The Matlock Mercury
(or the Matlock Mercury & West Derbyshire News
, to give it its full title) is a weekly tabloid newspaper sold in the town of Matlock
on the edge of the Peak District National Park, as well as the towns of Bakewell and Wirksworth and villages in the Derbyshire Dales.
It’s published by G C Brittain & Sons, a Matlock-based sub-division of Wilfred Edmunds Ltd, who publish a number of local titles from their offices in Chesterfield. (The former editorial offices in Matlock closed in 2012.) The ultimate owners are the Johnston Press group.
The Mercury was founded in 1931 as an entertainment guide called Coming Events and took on its present name in 1950. It was subsequently taken over by the Derbyshire Times.
Its biggest claim to fame is probably the seven-year campaign by editor Don Hale to overturn the conviction of Stephen Downing for the murder of Wendy Sewell in 1973. Downing was 17 at the time of the murder, but had a reading age of 11. The conviction was declared unsafe in 2001 and Downing was released, having spent 27 years in prison. Hale was named The Observer‘s Man of the Year for 2001 and Journalist of the Year by Granada Television’s What The Papers Say, as well as being appointed an OBE.
It comes out on Thursdays. There are two associated freesheets: the Peak Courier and the Wirksworth Newsletter. (An earlier freesheet, the Peak Times, closed in 2009.)
- Matlock Mercury
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