Where Can I Find Free Newspaper Archives Online in the UK?

George III (portrait by Allan Ramsay - PD-EXP)

George III (portrait by Allan Ramsay - PD-EXP)

There are literally billions of pages of newspaper archives available online.  Only a small portion of them are from the UK, and a still smaller portion can be viewed for free.  Nonetheless, the few free archives that are available from England, Scotland and Ireland are a rich source of history writ large and small.

Here are the best online free newspaper archives for the UK:

UK Gazettes offers a bit of  the unexpected…more than 350 years of the official government newspaper from London, Belfast and Edinburgh. The Advanced Search feature allows you to select historical events, such as World War I or II, the Great Fire of London (1666),  the  Death of Napoleon (1821), and famous battles from Trafalgar (1805) to the Falklands (1982).

British Newspapers 1800-1900, is a subscription archive from the British Library, but it contains two free titles:  Penny Illustrated (1861-1913) and The Graphic (1870-1900).  These are surprisingly rich resources, and worth an explore.

British Library Newspaper Archive is a pretty strange smattering of late 19th century and early 20th century newspapers. Coverage is very intermittent, and the search interface can only be called painful.  Includes some issues of the Manchester Guardian, News of the World, and a few others.

The Guardian.  Awkward searching (what is it with you Brits?), but free content for the 20th century.

NCSE: Nineteenth Century Serials Edition This is a pretty new and pretty significant addition to UK online archives, both newspapers and magazines, all available at no cost.  Includes the Monthly Repository (1806-1837) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Northern Star (1838-1852), Leader (1850-1860), English Woman’s Journal (1858-1864), Tomahawk (1867-1870). and Publishers’ Circular (1880-1890).

The Internet Library of Early Journals isn’t exactly a newspaper archive, but it’s worth noting just the same.  There are three publications from the 18th century:  Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Gentleman’s Magazine, and The Annual Register, along with another three from the 19th century, including Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine.  Good stuff.

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  • Ashley L. says:

    Not many people are interested in history now-a-days, they only care about the future.

  • Don F says:

    So why is Family History the 3rd (maybe 2nd now) most looked up on the Internet ?

  • john scully says:

    dear sir(s), i am trying to trace either `the evening news`, or `the evening standard` from involves the john reginald christie murder trial at west london magistrates court.the reason why i would like to see it online is because the trial involves my father PC michael scully,who was assisant jailer to christie .his name is mentioned on the front page of the paper,he says “stand up christie”.i know the year but not certain of month or day.i do have the original somewhere , but at present cannot find it.therefore i would be grateful if you could find it and put online please.john scully.

  • Peter Henry says:

    I am trying to trace newspaper reports in regard to an explosion caused by a fire involving an oxy-acetylene cylinder, in a private house, at Chinbrook Avenue, Grove Park, London SE. The incident occurred in 1952 about August/September period. Four firemen suffered serious burns. Were initially treated at Lewisham Hospital & the famous Queen Victoria Hosp’, at East Grinstead, which treated RAF aircrew during 1939-45 War, pioneered by Sir, Arcibald McIndoe. My Father John C. Henry one of London FB firecrew injured. Later, elected as GLC Councillor

  • eiffel says:

    Hi John,

    This is the kind of research that we can undertake at our Q&A website

  • eiffel says:

    Hi Peter,

    This is the kind of research that we can undertake at our Q&A website

  • gail arnold says:

    I am trying to find articles in Eastern Daily Press and Norfolk News for September 1894. Employee of T Matthews killed at work. A Gilding witness and inquest held.

  • Lee says:

    Hello all, I am trying to locate any free newspaper archive for the United Kingdom (preferably NorthWest UK) on the 10th October 1938.

    If anyone can help I would be extremely grateful.

    Please do not suggest as I have no intention in paying for an answer, if a person can’t provide an answer out of the goodness of their heart then it’s not worth having.

  • Scriptor says:

    “If a person can’t provide an answer out of the goodness of their heart then it’s not worth having” – interesting attitude. I would like to see you in the grocery store when you’re trying to explain that all the merchandise in your shopping cart should be given to you for free, out of the goodness of the manager’s heart.

  • davidsarokin says:

    You can search the archives of the Times of London at no cost and see a snippet of the articles. However, they charge a fee for viewing the full article. Best of luck…

  • davidsarokin says:

    Excellent new resource for 19th century Britain, but alas, not a freebie.

  • eiffel says:

    Hi Lee,

    Perhaps we can do a barter here.

    What types of services are you providing out of the goodness of your own heart, that we can exchange for the work that Uclue’s professional researchers do for a living?

  • Probo says:

    Here in the UK (Brighton & Hove), I can access several Archives courtesy of my local library.

    All I need is my Library Number and Voila! I can access The Times Digital Archive among others.

    However, I have also often used Uclue.

    Both are well worth checking.

  • Raymond HICKS says:

    Hi, what would have been the local or the most popular newspaper distributed in the Hammersmith area from mid 1700’s to late 1800’s?

  • David says:

    Raymond…Here’s a link to the papers held in the local archives in Hammersmith:

    That might get you started, and if you contact the Archives directly, they can probably offer some more insight as to popularity, and may have earlier papers as well.

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