Oldham Chronicle celebrates 165 years in the town
Date published: 07 May 2019
The Oldham Chronicle, edition one
It’s one-hundred and sixty-five years since Oldham published its first newspaper.
It was the same year that Charles Dickens first published “Hard Times” as a serial story in “Household Words”, and the British Army was involved in the 2-year Crimean war.
It was the year that Daniel Evans, a 50-year-old printer and stationer who worked and lived at 22 Yorkshire Street, chose to announce the imminent arrival of a new newspaper.
On Saturday, May 6th 1854, the first issue of the Oldham Evening Chronicle rolled of the presses to be sold across the borough for 2-and-a-half (old) pence.
The first front page story claimed the town of Oldham was an “anomaly” and deserved a newspaper of its own.
Writers extolled the virtues of the growing town, making a strong case for a publication.
It was a situation that Daniel Evans decided to correct.
However, the Government and the monarchy did not like criticism and for many years had tried to discourage the regular publication of newspapers — there was an advertising tax until 1853, and a stamp tax of 1d and a tax on paper were still in operation when the Chronicle was first published.
In August, 1854, Daniel Evans sold the Chronicle to Robert Lewis Gerrie, a 24-year-old Scot, who lived at 15 Queen Street and Evans died suddenly of a stroke the following June, aged 51.
The paper continued to be printed at 22 Yorkshire Street for some time, even though its office was at 10 Yorkshire Street, next to the old Town Hall.
In addition to the argument for a local newspaper, the front page was also the home of “Wanted” advertisements, including “Good servants Wanted” for a Mr Ramsden of Oldham.
Elsewhere, Mrs E Abbot was looking for “A good, plain cook”
If you were looking for somewhere to live in May, 1854 then you could rent a “Large well-furnished house in Side-of-Moor (Moorside), Oldham” for four-shillings a week (20p).
Mr J Henthorn was advertising his “Dispensing establishment” in the first edition of the Chronicle. As well as dispensing medicines and remedies, his customers could also take advantage of his “choice stock of the finest British wines”
The final print version of the Chronicle was published in August of 2017, having been printed in Hollinwood since 2007. The newspaper moved to a digital-only breaking news service in February 2018.
It’s a testament to the pioneers of the newspaper in the eighteen-hundreds, that after one-hundred and sixty-five years, the Oldham Evening Chronicle still remains an independent voice for Oldham in the digital world.
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