British Newspaper Archive

Image from the British Newspaper Archive

Over 7.5 million searchable pages, from more than 200 newspaper titles from UK and Ireland

The British Newspaper Archive can be used for free at the British Library’s Reading Rooms in St Pancras and Boston Spa. It is a priced service online but it is free to search.

What is it?

The British Newspaper Archive website gives access to over 7.5 million fully searchable pages, featuring more than 200 newspaper titles from every part of the UK and Ireland.

These newspapers – which mainly date from the 19th century, but which include runs dating back to the first half of the 18th century – cover every aspect of local, regional and national news.

This exciting new resource is published and managed by DC Thomson Family History, in collaboration with the British Library.

How do I use it?

  • Full text searching is available. You can refine your search to focus on:
  • Family notices – birth, marriage and death notices; related announcements such as engagements, anniversaries, in memoriam, birthdays and congratulations
  • Obituaries – a wealth of contemporary information on the lives of notable individuals and ancestors
  • News articles – national events, along with issues of local and regional importance – the first draft of history and a window into the world of the past
  • Illustrations – photographs, engravings, graphics, maps and editorial cartoons
  • Advertisements – including classifieds, shipping notices and appointments
  • Letters – letters to the editor written by readers – illuminating contemporary debates, aspirations and anxieties

What sort of stories can I find?

  • Exhaustive coverage of crime and punishment – from infamous murder trials to stories of men, women and children transported to Australia for minor thefts
  • Eyewitness accounts of social transformation – reports, commentary and letters to the editor on topics ranging from the railway mania of the mid-19th century to the expansion of the temperance movement
  • Illustrations and advertisements – the aspirations and anxieties of the time laid bare - everything from the latest fashion to miracle cures for baldness and venereal disease
  • Alongside first-hand accounts of events such as the wedding of Victoria and Albert and the Charge of the Light Brigade, these newspapers also provide countless vivid details of how our ancestors lived and died

What does it cost?

The British Newspaper Archive is free to search. To view the content in a newspaper page image, there is a choice of time-limited PPV (Pay Per View) or subscription packages.

There are two PPV options available: the £6.95 package that lasts for 48 hours and provides 500 credits, and the £29.95 package that lasts for 30 days and provides 3000 credits. The subscription package is priced £79.95 for one year. Items downloaded within the credit packages are free to view for two months after expiry of the package.

Will more newspapers be added?

The British Newspaper Archive is the result of a 10-year partnership between the British Library and DC Thomson Family History. The project will scan up to 40 million newspaper pages.

Most of the British Newspaper Archive features out-of-copyright material pre-dating 1900; however DC Thomson Family History has obtained permission from publishers to digitise some newspaper runs up to the mid-20th century.

The site will continue to grow as thousands of newly-scanned pages are uploaded daily.