A 138-YEAR OLD copy of the Andover Advertiser has been found in excellent condition and returned to the newspaper’s offices.

Although nobody knows why the paper was kept for so long – or who originally bought it.

Margaret Curry, a retired gardener, recently messaged the Andover Advertiser after finding the copy from 1884 among her late mother’s possessions.

The 64-year-old, who now lives in Ireland, said she was only too happy to discover that staff at the newspaper were interested in the old newspaper.

She said: “It was too good to throw away. I am really pleased that the Andover Advertiser wanted it and that people are now enjoying it.”

She posted the newspaper to the current editor Kimberley Barber, who has been showing it to staff working on the four weekly titles in Hampshire that are currently printed by the Andover Advertiser’s publisher Newsquest.

Margaret’s mother Elizabeth Curry, who was known as Betty, died two years ago aged 87. She had lived in London, before moving to Ireland in the 90s.

While living in London, Betty became friends with an elderly gentleman, who lived in Crouch End and was possibly called John Perry, and she was given some of his possessions when he died – Margaret believes the Andover Advertiser was among them.

She said: “There were a few papers, special editions from the coronation and royal weddings. She most likely kept them as they were interesting. I found them in a drawer. Although why this one was kept is a mystery, maybe there was something in there that was connected to them. We will never know.

Andover Advertiser: Andover Advertiser 1884

“My mum would have loved it that the newspaper has a new home. Her and my dad were interested in history, there were lots of things they kept as they could see the importance of them.”

The newspaper, which was printed on September 1884, has a handwritten address at the top, which says Mrs Lambden, 12 Bedford Row, London.

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However Margaret does not know the significance of the name or address.

Editor Kimberley said: “It’s a wonderful snapshot of the world back in 1884. It’s in such great condition.

“It’s also a reminder of how important local newspapers are. I hope that some of my editions are kept for as long. Most people have a clipping or a page from an old newspaper somewhere.

“The print editions hold memories much tighter than digital stories There is something so romantic about keeping hold of something physical for your whole life and passing it on when you go.

"I can’t thank Margaret enough for sharing the newspaper that her mother felt it important enough to hold on to for so many years.”

Andover Advertiser: Editor Kimberley Barber with the Andover Advertiser 1884

The Andover Advertiser started in 1858. There are some records of old editions kept on microfilm at the Hampshire Record Office in Winchester and the Andover library keeps some hard copies up to 2002. After this date, the newspaper moved mainly online to andoveradvertiser.co.uk.

However there is work underway to collate the title’s archives.

If you know any information about Margaret’s newspaper or its history, email kimberley.barber@newsquest.co.uk

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