British photographic history

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Resources: British Newspaper Archive / extension and offer

Leading family history website Findmypast and the British Library have today announced an extension of their long term partnership; the British Newspaper Archive Originally launched in 2011, this ambitious ten-year project has delivered the most significant mass digitisation of newspapers the UK has ever seen. 

The British Newspaper Archive, now the largest online collection of British and Irish newspapers in the world, has published more than 42 million pages from over a thousand regional, national and speciality titles covering all corners of the UK, Ireland and beyond. 

Spanning four centuries and including 34,000 local, regional, national and international titles, the British Library holds one of the finest collections of newspapers on earth. Prior to digitisation, this vast cultural treasure was held entirely in hard copy and microfilm, necessitating travel and hours of painstaking manual research for anyone wishing to use the collection.

Large parts of this unparalleled resource have since been made available online for the first time, revolutionising access and searchability for users worldwide while reducing wear-and-tear on the Library’s fragile collection items. This includes hundreds of regional titles with long and rich heritages that capture changing times in local areas and communities across the centuries.

Now anyone from amateur researchers to academics can discover the billions of stories that lie within in just a few simple clicks, transforming their understanding of past events both great and small while adding color, context and depth to their research. 

Researcher Suzanne Williams, a student from Swansea said, “The British Newspaper Archive has been an amazing resource throughout my PhD research--I write about late nineteenth century music, and it's given me access to so much information, like details of events and people's opinions from all over Britain that simply aren't recorded anywhere other than in the press. To have that all in one place and so easily accessible is amazing.”

Today’s announcement will result in the online publication of a further 14 million pages over the next three years, including the addition of 1 million new free-to-access pages each year. 

With technology and processes becoming more efficient over time, Findmypast’s digitisation suite at the British Library’s Boston Spa site in West Yorkshire is now digitising the Library’s collection at an unprecedented rate. Since 2019 digitisation has increased dramatically, with over 5 million pages made available to search online in the past 12 months alone. Nearly every page is packed with new opportunities for discovery, containing an average of 80 names each. 

The partnership has already transformed access to this vital part of the national memory and is a much loved resource for historians, researchers, genealogists, students and many others that brings past events and people to life with great immediacy and in rich detail. As well as being available online via the British Newspaper Archive and Findmypast, the archive can also be searched for free by users of the British Library’s Reading Rooms in London and Yorkshire. 

Originally focused on specific geographic areas, along with periods such as the census years between 1841 and 1911 as well as key events and themes such as the Crimean War, the Boer War and the suffragette movement, the archive has since expanded dramatically scope and scale to form a digital “ archive of everything”, covering all facets of British and Irish life between 1699 and 2009. 

The extension of Findmypast’s partnership with the British Library as prefered digitisation partner for mass newspaper digitisation is further evidence of their proven track record of digitising archive materials, making them available to new audiences and preserving them for future generations. Although much of the content on the site is out of copyright, Findmypast have worked with rights holders to make a wide range of more recent content available too.

Offer

In celebration of their partnerships and everything the Archive has achieved so far, Findmypast are offering history enthusiasts the chance to explore this archive of everything with a discount 30% on all subscription options.  This limited time offer is available to all new and returning subscribers from Monday May 24th until midnight on Monday May 31st. Simply visit britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/account/subscribe  and enter the promotional code LIBRARY30 to claim your discount and open a window to four centuries of local, national and world history. 

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