British Newspaper Archive

Image from the British Newspaper Archive

Over 14 million searchable pages, from more than 640 newspaper titles from UK and Ireland

About the collection

These newspapers – which date from the early 18th century to the 1950s – cover every aspect of local, regional and national news.

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

Available stories include:

  • 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 Pay As You Go or subscription packages. The current pricing details are on the BNA subscriptions page.

What is available online?

The British Newspaper Archive website gives access to over 14 million fully searchable pages, featuring more than 640 newspaper titles from every part of the UK and Ireland.

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 is available in our Reading Rooms?

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.

Further information

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

How to guides

How to get a Reader Pass if you are Under 18

How to apply for an under-18 Reader Pass

Get a Reader Pass

A guide to how to obtain a British Library Reader Pass to use our reading rooms