Newspapers

We aim to acquire all newspapers published in the United Kingdom and in the Republic of Ireland, and our collections of newspapers from the British Isles are the finest in the world

About the collection

We hold over 34,000 titles from the UK and overseas, or 60 million individual issues. The newspaper collection includes the ongoing legal deposit collection of UK and Irish newspapers.

The collection was founded on two special collections of early English newspapers: the Thomason Tracts which contains newspapers and news-books from the English Civil War period and the Burney Collection of newspapers 1603-1818, collected by the Revd Doctor Charles Burney (1757-1817).

The collection of British newspapers is fairly comprehensive from the 1840s onwards.

Since 1869 British and Irish newspapers have been received through legal deposit by which publishers are required to send one copy of each issue to the British Library. The collection includes full runs of the main London edition of all the British national daily and Sunday newspapers. Most daily and weekly provincial newspapers are also held including some from the early 18th century onwards.

Newspapers are acquired selectively from overseas, in English and other European languages. This includes an extensive collection of newspapers from Commonwealth countries which were formerly received through colonial copyright deposit.

Currently about 1,400 UK and Irish newspaper titles are received on a daily or weekly basis, and nearly 100 titles from overseas.

The newspapers are held in print form (over 660,000 volumes, boxes or parcels of newspapers), as microfilm copies (630,000 reels), and as digital copies (over 20 million digitised pages).

What is available online?

Digitised newspapers can be viewed online via the British Newspaper Archive, a site developed in partnership with Findmypast, which has newspapers from across the UK, primarily for the 19th century but with a growing number of issues from the first half of the 20th century. Searching is free, but to view the newspapers requires a personal subscription. The BNA can be viewed for free in our Reading Rooms.

We subscribe to a range of electronic resources including major UK national and international newspapers.
 

What is available in our Reading Rooms?

British Library newspapers are also available online through British Newspapers 1600-1950 and other packages, available from Gale Digital Collections for subscribing institutions. These can be viewed for free in our Reading Rooms.

How to guides

Researching television and radio news

We have been recording television and radio news programmes broadcast in the UK since May 2010 - only accessible in our Reading Rooms

Researching newspapers

There are online newspaper resources available in the Newsroom, including both UK and international newspapers.

Get a Reader Pass

A guide to how to obtain a British Library Reader Pass to use our Reading Rooms

Find and request Lord Chamberlain's Plays

How to locate items in our largest single manuscript collection

Guide to Explore Archives and Manuscripts

A guide to help you use the catalogue, covering: login, search, how to manage your results, how to browse the collections and how to request items

How to reuse images of unpublished manuscripts

Guide to the copyright of unpublished documents

About Explore Archives and Manuscripts

With Explore Archives and Manuscripts you can search for information about our rich and unique archive and manuscript collections.

Access manuscripts and archives

Accessing manuscripts and archives and obtaining a Letter of introduction or recommendation

How to get a Reader Pass if you are under 18

How to apply for an under 18 Reader Pass