About the Lyttelton Times - January 11, 1851

The first issue of the Lyttelton Times presented here, appeared on January 11 1851 just 26 days after the printing presses arrived on board the Charlotte Jane on December 16 1850. The printing plant was set up in a shed on Section No.2, Norwich Quay. The paper was financed chiefly by Ingram Shrimpton of Crown Yard Printing Office, Oxford although he himself did not come to New Zealand until 1854. Shrimpton engaged a foreman, a compositor and persuaded his son and nephew to come out as cadets. James Edward Fitzgerald agreed to act as unpaid editor until Shrimpton came out, although he virtually relinquished this position once he was elected Superintendent of the Province.

The paper was published weekly until 1854 when it became bi-weekly. It was printed on double foolscap paper until 1857 when it increased its column length from 11 inches to 14 inches. In 1863 the business was moved from Lyttelton to Christchurch, into a two storeyed building with a Cathedral Square frontage. In spite of the move the name of the paper remained the same until August 1 1929 when it changed to the Christchurch Times.

The Lyttelton Times began as a non-party paper but by the 1860s was distinctly liberal in flavour and remained so throughout its history. It achieved an enduring reputation in the newspaper world. Its demise on June 29 1935 was the result of one of the most notable struggles in newspaper history. At this time Christchurch had two morning and two evening newspapers and the competition proved fatal. The rationalisation which occurred resulted in the publication of one morning paper by The Press and the Lyttelton Times Company (renamed New Zealand Newspapers Ltd.) published the evening paper called the Star-Sun.

At the time of its cessation it was the oldest surviving newspaper in New Zealand.

Source: Guide to newspapers in the New Zealand Collection, Canterbury Public Library, 1991.