‘Witness’ gets bust of 1930s editor

2009-01-15 00:00

The grand-daughter of a former editor of The Witness yesterday handed over a bust of her grandfather, Sidney Barnett Potter, to the current editor, John Conyngham.

Potter served as editor of the then Natal Witness between 1931 and 1935.

Potter’s grand-daughter, Penny Stanford of Byrne Valley, said the bust by Doreen Shimwell was commissioned by her grandmother, Ursula.

Stanford said she remembers that Potter was “not a children person”.

“I remember that when going to visit him as a child, when the news came on, if you opened your mouth, you were dead.”

Potter came to South Africa from England for health reasons following gas damage to his lungs in World War 1.

“His doctor told him that my grandmother would be a young widow if they did not move to a drier climate.”

Passionate about aviation following his stint in the Royal Flying Corps, the Potters later flew from South Africa to the UK in their light aircraft accompanied by their young children, an adventurous journey that Stanford’s mother, Judith, remembered with startling clarity.

The flight was detailed in a book called I’ll Fly No More by Ursula Potter, who was the navigator.

According to Simon Haw’s book, Bearing Witness, which details the history of the Witness newspaper, Potter was renowned for his “incisive clarity” when writing on financial matters.

Politically astute, he was also acclaimed as the “best-read political writer of his day”. Haw writes that “seldom before in its long history had the paper commanded such respect nationally as it did under the editorship of Sidney Barnett Potter”.

Potter left The Witness to take up a position at the Star. He died at Umhlanga in 1971.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.