Today we have released one million new free to view pages on The Archive, meaning that we now have a total of nearly 3.5 million free to view pages all now available as part of our collection.
These pages have been brought to you thanks to our partnership with the British Library. Both the British Newspaper Archive and the British Library are committed to making historic resources available to more and more people, and these 3.4 million free to view pages represent a significant effort in widening public access to papers from the past.
The Free To View Collection
The first free to view pages were added to The Archive in 2021, with another set added again in 2022. All these pages, including the ones added this year, have been carefully chosen and curated by the British Library, and represent a broad range of titles. These newspaper pages cover the United Kingdom, Ireland, and beyond, whilst also serving a variety of special interest topics.
Our free to view pages this year are selected from two main British Library projects, which are:
- Nineteenth Century Newspapers – funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee, this was the British Library’s first major newspaper digitisation programme and incorporated titles from the nineteenth century
- Heritage Made Digital – an ongoing British Library project with the aim of making a variety of different British Library collections, including books, manuscripts and sound recordings, available online
Meanwhile, the British Newspaper Archive and the British Library are committed to adding millions more free to view pages in the coming years, so watch out for another update in 2024.
Accessing the Collection
Accessing our free to view collection is easy. All you need to do is to register a free account with us, and then filter your results by access type ‘Free to View.’ You can also select the ‘Free to View’ pages on the advanced search page.
An Overview of This Year’s Free to View Pages
This year’s additions to the free to view collection represent just over one hundred years of headlines from the British Library’s holdings, spanning the years between 1798 and 1900.
These pages hail from titles published in the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Antigua. Our Antigua title joins other publications from India and Jamaica as part of our free to view collection, to help tell the often confronting story of the British Empire.
Our free to view titles this year also include a range of special interest titles, which speak to subjects as diverse as the history of the Labour movement in Wales, the practice of medicine in nineteenth century Ireland, and Scotland’s property market in the Victorian era.
To give you a flavour of some of the fascinating titles brought to you by the British Library as part of this year’s free to view release, we at The Archive have selected some of our favourites and listed them below. You can find a full list of titles included in this release at the end of this blog.
This year’s free to view release brings you some big and bold national titles. These include the Daily News, a Liberal rival to Tory morning newspapers, which was established in 1846 with none other than Charles Dickens as its founding editor, and fellow Liberal and at times radical paper Reynolds’s Newspaper, which was a Sunday publication.
Meanwhile, another London-based national title joins our free to view pages, namely The Era. The Era was founded in 1838 as a Liberal general newssheet, but by the end of the century, its focus was mainly on sport and the theatre.
Representing Ireland, we are delighted to have pages from the Freeman’s Journal join our free to view collection. Once ‘the leading Irish newspaper,’ the Freeman’s Journal was founded in 1763 and went on to play a pivotal role in the Home Rule movement.
All these titles are now free to view up to the year 1900.
Different regions of the United Kingdom and beyond are also represented in this year’s free to view update. The ‘oldest established paper’ in Derbyshire, the Derby Mercury, forms part of the collection, with a whole century’s worth of news now becoming free to view.
Another historic regional English newspaper joining the free to view collection is the Ipswich Journal, which was founded all the way back in 1702.
It’s not just English language pages joining our free to view collection. We have a trio of Welsh language titles added in this year’s update, which are Seren Cymru (founded 1851), Y Genedl Gymreig (founded 1877) and Y Goleaud (founded 1869).
We step, meanwhile, into the Isle of Man and Guernsey, as the Isle of Man Times (launched 1847, and relaunched 1861) and The Star (one of Guernsey’s oldest titles, which was launched in 1813) join our free to view pages.
The Commonwealth and Beyond
Shedding light on the history of various Commonwealth countries, the Leeward Islands Gazette forms part of our newly added free to view pages. The Leeward Islands Gazette was published in St. John’s, Antigua, from 1872 and was the government gazette of Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and the Virgin Islands.
Our free to view pages this year also help to tell the stories of those who emigrated from the United Kingdom and Ireland in the Victorian era. London-based American Settler provided a guide for British and Irish emigrants to the United States, whilst Glasgow-based McPhun’s Australian News gave information regarding Australia’s ‘commercial progress,’ with particular emphasis on the discovery of gold in the country.
Such titles bring us nicely on to some of the more specialist publications that are joining our free to view collection this year. For instance, the British Yachtsman was published in London and provided information for yacht builders and buyers, whilst the Glasgow Property Circular was the ‘only property and investment newspaper in Scotland’ during the latter half of the nineteenth century.
Other specialist titles added to our free to view collection this year are the Dublin Hospital Gazette, which was published ‘for the cultivation and improvement of practical medicine and surgery,’ and for those involved in the brewing trade in the Victorian era, came the Leeds-based Holmes’ Brewing Trade Gazette.
Rounding off our specialist titles highlights is Cardiff’s Labour Pioneer, which was the ‘organ of the Cardiff Socialist Party’ and was founded in 1900.
Start Your Search Today
There’s so much to discover in our free to view collection. These fascinating pages can be searched here, and we’d love to hear what discoveries you’ve made from them.
As promised, here is the full list of all the titles and year ranges that form part of the 2023 free to view release.
We will be back next year with another set of free to view pages, and so, in the meantime, we wish you happy searching.