EVERY area of Scotland has its own local newspaper. In Clackmannanshire that paper is the Alloa Advertiser.

In 1841, James Lothian became proprietor and editor of the Alloa Monthly Advertiser.

Lothian, born around 1782, was a schoolmaster originally from Dunfermline, but he was also a printer who had learned his craft in his spare time.

In 1813, he moved to Alloa; however, there was no real market for printing in the area, so he became a teacher once more, although he did publishing as a side-line.

He was able to give up teaching in 1818 when orders increased, and he became a full-time publisher.

On January 2, 1841, he published the Alloa Monthly Advertiser for the first time, mostly with help from his son, James.

Three thousand copies were printed originally, but further print runs were required until around 9000 copies were made.

Local businesses placed adverts in their droves, and this led to a supplement being published, which was included in that first issue.

It cost a halfpenny but due to its popularity, the second edition was twice the size, so the price was increased to a penny.

For the next three years the paper had the monopoly in the district, but in 1844 the Clackmannanshire Advertiser appeared so, prudently, Lothian did not increase the price of his paper. However, it was not long before a price increase was forced on him due to a government tax.

On May 18, 1850, the first edition with the official tax stamp appeared and the price doubled to 2d (two old pence), although was a larger format. It also dropped ‘Monthly’ as part of its title as it became fortnightly.

Three years later, the Advertiser expanded once more, with its price rising to 3d, and in 1855 it became a weekly publication. Lothian and his son worked hard to get the paper to its customers, not only Clackmannanshire, but Stirling, Fife and Kinross, and, as a result, sales increased.

In 1861, the government repealed the tax, and the paper reduced its cost to a penny.

During 1873, and again in 1882, the paper increased in size, and by this time the business was not just printing the newspaper, but also books including the local Annual Register of the County of Clackmannanshire from 1858, Alloa and Its Environs in 1861, and Memorials of the Parish of Alloa by John Crawford in 1874.

A bookshop was also opened, selling classic works, school books and novels.

James Lothian died in 1862 but his legacy lives on to this day.