The Forester newspaper has been serving the people of the Forest of Dean since 1874.
THE Forester began life as The Dean Forest Guardian in 1874. It was launched by Thomas Bright, who started life as an apprentice printer for Charles Cooper Hough in Coleford. The Dean Forest Guardian was originally based in Coleford. When Thomas Bright died, his son Arthur succeeded him as editor.
The Guardian was not the Forest of Dean’s first newspaper, however. A paper called The Forester was first launched in 1860, but it was not a success and collapsed in 1866. It was taken over by The Citizen and ran until the 1880s.
In 1862 two rival papers were also launched, The Cinderford Journal & Forest of Dean Herald, and The Coleford Times.
Two more Forest newspapers emerged around the turn of the 20th Century. The Dean Forest Mercury was launched in the Cinderford area in 1891, with the Lydney Observer hitting the streets in 1915. Both were owned by Liberal MP Sir Harry Webb.
In 1918, Sir Harry was defeated at the General Election, giving the Forest its first Labour MP, James Wignall. Webb subsequently sold his interest in his politically provocative papers to his manager Colonel Grimwade of Cheltenham.
Grimwade and Arthur Bright went into partnership in 1929 and formed The Forest of Dean Newspapers Ltd. Their papers, for the first time, became politically neutral.
Harold Bright succeeded his father Arthur in running the business and, when Grimwade died in 1955, Vernon Jones and Cyril Hart were appointed directors. For the first time, all shares in the paper were owned by Foresters.
In 1974 John Bright, his sister Mary Payne and Mrs Grace Bright became company directors. The paper was subsequently sold to Northcliffe, before recently being acquired by Sir Ray Tindle.