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Mercury celebrates in style

The Teesdale Mercury in County Durham has marked its 150th anniversary in style, with a host of celebrations.

Staff at the paper dressed in period costume in honour of the milestone, and enjoyed a party with a special ‘front page’ cake.

A commemorative glossy magazine was also produced for the birthday edition of the title, which looked back on the history of the paper and the town that it serves – and also looked to the future, predicting how things may have changed in another 150 years time.

And a reproduction of the Mercury’s first ever issue – which was then called the Teesdale Advertiser and ran to just four pages – was also given away with the birthday edition.

Mercury editor Adrian Braddy said: “The Teesdale Mercury is proud to have been part of the community of Teesdale for 150 years. Here’s to the next 150.

“Considering our limited resources, everybody did a fantastic job of helping to mark the anniversary. It was a real team effort and the months of work paid off in the end.”

The paper also received well wishes from a number of well-known figures, including Tony Blair.

He wrote: “The Mercury is a wonderful example of a community newspaper that has served its readers well for a century and a half, and I’m sure it will continue to do so for many years to come.”

The Teesdale Mercury began life as a monthly title in 1854, largely dominated by adverts, although there was a small amount of local news, headed ‘Local Record’, which, in the first edition, included a report of a highway robbery and a manslaughter, which resulted from an argument about manure.

It became a weekly publication a year later, helped by the abolition of stamp duty on newspapers, and at the same time it changed its name from the Teesdale Advertiser to the Teesdale Mercury.

In the early days stories appeared on the page in the order that they arrived in the newsroom – production methods meant it was impossible to place the biggest stories at the top of the page – so many of the most dramatic stories were hidden at the bottom, beneath reports of Women’s Institute meetings.

  • The independent Teesdale Mercury now sells 7,000 copies a week in rural County Durham and North Yorkshire, and is owned by Lord Barnard.

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