THIS week marks a historic landmark in the history of the Bromsgrove Advertiser/Messenger, the paper’s 150th anniversary.

The first edition of the Bromsgrove and Droitwich Weekly Messenger launched on Saturday, January 7, 1860.

In an opening address to introduce the paper the first editor, Frederick Marcus, set out high ideals.

Mr Marcus said the aim was to create a newspaper which commands attention, and contains points that “interest, amuse, profit and instruct.”

The paper’s principals were also stressed, Mr Marcus writing that the Messenger would not give offence to readers in publishing slander and abuse. He added that articles of this kind would never “pollute its pages.”

With the improvements in technology and the process of printing newspapers, the paper embraced these changes and the possibilities they brought.

One improvement was the size of the paper, and the local content it offered readers. The first issue consisted of just four pages, of which only one was printed locally, with the rest coming from London ready printed. Only six columns were dedicated to news from the region, and amongst these was reports of court cases in Worcester.

Over time, national news coverage decreased, then was dropped altogether leaving the Advertiser/Messenger as a paper solely dedicated to news from the area.

The centenary of the paper was celebrated in 1960 with a front page which included a congratulatory message from the Queen.

However, a week after the special edition, containing a history of the paper, red-faced staff were reminded of the pitfalls which can befall even the most seasoned of sub-editors.

An apology was published as a picture of the paper's founder, Alfred Palmer, was not actually him.

The Messenger commented: “The Editorial head is bowed once again, and we speak as much in sorrow as anger – with ourselves.”

The paper has an impressive record when it comes to the continuity of production, despite some close calls brought by wars, material shortages and mechanical faults.

One memorable occasion was in the summer of 1959 when four apprentices, unaffected by a printers strike, kept the presses rolling and managed to produced seven emergency editions.

Throughout its history, the paper’s reporters have covered stories of national interest.

Readers may remember the stories of Bromsgrove residents who were caught up in the tragic events at Lockerbie and Hillsborough.

Only last year, Bromsgrove's MP Julie Kirkbride became embroiled in the expenses saga, a story which created national headlines.

But while national newspapers had their own agendas to fulfil, the Advertiser/Messenger strived to report events in a truthful, fair and balanced manner.

Principals set out by Frederick Marcus, 150 years ago.