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Scottish weekly celebrates landmark anniversary

A Scottish weekly has celebrated a landmark birthday after turning 125.

The Arbroath Herald, whose first edition was just four pages, three of which were advertising, was launched on 5 February 1885 by John Brodie from Selkirk.

He had previously served an apprenticeship with a firm of printers, stationers and booksellers which also published the Southern Reporter newspaper.

The Arbroath Herald was a free newspaper in the early days and continued to be published gratis until September 1887 when it became an eight-page paper, costing one penny.

Among the Herald’s editors was George S. Shepherd, who started as an assistant, but progressed up to MD and chairman before selling the title to Johnston Press in 1999 for £1.9m.

The Herald carried a four-page pullout to mark the 125th anniversary featuring a history of the paper, its owners and editors along with key stories that it has covered.

Among the highlights was the massive search and rescue of fishing boat ‘Girl Jean’, which was taken for a spin by a 14-year-old schoolboy but ended up in the middle of North Sea.

The culprit John Guthrie achieved notoriety and the story featured heavily in his Herald obituary following his death just over 12 months ago.

The pullout also carried old pictures from the title’s printing plant, two former premises and the reception to mark the 100th birthday.

  • Front page of the first Arbroath Herald, from 5 February, 1885
  • Editor Brian Stormont told HTFP: “The Arbroath Herald is an institution in the town and has been working for the community for 125 years now which is quite breathtaking when you consider it.

    “The Herald is respected by its readers who look to it for everything from the local ladies’ and men’s clubs to big breaking news stories.

    “Times have changed hugely since John Brodie started the newspaper in 1885 but our commitment to providing the town with a weekly publication to be proud of continues.

    “Having started here as a junior reporter more than 20 years ago, I am proud to be the editor of the newspaper on this special anniversary, but as I always tell people, we are merely custodians – the newspaper belongs to the readers.”