A Researcher’s Guide Across UK Newspapers

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Online UK Newspaper Collections

Searching for newspaper articles and specific archives about the history of the press can be quite challenging and labor-intensive. This is especially true if you are looking for official government newspapers. However, online platforms have made the process easier and less time-consuming. In fact, there are numerous online UK newspaper collections which are the best place to start your search. Some of these collections are available for free while others require institutional subscriptions. For your research, you can resort to the following websites: Belfast Gazette, Edinburgh Gazette, London Gazette, Welsh Newspapers Online, British Newspaper Archive, ProQuest Historical Newspapers, 19th century British Library Newspapers, and finally 17th and 18th century Burney Collection newspapers.

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Paid Vs Free UK Newspaper Archive Sites

Charge-free websites include the Belfast, Edinburgh, and London Gazettes that are available on The Gazette website. The London Gazette is the official record of the UK government with publications relating to England and Wales. On the other hand, the Belfast and Edinburgh Gazettes hold records of Northern Ireland and Scotland respectively. You can also access the Welsh Newspapers Online for free to obtain publications between 1804 and 1919 but ordering copies of your article requires paying a set fee. The British Newspaper Archive and the ProQuest Historical Newspapers are websites that require subscription charges. On the British Newspaper Archive website, you can search for free but viewing the newspapers requires payment. However, you can freely view them in their Reading Rooms. In addition, the British Newspaper Archive offers UK newspapers published in the 19th century and first half of the 20th century. Other options include the 19th century British Library newspapers and, for previous time periods, you can resort to the 17th and 18th century Burney Collection newspapers.

UK Newspaper Archives_ArticleFinding UK Newspaper Archives NOT Online

Some UK newspapers are not available online. To access them, you can resort to the following libraries: British Library Newspapers, The National Library of Wales, National Library of Scotland, Belfast Central Library, and the National Library of Ireland. At the British Library Newspapers, you need to know beforehand where and when the articles you are looking for were published since their newspaper articles are not indexed. Additionally, the Find an Archive tool can offer you more information about contacting a specific library or local archive depending on the desired area and type of archive requested.

Government Gazettes and Their Use in UK Newspaper Research

At The National Archives, you can find government gazettes by specifying the area you looking in. However, to view them, you need to visit The National Archives in Kew. It is advisable to start an online search for government gazettes using the official Gazette website, but The National Archives is also a helpful resource. In general, UK government gazettes contain publications on royal legislations, new appointments, commissions, granting of military awards, and many more royal announcements. The UK Gazette website offers information on awards or accreditations, company profiles, wills, and insolvency notices. It also dates back to 1665. To search the platform, you first choose a category from the aforementioned and then enter more specific data. For example, you can specify the UK gazette edition in which the newspaper may be found and indicate the publication date timeframe. Other information can be entered in the text search box. Moreover, the Gazette offers The Gazette Research service which consists of filling an online form with information about your name and address in addition to name of the person or company you are interested in. However, this service requires payment.

Researching the History of the Press to Locate UK Newspapers

In case you are interested in researching the history of the press, it is advised to start with publications in books and directories. These include the Encyclopedia of the British press by Dennis Griffiths (Macmillan, 1992), Read all about it! A history of the British newspaper by Kevin Williams (Routledge, 2009), Benn’s media (1975-present), Willing’s press guide (1928-present), and Mitchell’s newspaper press directory (1846-1907). Furthermore, you can use The National Archives’ library catalogue. It allows you to search by the name of the title, author, subject, and other options that would direct your research in the vast bibliography available online. Another resourceful database is Scoop!. This platform offers its users access to the biographies of British and Irish journalists upon subscription. In addition, the biographies contain the major events and dates associated with a journalist’s name. As such, it’s an invaluable resource for genealogical studies and property history searches.
You use the Discovery catalogue in The National Archives to find archives of records related to the history of the press. Other archives that can assist you as well are The Stationers’ Company, British Cartoon Archive, and the Scottish Archive of Print and Publishing History Records.


If you are looking for online newspapers in England, then the London Gazette on The Gazette website is the best place to start. Other resources include the ProQuest Historical Newspapers which allows you to search The Guardian (1821-2003) and The Observer (1791-2003). The British Newspaper Archive is also a place to search for newspapers that cover national and regional events, family notices, readers’ letters, obituaries, and advertisements. During the initial construction of the archive, it focused on publications dating before 1900 in cities of England like Derby, Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham, Norwich, Leeds, and York, in addition to local areas in London. Hence, you are likely extensive information about historical newspapers in England there but for a fee. In case the newspapers are not available online, you can always resort to The British Library in London. Furthermore, there is an extensive list of local online newspapers specific to Northern and Southern England found on the website of British Media Online.

Researching the history of the press is accessible through the books and encyclopedias available in local libraries or through the Discovery catalogue in The National Archives, which helps you narrow your search to England specifically.

Northern Ireland

The Belfast Gazette on The Gazette website gives users information about newspapers published in North Ireland for free. Charges apply for researching the ProQuest Historical Newspapers, specifically the Irish Times (1859-2018) and Weekly Irish Times (1876-1958). Other online newspapers that can be useful include the Irish Newspaper Archives and the Belfast Telegraph. On the other hand, if the records you are trying to retrieve are not found online, then you can resort to the services offered by the Belfast Central Library and the National Library of Ireland. At the National Library of Ireland, most newspapers are digitized or available in microfilm. You can specify the city in Northern Ireland that you are ae interested in and gain access to many articles. It is also possible to learn more about the history of a specific press by obtaining information related to the names of Irish journalists through the platform, Scoop!. Additionally, the website British Media Online offers online local newspapers specific to Northern Ireland such as the Belfast Telegraph, Larne Gazette, Ulster Gazette, and The Irish News.


Free online platforms that provide newspapers related to Wales include the London Gazette and the Welsh Newspapers Online. Moreover, The National Library of Wales can be a useful resource for obtaining records that are not accessible online. Through it, you can obtain free information related to Welsh archives, manuscripts, photographs, pictures, crimes, wills, and newspapers. You can even find a digital collection documenting the elusive history of the First World War. Accessing the library is free and allows you to search and view articles in the Reading Rooms. In case you are researching the history of the press, then you can always find the information you need in the books and collections offered at the library or by using the Discovery catalogue in The National Archives to search archives related to Wales specifically. The website British Media Online can also help you find local newspapers available online for Wales including BBC News Wales, Cambridge Gem, Wales Online, South Wales Argus, and the Penarth Times.


The Edinburgh Gazette on The Gazette website can offer researchers free online access to newspapers in Scotland. Also, The Scotsman (1817-1950), provided by the ProQuest Historical Newspapers is a subscription-based website that can be helpful. For newspaper articles that are difficult to obtain through an online search, a researcher can use the archives at The National Library of Scotland. At the library, there is a large collection of catalogues and databases available. These include manuscripts, information on Scots overseas, a Scottish book published between 1505 and 1700, and a guide to Scottish newspaper indexes. Interestingly, the newspaper guide offered allows you to browse by the names of the Scottish area you are looking into. The options include Fife, Shetland, Highland, Lothian, and many more. Moreover, researching the history of the press is possible through the Scottish Archive of Print and Publishing History Records. The website British Media Online is useful for finding online local newspapers published in Scotland like The Glasgow Herald, Galloway Gazette, The Galloway News, Scotland, and The Northern Times.

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