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Not a bad read for a halfpenny

Readers of the Gloucester Citizen have been treated to a special supplement in celebration of the paper’s 125th birthday.

The special pull-out guide features an insight into the history of the newspaper, including fascinating information on what was contained in the earliest issues.

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Throughout the April of 1876 fly posters were seen all over Gloucester bearing the single word “Citizen”.

No doubt their appearance puzzled local people and became a topic of conversation. Was it something to do with a political movement? Did it herald an uprising against the monarchy? Could revolution be in the air?

All became clear on May 1 of that year when issue number one of “The Citizen – An evening Newspaper” hit the streets.

Gloucester had never had its own daily newspaper before and local people swooped on the novelty with enthusiasm. All but a few of the 1,000 copies printed were sold.

So what did those first readers of the new four-page broadsheet discover? In common with national dailies of the time, The Citizen’s front page was entirely taken up with adverts. To present day eyes it seems that advertisers in those days never used one word when three or four would do.

“Edwiun Yeuell. Boot and shoe merchant of 5, Northgate Street” described his wares as: “Suitable for the present season and at such prices as must defy competition. Those who wish the best value for ready money will do well to inspect Edwin Yeuell” stock before deciding elsewhere, as by doing a cash business only enables him to sell much cheaper than those who give credit. All goods marked in plain figures. One single pair at nearly the wholesale price. A trial is respectfully solicited.”

Another advertiser was “Mr G. Clifford, Tenor singer educated in the Royal Academy of Music under Signor Crivelli, who begs to acquaint the inhabitants and musical Dilettanti of Gloucester that it is his intention to give lessons in Italian and English singing to the pianoforte.”

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