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  Pioneering times 

 at Richmond 

 College, Sheffield


        . . . when it was one of  only SIX                                  journalism colleges in England!

Thanks for visiting. Whether you are interested in journalism generally or more specifically in the training of journalists, you should find this stuff entertaining - and possibly even useful!  Enjoy the read . . . and I'd be delighted if you dropped me a line.                               




Wow - what a title!

How’s this for a great book-title  - No One Round Here Reads Tolstoy!  It’s the latest work by  Mark Hodkinson, a full-time journalism student at Richmond in1982.   Billed as ‘the memoirs of a working-class reader’, it’s the highly entertaining confessional piece of someone who loves books so much that he owns more than he could ever read (3,500 of them in fact). And, incidentally, it briefly recalls his college days.

  Mark’s first paper was the Middleton, Moston and Blackley Guardian, and he worked on the Oldham Evening Chronicle and the Halifax Courier before turning freelance in the early 1990s. Since then he’s written for The Times for 20 years and for other national titles, and has produced several novels, plus non-fiction on sporting themes.


Ex-student Neil gives us

      all a brilliant read . . . 

Neil Benson (with us in 1973/4)  has  written a top-notch cracker of a book about his varied and colourful 45 years in the business  -- he has worked in Sheffield, Northampton, Bradford, Coventry, Newcastle and on Teeside, held two editorships, and been a Daily Express sub-editor in Manchester. 

   The book (Takahe Publishing Ltd, £10.95) is available from most online book stores.  Take my word for it -- you'll love it!

   AND THERE'S MORE:   Neil's also written an entertaining  

   piece on the lost language of newspapers. It's a slice of

  history.  Find it with this link:

. . . and Michael launches

               his debut thriller


A number of ex-Richmond reporters have become authors over the years – but Michael Davies has really done it in style, with books, plays and even a musical.


Michael, who was at college in 1983/1984, started out on the Northampton Chronicle and Echo but was later 'all over the place'  --at  Milton Keynes, Scarborough, Birmingham, Oxford.    He has now launched his debut solo novel – Outback,  published by HarperCollins.  He says:  ‘It's actually a sequel to the novel Domino Island, which was the posthumous final work by Desmond Bagley, the best-selling thriller writer.  Outback uses the same protagonist in a new, original story, and HarperCollins have already commissioned another one for publication next year.’


Rasputin’s Mother, a play that Michael wrote a few years ago, won a national competition.  He has since written for stage and television, some non-fiction -- and even a musical adaptation of Tess of the d'Urbervilles that was staged at the RSC’s studio theatre about four years ago. .   And during the pandemic he went  full circle – working on the Stratford Herald, his local paper, ‘doing a bit on the production side.'




Here are a few more who have changed course . . .

Paul Mace, an enthusiastic football fan since he was a youngster, has written ‘One Flew Over the Magpies Nest,’ – a hefty history of his beloved Notts County.


Alan Biggs has written on sport in just about all the national dailies, as well as working for BBC radio and television, TalkSport and Sky. His ‘Confessions of a Football Reporter’ is packed with hilarious tales.


Ian Bevitt slid seamlessly from newspapers into TV directing, and his name still pops up on the screen.


Mat Dyson,  well-armed with useful journalistic skills, skipped newspapers altogether and joined the Home Office and then the Foreign Office.. He  is still visible  on TV in old screenings of his role as a senior immigration officer, and he is now with UK Border Force at Heathrow, as Assistant Director and Head of Future Operations.


Jo Overty has the best job title! After 19 years with Isle of Man news publications she now works for the Isle of Man Government and is (wait for it!) UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man Project Officer.


Paul Linford worked on four newspapers before joining  HoldTheFrontPage – the must-see news website for Britain’s provincial newspapers. Then ,a few years ago, he bought it,  and he is now HTFP’s owner/publisher.  


A brief
deputy PM

Prescott pic.jpg

Richmond student Peter Devine (left) interviewed the then deputy Prime Minister John Prescott in 2010 and asked him how he felt about recently having an egg thrown at him. 'How would you like it with an egg oozing down your back?' was the crisp reply.
ABOVE: Peter with Mr Prescott and his son David -- who was a Richmond classmate of Peter's a few years earlier.

     ***** There's a letter from Peter  on the 'More Letters' page.

Who is this chap                       anyway?


Gerry Kreibich was one of five journalism lecturers at Richmond College, Sheffield, throughout the 1970s and 1980s. (For a bit more background, see the 'classroom scene' page.)


In those pioneering days the simple aim  of the

National Council for the Training of Journalists was to impart editorial skills that would enable students to join provincial newspapers and immediately be useful. What happened to those students after that was up to them . . . and many are now prominent people in news- papers, magazines, radio and television

(and quite a few have retired!)


The work was often experimental - methods that worked well were constantly improved, bright ideas that failed were abandoned. Thus were laid the foundations of much that happens today in colleges and

universities all over Britain.



The story of ten extraordinary years

Brian Harrigan, who was on Sheffield’s first-ever journalism course in 1969 (the year before I joined the staff) says his latest boo(Wide-eyed and Legless – memoirs of a music-biz journalist) tells of the most extraordinary ten years of his life.


From college, Brian  got a job on the Burton Daily Mail, but by 1974 he’d landed his dream job on Melody Maker.  His rollicking story involves, among others, Thin Lizzy,  Dire Straits, Black Sabbath, the Sex Pistols, the Bay City Rollers, Genesis and Lindisfarne, and describes how he was fished out of a swimming pool in the south of Franceby Ozzy Osbourne. Quite a tale!


Wide-eyed and Legless is available from Amazon in various formats.



Go to Gallery Seven

  to read the


catch-up letters

of the

1974/5 students






UPDATE  2022


             HONOURS LIST


Simon Bradshaw, a Richmond student in 1979,  has been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the community . . . his reward for keeping the Henley Standard alive against the odds right through the pandemic lockdowns.


He has been editor of the Standard for 14 years, and his award in the New Year Honours list came as a complete surprise. 

Since his far-off college days, Simon has held top posts with Bradford Telegraph and Argus, Edinburgh Evening News, Newcastle Chronicle, the Brighton Argus and the Scottish Daily Record. 


UPDATE 2020 

            Grim memories of the

              Yorkshire Ripper . . .

News of the death in hospital of the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’ brought back vivid college memories. Female students, frightened to make their way home alone after lectures, used to congregate in the entrance hall and make sure that  they left the building in groups of three or four.


 Once, on one of our visits to Sheffield’s police

headquarters, the copper who was showing us round casually pointed to another officer and said ‘There’s the chap who arrested the Ripper’.  Wow! All the girls could happily have hugged him!

 Don't miss the

 letter pages . . .


Letters from ex students have spilled over into a 'More

Letters' page . . . and each new contribution adds a fascinating - often surprising - cameo picture

of a life devoted to journalism.









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