It's party time here at the Accrington Observer as we celebrate our biggest anniversary to date. The first edition of the paper went on sale to the people of Hyndburn 125 years ago this week and we have a whole host of events planned to celebrate the momentous occasion.
Our paper has been serving the communities of Accrington and its surrounding districts since its very first edition on New Year's Day 1887.
That very first issue will be reprinted in full in this week's special commemorative issue of the Observer, along with a free, 24-page bumper pull-out marking the occasion.
The pull out will be packed full of special features and stories, and the history of the publication, from its origins as a liberal Victorian broadsheet through to the community newspaper it is today.
Don't miss your chance to pick up your historic 125th anniversary copy of the Accrington Observer, which will be in the shops from Thursday afternoon.
And that's not all - on Thursday, January 19, we will be inviting some of Hyndburn’s most famous figures to celebrate our anniversary during a party at Accrington Market Hall.
And we’re certain it will be right royal knees up as our very own beer and sausages have been created especially for the occasion.
Sara D’Arcy of the Irwell Brewery Works has created 200 bottles of Accrington Observer 125.
And Ye Old Sausage Shop at Oswaldtwistle Mills has produced a tasty pork sausage to mark the occasion.
Throughout the year we will continue to celebrate with monthly features detailing the history of our great paper.
And we hope that Observer readers and former staff will continue to get in touch to share their memories.
Observer editor Gareth Tidman said the whole team is very proud of the Accrington Observer.
He added: "It is a tremendous achievement for the paper to reach this historic milestone.
"For decades the Observer has produced papers that both its readers and its reporters can be proud of. This month we will be raising a glass of Accrington 125 to the paper. Here’s to another 125 years."
The Observer sprang from the fingers of ambitious young businessman Richard Shaw Crossley – known by his reporters as The Chief.
The first edition, published on Saturday, January 1, 1887, was an eight-page paper intended for readers in Accrington, Great Harwood and Haslingden.
On its maiden voyage it was filled with often lengthy stories, including details of a former town clerk who embezzled more than £800 and Accrington Football Club’s New Year’s Day clash with Nottingham Forest.
In an editorial address Mr Crossley declared the Accrington Observer would be "a very democratic institution".
Over 125 years the paper underwent numerous changes and has become a stalwart of Accrington life gracing thousands of local coffee tables each week.
MEN Media communities editor Dave Lafferty said: "The paper has been a pillar of the community for 125 years and touched the lives of everyone in the town.
"Whether covering major events or the lives and activities of the public the Observer has always been there to report and record.
"Its one of the best local newspapers in MEN Media’s stable and I’m certain it will be around for many, many more years to come."
If you would like to contribute to our anniversary celebrations please contact the Accrington Observer newsdesk on: 0161 211 2977 or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
IN the space of 125 years the Accrington Observer has been at the forefront of news in Hyndburn. We’ve taken a look at some of the more memorable events to have taken place in the borough over the decades.
- 1887 – The first edition of the Accrington Observer hit the streets.
- 1888 – Accrington FC is one of 12 founder members of the Football League.
- 1893 – Union Street Spinning Mill is destroyed by fire. Stanley Villa take on the name Accrington Stanley.
- 1894 – Howard and Bullough textile machinery company is converted into a public company with capital of £1m. There is widespread horror at the murder of an eight-year-old Accrington girl by her mother Alice Ann Farrar. She also attempts to murder two younger children and to take her own life. At her trial she is found insane and sent to a lunatic asylum.
- 1899 – A spectacular railway accident at Lonsdale Street sees a train tipped onto it’s front.
- 1901 – Accrington Library, Accrington Volunteer Drill Hall, Accrington Electricity Works and Clayton-le-Moors Council offices are opened. The borough mourns the death of Queen Victoria and overseas President McKinley becomes the third US president to be assassinated.
- 1905 – A 40-year-old woman attempts to kill herself and her four-year-old son by jumping in the canal. She is drowned but miraculously he manages to scramble to safety. Einstein announces his "Theory of Relativity".
- 1910 – George V becomes king. The Messrs Williams Ltd, building on Church Street, Accrington, burns to the ground tragically killing three female assistants and two women customers.
- 1912 – A shocking 1,513 people perish when the Titanic sinks. Albert Mill, Rishton and Mount Pleasant School in Clayton-le-Moors open.
- 1917 – There is an explosion at the Coteholme Works at Church, where TNT was manufactured, claimed the life of PC James Hardacre. After one magazine exploded he crawled on his hands and knees to close the other 11 magazines. The officer was awarded the Kings Police Medal.
- 1921 – Meetings are held regarding the scheme for the construction of a new line of railway between Accrington and Clitheroe. The total length will be 10 miles.
- 1928 – Jubilee events, including a two mile procession, took place throughout Hyndburn. Alexander Flemming discovers penicillin. D H Lawrence publishes Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
- 1934 – Fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley pays a visit to Accrington to open the new headquarters of the Accrington branch of the British Union of Fascists.
- 1937 – The borough mourns the death of King George V and later celebrates the coronation of King George VI.
- 1939 – Moorhead School opens without ceremony two days before war is declared on Germany.
- 1940 – A mother and daughter were killed when two houses were wrecked during the first North West air raid in Clayton-le-Moors on June 20. First class Stocker Sydney Smith, of Oswaldtwistle, was on board destroyer HMS Exmouth which was lost with all hands.
- 1945 – Warsaw is captured by the Russians. The Allies invade Germany and Dresden is bombed. Mussolini is killed, Hitler commits suicide, Germany surrenders.
- Allied troops enter the death camps. Atomic bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Japan surrenders, World War Two ends. Prime Minister Winston Churchill and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited Accrington and were greeted by thousands of cheering onlookers.
- 1949 – Clothes rationing ends. Accrington Carnival is the first gala since the war.
- 1952 – Meat supplies threatened by slaughterman’s strike. Two local men are killed in Korean War.
- 1955 – The Vietnam War begins.
- 1959 – There are miraculous escapes when the playground wall of Woodnook School collapses.
- 1960 – Terrifying flash flooding, lightening and thunder meant residents at Mill Street, Baxenden had to be rescued from their homes.
- 1968 – Ten thousand people lined the streets of Clayton-le-Moors and Rishton for the only Royal visit of the Sixties.
- 1974 – Hyndburn Council came into being with Coun Wallace Haines its first mayor.
- 1979 – Teachers and engineers staged strikes at the end of a decade marked by industrial action. Throughout the 70s Hyndburn was badly hit by strikes from postal workers, miners, firemen and even journalists.
- 1980 – An Accrington schoolboy is killed by lightening in a freak accident. Hyndburn’s jobless reach a post-war record.
- 1983 – The M65 opens providing an unbroken link of motorway from the Dunkenhalgh at Clayton-le-Moors through to Nelson.
- 1985 – Princess Diana captured the hearts of Hyndburn folk during her historic visit to East Lancashire.
- 1989 – Hyndburn Council announces plans to spend £13,000 on removing bodies from a disused graveyard on Hyndburn Road to make way for a major new £3m shopping development.
- 1997 – Oswaldtwistle actress Vicky Entwistle was picked to star as loud-mouthed factory worker Janice Battersby in TV soap Coronation Street. A year later Julie Hesmondhalgh, from Church, landed the role of transsexual Hayley Patterson.
- 2000 – Hyndburn folk welcomed in the Millennium.
- 2011 – The Black Panther, serial killer Donald Neilson, who shot Baxenden sub-postmaster Derek Astin in 1974, died after 36 years in jail.