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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

Locomotive steam carriage for common roads 1860

On 31 August 1869, Mary Ward (nee King) became the first person to die in a car accident in the Ireland and Great Britain. The terrible accident occurred in County Offaly in Ireland.  Mary Ward, along with Captain the Honourable Henry Ward, Honourable Randal and Clare Parsons, were travelling on a road locomotive steam-engine when it turned a sharp corner leading to Cumberland Street near Parsonstown.  The sharp turn caused Mrs Ward to fall forward to the ground and the vehicle

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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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