Tindle Newspapers Ltd is a major publisher of regional and local newspapers, with over 200 titles published across southern England and Wales and including such notable titles as the South London Press, the Plymouth-based Sunday Independent and the Cambrian News. It’s a family-owned company still headed by its founder, Sir Ray Tindle.
Ray Tindle bought his first newspaper, the Tooting & Balham Gazette, with his £300 demob money after the Second World War, in which he had fought in the Far East as a captain in the Devonshire Regiment. Since then he’s steadily built up a portfolio of local titles.
In 1967 he took over Farnham Castle Newspapers and its Herald series of newspapers for East Hampshire, south-western Surrey and north-western West Sussex. Farnham Castle Newspapers Holdings Ltd subsequently became the present-day Tindle Newspapers Ltd in 1983.
Sir Ray (he was knighted in 1994 for services to the newspaper industry) has cited his acquisition of the Tenby Observer in 1978 as typifying his attitude towards local newspapers. A major pioneer of press freedom earlier in its history, it had tried to rebrand itself as the West Wales Observer and expand its circulation beyond the Tenby area, but had instead gone out of business; Tindle bought the paper, reverted to the old name and insisted that the focus be on local Tenby news. As a result, circulation has risen by more than 100 per cent.
Another major expansion occurred in 1986, when the local weekly titles of West of England Newspapers – including several titles across Devon and Cornwall – came under the Tindle wing as Devon and Cornwall Newspapers Ltd. The West of England group’s managing director, Brian Doel, became an executive director on the Tindle board and remains one to date.
Sir Ray courted controversy in 2003 when he instructed his newspapers’ editors not to publish anti-war content once the decision had been taken to go to war in Iraq. The NUJ condemned the instruction as censorship. At least some of the editors affected regarded it as Sir Ray’s prerogative to give overall proprietorial direction, and the editorial manager of the Totnes Times, Gina Coles, published a front-page editorial announcing – and welcoming – the decision, saying that with the declaration of war, the pro-and-anti-war debate was won and lost and the agenda had moved on.
Tindle Newspapers has been a notable exception in the general trend of newspaper groups closing titles. On the contrary, it has launched several new titles in the current recession. The group attributes this to the fact that it is not beholden to shareholders and therefore not driven by dividends.
In May 2012, Sir Ray Tindle increased his holding in rival publisher Johnston Press to 8 per cent. He was quoted as saying that a complete takeover would be “wonderful, but not possible”.
- Abergavenny Chronicle Ltd
- Brecon & Radnor Express Ltd
- Cambrian News Ltd
- Glamorgan GEM Ltd
- Monmouthshire Beacon Co Ltd
- Tenby Observer Ltd
England: West Midlands
- The Ross Gazette
England: East of England
- Yellow Advertiser
England: South West
- Cornish and Devon Post Ltd
- Crediton Country Courier Ltd
- Devon & Cornwall Newspapers Ltd
- Devon, Dorset and Somerset Series of Newspapers Ltd
- Forest of Dean and Wye Valley Review Ltd
- Midsomer Norton and Radstock Journal Ltd
England: South East
- Biggin Hill News Limited
- Faringdon Newspapers Ltd
- Farnham Castle Newspapers Ltd
- Hampshire Voice
- South London Press
- Tindle Newspapers Ltd
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