The British Newspaper Archive (BNA)

By Mrs Julie Martin


FHWA Library has two subscriptions to the British Newspaper Archive with the generous assistance of two of the FHWA Groups, Enrolled Pensioner Guard and Scottish.

You've found your ancestors, now flesh out their daily lives!

So, what is the BNA? - The British Newspaper Archive is a partnership between the British Library and Brightsolid Online Publishing to digitise up to 40 million newspaper pages from the British Library's vast collection over the next 10 years.

The BNA is the UK's answer to Australia's newspaper site, TROVE.

What makes this project so special?

Millions of pages of UK historical newspapers have been made available online for the first time ever and can be searched by keyword, name, location, date or title. Compare this with hours of painstaking manual searching through hard copies or microfilm often requiring a visit to the British Library in North London and it is easy to appreciate the ground breaking nature of this project.

What does the collection cover?

The British Library's newspaper collections are among the finest in the world, containing most of the runs of newspapers published in the UK since 1800. The scale of the newspaper publishing industry from the early 19th century onwards is enormous, with many cities and towns publishing several newspapers simultaneously, often aimed at distinct audiences depending on social status, geographical location and political affiliation. The first stage of this project focuses on runs published before 1900 and will include titles from cities such as Birmingham, Derby, Manchester, Nottingham, Norwich, Leeds and York, along with local titles from London boroughs. Newspapers which aimed for county circulation - from Staffordshire to Sussex - will also feature prominently, providing an unrivalled picture of provincial life spanning the whole of the 19th century.

What can be searched?

News Articles - read about national events, as well as issues of local and regional importance. News articles are your window into daily life in historical Britain.

Family Notices - search for your family's birth, marriage and death notices plus related announcements including engagements, anniversaries, birthdays and congratulations.

Letters - read letters to the editor written by the newspaper's readers, including illuminating contemporary debates, aspirations and anxieties.

Obituaries view a wealth of contemporary information on the lives of notable individuals and ancestors.Advertisements - these include classifieds, shipping notices and appointments, illustrations. See photographs, engravings, graphics, maps and editorial cartoons.

How is it accessed?

You can search the BNA at home - simply visit the website at and become a member by completing the registration form.You'll then be able to access the free pages that are included in the Timeline - these free pages are refreshed on a regular basis.

You'll also have access to your personal "My Research" area to keep track of your searches and bookmark your viewed items into folders and the ability to add personal My Notes to items in your My Research area to help enrich your research.

When you come into FHWA, simply sign in using your registration details and you'll be able to access all your saved searches and print out or save to a thumb drive any items you want to add to your records.

There are other subscription sites available at the Library, to see what we have click here:  Library Subscription Sites


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