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Old Star stands the test of time

One of the oldest surviving ancestors of today’s familiar Ipswich Evening Star has been discovered in Felixtowe – lining an old suitcase full of photographs.

Priced at just one halfpenny, the 675th edition of The Star of the East, dated May 17, 1887, was discovered by a pensioner clearing out his shed.

It was printed in Carr Street, Ipswich, before the press moved to its new home at Lower Brook Street and could only have been in its third year of circulation.

The issue has survived the test of time well. Although the white paper has yellowed and mould is beginning to set in, the no-nonsense text can still be read by those with good eyesight.

And the most striking thing about the antique is the lack of photographs. A map of Ipswich town centre and the masthead logo are the only illustrations in the four-page paper.

There are also no real headlines, the columns are vertically divided into different stories with just the different place names on the front cover.

Herbert Lankester, (81), who found the old paper, has been reading the Star for as long as he can remember and wondered why Felixstowe was not mentioned in the list of areas covered.

The answer is simple – when this edition was printed the resort of Felixstowe was not even invented. Only a small cliff top village existed and a pier was just a pipe dream until the Empress of Germany visited in 1891 and aroused some interest in the area.

He said: “When I saw the photographs I realised the paper must have been quite old so I took a closer look. It’s amusing how the stories are written just how it is with nothing fancy.”

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