Majors Newsagents & Skegness News Printing Business

Building Up A Printing Business

It was shortly after the turn of the century — March 1909 to be exact — when the first copy of the Skegness News rolled from the press. Its founder, Mr Charles Henry Major, was no newcomer to the profession having been operating a printing works in Prince George Street for the previous 12 years.

When family came to Skegness in 1877, Charles Henry was only one year old. His father — a  joiner and builder — bought two plots of land in Lumley Road from the Earl of Scarbrough and built two dwellings, Nos 39 and 41. 39 was sold shortly after it was built the family remaining in the other, running it as a guest house during the summer months until just before the First World War.

But the building trade held no attraction for Mr Major junior, who turned his interests towards journalism, apprentice to Mr John Avery, publisher of the Skegness Herald — and by the time his father died in 1895, he was manager of the Heralds Printing Company.

Two years later Charles Henry Major set up his own printing business in the back garden of his Lumley Road premises, complementing this with a stationer’s and shop later.

After founding the Skegness News in 1909, Mr Major turned his attention towards the Skegness Herald, acquiring that publication in 1915 and ran both  couple of years before closing down the Herald towards the end of the First World War leaving the News as the only paper to be printed in Skegness.

By now his own son Mr F. W. Major was taking an active pan in the business and as a young man was a familiar figure, covering all aspects of the town’s development in the twenties and thirties, became involved in the activities of almost every local organization receiving the many sporting and entertainment events in the town. Also a keen sailor, his practical experience commenced in 1919 with a small craft which he sailed from Gibraltar Point until the outbreak of the Second World War. In the early forties he joined the Navy — leaving the editorship of the News to his brother, Mr Eric Major — serving in one branch or another of the minesweeping service throughout the duration of the 1939-45 conflict.

Leaving the Navy in 1946 a Lieutenant Commander, F S W Major again returned to the editorship at the Skegness News until a serious illness curtailed his activities in 1958. The News continued in tabloid form for a further six years eventually closing in 1964. Although unable to work, Mr Stanly Major never let the salt drain from his veins. He had been actively connected owed with the Skegness Lifeboat Station for over fifty years and was serving as Chairman of the local branch when he died in1974. But the name of ‘Major’ is still well known in Skegness leaving its mark in the form of a printing works booksellers and stationers, run by Mr Basil Major, at Lumley Road.

3rd October 1985

Majors Newsagent Closes Down

Town loses link with the past!

THE closure of Major’s, Lumley Road, means that one more link with the past has disappeared from Skegness. Mr Basil Major has retired from the well-known newsagents and stationers and has closed the doors of the shop for the last time.

majors

There can be few businesses boasting a longer association with Skegness than Major’s. Almost a hundred years ago – March 1909 – Mr Charles Henry Major moved his printing business from Prince George Street to Lumley Road, and it was from his presses at the new location that the first copy of the ‘Skegness News’ was introduced into the town.

The newspaper is now published by Mortons of Horncastle but its origins stemmed from the Major family and our edition of ‘the News’ dated October 3, 1985, tells an interesting story of the growth of the business.

Mr Charles Henry Major’s family came to Skegness in 1877 when he was only two years old. His father, a joiner and builder, bought two plots of land in Lumley Road, from the Earl of Scarbrough. He built two dwellings – Nos 39 and 41. The former was sold shortly after being built, but No 41 was retained by the family who ran it as a guest house during the summer months until just before the First World War.

However, the building trade held no attraction for Mr Major junior, who turned his interests towards journalism. He became apprenticed to Mr John Avery, then publisher of the Skegness Herald, and by the time his father died in 1895, he was manager of the Herald Printing Company.

Two years later, Charles Henry Major set up his own printing business in the back garden of the Lumley Road premises, complementing this with a stationer’s and newsagent’s shop a few years later.

After founding the ‘Skegness News’ in 1909, Mr Major turned his attention to the ‘Skegness Herald’, acquiring the publication in 1915. He ran both papers for a couple of years before closing down the ‘Herald’ towards the end of the First World War, leaving the ‘Skegness News’ as the only newspaper to be printed in the town.

By this time, his own son, Mr F.S.W. Major was taking an active part in the business and as a young man, was a familiar figure, covering all aspects of the town’s development in the 1920s and 1930s. He became involved in the activities of almost every local organisation, reviewing the many sporting and entertainment events in the town.

Also a keen sailor, his practical experience commenced in 1919 with a small craft which he would sail from Gibraltar Point until the outbreak of the Second World War. In the early 1940s, Mr Major joined the navy, serving in the minesweeping service throughout the 1939-1945 conflict and leaving the editorship of ‘the News’ in the hands of his brother, Mr Eric Major.

In 1946, he left the Navy as a Lt Commander and returned to the editor’s chair at the `Skegness News’ until a serious illness in 1958 curtailed his activities. The ‘News’ continued in tabloid form for a further six years, until it was closed down in 1964.

Mr Major’s interest in the Lifeboat Station, spanning 50 years, continued and at the time of his death in 1974, he was chairman of the local branch.

However, the name of Major’s continued to make its mark in the town as printers, booksellers and stationers, with Mr Basil Major at the helm and closure of the shop brings to an end almost one hundred years’ service to the people of Skegness.

Mortons re-introduced the ‘Skegness News’ in 1985 and the company’s Publishing Director, Terry Clarke says: “We are grateful to Mr Basil Major for the help and support he gave to us when we brought the newspaper back into the town, and for his support as a newsagent for the past 12 years. We wish him well for the future.”

21st January 1998

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