Little Bobby Cocksworth


From The Times, July 1994

Robert Cocksworth, journalist, died of cancer in London on July 6, aged 49. He was born in Kingston-upon-Hull on February 2, 1945.

The clarion call used to ring out in the clubs of Fleet Street: “Step forward, landlord, to receive a signal honour!” Bob Cocksworth was buying a round.

Bow-tied, impeccably dressed, airily flamboyant, the regional editor of the Daily Express made nonsense of the popular image of Grub Street.

Yet his rich and flowery manner concealed a dedicated professionalism and abiding love of newspapers. He had a passion for the vagaries of the English language in equal measure.

Those sub-editors who failed to meet his exacting standards were described as “hobbledehoys” and “ne’er-do-wells; or, if he was particularly displeased, “krill”. A pretty girl was summed up as “Ah, tinsel of the Universe”.

Cocksworth, the son of a former chief constable of Hull, entered journalism as a cub reporter on the Hull Daily Mail, moving on to the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette as a sub-editor. In 1969 he joined the Daily Express Manchester office where he became the newspaper’s youngest northern sub-editor.

Cocksworth left newspapers in the mid-1970s to join his family’s office equipment business and was appointed chairman of Stockton-on-Tees Round Table in 1984-85.

But his passion for journalism took him back to the Daily Express, moving to London in 1987 where he rapidly rose to become chief sub editor, then deputy night editor before his appointment as regional editor.

Robert Cocksworth is survived by his wife, Linda, and two sons.