Browse The British Newspaper Archive

british newspaper archive

Leading family history service Findmypast and The British Library have today announced an extension of their long-term partnership, the British Newspaper Archive.

The announcement will result in the online publication of a further 14 million pages over the next three years — including the addition of 1 million new free-to-access pages each year. This will provide users with countless new opportunities to discover something new from more than 300 years of newsprint.

About the British Newspaper Archive

Originally launched in 2011, this ambitious ten-year project has delivered the most significant mass digitisation of newspapers the UK has ever seen.

Previously, this vast cultural treasure existed entirely in hard copy and microfilm. This meant hours of travel and painstaking manual research for anyone wishing to explore its contents.

Now anyone, anywhere in the world, can uncover millions of articles across hundreds of titles in just a few simple clicks.

The British Newspaper Archive has seen more visitors than ever over the last year. This suggests that many are taking lockdown as an opportunity to discover history for themselves.

Newspapers are a rich resource for anyone researching their family

Findmypast is now digitising over 100,000 newspaper pages a week, largely from existing microfilm. The service is now providing online access to over 22,000 new pages each day on both and That’s the equivalent of over 900 pages every hour.

Tamsin Todd, CEO of Findmypast:

“Newspapers are such a rich resource for anyone researching their family. They let us see history through the eyes of those who lived it, and deepen our understanding of their day to day lives. I am incredibly proud of Findmypast’s role in preserving historical newspapers and ensuring they are easily accessible through the British Newspaper Archive.”

Findmypast’s use of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and machine learning has made newspaper research accessible to all. Users can search billions of lines of printed text by name, date, keyword or phrase, all from home.

The archive is currently home to more than 42 million fully searchable pages over a thousand regional, national and specialty titles. Its ever expanding digital catalogue dates from 2009 all the way back to 1699.

Every corner of the British Isles is covered, alongside former British territories including Canada, New Zealand, India, and Jamaica.

History at your fingertips

Subscribers to the archive can browse articles on everything from the Napoleonic Wars to old sporting fixtures and political debates.

There really is something for everyone. And whether they are searching on a personal or historical level, users will find themselves transported straight back to scenes of infamous crimes, social deprivation and church meetings from hundreds of years ago.

The archive is available online via the British Newspaper Archive and Findmypast. Users can also search records for free in the British Library’s Reading Rooms in London and Yorkshire.

Transforming access and preserving our past

The British Library holds a copy of almost every British newspaper published since 1840. It also holds a wide variety of earlier publications dating back to the early 18th century.

The papers are kept on 9.6 km of shelving at the Library’s 40 acre storage facility in West Yorkshire.

Each volume is retrieved by autonomous hydraulic arms before being delivered via driverless shuttle to Findmypast’s digitisation team.

The team then create permanent digital images that will never decay or fade, preserving this important record of our cultural heritage for future generations.

For more from our colleagues at Findmypast, click the tag below.

For content from “The People’s Friend” Archives, click here.

Iain McDonald

Iain is Digital Content Editor at the "Friend", making him responsible for managing flow of interesting and entertaining content on the magazine's website and social media channels.