‘The Lyttelton Times’ First Issued – 11th January 1851

On the 11 January 1851, the first issue of The Lyttelton Times (pictured) hit the shelves.

As the Canterbury Association made their plans for New Zealand’s newest Church of England (Anglican) settlement, they spoke of a grand Cathedral and college being at its heart with a good number of public domains for recreation and oh yes, a newspaper was a must!

As the ‘Charlotte Jane’ – the Canterbury Association’s first ship – sailed her way to Canterbury in 1850, in her cargo hold was a printing press and in steerage, father and son printing team: Walter and John Shrimpton, the latter being only 17 years old.

Canterbury’s first newspaper found its home on Norwich Quay in a simple shed. One of the first reporters that featured was Canterbury’s Founder, John Robert Godley.

To help expand its market, the paper moved into a building on Gloucester Street, Christchurch and became a daily publication in 1863. By this time, in Cashel Street, its competitor – ‘The Press’ – was also struggling for its place with consumers.

Founded by The Lyttelton Times’ past editor – James Edward Fitzgerald – he made no apologies for the publication of a newspaper. Completely dismayed over the spending being made by Superintendent William Sefton Moorhouse with his railway tunnel through the Port Hills, Fitzgerald found that ‘The Lyttelton Times’ were in support of the project and refused to print his opposing view. The answer was simple – he would express his opinions in a newspaper of his own!

Sadly, on 29th June 1935 – now New Zealand’s oldest working newspaper – the last issue of ‘The Lyttelton Times’ went on sale. After decades of competition, ‘The Press’ had won control of the reader’s market. The Lyttelton Times Company was renamed the New Zealand Newspaper Limited and continued to print ‘The Star’ in the evenings. The successor of this newspaper is today’s free ‘Star’ printed on a Wednesdays and Fridays.

For a more in depth look at The Lyttelton Times, please check out the following link: http://www.peelingbackhistory.co.nz/the-lyttelton-times/

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