New Star rising at Ruskin House as national paper moves in

Star rising: the People’s daily, now published in Croydon

While the two local newspapers have long ago abandoned having a proper, physical presence in the borough, Croydon is now the home of a national newspaper, one which Labour politician Tony Benn once described as “the best national newspaper in Britain”.

The Morning Star has moved from offices in Hackney to Ruskin House on Coombe Road.

The move was in part precipitated by new, remote-working methods adopted during the covid-19 lockdown, and has also been slowed because of the pandemic, with 30-odd staff at yet to make take the full step into south London and their new home.

Ruskin House has a century-long association with the progressive movements in British politics.

The Georgian townhouse close to Park Lane had formerly been the home of an Italian vice-consul and a private prep school. It was purchased in 1966 and officially opened in 1967 by the then Labour Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, and today is the headquarters of the Communist Party of Britain and Croydon’s Trade Union and Co-operative organisations.

Geraint Davies, the MP for Croydon Central until 2005, had his offices in the building, and the Croydon Labour Party remains among its regular users for meetings, talks and rallies, though, controversially, one local Labour official decided unilaterally in 2017 to move its staff out of the building.

The Morning Star is taking up two rooms on the first floor of Ruskin House, which has had new fibre broadband fitted for the purpose, and where the newspaper says will be furnished with, among other items, the desk of Harry Pollitt, the leader of the Communist Party of Great Britain for much of the 20th Century.

“With the option of home working now available to all our staff, we are confident that the smaller office space will help put the paper on a more stable financial footing without compromising the quality of our journalism,” the newspaper said when announcing its move in July.

“You can rest assured that we will, as always, be alongside you in the struggle for peace and socialism, reporting the news the capitalist papers decline to print.”

The move could offer the Morning Star the scoops on many Croydon Labour selection decisions, with many meetings of the borough’s three constituency Labour parties still being held in the ground-floor Nelson Mandela Room. The use of the Ruskin House bar and pool table is not expected to be affected.

In a recent speech given by the newspaper’s editor, Ben Chacko, explained the circumstances behind the move, “The pandemic has meant big changes at the Morning Star, the long-term consequences of which are not all yet clear…

“The lockdown precipitated a crisis for us, too: a collapse in shop sales and an end to the Labour movement conferences, marches and meetings that provide our advertising revenue and many additional sales…

“We were also forced into huge and rushed changes to the production process. A couple of weeks’ notice before the national lockdown was used to consult with our former production editor and devise a means of shutting down the newsroom and producing the paper with all staff working from home.

Headline news: Morning Star Editor Ben Chacko has a new office in Croydon

“This required building remote server access and giving staff a crash course in new communications technology to communicate in real-time as we would in the office.

“There were multiple hiccups and near-disasters in the early days of this process, but over time we overcame them, and the Morning Star is still being largely produced remotely.

“This combined with the end of our lease of William Rust House, so the paper has moved its offices to smaller premises in Ruskin House, Croydon. These offices are not yet ready for staff to work from, but even when they are, they are too small to accommodate the 30-odd employees who used to work from William Rust House.

“A more flexible working model will apply in future, with the office available for staff who need to use it but most work on most days being based at home.”

  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, or want to publicise your residents’ association or business, or if you have a local event to promote, please email us with full details at
  • Inside Croydon is a member of the Independent Community News Network
  • Inside Croydon works together with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, as well as BBC London News and ITV London
  • ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS: Croydon was named the country’s rottenest borough in 2020 in the annual round-up of civic cock-ups in Private Eye magazine – the fourth successive year that Inside Croydon has been the source for such award-winning nominations
  • Inside Croydon: 3million page views in 2020. Seen by 1.4million unique visitors

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in Business, Local media and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to New Star rising at Ruskin House as national paper moves in

  1. David White says:

    I believe Ruskin House is even older than Georgian, having been built in 1713 in the reign of Queen Anne.

  2. Geraint Davies MP says:

    Glad to hear Ruskin House is now also the home of a national newspaper and still a centre of progressive thinking. Look forward to paying a visit in the future. I had my children’s parties there as well as my 40th not to mention the constituency Labour parties!

  3. Oh this is a joy – the Morning Star lives! I was surprised, delighted and comforted to read this as I thought this the paper had just faded away, like 1970s unionism. I remember going to Ruskin House to hear Jeremy Corbyn address the Croydon TUC when he was campaigning to become leader – it was like stepping back in time. And not just because the building is ancient. I hope the Star will beef up their coverage of how the Labour Party has failed London’s most populous borough. But I’m not holding my breath and I also fear, perhaps unreasonably, that this comment will disappear into the ether.

Leave a Reply