The British Library project to digitise copies of newspapers from its archive is to release one million pages as a free resource.

The British Newspaper Archive (BNA) has over 44 million newspaper pages, mostly British and Irish titles, ranging from 1699 to 2009, or just under 10 per cent of all newspapers held by the British Library. Currently, around half a million pages are being added to the BNA every month.

At the moment, access to the service requires a subscription, as that helps fund the cost of scanning and recording each newspaper added to the online archive. To open up more of the archive for researchers though, one million pages have been released for free, with a commitment to release a million more each year for the next four years.

So that’s five million pages of old newspaper articles in total.

They won’t add all papers, as they say that while they consider newspapers made before 1881 to be in the public domain, that does not mean that will make all pre-1881 digitised titles available for free, as the archive is dependent on subscriptions to cover its costs. If like me you do a lot of historical research, then the cost of the full subscription is not that bad – just £80 a year for the full archive.

For the free service, there are 158 newspaper titles on offer, ranging from 1720 to 1880. The latter date is significant. All of the newspapers that make up the ‘free to view’ offer are out-of-copyright. The British Library keeps to a ‘safe date’ when determining when a newspaper can be considered to be entirely out-of-copyright, which is 140 years after the date of publication.

To make use of the service, go here, and you need to register for an account, and then the search functionality is fairly simple to use, and the advanced search really helps to narrow the results down.

When you do a search, it will return all the pages in the archive, but if you scroll down the sidebar, there’s an option to filter by free pages only.

You can also browse editions and read entire newspapers from the past.

Below is a complete listing of all newspaper titles on the initial ‘free to view’ list of one million pages, including changes of title. Start and end dates are for what is being made freely available, not necessarily the complete run of the newspaper. For a few titles, there are some missing issues for the dates given.

  • The Age (1825-1843)
  • Alston Herald, and East Cumberland Advertiser (1875-1879)
  • The Argus, or, Broad-sheet of the Empire (1839-1843)
  • The Atherstone Times (1879-1879), The Atherstone, Nuneaton, and Warwickshire Times (1879-1879)
  • Baldwin’s London Weekly Journal (1803-1836)
  • The Barbadian (1822-1861)
  • Barbados Mercury (1783-1789), Barbados Mercury, and Bridge-town Gazette (1807-1848)
  • The Barrow Herald and Furness Advertiser (1863-1879)
  • The Beacon (Edinburgh) (1821-1821)
  • The Beacon (London) (1822-1822)
  • The Bee-Hive (1862-1870), The Penny Bee-Hive (1870-1870), The Bee-Hive (1870-1876), Industrial Review, Social and Political (1877-1878)
  • The Birkenhead News and Wirral General Advertiser (1878-1879)
  • The Blackpool Herald (1874-1879)
  • Blandford, Wimborne and Poole Telegram (1874-1879), The Blandford and Wimbourne Telegram (1879-1879)
  • Bridlington and Quay Gazette (1877-1877)
  • Bridport, Beaminster, and Lyme Regis Telegram and Dorset, Somerset, and Devon Advertiser (1865, 1877-1879)
  • Brighouse & Rastrick Gazette (1879-1879)
  • The Brighton Patriot, and Lewes Free Press (1835-1836), Brighton Patriot and South of England Free Press (1836-1839)
  • The British Emancipator (1837-1840)
  • The British Liberator (1833-1833)
  • The British Luminary; or, Weekly News and General Advertiser (1818-1818), The British Luminary and National Intelligencer (1818-1818), The British Luminary and Weekly Intelligence (1818-1820), The British Luminary, or Weekly Intelligencer (1820-1820), The Weekly Intelligencer, and British Luminary (1820-1821), The British Luminary and Weekly Intelligencer (1821-1823)
  • British Miner and General Newsman (1862-1863), The Miner (1863-1863), The Miner and Workman’s Advocate (1863-1865), The Workman’s Advocate (1865-1866), The Commonwealth (1866-1867)
  • The British Press; or, Morning Literary Advertiser (1803-1826)
  • Caledonian Mercury (1720-1799), Caledonian Mercury (1800-1859), The Caledonian Mercury and Daily Express (1859-1860), The Caledonian Mercury (1860-1867)
  • The Cannock Chase Examiner (1874-1877)
  • The Central Glamorgan Gazette, and General, Commercial, and Agricultural Advertiser (1866-1879)
  • Champion (1836-1836), The Champion and Weekly Herald (1836-1840)
  • The Charter (1839-1840)
  • Chartist (1839-1839)
  • Chartist Circular (1839-1841)
  • Cleave’s Weekly Police Gazette (1835-1836), Cleave’s Weekly Police Gazette and Journal of News, Politics, and Literature (1836-1836)
  • Cobbett’s Annual Register (1802-1804), Cobbett’s Weekly Political Register (1804-1836)
  • Colored News (1855-1855)
  • Cradley Heath & Stourbridge Observer (1864-1864), The Observer, Cradley Heath, Halesowen & District Chronicle (1864-1866), The Stourbridge Observer, Cradley Heath, Halesowen & District Chronicle (1866-1879)
  • The Darlington & Stockton Telegraph, Richmond Herald, South Durham and North York Review (1870-1870), Darlington & Richmond Herald (1873-1874)
  • Denton, Haughton, & District Weekly News, The (1873-1874), Denton & Haughton Weekly News, and Audenshaw, Hooley Hill, and Dukinfield Advertiser (1874-1875), Denton Examiner, Audenshaw, Hooley Hill and Dukinfield Advertiser (1875-1878), Denton and Haughton Examiner (1878-1879)
  • The Dewsbury Chronicle, and West Riding Advertiser (1872-1875)
  • The Dorset County Express and Agricultural Gazette (1858-1879)
  • The Examiner (1808-1880)
  • The Express (1846-1869)
  • The Forest of Dean Examiner (1875-1877)
  • The Glasgow Chronicle (1844-1857)
  • Glasgow Courier (1802, 1844-1866)
  • Illustrated Sporting News and Theatrical and Musical Review (Illustrated Sporting News, Theatrical Review (1862-1865), Illustrated Sporting and Theatrical News (1865-1870)
  • The Imperial Weekly Gazette (1808-1810), The Imperial Weekly Gazette and Westminster Journal (1818-1823), Imperial Gazette (1823-1825)
  • The Jamaica Mercury and Kingston Weekly Advertiser (1779-1780), The Royal Gazette (1780-1836), The Royal Gazette and Jamaica Times (1838-1840), The Royal Gazette of Jamaica (1840-1840)
  • Jewish Record (1868-1871)
  • The Kenilworth Advertiser (1872-1879)
  • The Lady’s Newspaper and Pictorial Times (1847-1863)
  • The Lady’s Own Paper (1866-1872)
  • The Lancaster Herald, and Town and County Advertiser (1831-1832)
  • The Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser (1832-1854), Liverpool Standard and General Advertiser (1854-1855), Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser (1855-1856)
  • Liverpool Weekly Courier (1867-1879)
  • Lloyd’s Companion to the “Penny Sunday Times and Peoples’ Police Gazette” (1841-1847)
  • London Dispatch and People’s Political and Social Reformer (1836-1839)
  • The Manchester Examiner (1848-1848)
  • Manchester Times (1828-1829), The Manchester Times and Gazette (1829-1848), Manchester Times and Manchester and Salford Advertiser and Chronicle (1848-1848)
  • The Midland Examiner and Times (1877-1877), The Midland Examiner and Wolverhampton Times (1877-1878)
  • Mirror of the Times (1800-1823)
  • The Morning Chronicle (1801-1865)
  • Morning Herald (1801-1869)
  • The National Register (1808-1823)
  • The New Weekly True Sun (1836-1836)
  • The News (1805-1835), The News and Sunday Herald (1835-1837), The News and Sunday Globe (1837-1839)
  • The Northern Daily Times (1853-1857), Northern Times (1857-1860), The Daily Times (1860-1861)
  • The Northern Liberator (1837-1840), The Northern Liberator and Champion (1840-1840)
  • Northern Star and Leeds General Advertiser (1838-1844), The Northern Star and National Trades’ Journal (1844-1852), The Star and National Trades’ Journal (1852-1852), The Star of Freedom (1852-1852)
  • The Nuneaton Times (1878-1879)
  • The Odd Fellow (1839-1842)
  • The Operative (1838-1839)
  • Pictorial Times (1843-1848)
  • Pierce Egan’s Life in London (1824-1827)
  • The Pontypridd District Herald and Rhondda Valley, Llantrisant, Caerphilly, and Mountain Ash News (1878-1879)
  • The Poole Telegram (1879-1879)
  • The Poor Man’s Guardian (1831-1835)
  • The Potteries Examiner (1871-1879)
  • The Press (1853-1866)
  • Runcorn and Widnes Examiner (1870-1876), Runcorn Examiner (1877-1879)
  • The St. Helens Examiner, and Prescot Weekly News (1879-1879)
  • The Saint James’s Chronicle (1801-1866)
  • Shropshire Examiner and all round the Wrekin Advertiser (1874-1877)
  • The South Staffordshire Examiner (1874-1874)
  • The Southern Star and London and Brighton Patriot (1840-1840)
  • Stalybridge Examiner, and Ashton, Dukinfield and Mossley Advertiser (1876-1876)
  • The Star (1801-1831)
  • The Statesman (1806-1824)
  • The Stockton Examiner, and South Durham and North Yorkshire Herald (1879-1879)
  • Stockton Gazette and Middlesbrough Times (1860-1865), Middlesbro’ & Stockton Gazette and General Advertiser (1868-1868), The Middlesbrough Gazette and General Advertiser (1869-1869), Middlesbrough & Stockton Gazette and General Advertiser (1869-1876), The Weekly Gazette for Middlesbrough, Stockton, Hartlepool and Cleveland District (1876-1879)
  • Stockton Herald, South Durham and Cleveland Advertiser (1858-1879)
  • Stretford and Urmston Examiner (1879-1879)
  • The Sun (1801-1871)
  • Swansea and Glamorgan Herald, and South Wales Free Press (1847-1879)
  • The Tamworth Miners’ Examiner and Working Men’s Journal (1873-1873), The Tamworth Examiner and Working Men’s Journal (1873-1876)
  • The Warrington Examiner (1885-1878), The Warrington & Mid-Cheshire Examiner (1879-1879)
  • The Weekly Chronicle (1836-1851), The Weekly News and Chronicle (1851-1854), The Weekly Chronicle (1855-1855), The Weekly Chronicle and Register (1855-1864), The Weekly Chronicle and Register of Banking, Insurance, Railway and Mining Companies, Trade and Commerce (1864-1867)
  • Westminster Journal and Old British Spy (1805-1810)
  • The Weymouth, Portland and Dorchester Telegram (1862-1878)
  • Widnes Examiner (1876-1879)
  • Wolverhampton Times and Bilston, Willenhall, Wednesfield, and Sedgley Journal (1874-1875), The Wolverhampton and Midland Counties Advertiser (1875-1876)
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7 comments
  1. Paul says:

    The British Newspaper Archive is also part of FindMyPast. If you do not subscribe to the latter, you can often access it free of charge at your local library.

  2. Steve Warsa says:

    It is not for free as far as I can see. I was able to search it, but when I clicked on one of the search results (after signing up/logging in) it was asking me to pay in order to see the article

  3. Dan says:

    Wow! Yellow journalism overload.

  4. David Thomas says:

    Beware local libraries being free. Westminster Archives are now charging £1 an hour to use their computers for Find My Past, etc, after the first(free)hour.

  5. BeeBee says:

    This is nowhere near as effective as the Australian newspapers base, Trove. All titles and articles are free, available from the earliest newspapers published up to the 1950s/60s. Also includes Government Gazettes and magazines – a boon for family and local historians, and a great gift from the National Library.

    • ianVisits says:

      I am sure that is great for people researching Australian history – meanwhile, for people researching UK history, we have the British Newspaper Archive.

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