EXACTLY 128 years ago, on February 15, 1884, the very first editions of the Forfar Dispatch were published.
With a ‘guaranteed circulation of 3000 copies’ the paper comprised just four pages of roughly A4 size.
The opening statement of the paper read: “A gratuitous Newspaper is a novelty which every one will appreciate, but although our sheet is given away gratuitously, we hope it will not be like the advice of a Lawyer, worth exactly what is paid for it.”
It concluded: “To use a hackneyed quotation from Shakespeare, we expect that the Forfar Dispatch’ will soon be ‘as familiar in their mouths as Household Words’. As we will strive to make it ‘the story of their lives from year to year’.”
The letters page was subtitled ‘Things in General, Nothing in Particular’ and was peppered with references to Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.
In a feature entitled ‘Ink Dots’ the news and gossip of the town was reported. It tells of sudden deaths and letters from abroad from which they intended to write articles on the previous week.
A highlight of the feature is the following snippet: “Since the days of Tam O’Shanter we don’t remember a more amusing episode than the ‘half mutchkin drive’. It should be a warning to our local farmers when in town on sale days, to refrain from indulging too freely in the cup which cheers, as well as inebriates, or they may find they’ll ‘buy the joys ower dear’.”
Small advertisements include the forthcoming ‘Rose and Pansy’ show and various house and room lets throughout the local area.
There are also a number of familiar names throughout the business and product advertisements including Alex Dalgety’s and James Guild.