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This project will revolutionise scholarly research bringing richer results with precision and speed at the click of a mouse.

British Library 19th-century newspapers

Latest News (April 2010): This project was completed in Autumn 2007, and 2m pages of digitised newsprint are now freely available to the FE and HE communities. A further 1m pages was added in March 2010. Access is via institutional gateways

Watch a video about the entire resource

Overview

10 billion words and 2 million pages are being digitised from complete runs of 19th century local, regional and national British newspapers.

Iconic historical events will be amply represented from the Battle of Waterloo, the Great Exhibition of 1851 to the opening of the Suez Canal. Read the factual reporting of the Battle of Trafalgar in the Examiner and the gory details of the Whitechapel murders in the melodramatic Illustrated Police News to name but a few. Many famous authors of the 19th century period wrote for newspapers, and their work is represented, Dickens and Thackeray included.

The project

Titles have been selected to reflect both the full chronological span of the era and the geographical spread of the UK and include the Examiner, the Pall Mall Gazette, the Chartist and many others. These will be made available to further and higher education in a form that allows an unprecedented degree of cross-referencing across almost every imaginable discipline.

Until now, researchers wishing to consult this material have had to journey to the British Library’s newspaper collection at Colindale, London, and search by manually turning pages or poring over microfilm frame by frame. This project will revolutionise scholarly research bringing richer results with precision and speed at the click of a mouse.

Users can choose to limit their searches to specific newspapers or search across the entire range, allowing immediate like-for-like comparisons of the same subject’s treatment by different titles. The retrieved articles can be viewed in a text version or in the context of its original page layout. Captions and advertisements will also be searchable.

Users will be able to examine the minutiae of daily life in Victorian Britain through columns packed full of source material for the histories of popular culture, including sport, fashion, politics, war and advertising. Typographical trends and developments in design and publishing can be tracked in the primary material itself as layouts change due to technical developments during the century.

The content

The list of titles below is only a small part of a much wider selection.

TitleDates of publicationPlace of publication
The Aberdeen Journal 1800-23 Aug 1876 Aberdeen
Aberdeen Weekly Journal 30 Aug 1876-1900  
Baner Cymru 4 Mar 1857-28 Sep 1859
Baner ac Amserau Cymru 5Oct 1859-1900  
The Belfast News-Letter 1800-1900 Belfast
Birmingham Daily Post 4 Dec 1857-1900 Birmingham
Brighton Patriot and Lewes Free Press etc 24 Feb 1835-28 Jun 1836 Brighton
Brighton Patriot and South of England Free Press 5 Jul 1836-13 Aug 1839  
The Bristol Mercury 1800-29 Dec 1877 Bristol
The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post 26 Jan 1878-1900  
Caledonian Mercury 1800-27 Aug 1859 Edinburgh
The Caledonian Mercury and Daily Express 29 Aug 1859-21 Feb 1860  
The Caledonian Mercury  22 Feb 1860-20 Apr 1867  
The Champion 18 Sep-14 Mnov 1836 London
The Champion and Weekly Herald 20 Nov 1836-26 Apr 1840  
The Charter 27 Jan 1839-15 Mar 1840 London
The Chartist 2 Feb-7 Jul 1839 London
The Chartist Circular 28 Sep 1839-18 Sep 1841 Glasgow
Cobbett's Annual Register 1 Jan 1802-3 Mar 1804 London
Cobbett's Weekly Political Register 17 Mar 1804-17 Sep 1836  
Daily News 21 Jan 1846-1900 London
The Derby Mercury 1800-1900 Derby
The Examiner 3 Jan 1808-26 Feb 1881 London
The Public Register or Freeman's Journal 1800-27 Apr 1802 Dublin
Freeman's Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser 11 Jul 1807-1900  
Y Genedl Cymreig 8 Feb 1877-1900 Caernarvon
Glasgow Advertiser 26 Aug 1805-1900 Glasgow
Y Goleuad 30 Oct 1869-1900 Caernarvon
The Graphic 1 Jan 1870-1900 London
Portsmouth Telegraph or Mottley's Naval and Military Journal 1800-8 Feb 1802 Portsmouth
Mottley's Telegraph and Portsmouth Gazette 15-22 Feb 1802  
Hampshire telegraph & Portsmouth Gazette 1 Mar 1802-4 Jul 1803  
Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle etc 11 Jul 1803-7 Oct 1899  
Hampshire Telegraph and Naval Chronicle 14 Oct 1899-1900  
The Hull Packet 1800-30 Jun 1807 Hull
The Hull Packet and Original Weekly Commercial, Literary and General Advertiser 7 Jul 1807-6 Nov 1827  
The Hull Packet and Humber Mercury 13 Nov 1827-5 Apr 1833  
The Hull Packet 12 Apr 1833-18 Nov 1842  
The Hull Packet and East Riding Times 25 Nov 1842-26 Feb 1886  
The Illustrated Police News etc 20 Feb 1864-1900 London
The Ipswich Journal 1800-1900 Ipswich
Jackson's Oxford Journal 1800-28 May 1898 Oxford
Oxford Journal and County News 4 Jun-3 Sep 1898  
Jackson's Oxford Journal 10 Sep 1898-1900  
The Leeds Mercury 3 Jan 1807-1900 Leeds
Liverpool Mercury etc 5 Jul 1811-1900 Liverpool
Lloyd's Illustrated London Newspaper 27 Nov 1842-8 Jan 1843 London
Lloyd's Weekly London Newspaper 15 Jan 1843-27 Aug 1848  
Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper 14 Jan 1849-1900  
The London Dispatch and People's Political and Social Reformer 17 Sep 1836-6 Oct 1839 London
Manchester Daily Times 12 Dec 1854-15 Jun 1855 Manchester
Manchester Daily Examiner & Times 18 Jun 1855-3 Jan 1874  
Manchester Examiner & Times 5 Jan 1874-20 Jan 1894  
Manchester Examiner  22 Jan-10 Mar 1894  
The Morning Chronicle Jan 1801-19 Mar 1862 London
The Newcastle Courant etc 1800-27 Jun 1884 Newcastle-upon-Tyne
The Newcastle Weekly Courant 24 Jul 1884-1900  
North Wales Chronicle 4 Oct 1827-1900 Bangor
Northern Echo 1 Jan 1870-1900 Darlington
The Northern Liberator 21 Oct 1837-23 May 1840 Newcastle-upon-Tyne
The Northern Liberator and Champion 30 May-19 Dec 1840  
The Northern Star and Leeds General Advertiser 6 Jan 1838-23 Nov 1844 Leeds
The Northern Star and National Trades' Journal 30 Nov 1844-13 Mar 1852  
The Star and National Trades' Journal 20 Mar-1 May 1852  
The Star of Freedom 8 May-27 Nov 1852  
The Odd Fellow 5 Jan 1839-10 Dec 1842 London
The Operative 4 Nov 1838-30 Jun 1839 London
The Pall Mall Gazette 7 Feb 1865-1900 London
The Poor Man's Guardian 9 Jul 1831-26 Dec 1835 London
The Preston Guardian etc 10 Feb 1844-1900 Preston
Reynolds's Weekly News 5 May 1850-9 Feb 1851 London
Reynolds's Newspaper 16 Feb 1851-1900  
The Southern Star and London and Brighton Patriot 19 Jan-12 Jul 1840 London
The Era 30 Sep 1838-1900 London
Trewman's Exeter Flying Post or Plymouth and Cornish Advertiser 1 Jan 1807-1900 Exeter
Western Mail 1 May 1869-1900 Cardiff

This is only a small selection from the many titles to be included.

 

Browse the full list of titles

The process 

The content and design of the eventual interface is being guided by a user panel with significant research experience in the field of 19th- century newspapers.

The team is striving to create microfilm of the highest quality possible for digitisation, and is using state-of-the-art German-made cameras to ensure consistency of lighting and resolution. The British Library aims for compliance with internationally recognised standards and the British Newspapers project will follow these conventions.

Project Staff

Jane Shaw, Project Manager
British Newspapers 1800-1900
The British Library
Colindale Avenue
London
NW9 5HE
T +44 (0)20 7412 7365
Email: jane.shaw@bl.uk

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