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Star of the East celebrates its 125th birthday

An evening newspaper which began life 125 years ago today as the ‘Star of the East’ is staging a series of events to celebrate the landmark anniversary.

Now known as the Evening Star, the Ipswich-based title first went on sale on 17 February 1885 for the princely sum of one ha’penny.

Events planned to mark today’s milestone include a special radio broadcast from the Star’s headquarters and the cutting of a huge birthday cake in its newsroom.

The paper has also produced an eight-page sponsored supplement, pictured below, to be given away free to readers.

Today’s celebrations mark the start of a number of events being held throughout the summer from a gala lunch to street parties designed to celebrate the Star’s role in the community.

Throughout the rest of this week there will be a series of features charting the history of the title, from its coverage of Ipswich Town Football Club and its many campaigns through to the national events that have rocked the town.

Star editor Nigel Pickover said: “I am very proud to be editor of this award-winning paper in its 125th year.

“The Star has always been a big part of the community in Ipswich and throughout this year we plan to make the town part of our celebrations.”

In a blog post today Nigel added: “This is the very special story of Suffolk’s Evening Star – as “alive and kicking” in 2010 as it was when it launched in Victorian times.

“We’ve moved from a world of text only on our first day, as The Star of the East on February 17, 1885, to the ability to use black and white photographs in the early 20th century and on to full colour in the last years of the 20th century.

“The Star’s story is that of a newspaper capturing the spirit of journalism’s new age – in dynamic, multimedia, ways. It’s the tale of a title which has re-engineered the way it thinks and it looks – setting it on course for a successful future.

“The Evening Star – a real Star of the East!”

BBC Radio Suffolk’s Mark Murphy is broadcasting his breakfast show this morning live from the Star’s offices in Lower Brook Street, Ipswich.

Said Mark: “I was born in Ipswich so have always had the Star and feel quite an affinity with it. When I found out it was 125 my immediate reaction was that we must go and help celebrate.”

Prime Minister Gordon Brown sent the paper a birthday message, saying local newspapers are “vitally important for the local community, bringing people together and running campaigns.”

And not to be outdone, Tory leader David Cameron added: “I want to wish the Evening Star a very happy 125th birthday. I know what passion you have for Ipswich, Felixstowe and the surrounding area.”

  • Nigel Pickover’s birthday message to Evening Star readers can be read in full here.

  • The first-ever edition of the then ‘Star of the East’ published on 17 February 1885
  • Comments

    Suffolk Cynic (17/02/2010 13:59:48)
    Once the last crumb of cake has been cleared away and even the editor tires of his over-inflated pieces of self-praise, doubtless the owners of the paper will try to explain why sales have plunged – even in comparison to the market average.
    It couldn’t possibly be due to this type of smug self satisfied reporting – could it?