Explore 300 years of history through local, regional and national newspapers from the British Library’s unique collection
Offering online access to millions of pages of British and Irish newspapers from 1703-2003, the British Newspaper Archive is a fantastic resource for everyone interested in history, and for family and local historians in particular.
Newspapers from the British Library’s vast collection are scanned every day, producing digital copies that can be searched from anywhere in the world. Library users can search hundreds of millions of articles by keyword, name, location, date or title and watch their results appear in an instant.
Furthermore, the British Newspaper Archive works with many British and Irish publishers to make available their recently released titles and issues. By combining the British Library’s historic archive and working with ongoing newspaper publishers the British Newspaper Archive has become one of the largest online collections of newspapers anywhere in the world.
You can view the full list of newspaper titles included in the archive here.
Discounts are available if you subscribe at the same time to both the British Newspaper Archive and Findmypast.
- News Articles – read about national events, as well as issues of local and regional importance. News articles are a window into daily life in historical Britain
- Family Notices – search for your family’s birth, marriage and death notices plus related announcements including engagements, anniversaries, birthdays and congratulations
- Letters – read letters to the editor written by the newspaper’s readers, including illuminating contemporary debates, aspirations and anxieties
- Obituaries – view a wealth of contemporary information on the lives of notable individuals and ancestors
- Advertisements – these include classifieds, shipping notices and appointments
- Illustrations – see photographs, engravings, graphics, maps and editorial cartoons
“Our library users and staff have been very impressed by British Newspaper Archive, especially the access it provides to archives of our local newspapers up to the 1950s – so useful for family history research.” Tanya Duthie, Senior Library and Information Officer, Leisure and Culture Dundee
“I’m actually addicted to The British Newspaper Archive. I wake up in the middle of the night wondering… did the Victorians ever roller skate? What did people think about Nelson’s column when it was first unveiled? Has anyone ever attempted a tightrope walk over the Thames? A quick search, and I get my answers. Except then I can’t possibly go back to sleep because one search leads to another. If you’re curious about the past, then The British Newspaper Archive is your best friend for life.” Matt Brown, Editor-at-Large of Londonist
FOR PUBLIC LIBRARIES: Download British Newspaper Archive Licence for public libraries
FOR PUBLIC LIBRARIES: Download Findmypast and British Newspaper Archive Bundle Licence for public libraries
FOR SMALL ORGANISATIONS: Download British Newspaper Archive Licence for small organisations
FOR SMALL ORGANISATIONS: Download Findmypast and British Newspaper Archive bundle Licence for small organisations
To find out more about how the different access options work please see our General Access Information.
Promotional materials and downloads
Download this British Newspaper Archive poster and How to Guide to put up around your library.
What can I find in the British Newspaper Archive?
The British Newspaper Archive covers an incredibly broad range of subjects from a wide period of time. You’ll find reports about events in local areas alongside stories of national and global importance. You’ll also find letters, obituaries, opinions and advertisements that bring the period you’re reading about to life.
What time period do the newspapers cover?
The newspapers in the British Newspaper Archive from the early 1700s up to the 2000s. The bulk of the newspapers cover the period from 1830-1950. There are more pages from the 1830s onwards because of the massive growth of the newspaper industry at this time.
Where’s the best place to start searching?
Search the entire collection for a person, place or event. You can then use the filters on the left-hand side of your results to narrow them down by date, place or newspaper title.
You can also use the advanced search for more search options. You’ll be able to exclude words, search for phrases, limit your searches to a particular date and even restrict your results to just the front pages of the newspapers.
Do you have any national newspapers (e.g. The Time, Daily Mail or Guardian)?
At the moment the British Newspaper Archive do not have any extensive collections of national newspapers. This is because they did not grow to massive circulation until the late 1800s and early 1900s. Local and regional newspapers were widely read and covered both national and international news.
The British Newspaper Archive is looking at national titles to complement the local and regional titles they already hold.
Can I save a copy of the newspaper I am viewing?
You can download any of the newspaper pages that you’ve viewed. When viewing the newspaper, click the ‘download’ button and it will download as a PDF. You can then save this PDF to your computer.
Why are there mistakes in the article text?
The British Newspaper Archive uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to digitise newspapers. OCR allows you to search large quantities of full text information, but it is not 100% accurate.
If you spot an error on the page you can fix it by clicking ‘edit’ to make the necessary corrections.
How often does the British Newspaper Archive add new pages?
Thousands of pages are added to the British Newspaper Archive every week, so there’s always something new to explore!
What is bookmarking?
You can assign private bookmarks to your saved articles and create separate folders in which to keep articles. This makes storing and keeping track of your articles quick and convenient.
What are ‘My Notes’?
‘My Notes’ are private comments that you can add to the articles within your personal ‘My Research’ area to record your thoughts and enhance your research. They are not public and will not appear on the original image in the viewer.
What are Tags for?
Adding Tags to articles is a useful way to categorise them and will help other users when they search. All users can see and search across all Tags. Tags can be anything from people and places to topics and events.