New book celebrates 250 years of Shropshire’s oldest newspaper

Phil Gillam with his new book celebrating 250 years of the Shrewsbury Chronicle

The Shrewsbury Chronicle celebrates its 250th anniversary this year, and to mark the occasion, historian Phil Gillam has penned a book chronicling the newspaper’s colorful history.

The newspaper was started in 1772 – four years before the United States of America even existed – making it one of the oldest newspapers in the world.

Phil, a former journalist for the Chronicle and its sister title, the Shropshire Star, said he started writing letters to the newspaper when he was around 13 or 14, and joined the paper as as a trainee journalist in 1977.

“The Chronicle was the first newspaper I worked for, and even then I was very aware of the title’s long history and very proud to work for it.

“Decades later, while working at the Shropshire Star, I found myself contributing a regular weekly column for the Chronicle, delighted to once again be lyrical about events in my beloved home town.”

Phil said the book was largely a historical reference work, but also contained elements of personal memoirs.

“There are also some amusing stories, as well as some great essays from a number of former Chronicle reporters. In piecing it all together, I found it absolutely fascinating to see how this newspaper has evolved over the past 250 years. “, he added.

The book delves into the many colorful characters who have helped shape the Chronicle over its two and a half centuries, including Sir Beville Stanier, owner of the newspaper from 1908 to 1916, who said: “I’d rather keep two packs of hounds rather than a bloody newspaper!” Fyfe Robertson, who rose to prominence as an innovative journalist on the BBC’s Tonight TV show, also worked as a reporter for the newspaper.

Shrewsbury Chronicle: The story of one of England’s oldest newspapers is on sale at Waterstones in High Street, Shrewsbury; Pengwern Books in Fish Street; and Raven Books in the city market. For more information, email Phil at [email protected]