Sep 5, 2022

Another One Million Newspaper Pages Made Free by the British Newspaper Archive and the British Library

The following announcement was written by the British Newspaper Archive (part of Findmypast):

After making one million historical newspaper pages free in 2021, a further one million pages are now free to explore

As trusted partners of the British Library, Findmypast are committed to making five million pages free over five years on the British Newspaper Archive and Findmypast

Free pages across 244 titles make history more accessible for everyone, with additions from the United Kingdom, Ireland and India

Discover political intrigue, scandal and real-life stories in black and white 

This August, The British Newspaper Archive in partnership with the British Library, has made a further one million historical newspaper pages available completely free to the public, reaching a new total of two million free pages.

Together, the British Newspaper Archive and the British Library are committed to releasing a total of five million free pages over five years, which can be accessed online on the British Newspaper Archive website and on Findmypast.

Much of this content has been made available as part of several major digitisation projects based at the British Library: 19th Century Newspapers; Heritage Made Digital, which seeks to transform digital access to the British Library’s rare and early collections; and the Living with Machines research project, a collaboration between the British Library, The Alan Turing Institute and five partner universities, and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) via UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Strategic Priorities Fund.

These free pages, covering the years 1699-1900 across 244 titles, increase the accessibility of historical newspapers to more people around the world.  Researchers can browse the beautiful images of the Illustrated London Life, discover their Scottish roots in the Glasgow Herald, or explore the history of Ireland with the United Irishman. One particularly intriguing title is Berthold’s Political Handkerchief, famously printed on calico, a type of fabric, in order to get around paying the newspaper stamp tax of the time.

Also included are Welsh language titles Y Tyst and Y Llan, 22,113 pages from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and 167,534 pages from Scotland, including the Edinburgh Gazette of 1699, the oldest newspaper digitised by the project so far.

Other highlights of this year’s release include:

Friend of India and Statesman, 1852-1883 – published in Calcutta, this is another key title to support diverse research, continuing from the 2021 release of Royal Gazette of Jamaica and The Keys

Porcupine, 1800-1801 – its founder William Cobbett spent time in the United States in the 1790s and leant support to Alexander Hamilton’s Federalists. He was hailed as a ‘great British patriot’ on his return home

Francis’s Metropolitan News, 1895 – this family title showcased printer R.S. Francis’s ‘new style of illumination’, using blocks of colour to highlight sections

The Age, 1852-1853 – this title had a reputation for ‘scurrilous and satirical gossip’ about the celebrities of the day

The Anti-Gallican Monitor, 1811-1825 – this highly-divisive newspaper called for the assassination of Napoleon Bonaparte, and provides an intriguing glimpse into attitudes towards France at the height of the Napoleonic Wars

The Patriot, 1832-1866 – this paper represented itself as a moral and philosophical repository for political thought, with its editor Matthew Campbell Browne hoping to influence the reform of Parliament and an equal Representation of the People.

Mary McKee, Head of Content Publishing at Findmypast said; “This is a fantastic free resource for all those wishing to delve into the past and uncover the colourful stories that bring it to life. Each page offers a snapshot of what life was like at that moment, documenting family stories, local legends and momentous events alike. For those uncovering their family history, you might be surprised to discover your own ancestors hiding within these pages. I’d encourage everyone to go and explore this collection online, on the British Newspaper Archive or Findmypast.”

Xerxes Mazda, Head of Collections and Curation at the British Library, said: “We are delighted to be making a further one million pages from the British Library’s newspaper collections available free to view online in conjunction with our digitisation partners Findmypast. Amongst the resources available we have released 245 regional newspaper titles from across the UK. Covering the years 1699-1900 and ranging from the Glasgow Herald and the Newcastle Courant to the Bristol Mercury and the Exeter Flying Post, these publications reflect the rich heritage of the UK’s media landscape and offer new opportunities for everyone to explore our collections from wherever they are in the world. 

The British Newspaper Archive was created back in 2011, when Findmypast set out to digitise the British Library’s entire newspaper collection and open it up to the public as the British Newspaper Archive. Today, it contains over 56 million pages, and counting.

And for anyone looking to explore more of the British Newspaper Archive, until 11 September get 20% off subscriptions using the code SAVE20.

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