40 years of community newspapers in Fitzrovia

Front page of newspaper.

Tower was produced from 1973 until 1979.

We are celebrating the 40th birthday of community news reporting in Fitzrovia by printing extra copies of the newspaper and putting together an archive of every issue since 1973. It was in March 1973 that the Tower community newpaper, forerunner to Fitzrovia News, was first published, making us possibly the longest known community newspaper in the country which is still running. Back then it was just four pages with no photographs.

Today’s Fitzrovia News.

Since then we have grown and grown, with one issue reaching 24 pages last year. We are restricted to eight pages this time because we are using Royal Mail to deliver 7,300 copies to homes and business which involves a weight limitation. And we are also in the process of moving premises.

Residents and businesses in Fitzrovia will receive a copy through the post this coming week (Monday 11 March).

Another 700 copies will be delivered by our team of volunteers to certain places, such as doctor’s surgeries, hospitals, clubs, chippies and pubs, which like more than one copy for their cutomers.

Poster.

The first Fitzrovia Festival was held in 1973.

The first issue of Tower which appeared in March 1973, announced plans for a parade and street festival in Charlotte Street, south of Goodge Street, for 2 June. This was the Fitzrovia Festival which revived the name Fitzrovia which had fallen out of use during the 1960s.

The Festival proved a huge success attracting thousands of revellers and it continued annually for some years. The meeting that started all this took place in the Whitfield Street Play Centre on 5 March and was attended by 50 people. A £475 grant from Camden Council helped fund the event, and Curwen Gallery staged an exhibition for two weeks showing the history of the district.

In March 1975 the Tower reported on the creation of the Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Centre in Tottenham Street, which would eventually become the office of Fitzrovia News in the 1980s.

The last edition of The Tower was published in September 1979. Then in November 1980 the first edition of Fitzrovia Neighbourhood News was produced. Eventually it became just plain Fitzrovia News. In 2009 we started publishing articles on our website and later developed a social media network.

We are building an archive of every issue of Tower and Fitzrovia News. See archive.fitzrovia.org.uk

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