The Oldest Local Paper

Isle of Wight Observer December 27, 1890

Our edition of today is numbered 2000. Week after week, for 2000 weeks, the Observer has been issued to the public of Ryde. Quite another generation has sprung up since its start, and on the list of its subscribers the number of those whose subscriptions date back to its first year can be counted on the fingers of one hand. It is as melancholy to look through an old list of subscribers as it is to read the older files of our paper, with the forgotten contests and local excitement by actors, the majority of whom have passed away. There is something very pathetic about an old newspaper, and that we suppose is the reason why they are so seldom kept. When the Observer commenced its existence it had the field to itself, so far as the Isle of Wight was concerned. Once in every few years some one came forward with the threats of utter annihilation for the “old ‘un”. Somehow we have managed to survive these prophesies, but many of those who have made them, after “strutting and fretting their little hour upon the stage” have been “seen no more”. Many on the other hand have succeeded, and today the newspapers published in the Island are too numerous to mention. We have no wish to emulate the blatant self-puffery of some of our contemporaries, but we think we can truthfully say that, in spite of many rivals for public favour, the old Observer still keeps its position and circulation. We are ageing considerably, but not “breaking up”.

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