Newspaper Collections

Historic Newspapers Online

You can search the following historic newspapers online at Devon Heritage Centre in Exeter, and North Devon Record Office in Barnstaple.    Some of the websites are also available through public libraries run by Devon County Council Libraries Service within the county of Devon, and at libraries in Plymouth and Torbay Council areas.  Others are also available at home, either free of charge or by subscription.

If you are a registered member of Devon libraries you can also access two of the sites – the Nineteenth Century British Library Newspapers and the Times Digital Archive - at home through the Devon County Council Libraries website, free of charge, by using your library card number and PIN number.

British Newspaper Archive

This recently launched website contains images of many historic regional and local newspapers from the British Library’s collections, with more being added all the time.  It is being created through 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.

Some of the content duplicates that which is on the 19th century British Library Newspapers site (see below), but it also contains many newspapers which are unavailable online anywhere else.  

The Devon newspapers included on this website as at November 2013 are as follows:

  • Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 1827 – 1950
  • Exeter and Plymouth Gazette Daily Telegrams 1869 – 1885
  • (Trewman’s) Exeter Flying Post 1800 - 1900
  • North Devon Journal 1824-1950
  • Western Times 1827-1950
  • Western Morning News  1921-1950

Other South-west England newspapers which often contained Devon news articles and are found on this website include:

  • Sherborne Mercury (Sherborne, Dorset) 1789-1867
  • Somerset County Gazette (Taunton) 1839-1878
  • Western Gazette (Yeovil) 1863-1950
  • Western Daily Press  (Bristol)  1858-1949
  • West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser (Truro) 1862-1912
  • Cornishman (Penzance) 1878-1950

Note that the website provides an alphabetical list of all newspaper titles available through the site.

Searching the index is free to all users, but you have to pay for full access – i.e. to download the digitised/scanned copies of newspaper articles, unless you have free access or a subscription, as described here:

  • Free access to the British Newspaper Archive is now available to visitors through our Find My Past subscription at Devon Heritage Centre at Sowton, Exeter and at North Devon Record Office, Barnstaple.  
  • If you already have a home subscription to Find My Past.co.uk, you will also have free access to the British Newspaper Archive website.  
  • Access to this and a number of other specialised newspaper websites is free if you visit the British Library reading rooms in London or the British Library Newspaper library reading room at Colindale, North London.
  • Devon Family History Society offers access to the British Newspaper Archive through its Find My Past subscription for visitors to its research centre at Tree House in King Street, Exeter.
  • Access to the British Newspaper Archive is also available through individual home subscription for a period of either 2, 7 or 30 days or 12 months.

19th century British Library Newspapers

 

This website was completed in 2007, and is managed by a North American company named Gale Cengage.   It includes scanned copies of more than 50 national and regional newspapers selected from copies held in the British Library, and includes Trewman's Exeter Flying Post, 1800 to 1900.

It is available free of charge on public access computers at Devon Heritage Centre, North Devon Record Office, any public library run by Devon County Council Libraries Service, and at public libraries run by Plymouth Council and Torbay Council.   

Members of Devon Library Services (i.e. holders of a library card issued by a public library in Devon) can access the website at home or elsewhere on their own computer, using their library card number and PIN number to log in.   The site can be accessed through the Devon Libraries Online Reference webpage.  

Access to this website is freely available in British Library Reading Rooms and also at many Further Education and Higher Education institutions in the U.K., thanks to funding from JISC, as part of its £22 million digitisation programme.   The current list of subscribing UK Further Education and Higher Education institutions can be found in a list on the British Library’s webpage about the 19th Century British Library Newspapers Database.

Many library services in other counties and overseas have also subscribed to this site – enquire at your local public library.

Times Digital Archive, 1785-1985

This website is available free of charge on public access computers at Devon Heritage Centre, North Devon Record Office, any public library run by Devon County Council Libraries Service, and at public libraries run by Plymouth Council and Torbay Council.   

Members of Devon Library Services (i.e. holders of a library card issued by a public library in Devon) can access the website at home or elsewhere on their own computer, using their library card number and PIN number to log in.   The site can be accessed through the Devon Libraries Online Reference webpage.  

Many library services in other counties and overseas have also subscribed to the Times Digital Archive – enquire at your local public library.  

Personal subscriptions to the Times Digital Archive are also available.

London Gazette

Includes links to the websites for the Edinburgh Gazette and Belfast Gazette.

Especially useful for military and civil service appointments, promotions, bankruptcies, business partnerships, notices about chancery cases, wills and estates.

You can currently search the website of the London Gazette and its associated Gazettes for free at home or elsewhere.  

Australian Newspapers Online

Australian Newspapers Online is a free website containing digitized copies of over 9 million pages from Australian newspapers.  These are digitised by the National Library of Australia, and more are being added.   Family historians tracing Devon ancestors and relatives who emigrated may find this website useful.   Note that news and articles about people and events in Britain were often published in Australian colonial newspapers.   

The site is part of the Trove-NLA website, which includes over 341 million Australian and online resources, including books, images, historic newspapers, maps, music, archives, archived websites, and other sources.

Papers Past (New Zealand)

A free website containing digitized copies of historic New Zealand newspapers.  

Papers Past contains more than two million pages of digitised New Zealand newspapers and periodicals. The collection covers the years 1839 to 1945.  It includes publications from all regions of New Zealand and is still being added to.  Family historians tracing Devon ancestors and relatives who emigrated to New Zealand will find the shipping news, births, deaths and marriages of particular interest.