(Based on BGJ article "100 Not Out" by Tony Atkins)
Issue 1 of the BGA Newsletter appeared in February 1982. The aim was to provide up to date news in a more timely fashion than the British Go Journal. The contents of Issue 1 included details of the Annual General Meeting to be held at Nottingham and the proposed doubling of subscriptions to four pounds. Toby Manning was President and Terry Stacey, it reported, had won the London Open. For a mere fiver you could get your tournament included as a tear-off strip; this only happened three times (Not the Challenger's in Issue 2, the British Lightning in Isuue 4 and a CLGC Tournament in Issue 5). The other annual tear-off strip was the subscription reminder in the December issue. To increase the timely nature of news two editions (Issue 10 and Issue 19) were amended with a rubber stamp, to announce extra events, after printing.
Opening editor was Francis Roads from Woodford, London, a former BGA President. He continued up until issue 22 in August 1985. Issue 23 was the first edition to be word processed and not typed. It was produced by Richard Granville from Malvern, who had recently stepped down as BGA President. After Issue 28 in August 1986, Richard passed the editorship to Bob Cannard of Tewkesbury who produced editions up to Issue 33, the following June.
From Issue 34 the then BGA President, Norman Tobin of Uxbridge, took over the editorship for 6 issues, until Issue 40 in July 1988 when Steve Draper of Basingstoke relieved Norman of his dual role. Steve experimentally introduced colour with Issue 41 being on bright yellow paper and 42 being on more sombre ochre coloured paper.
Unfortunately during these two periods the editors only published what they were given, without seeking out news, and several tournament results went unpublished. Moreover at the same time the Journal was undergoing publication problems as well. Steve's last was Issue 48 and Issue 49 was produced by Francis Roads, acting as temporary editor.
A new era for the 1990s started with Issue 50 on 1st June 1990. Eddie Smithers of Melton Mowbray took on the editorship. Continually he has tried to improve the visual appearance of the Newsletter by using new word processing packages. Issue 56 saw, for instance, a three line symbol appear on the title line. Issue 57 saw this change to a Go stone and 58 to three Go stones, which continued for a while. Issue 73 in April 1994 used a smaller type face and 74 had a boxed heading, which soon changed from a thick line to a double line. Issue 76 introduced a telephone symbol against phone numbers. From Issue 85 (April 1996) the British Go Association letter head (with a Gothic 'Go') started to appear in various forms. Issues 95 to 97 dropped the Gothic 'Go' temporarily, though Issue 95 had seasonal holly leaves. Landmark issue 100 appeared in October 1998 and Eddie continued to Issue 110.
During his 10 year period the BGA dropped the concept of club membership, so that although more envelopes of newsletters were shipped each issue, they all had the same contents (one of each tournament form, equipment list and newsletter) and all the UK ones had the same postage. By then each A4 sized tournament form was printed free of charge to the tournament organiser as part of the BGA service covered by the tournament levy. Another change in this period was the introduction of the British Go Ejournal in November 1995. Published on alternate months with the newsletter, the Ejournal was created to created even more timely news distribution, not restricted by page constraints and available on email lists, bulletin boards and the web site. Tony Atkins had produced 42 of these by September 2001.
From Issue 111 of the Newsletter in August 2000, Jil Segerman of Manchester (later Brighton) was the editor. She kept the same graphics and standards, but switched from white to an extremely pale yellow paper. The next step in the newsletter production was to provide an email version to those who no longer required the paper version. This was done by Steve Bailey on behalf of the editor. Then from 2010 a downloadable PDF version of the newsletter was made available. Also the online news service was improved with an RSS feed.
The receipt of most news and copy by email has made the job easier than in the early days, but it is never easy, especially with spellings of foreign names and the like. Editors in the past have even got the title line wrong: Issue 20 said February 1985 not April, Issue 38 said 39, and the real 39 said March not May 1988!
Production of the paper version stopped in April 2012 with edition 181, although the distribution of tournament flyers had ceased in 2011. It was replaced by a quarterly email only newsletter that alternates with a news page in the British Go Journal.