THE NORTH STAFFORD NEWSLETTER

In the early 1980's when the North Staffordshire Railway Company (1978) Limited was just coming to terms with having converted from a Railway Society, the task of editing and producing "The Knotty" magazine was an onerous one. There was rarely sufficient material available to fill the pages and chasing departmental heads was a perpetual task for the editor. Each department had more than enough work to occupy its sparse resources so it was little wonder that the people in charge were reluctant to spend time trying to remember and write down what they had achieved over the previous weeks. The outcome was that the editor finished up more-or-less writing the magazine personally and then invariably took the criticism when the edition was late in distribution - another task that usually befell the editor.

Such was the length of production time that when a magazine did appear, the news was hopelessly out of date. It has to be remembered that there were no computers with word processors, no spell checkers, no proportional spacing and no scanners or printers. Equipment comprised a typewriter with which the editor had to transcribe hand written copy (often illegible), a bottle of Tippex to correct the frequent mistakes and, if you were lucky, a Xerox machine with which to play around. There were no digital images just real photographs that were rarely the correct size and which had to be coaxed and begged from others - film and developing/printing was expensive and time consuming. The outcome was inevitable, nobody wanted to edit the magazine which resulted in, quite simply, no magazine at all.

Thus when The Knotty temporarily disappeared from the bookshelves and there were no takers for editorship, an alternative had to be found if communication with members and the outside world was to be maintained and, hopefully, improved.

So it was that The North Stafford was conceived within the confines of the NSRC Commercial Group and Alan Hall agreed to accept the job of routing out and compiling suitable copy. A significant difference between this and The Knotty was the production process, simply A4 photocopies. Alan and myself agreed to finance the operation between us. As for the photocopying - well I had (ahem...) access to a decent machine and so we went to press.

Because there were not the modern facilities mentioned above, the only way we could include pictures was to copy the original photographs on to overhead projector transparencies, cut out the required shape and stick it onto the header page which is why the overall quality is not good. Larger titles were produced by use of Lettraset stick-on characters.

The newsletter was launched and production ran quarterly from August 1985 to May 1989. No edition was ever late and I can't remember receiving any complaints from members, only praise!

The newsletters actually record quite a good deal of detail of just what went on in the early days of the railway and I have felt for some time that the contents should be made available for all to read - if interested. It's quite a long-winded task to transpose each copy onto the web site so please bear with me as I build up the collection.

Feed back on interest and readability etc would be much appreciated.

Sandbach
May 2012

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