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The Gazette is the Official Journal of the United Kingdom, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is published by a commercial company under the superintendence of Her Majesty's Stationery Office.
History of The Gazette
The Gazette (originally called The Oxford Gazette) is the world's oldest continuously published newspaper and is still published "with Authority", as it has been since it was established by Charles II whilst the Court (effectively the government of the time) was removed to Oxford during the Great Plague of 1665. Samuel Pepys even recorded the event in his diary and said that:
'This day the first of the 'Oxford Gazettes' came out, which is very pretty, full of news, and no folly in it-wrote by Williamson.'
When the Court returned to London the name was changed to the London Gazette. It provided a mix of State intelligence, government notices and trade/business news. The earliest editions were full of the movements of ships and reports from the trade routes published alongside official notices about royal appointments and state visits. The start of the Great Fire of London was recorded on 2 September 1666.
As one of the few widely available publications, the London Gazette was even used to distribute descriptions of highwaymen and stolen property. Circulation reached an early peak in 1683 with publication of the latest reports from the Austro-Turkish war that was having a devastating effect on the trade routes, with merchants eager to make alternative transit arrangements for their goods.
The London Gazette contained all official dispatches when Britain was at war. For example the London Gazette extraordinary edition, published 22 June 1815, announced victory at the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June. The declaration of War against Germany in 1939 was also recorded in The London Gazette.
The first Edinburgh Gazette was published in 1699, although it did not begin unbroken publication until 1793, and in 1921 it was joined by the Belfast Gazette.
The Gazette today
In October 2013, the London, Edinburgh and Belfast Gazettes were integrated into a single online and print service, available from www.thegazette.co.uk. The service provides a way for advertisers to place official information permanently on the public record and in the public domain. The provenance and audit trail delivered by the service means that information in The Gazette can be used as evidence in a court of law.
The Gazette has an easy-to-search, free-to-use digital archive, where you can find everything from the military exploits of an ancestor and the official announcement of Wellington's victory at Waterloo, to New Year's honours awarded in your local area.
Official notices in The Gazette include:
- State (including Royal Household), Parliamentary and Ecclesiastical notices
- Implementation of Statutory Instruments
- Corporate and Personal insolvency notices, including petitions for winding-up of companies and notices relating to meetings of creditors
- Transport and planning notices
- Other public notices
- Trustee Act notices
In addition various supplements are published which include:
- The Queen's Birthday and New Year's Honours Lists
- Other honours and awards
- Details of Premium Bond prize draws
- Armed Forces promotions and re-gradings
- Companies information