Exhibition marks Westmorland Gazette’s 200th Anniversary

The Westmorland Gazette has served the community for 200 years and now has an exhibition dedicated to its own story.

Exhibition marks Westmorland Gazette’s 200th Anniversary

The Westmorland Gazette has been the definitive voice of the Lake District, say the publishers, Newsquest. It has recorded life in the Lake District with stories about its people and places since May 23, 1818.

Now the Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry at Kendal has dedicated an exhibition to the weekly paper, which sells 15,000 copies each week and has more than 100,000 readers in print and online.

From Wordsworth to the Web: 200 Years of the Westmorland Gazette opens on April 28 and runs until December 20, 2018.

The exhibition puts the newspaper into context within the history of printing in Britain. It looks at the scoops, headlines and deadlines of this Cumbrian institution.

It also considers the influence legends like William Wordsworth and Alfred Wainwright had on shaping the newspaper.

Visitors will see a 200-year-old copy of the Gazette, as well as items from the Museum’s collections relating to printing.

The importance of press photography will also be in focus with some of the best pictures taken by Gazette photographers over the years.

The exhibition will look at how breaking the news has changed in the digital age and also includes:

  • A wall of numerous light-hearted stories which have been covered by the newspaper.
  • An original copy of the Gazette from 1818 – it’s very first year - plus other bound copies.
  • Letters to William Wordsworth – a key figure in setting up the Gazette - from Lord Lowther.
  • Specially selected printing objects from the Museum’s collection.
  • Items from the Gazette, including printing plates and a printing press.

Rachel Roberts, curator of Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry, said: “The Westmorland Gazette is as much a way of life in south Cumbria as the fells and the lakes.

“It’s been a staple in the homes of residents for two centuries, delivering the sensational, serious and sometimes silly stories.

“In an era of digital news, this exhibition celebrates printed prose and also how the Gazette has adapted for the World Wide Web.”

Andrew Thomas, editor of The Westmorland Gazette, said: “2018 promises to be a momentous and memorable year for The Westmorland Gazette.

“We have a range of special publications and events planned, both in-paper and online, to celebrate the newspaper’s important role in the local community over the past two centuries. They include a special 48-page supplement to be published on May 21, which reveals the history of The Westmorland Gazette and how it has reported the news over the past 200 years.

“One of the most important events to mark the anniversary is the exhibition at the Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry.

“We hope as many people as possible will go along to see the exhibition, which will be on display until December 20.”

The exhibition comes at a time that the Gazette is riding high, says Newsquest. It has been shortlisted in the Weekly Newspaper of the Year (circulation above 15,000 copies) category of the Society of Editors' Regional Press Awards.

A beer in honour of the paper’s 200th anniversary is also causing a stir. The tipple “Wezzy Gezzy” is available in pubs across Kendal and beyond.