Now the first provincial evening newspaper in the country is making the headlines itself – it will be 170 years old on Sunday.
To commemorate this landmark anniversary, we’re taking a look back at the paper’s history and featuring some of the momentous events that have shaped the lives of people living in South Tyneside and further afield.
The Shields Gazette was first established in South Shields as a weekly publication on February 24, 1849, as the North & South Shields Gazette and Northumberland and Durham Advertiser.
According to the British Newspaper Archive (BNA), it was founded by Glasgow merchant James Stevenson, who moved to Tyneside in 1844 to become a partner in the Jarrow Chemical Works.
One of the aims of the Gazette was to help promote the shipping trade to and from North and South Shields, and, says the BNA, much of its content consisted of shipping news and movements for Tyne and Wear.
Stevenson’s son, James Cochran Stevenson, took over the business in 1854.
Two days after the repeal of the Stamp Duty in 1855, he introduced a daily evening Gazette costing a halfpenny – making it the first provincial evening newspaper in the country.
The weekly Gazette was eventually discontinued.
The Stevenson family maintained its links with the Gazette through the Northern Press Company Ltd until 1986.
Since its introduction, the Gazette has been bringing trusted news to the people of South Tyneside, reporting on all the events that have shaped their lives over the years.
In that time, the paper has reported on two world wars, including the bombing of South Shields and the surrounding towns and villages, along with many many other historic events, such as the famous Jarrow march .
It reported on man’s landing on the moon, as well as numerous political stories and Royal occasions, such as the Coronation of the Queen.
Closer to home, the Gazette has brought the news of local mine and shipyard closures and, on a more positive note, the founding of new companies and the creation of much-needed jobs.
On a sporting note, it has followed the ups and downs of South Shields football club, and was there when the Mariners went to Wembley in 2017 to lift the FA Vase.
The Gazette and its readers have seen so many changes over the life of the newspaper. Now, with even more changes and challenges to come, the Gazette will continue to bring all the news and comment that matter to our readers, both in print and online.