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Daily republishes oldest surviving edition 275 years on

A regional daily newspaper has republished its earliest surviving edition to mark the 275th anniversary of its publication.

The News Letter in Belfast, which is thought to be one of the world’s oldest English language newspapers, has reprinted a historic copy of the paper as a souvenir supplement.

Its oldest surviving edition is dated 3 October 1738 but it was reprinted on 14 October because that is the equivalent date on the modern calender that Britain has been using since 1752.

The News Letter was founded by Francis Joy in September 1737 but no papers from the first 13 months have survived.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are shown a copy of the earliest surviving edition of the Belfast News Letter on a visit to the Linen Hall Library in 2009.

The title’s 275th anniversary was celebrated last year with a special supplement edition and the unveiling of a blue plaque to Francis Joy in Belfast.

In a story about the edition, editor Rankin Armstrong said: “We hope readers will enjoy both today’s souvenir copy of the oldest surviving News Letter and the fascinating daily snippets that we will be publishing this week from the two surviving October 1738 editions.”

The Belfast News Letter and General Advertiser, as it was initially known, was at first printed twice a week, becoming a daily in the 1800s.

The title has been publishing daily extracts from the first and second surviving News Letter, which was published on 6 October 1738.

They include reports about Dick Turpin, Indian “murders” in Virginia, a highway robbery in Newbury, advertisements from Belfast and Co Antrim, and other foreign and royal reports.