Guns in desks, ostrich feathers and royal openings - looking back as The Star turns 130

The Telegraph and Star newsroom as it used to look
The Telegraph and Star newsroom as it used to look
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The Star is today celebrating 130 years of bringing the news to South Yorkshire.

A lot has changed since the first edition of the Sheffield Evening Telegraph - which would become The Star - rolled off the presses on June 7, 1887.

The Star newsroom as it looks today

The Star newsroom as it looks today

Back then the region was being ravaged by a smallpox epidemic which would kill more than 600 people in barely 18 months.

The four-page sheet, which was owned by the former chemist William Leng and sold for one halfpenny, carried front-page adverts for items ranging from ostrich feathers to Algerian claret wine in its first edition.

Proudly declaring it would carry 'a little of everything and not too much of anything', the paper flourished thanks to its revolutionary use of headlines and a determination to reach out to the mass of new young readers created by the Education Act 1870.

It was not all plain sailing: in those early days, editors would keep a revolver in their desks in case of trouble with agitators or the authorities.

But within a year, this newcomer would take over its rival the Evening Star to form the Sheffield Evening Telegraph and Star.

The paper has undergone various name changes and swapped hands several times since then, but has continued to cover the biggest stories in the region - from Queen Victoria opening the Town Hall in 1897 to the devastating floods of 2007.

In 1990, The Star won the coveted Provincial Newspaper of the Year award for its special edition following the Hillsborough disaster in April 1989. To this day, that special remains the only Sunday edition of The Star ever published.

Today, The Star is owned by Johnston Press, which also publishes its sister title the Sheffield Telegraph, and it is read by more than 350,000 people each week online and in print.

Its anniversary comes as the paper prepares for the latest chapter in its long history.

The Star is set to move to a new home following the sale of its York Street offices, in Sheffield city centre, where it has been based for decades.

Johnston Press has agreed to sell Telegraph House to Toscafield Property 2 Limited in a £3.6 million deal, due to be completed by June 30.

The publisher said the company's sales and editorial staff would remain in the building for a 'short transitional period' before moving to new 'fit-for-purpose' premises, details of which have yet to be announced.

* Don't miss The Star this Saturday, when the 12-page Retro supplement will be a special edition celebrating the paper's anniversary.