Wiltshire Times celebrates 150 years

The Wiltshire Times celebrated its 150th birthday this week by putting editor Toby Granville in the stocks, writes Dominic Ponsford.

Festivities kicked off on Saturday at the Trowbridge Lions annual May Fair, when readers (and staff) had the chance to throw wet sponges at Granville to raise money for a charity fund being set up by the paper.

Staff hope to raise £20,000, which will be invested to create the Wiltshire Times 150 fund.

This will provide regular grants to community groups.

The newspaper was founded by printer Benjamin Lansdown and remained in his family until great grandson Michael, the fifth Lansdown to be editor and the fourth generation of the family to work on the paper, retired in 1981. It is now owned by Newsquest and has an ABC circulation of 19,393.

The eight-page first edition, then a monthly penny publication called the Trowbridge Advertiser, was published on 6 May 1854.

It was reproduced in full inside an anniversary supplement this week.

Birthday celebrations organised by the paper include a staff party and a charity walk. Local brewery Wadworth’s has been persuaded to create an anniversary beer to mark the occasion.

A book featuring pictures from the paper’s photographic archives, which date back to the employment of the first staff photographer in 1932, will be published later this year.

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