Sir Bernard Ingham

Journalist and former civil servant who was Chief Press Secretary to Margaret Thatcher throughout her time as Prime Minister, Sir Bernard Ingham, attended Bradford Technical College in the early 1950s as part of his journalism training.

Sir Bernard Ingham“By the early 1950s, I had progressed in my postgrammar school education through 3 technical colleges - Todmorden, Halifax and Bradford. I attended Bradford on day release as part of the studies required to qualify for the Certificate of Training for Junior Journalists, a scheme that was taken rather seriously in early post-war Britain.

I travelled over from Halifax - where I was in The Yorkshire Post’s district office - via Queensbury with one or two colleagues taking the same course with young journalists from other parts of the old West Riding. I took English and Constitutional Law and still have my textbook - Wade and Phillips’ Constitutional Law - on my shelves.

In English classes we were somewhat argumentative because we were dealing with the art of writing and expression. I remember sorely trying our tutor about the News of the World. He had a very poor view of such a newspaper which then looked much duller than it does today but reported the more salacious court cases exhaustively. My point was not that this was what journalism should be about but that, whatever we might think of its concept of news, it certainly knew how to report matters accurately and with an air of authority. I am not sure I impressed our tutor but I did eventually get my Certificate.”

For 18 years Sir Bernard worked successively on the Hebden Bridge Times, the Yorkshire Evening Post, the Yorkshire Post and the Guardian before becoming a temporary civil servant in 1967, intending to return to Fleet Street after 2 years. It took him 24 years to get back. In between he was Press Secretary in the National Board for Prices and Incomes and, in the Departments of Employment and Energy, to Barbara Castle, Robert Carr and Maurice Macmillan (Employment) and Lord Carrington, Eric Varley and Tony Benn (Energy). He was Head of the Department of Energy’s Energy Conservation Policy Division for 2 years until 1979.

Sir Bernard became Chief Press Secretary to Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher from 1979 until she resigned in 1990. In his last 2 years with Mrs Thatcher, he was also Head of the Government Information Service. He was knighted on Mrs Thatcher’s resignation and his retirement in 1990. Since then he has been a newspaper columnist, broadcaster, author, lecturer, consultant and businessman. He has written 6 books: Kill the Messenger (1991), Yorkshire Millennium (1999), Yorkshire Villages and Yorkshire Castles (both 2001), The Wages of Spin (2003) and Yorkshire Greats (2005).

Photograph supplied by Sir Bernard Ingham