Westmorland Gazette celebrates 200 years of 'sensational, serious and sometimes silly' stories with museum exhibition

Newsquest-owned Westmorland Gazette is celebrating its 200th anniversary with a dedicated museum exhibition.

The weekly newspaper has covered the Lake District and Cumbria area since 23 May 1818, and has a current print circulation of around 15,000 with more than 100,000 readers in total across print and online.

To mark the bicentenary, the Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry is dedicating an exhibition to the newspaper called From Wordsworth to the Web: 200 Years of the Westmorland Gazette.

Editor Andrew Thomas said: “2018 promises to be a momentous and memorable year for The Westmorland Gazette.

“We have a range of special publications and events planned, both in-paper and online, to celebrate the newspaper’s important role in the local community over the past two centuries.

“One of the most important of these is the exhibition at the Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry, which reveals the history of the newspaper and how it has reported the news over the years.”

The museum exhibition will include an original copy of the newspaper from 1818, pictures from Gazette photographers past and present, and items from the Gazette’s collection including printing plates and a printing press, like the one pictured at the former printing shop in Kendal.

It also reveals the influence poet William Wordsworth had over shaping the paper in its early years.

Rachel Roberts, curator of the Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry, said: “The Westmorland Gazette is as much a way of life in south Cumbria as the fells and the lakes.

“It’s been a staple in the homes of residents for two centuries delivering the sensational, serious and sometimes silly stories.

“In an era of digital news, this exhibition celebrates printed prose and also how the Gazette has adapted for the World Wide Web.”

The exhibition will open tomorrow and be on display until 20 December.

A beer called the “Wezzy Gezzy” is also available in pubs across Kendal to celebrate the landmark anniversary.

The Westmorland Gazette was recently shortlisted for weekly newspaper of the year (circulation above 15,000 copies) at the Regional Press Awards.

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