The British Newspaper Archive
A gift for history lovers
The British Newspaper Archive is a rather amazing project that will benefit everyone who wants to dig about into British history. It's even better if you want to totally immerse yourself and get lost in it.
The British Newspaper Archive is scanning pages of British newspapers and making them available online for the first time ever.
The great thing about it is that this it will save anyone who wants to do some research from having to head off to London and the British Library to plough through hard copies of newspapers! They can find what they are looking for using a few simple search terms and within seconds, all the results pop up ready for reading.
It’s free to search on The British Newspaper Archive but you need to subscribe online to see the original newspaper pages. And you can buy a subscription as a gift, and give a loved one the chance to immerse themselves in history. There are over 10 million pages available online, which is an awful lot of history to discover.
Newspapers are a window into past times
The wonderful thing about newspapers is that they give a real flavour to times past – and a sense of what was important and what mattered in the fabric of society.
Go to historic local papers and you’ll find out a lot of background about the local area – but also about news stories from around the country and further afield. So as well as details of who won prizes in the local shows, you would also get an idea of what was happening at the time and discover what was important for people to know – or what they wanted to hear about. And you can really get to the nitty-gritty of what local people were doing, and what they were concerned about, and what was going on around them.
You can really get a “feel” for the times – newspapers fill in a lot of the detail about daily life, daily news and events, what people would have been discussing at the dinner table, in a queue in shop, in a pub or coffee shop.
Letters and editorials fill in some of the views and feelings that people held at the time. Adverts give you an idea of what was selling and for how much, of new products coming on to the shelves, new fashions and hobbies etc.
Plus of course if you want to find out more about your family history and the times people lived in, newspapers give you lots of the detail of daily life. It can fill in lots of little details and you could even find pictures of previous generations that have appeared in the paper!
Whatever subject you want to find out about there will be information on it in a newspaper somewhere. The British Newspaper Archive has over 10 million pages from UK and Ireland’s newspapers from 1710 to 1955. And of course, once you start to wonder about something concerning daily life and what was happening, you’ll wonder through history some more.
So what can you search for with The British Newspaper Archive?
Since it’s online, researchers from all over the world can subscribe and use the archives – and there’s a gift subscription available too!
Results of what you’re searching for will appear in a moment. I put in “school life in Sussex” to see what would appear as a trial run, and I was amazed at what appeared. It’s a great way to escape from the 21st century back into times past…
Who’s behind The British Newspaper Archive?
It’s a partnership between the British Library and findmypast, and it’s aim is to digitise up to 40 million newspaper pages from the vast collection at the British Library over 10 years. The Library’s collection is just incredible: it has newspapers from 1603 (when King James I or James VI came to the throne) to the present day from Britain and further afield. There are over 600,000 bound volumes of papers and over 300,000 reels of microfilm. Just imagine being able to access history and times past from the comfort of your home whilst enjoying a hot brew!