The Journal - the way it was

Liam McCandless, long-time employee of the Derry Journal, pictured with a group of local schoolchildren in the 1950s.
Liam McCandless, long-time employee of the Derry Journal, pictured with a group of local schoolchildren in the 1950s.

Here’s a picture from the old Journal offices in Shipquay Street with Liam McCandless showing a group of local children around a linotype machine, which used hot lead to create lines of type for the paper.

And, by coincidence, who comes to the window of the new offices on Duncreggan Road yesterday - the well-known entertainer Noel McBride, a long-time employee of the Derry Journal, and a former linotype operator himself. He came in for the look and immediately identified the machine as a “split new Elektron”. It’s a machine that marked the end of an era that lasted about eighty years. The Journal moved to phototypesetting in 1981.

Noel was rushing off but had time to show a Journal war wound - a scar on his wrist where it got crushed and burnt when he was cleaning a linotype machine.

“I hadn’t switched it off, and by a sheer fluke the brush dropped out of my hand and hit a lever,” he said.

Liam McCandless later headed up the Journal advertising department - one of a number of linotype operators who moved on to other jobs at the paper.