Find out about the past with newspaper archives

Let's delve into the past, and the best place to go to find out what life was like is a newspaper. Current at its time of publication it has the good, bad and the ugly of that time.

You might be researching your family tree and want to find out about that ancestor or researching how society has evolved. One of the best primary sources is a newspaper archive and with you library card you have access to many. Most archives provide full images of the digitised paper so you get to see advertisements, classifieds, and births, deaths and marriage notices. Below are some of the best places to get you stared in your trip back in time.

Gale Primary Sources - This is a hidden gem with access to 19 different archives, mainly UK based, but all the big names are there including The Times, The Telegraph and The Daily Mail. If you are a firm believer that a picture paints a thousand words you could check out the Illustrated London News and the Picture Post Historical Archive, which are full of great of pictures of yesteryear.

British Newspaper Archive - This is another gem that has all the regional UK papers, but you will need to make a trip into the library to use this archive, and you won't be disappointed. The coverage is huge and if you want to find that ancestor from Yeovil or Stockton-on-Tees or even Ireland, this is the place for you. The only thing with this one is you need to create a login to use the British Newspaper Archive, but then you are good to go.

Proquest Historical Newspapers - This contains 2 archives, The Guardian (1821-2003) and The Observer (1791-2003), The Irish Times (1859- 2015) and The Weekly Irish Times (1876-1958).

Papers Past - This is the place for New Zealand content with digitised New Zealand and Pacific newspapers from the 19th and 20th Centuries. Even the local to Christchurch papers like The Press, The Star, and the Lyttelton Times.

Fiona Callaghan at the library,18 February 1978, Source: Christchurch Star archive, CCL-StarP-02480A

Other historical newspaper information

  • Historical newspapers An introduction to historical newspaper collections available at the library
  • Christchurch newspapers Newspapers change over time. An historical outline of the main Christchurch newspapers, 1860s onwards.
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