British Newspapers, 1600-1900

British Newspapers, 1600-1900 image

The most comprehensive digital historic British newspaper archive in existence, with 3 million pages of historic newspapers, newsbooks and ephemera from national and regional papers.


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British Newspapers 1600-1900 is a major resource bringing together two collections of digitised newspapers:

The 17th and 18th Century Burney Collection of printed papers, held in the British Library, was initially assembled by the Reverend Charles Burney (1757-1817). Although the vast majority are newspapers, primarily from London, there are also some pamphlets, broadsides and books. This collection helps researchers to chart the development of the newspaper as we now know it, beginning with irregularly published transcriptions of parliamentary debates and proclamations to coffee house newsbooks, finally arriving at the newspaper in its current form. The collection includes 1,270 titles, and 1 million pages.

Strengths and weaknesses

Newspapers contain reports on a vast array of topics, providing a fascinating window on daily life as well as events of national and international importance. But many entries are very short and their provenance is not explained. Many papers borrowed extensively from each other, particularly during the 17th and 18th centuries, so there is considerable repetition, with provincial papers frequently repeating information in the London papers. Although the Burney Collection is the largest collection of surviving newspapers from the period to 1800, it is not comprehensive; missing copies and titles may be found in other libraries. Similarly, while it is the largest collection available, British Newspapers 1800-1900 contains only a very limited selection of the newspapers available during the period, although they have been selected with a view to ensuring broad coverage.

See the Burney About page and the Further information section of the 19th Century Collection website for more information.

Technical Methods

The underlying full text, on which searching is conducted, was produced using Optical Character Recognition (or OCR). OCR is not as accurate as the rekeying of text, particularly for earlier printed materials, but it allows the digitisation of material on the large scale required for a resource of this type.

About the project

The 17th and 18th Century Burney Collection was digitised through a partnership between the National Science Foundation and the British Library, and developed and hosted online by Gale Cengage Learning. British Newspapers 1800-1900 was digitised by the British Library with funding from JISC, and is also hosted by Gale Cengage Learning.


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Source Types

  • Newspapers


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Gale Cengage Learning

Cite this page:

"British Newspapers, 1600-1900" © University of Hertfordshire, University of London, University of Sheffield, 2011-2018; University of Sheffield 2019 (, version 1.0, 19 July 2024),