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Royal seal of approval for weekly’s 240th birthday

A weekly newspaper has been congratulated by the Prince Charles after celebrating its 240th birthday.

The Hampshire Chronicle first hit the streets in 1772 and it has published an eight-page broadsheet souvenir supplement to celebrate the milestone anniversary.

The pull-out looked back at the history of the paper and its coverage of some of the most momentous occasions in history, including the Declaration of Independence and the sinking of the Titanic.

It also included a message of congratulations from the Prince of Wales, who praised the paper’s Gardens for Schools campaign, which aims to provide outdoor learning spaces for schools across Hampshire.

The first edition of the Hampshire Chronicle from 1772

Prince Charles wrote: “Thanks to the Chronicle’s efforts, I understand two schools are now enjoying ‘dream gardens’. What a wonderful outcome from a local newspaper campaign.”

Editor Keith Redbourn said: “The Chronicle is widely regarded with affection and respect, and it was touching to receive so many messages of congratulations – not least from Prince Charles.

“We were also delighted that so many local businesses were keen to give us some fantastic offers, which enabled us to share our celebrations with the most important people of all – our readers.”

The anniversary issue of the paper offered readers a free pint of real ale, specially-brewed by a Winchester micro-brewery, and a raft of offers.

Keith also spoke about some of the more quirky articles the paper had published in its history, during a special reception of invited guests in Winchester.

Among them was one of the earliest lonely heart ads ever to appear in a newspaper – in November 1774 – where a Mr William Merrett, “a stout and jolly man”, was “in want of a wife”.

And in October 1822, in a surprisingly honest editorial notice, the Chronicle announced: “The past week has been productive of no occurrence, either foreign or domestic, of sufficient public interest to claim particular notice.”

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  • October 15, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    How splendid to be in the chair of a paper with such history behind it. Some things don’t change though – the 1822 editorial which you have highlighted brings to mind the overnight bulletin from many a police press office…

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