daily Express before rising to the position of executive vice-chairman at News International.[6]

Whilst Sir Harold Evans was editor of the paper one of his campaigns resulted in a national programme for the detection of cervical cancer. When Evans left the Echo in 1967, he moved to London as editor of The Sunday Times, a post he held for 14 years, before moving on to The Times, where he stayed just a year. Evans is currently Editor at Large at the giant Reuters news agency.

Recent events

Today, The Northern Echo is owned by Newsquest (Yorkshire and North East) Ltd. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations during the second half of 2010, The Northern Echo sold on average approximately 42,000 copies daily.[7] It has four editions, covering County Durham, South Durham, Tees Valley and North Yorkshire and Darlington.[8] In June 2008, the newspaper announced it would reduce the number of editions to two,[9] having previously decided it may cut that to just one.[10]

Although traditionally a broadsheet, since 26 February 2007 the newspaper has been published in a tabloid format.[11] The newspaper transformed itself from a broadsheet to a tabloid in a one-year transition process, beginning with Saturday editions on 14 January 2006.[12][13]

The Northern Echo has a number of sister publications, including the weekly Darlington & Stockton Times and the free Advertiser series.

In June 2011, the department store Debenhams confirmed that it is to take over The Northern Echo’s town centre offices in Darlington - ending the paper’s 140-year link to the site.[14] The 62,000sq ft department store is due to open by autumn 2014.[15] The existing building was created when the site was redeveloped in 1916. New premises for the newspaper have not yet been confirmed.


  • John Copleston: editor 1870–1871
  • William Thomas Stead: editor 1871–1880
  • John Marshall (c. 1856–c. 1903):
  • Sir Harold Evans: editor 1963–1967
  • Allan Prosser
  • Peter Sands
  • Andrew Smith
  • Peter Barron: editor 1999–


  1. ^ Linford, Paul (31 August 2011), ABC figures: How the regional dailies performed, Hold The Front Page,, retrieved 28 September 2011 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ W.T. Stead, The M.P. for Russia: Reminiscences & Correspondence of Madame Olga Novikoff, (1909) vol. I, p. 336
  5. ^ Brian MacArthur, ‘Pickering, Sir Edward Davies (1912–2003)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Jan 2007; online edn, Sept 2010 accessed 24 Aug 2011
  6. ^ Brian MacArthur, ‘Pickering, Sir Edward Davies (1912–2003)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Jan 2007; online edn, Sept 2010 accessed 24 Aug 2011
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Morning newspaper loses three editions in production shake-up". Hold The Front Page. 26 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  10. ^ "Jobs and editions axed at Northern Echo". Hold The Front Page. 18 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  11. ^ "Northern Echo ditches broadsheet and turns compact". Press Gazette. 2007-02-23. Retrieved 2007-07-28. 
  12. ^ "The compact revolution". The Northern Echo. 2006-01-14. Retrieved 2007-07-24. 
  13. ^ Lagan, Sarah (2006-01-13). "Northern Echo turns tabloid". Press Gazette. Retrieved 2007-07-28. 
  14. ^
  15. ^

External links