The British Library’s vast collection of historical newspapers is one of the wonders of the world. It contains newspapers from 1603 through to the present day, from England, Ireland, Scotland and further afield. There are over 600,000 bound volumes of newspapers (occupying 32 kilometres, or 20 miles of shelving) and over 300,000 reels of microfilm (occupying a further 13 kilometres, or 8 miles of shelving). Until recently the only way to view these newspapers was to visit the British Library, and, of course, it was not possible to search them.

Launched in 2011, the British Newspaper Archive website provides access to searchable digitised archives of British newspapers. The British Library in collaboration with Findmypast are making this vast collection of British and Irish historical British newspapers accessible to everyone around the world, and preserving the originals while doing so.

Just a few months ago the project hit a big milestone by reaching 20 million pages scanned. This is halfway mark of the proposed 40 million pages.

Now the British Newspaper Archive is thrilled to announce it has reached another milestone in their project. Following the addition of a newspaper title from County Leitrim, the online archive now provides a title from all 32 counties across Ireland.

The British Newspaper Archive contains more than 21 million newspaper pages from 815 titles from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland and spans nearly 300 years (1703-2003) of local, national, and world news. Of those titles, 150 titles are from Ireland. The latest title added to the collection is the Leitrim Advertiser with more than 5,000 pages. The paper was originally published in Mohill, Leitrim and known in later years and The Leitrim and Longford Advertiser.

The British Newspaper Archive is dedicated to continuously growing their collection of Irish newspapers across the island. And in the last 30 days, The Archive has expanded Irish titles such as Belfast News-Letter, Dublin Evening Mail, Leinster Independent, Newry Reporter, Northern Constitution, and Portadown Times.

A variety of historically rich specialty publications and illustrated magazines containing full colour images have also been made available this year, including the Bystander, Tatler, Britannia and Eve, The Stage, and Illustrated London News. Another recent addition to its expansion collection of illustrated titles is the Illustrated War News, covering the First World War and the first year of the Second World War. This unique title offers detailed illustrations and photographs from the battles lines and the home front.

Unlike Australia’s Trove, the British Newspaper Archive is a pay site, and you can subscribe for a month, a year, or simply pay as you go:
– Month £12.95
– Year £80.04 (equivalent of £6.67/month)
– Pay-As-You-Go £19.95 for 40 pages
Note, if you don’t wish to subscribe, check with your local society or library, as many of them do have a British Newspaper Archive subscription. So it might be worth paying a visit to them.

For those not familiar with the British Newspaper Archive, here’s a short video showing how to search for someone in the newspapers. Remember the more you understand “HOW” to search, the more  you’ll get out of it.

And back in June 2017 the British Newspaper Archive did an hour-long in-depth webinar, which is now available to watch on YouTube (or on the link below).This takes you through everything their website can do.