Gazette to mark anniversary with souvenir gifts

The West Sussex Gazette is marking its 150th anniversary next month with a series of events and “birthday gifts” to readers.

The gifts include a facsimile copy of the first ever West Sussex Gazette, published on 1 June, 1853, when it was called Mitchell’s Monthly Advertiser, and a 24-page glossy magazine celebrating the paper’s history.

Running weekly in the Gazette is a page called Peeps into the Past, looking back at life in West Sussex over the past 150 years, which has been produced with help from the West Sussex record office.

There is a permanent display about the WSG at Arundel Museum and a blue plaque will be unveiled at the paper’s original office in Arundel on 1 June. The WSG is now based in Chichester and part of Johnston Press.

Also during the celebrations, WSG editor Dorothy Blundell is to do a job swap with local radio presenter John Radford. Blundell is to try her hand at Radford’s breakfast show for local BBC station Southern Counties, while Radford has written and subbed his own page for the souvenir magazine.

Blundell said: “Heritage and history is never appreciated in the present – journalists are always thinking about next week’s paper. I was horrified to learn that at one time bound copies of the WSG were used as a coffee table. They were rescued and are now kept at the county record office. It’s only when we look back that we can see how precious old papers are and how much they tell us about the past and the trivialities of life.”

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