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Birthday celebrations at The Sentinel

The Sentinel is celebrating its 150th birthday this week, and to mark the occasion is reproducing its first edition.

Then called The Staffordshire Sentinel And Commercial and General Advertiser, the first issue was printed on Saturday, January 7, 1854, and its eight A2 pages cost 3d (three old pennies).

Sentinel readers are being given the chance to collect an exact replica of the paper as it publishes a few pages each day, giving readers a complete copy by the end of the week.

In stark contrast to today, the front page was mainly adverts and contained no news or photographs.

Property advertisements, carried on the back of the paper, show houses for sale for as little as £60 with land included.

Editor-in-chief Sean Dooley said: “The newspaper provides a fascinating snapshot of life in our area at a time when society was in the middle of massive change.

“It is worth remembering that when The Sentinel was first published, the outbreak of the American Civil War was still seven years away and it was to be more than a decade before the opening of the Suez Canal.

“We had yet to see the invention of most other forms of communication, which meant the newspaper was the prime and almost the only vehicle for international, national and local news.”

The first edition reprint begins a year of celebrations for the newspaper, which will include a series of commemorative reproductions.

Throughout the year it also plans to publish selected pages of The Sentinel’s coverage of major historical events including the sinking of The Titanic, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the assassination of President Kennedy and the 1969 moon landing.

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