Breaking the News

Open until Sun 21 Aug 2022
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News has the power to make and break elections. Turn everyday people into overnight superstars. And bring them crashing back down to earth.

This exhibition is now closed.

We base our opinions, decisions and arguments on it. It shapes the world around us – and the way we make sense of it.

But can it ever be truly objective? And is the news you consume the same as everyone else’s?

Challenge and change the way you think about news

This exhibition prompts big questions about the news we consume:

  • How do your opinions and beliefs influence the news you choose?
  • When does news become propaganda?
  • Why do we devour crime stories and sensationalism?
  • Who decides which stories to suppress and which to spotlight?

From the Great Fire of London to #BlackLivesMatter

Explore five centuries of UK news through broadsheets, blogs and objects from our own collection and re-examine era-defining stories close-up.

From reporting on Jack the Ripper to the Profumo Affair. Covert newspapers operating under Nazi suppression. Or political power struggles faced by Margaret Thatcher. And coverage of the Grenfell Tower fire to the war in Syria. Plus chart the rise of social media with fallouts from the celebrity clashes of #WagathaChristie to public outrage in light of the boy on the hospital floor.

Doomscroll. Debate. Disagree.

The news is where conflicting ideas and ideologies are held up and fought over. But it can also kick-start movements. Entertain and uplift us. And change the world for the better.

We argue about it, but we’d be lost without it.

So what really lies behind the headlines?

Book your ticket today to find out.

Supported by:

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Ticket prices and concessions

Book your ticket in advance and save £2 (discount included in the prices below).

  On the door Advance booking
  Mon–Wed* Thu–Sun  Mon–Wed* Thu–Sun 
Full price  £18 £18 £16  £16 
Member Free  Free  Free  Free 
Senior (60+) £9  £18 £8  £16
Student  £8  £16 £7  £14
Young person (18-25) £8 £16  £7  £14 
Registered unemployed  £8  £16 £7 £14
Disabled  £8  £8 £6 £6
National Art Pass £9 £9 £9 £9
National Art Pass senior  £8  £8 £8 £8
Child (011)   Free  Free  Free  Free 
Child (1217)   £9  £9 £7 £7
Reciprocal entry (NDMC)  Free Free Free Free

*Excludes bank holidays and school holidays.

Content warning: this exhibition considers the reporting of a wide range of news stories over 500 years. A small number of items relate to news stories about child abuse, sexual assault, genocide, extreme violence and racism. Some include images of dead or naked bodies. The language and tone used in some of the reporting may be considered discriminatory, harmful, or offensive.

Please note you may be asked for proof of concession on arrival.

Pre-booking your visit helps us manage our capacity and offer the best possible visitor experience by keeping you updated with information before your visit. We want as many people as possible to have the chance to see our exhibitions so, like many other museums and galleries, we’re offering discounts to those more able to visit outside of our most in-demand days, helping to increase our capacity during our busiest periods for those who can’t. 

Free carer tickets are available by contacting the Box Office on 01937 546546.

We’re continuing to follow government guidance to keep everyone safe. Find out how we’re welcoming you to the Library safely.


To reduce contact in our galleries, physical copies of large print guides won’t be available. You can still view a digital copy of the Breaking the News large print guide (PDF) that you can look at on a smartphone or tablet, or print out before your visit.

Temperature in the Gallery

You may find the gallery cooler and darker than other areas of the Library. This controlled environment protects any items that may fade, discolour, or be damaged in bright light or humid conditions. We recommend bringing an extra layer for your comfort. 


Name: Breaking the News
Where: PACCAR 1
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546
Book now