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The British Newspaper Archive is 3 years old

It’s hard to believe, but The British Newspaper Archive has now reached the grand old age of three. We launched on 29 November 2011 with 4 million fully searchable historic newspaper pages and have come a long way since then.   Please click the image to enlarge it   A treasure trove of information You can now search more than 9 million pages, from over 300 British and Irish newspaper titles, spanning 1710-1954. Reading all of those pages would be

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11 unusual tales of terror from historical newspapers

The British Newspaper Archive is full of grisly stories about the unusual and the unexplained. We’ve selected some of the oddest tales, including a description of a monster with the head of a sea lion and a rumour that Germany was turning dead soldiers into explosives during WW1. Let us know if you’ve found a story to rival these. You can comment below or post on our Facebook page. 1) 1877: A bizarre 70-foot beast A very strange creature was sighted

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Thomas Selfridge, the first person to be killed in a powered aeroplane crash – 17 September 1908

On 17 September 1908 at Fort Myer, Virginia, Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge became the first person to die in a powered airplane crash – he was 26.   Read newspaper reports about the accident   Selfridge was a passenger on a plane (‘the Wright Flyer’) that was piloted by Orville Wright – reports say that the cause of the crash was a broken propeller. To mark this sad day, here is a newspaper story – published on 19 September 1908 –

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Mary Ward, the first person to be killed in a car accident – 31 August 1869

On 31 August 1869, Mary Ward (nee King) became the first person to die in a car accident in the UK and Ireland. It really was a terrible accident, with poor Mary falling under the wheel of the steam-powered vehicle, while it was negotiating a bend on the road near Parsonstown in County Offaly, Ireland.   Read newspaper reports about the accident   If you’re a genealogist and/or fan of the BBC TV programme Dr Who, you might be interested to know

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Bridget Driscoll: first pedestrian to be killed by a car – 17 August 1896

At the Crystal Palace in London on 17 August 1896, Bridget Driscoll of Croydon became the first pedestrian in the UK to be killed by a motor car – she was 44.   Read newspaper reports about the accident   Here is a newspaper story about the accident and also a report on the coroner’s inquest. Western Times – Wednesday 19 August 1896 Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. View the whole newspaper page    Sheffield Daily

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Monsieurs Rozier and Romain, the first people killed in an air accident – 15 June 1785

On 15 June 1785, Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier and Pierre Romain died when their hot air balloon (it was a mixture of hydrogen and hot air) exploded while they were attempting to cross the English Channel.   Read newspaper reports about the accident   To mark their bravery in attempting such a feat, we’ve posted a contemporary newspaper report about the tragedy.   Derby Mercury – Thursday 16 June 1785 Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. View

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