Fragments of the Wanganui Chronicle from the 1880s reveal a very different world - and a very different newspaper.

The pieces of newspaper, all dated November 1888, were brought into the Wanganui Chronicle by Peter Scott, who found them in the ceiling of a building in upper Victoria Ave.

"I used to work for a Suzuki dealer in Victoria Ave. There was an old house out the back, and when they demolished it I found these.

"They must have been used as a sort of insulation for the house."

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Mr Scott found the papers in 1979. He said he thought they would be of interest now because of the Wanganui Chronicle's recent celebration of its 160th birthday.

The Wanganui Chronicle and now-defunct Wanganui Herald would have been just 32 years old when these copies of the newspaper were published.

There are no full pages left - the rats have eaten much of them - but what's left is still readable, if fragile.

News stories include Mr Smiley's stables in Victoria Ave being damaged by fire; and a report on a public meeting held at the Oddfellows' Hall by mayoral candidate J.A. Parsons, attended by "a very large and enthusiastic crowd of ratepayers, the building being filled in every part".

The race field for the Warrengate Jockey Club included a "Maoris race", which was race five.

"All horses to be owned and ridden by Maoris [half-castes not allowed]," the notice says.

In 1888 the first Kodak camera was patented, the first recording of music was made, the first movie was produced, Queen Victoria was on the British throne, Harry Atkinson was the premier [prime minister] of New Zealand, and Canterbury was shaken by a magnitude 7 earthquake.

Mr Scott keeps the fragments stored in clear files to protect them.

"I think they're really interesting - it seems to have been a different world," he said.

More recently, Mr Scott found a 1990 edition of the Chronicle in the attic of his house which was built in that year.