The Colchester and District Talking Newspaper was the first in England to be started, prior to that four Talking Newspapers had been started in Wales.
In 1972 after a member of staff at the University of Essex, Phil Brew, who had been running a reading service within the University for blind students for a year or two, wondered if there was any way the service could help local visually handicapped people.
He approached Dorothy Hallett, then Secretary of Colchester Blind Society and was told about the Talking Newspaper idea and that King Coels Kitten's (a Colchester based charity fundraising group) had earlier expressed an interest in creating a Talking Newspaper in Colchester.
Contact was made with King Coel's Kittens who raised £1200 to buy the Telex 300 compact cassette multiple high speed copying equipment which were imported from the States. The Students Union at the University paid for an initial batch of cassette tape recorders. The studio was loaned free by the Language Centre, which had recently had a new recording studio built to a higher standard, so the one CDTN used was more or less redundant.
Volunteers from the University and the local community joined together to create the first Colchester Talking Newspaper on cassette tape on 20 JULY 1973.
From that time, over 500 similar organisations were created throughout the United Kingdom, including the national service, known as the Talking Newspaper Association of the United Kingdom (TNAUK).