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Where can I find historic local newspapers in North Yorkshire?
Libraries in North Yorkshire continue to collect and preserve local newspapers, including the free advertisers. This page lists all the collections we hold, including major historical titles relevant to the area.
Newspapers are a great source of information for the local historian. In 1605 Nathaniel Butter printed single sheets publicising details of sensational Yorkshire trials. Local gentry employed agents to send the London news to their country estates and news agencies reported the latest events from the continent. By the eighteenth century provincial publishers had set up local presses to meet a growing demand for news. This was mainly national news, though the amount of local news steadily increased.
Abolition of excise and stamp duties from the 1830s onwards led to a proliferation of local newspapers. Towns such as Harrogate and Scarborough had several titles, the Advertiser, Gazette, Herald, Mercury and Post, all in commercial and political competition. Today many separate local editions of the same title can be published, highlighting the events of particular towns and villages.
In the pages of local newspapers, researchers can discover the circumstances behind the lives of individuals within the community: births and deaths; reports of crimes; leisure activities; agricultural prices; the coming of the railways; emigration; and war. There are advertisements for: private schools; small businesses; circulating libraries; purveyors of patent medicines; and much more.
Historical newspaper collections
Libraries in North Yorkshire continue to collect and preserve all local newspapers, including the free advertisers. Major historical files include (earliest date shown):
Many more newspapers are stored on microfilm or microfiche. Some titles are held in the original form before they are microfilmed as part of an on-going preservation program. These local newspapers include (earliest date shown):
Please note that the newspaper runs may not be complete.
Most of the local newspapers are available on microfilm at the relevant library. It is important to reserve a microfilm reader in advance of a visit. The staff will be pleased to assist with information on opening hours and booking procedures. The main reference libraries have a microfilm reader-printer and copies of the newspaper entries can be made for a small charge.
Please contact the relevant local library for full opening times, access, booking and other details.
National collection of newspapers at the British Library
The British Library Newspaper Reading Rooms at Colindale, North London, provide access to most of the British Library's major collections of British and overseas newspapers. The collections also include popular magazines, trade papers and comics. For more information, see the British Library Newspaper Reading Room website.
The Newsplan project in Yorkshire and Humberside
The Newsplan project provides access to history through local newspapers in the Yorkshire and Humber regions. It is a co-operative programme involving public libraries, universities and newspaper publishers, with active support from the British Library.
Newsplan works to preserve, list and microfilm the historic runs of local newspapers held in the region and in the national library collection. In doing this, librarians have found previously unknown titles held in private collections and these have been added to the programme.
For more information and to access the collections see the Newsplan website.
You can find more information about historical newspapers in the following publications: