For the Plymouth History Festival we're highlighting some of the resources we have if you're interested in finding out about Plymouth's history.
You'll find our first blog on books here.
Newspapers are a fantastic way to discover the history of a city, whether you're looking for news articles, family notices, obituaries, letters or advertisements. Newspapers are a mirror to the past and can really bring history to life.
Most of our newspaper collection is kept on Microfilm in the Central Library. You can see the full list of titles we have here.
The earliest newspaper we have is the Plymouth Weekly Journal which was published from 1721 to 1723. Other titles include the Plymouth and Dock Telegraph (1808 to 1816), Thunderbolt (1871 to 1873) and the Plympton Gazette (1907 to 1912). Plus we have full runs of the Evening Herald (1895 to present day) and Western Morning News (1860 to present day).
British Newspaper Archive
We provide free access to the British Newspaper Archive (BNA), over 30 million pages dating from the 1700s. The archive is a partnership with the British Library to digitise their collections of historical newspapers and new titles are being added all the time.
The BNA contains newspapers from all over the country, including many from the south west. These include the Plymouth and Devonport Weekly Journal and General Advertiser for Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset, the Exeter and Plymouth Gazette and the Western Daily Mercury. Some copies of the Western Morning News have been digitised, making them fully searchable online for the first time.
The BNA can be accessed on the computers or via the Wi-Fi in any Plymouth Library.
If you're looking or more recent newspapers, Newsbank (library card needed) is an online resource that you can use to explore news articles from a range of UK national and local newspapers from 1982. Newsbank includes the Western Morning News from 1999 and the Evening Herald from 2008. It's text only, so you won't get full digital copies of the newspapers, but it can be handy to search.
You can access Newsbank for free with your library card from home or in a library.
Times Digital Archive
Not local, but useful for a national perspective. The Times Digital Archive (library card needed) contains the complete digital edition of The Times from 1785 to 2012.
Access from home for free with your library card or in a library.