Tuesday, May 21, 2024

30th Year of ‘The Hockley Flyer’

Time to raise a glass (or two) to 30 years of publishing The Hockley Flyer by Mark Haddleton

So what is the magazine all about? We will go through its history again as, along with the ever-changing Jewellery Quarter, so does our readership. Many of our new readers were probably not born when the title was launched 30 years ago.

At that time, the Jewellery Quarter area which it is synonymously known was more commonly called Hockley. The Jewellery Quarter is a phrase that The Hockley Flyer coined from the magazine’s early days, as ‘Hockley’ was associated with a rather ‘scruffy area of manufacturing’ – maybe we should have changed the name to The Jewellery Quarter Flyer at the same time?

Launched as what was supposed to be a sheet of paper with small ads around some local news – hence the ‘Flyer’ – along with a play on words with The Hockley Flyover – there was an immediate influx of advertising, so a magazine was born. This meant we had to learn to print – and fast – as it was too much to photo-copy. A second hand printing machine was located, along with a plate-maker and ‘Lettraset’ was used for the headings and a typewriter that could do ‘centering’ and change typefaces (IBM golf-ball) was used, but it was virtually impossible to produce decent-looking artwork or photographs.

After the pages were printed, the magazine was collated, folded, and stapled by hand which was back-breaking! It was taking over two weeks to produce one month’s Flyer and one week to distribute!

The magazine grew fast so a collating machine and a fold-and-staple machine were added to the printing shop. This also meant we could do commercial print such as letterheads and other basic printing but that wasn’t really ‘us’ so we sold all the equipment and decided to go full colour and have it printed out – after a few companies ‘had a go’, we ended up with the excellent printers (W M Print of Walsall) who have printed the magazine for a great many years.

After a period using a vastly expensive typesetting system (which was eventually confined to a skip), ‘Desktop Publishing’ came in, lowering the cost and improving ease of production to a whole new level.

For many years, until we started mailing copies to companies in the Jewellery Quarter, our Editor – Marie – hand-delivered the Hockley Flyer to 2,000 letterboxes, using her famous shopping trolley that even featured on TV’s ‘Inside Out’ but unfortunately the programme producers showed the magazine being printed, but failed to say why Marie was shown walking around the Quarter, pushing a shopping trolley seemingly all day!
If you have ever wondered why the brass engraving on Frederick Street for The Hockley Flyer features a picture of a shopping trolley – now you know!!!

The remainder of the magazines are left at pick-up points each month and for the past few years they have been distributed to pick-up points by our friend and colleague, Colin Giles, Curator at The Pen Museum.

New Era for the Magazine
September 2002 saw the first items from The Hockley Flyer published online, and this archive web site is being transferred into our main site – Aug 03 to Feb 06 are still to be added.

Entire magazines can also be read online – we started this in September 2011 with the latest 45 issues available.

Future Changes
One statistic that online publishing has given us is that magazines without a front page advert are read online by an average of twice as many people as those that do – so expect some changes here.

Also our Heritage Pages are proving very popular and we will be re-launching our website www.jewelleryquarterheritage.net. Here you will be able to read all the items from our Heritage Pages but to read more there is a membership fee of £10 per year which will allow you to read the entire content and discounts of our forthcoming books. Why the charge? – Well it helps pay for the additional photos and books we keep purchasing for research purposes.

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The Hockley Flyer magazine if entirely funded by the advertising, but we could always do with a little bit more funding. The advertising not only pays for the design/printing, but also postage, delivery, all the associated paperwork/accounts, and research for the Heritage section. Our subscribers pay only a bit more then the postage/mailing costs, and the magazines are free - no cover price.

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