A STORY by a former mayor of Stockton has been published.

The book Bold as Brass? by Suzanne Fletcher describes the battle leading up to how the press were allowed to print the proceedings of Parliament – 250 years after the 'Printers Case'.

The man who can be thanked for it is Stockton’s Brass Crosby.

Brass Crosby was born in Stockton-on-Tees in the 18th century, went to London to work, and rose through the ranks in civic life, becoming Lord Mayor of London in 1770. His most important achievement was in allowing the press to accurately print the proceedings of Parliament, but was sent to the Tower of London for his pains.

The book relates what is known of his early life in Stockton and his family tree, and also the stories of his three successive wives.

Then there is the route taken to become Mayor, from being a councillor, to Alderman, through various other offices held and guilds he belonged to, as well as Mayor.

He brought about a number of reforms, including the ending of the notorious press gangs in the City of London that was copied elsewhere.

While he was Mayor, it was a tumultuous time politically with an unpopular government, and Parliament forbade the press from printing what was said in Parliament.

There were numerous rebellions against this and a chapter on “what happened in the bedroom” (while Crosby was laid up in bed with his gout) is the beginning of the undemocratic rule being overturned.

Parliament was angry, and after events there he was sentenced to the Tower of London. After his release, the press had the freedom to print an actual account of speeches given in Parliament.

Suzanne says this action by Brass Crosby deserves to have wider recognition; it was a fundamental change in our democracy. Whether it led to the saying 'Bold as Brass' is the final chapter for you to think about.