Burney Collection of Newspapers

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Internet based search interface for the Burney Collection digital archive.

The Burney Collection consists of over 1,270 17th-18th century newspapers and other news materials, gathered by Charles Burney, most notable for the 18th-century London newspapers. The original collection, totalling almost 1 million pages, is held by the British Library.

Contents of the collection


Key objects in the collection include:

  • The financial scandal of the 1720s, the South Sea bubble, with reports in the Weekly Journal or Saturday’s Post of how Parliament decided that if they left the country, the directors of the South Sea company "shall suffer death as a felon without benefit of clergy and forfeit to the King all his Lands, Goods and Chattels whatsoever."
  • First advertisement for The Memoirs of Fanny Hill in the Whitehall Evening Post, 6 March 1750, and then, in the issue of 17 March, a report of how the publisher was taken into custody and all copies were seized.
  • Insight into English attitudes to contemporary events, such as when the English Chronicle, or, Universal Evening Post used the unusual device of a headline – FRENCH REVOLUTION!! – for a whole page article on 18 of July 1789. It reported sympathetically on the fall of the Bastille four days earlier, including how the officers were decapitated in ‘a sad but necessary spectacle...a solemnity worthy of the highest admiration.’


The collection begins with Parliamentary papers from 1603, and newspapers from the early 1620s. 18th-century London newspapers are the richest part of the collection.

The following is an incomplete list of titles covering some of the most popular.

* These items are available as part of the online collection.[2][3]

Preservation and access


Due to rapid deterioration of the collection, a decision was made to microfilm the collection and restrict access to physical copies. The success of the microfilm project led to many other book collections being preserved on film.[4]

Access to the collection

See also


  1. ^ "Dublin Coffee Houses". Askaboutireland.ie. Retrieved 2011-01-10.
  2. ^ "Burney Collection Newspapers - Licensed Digital Collections - National Library of Scotland". nls.uk. Archived from the original on 18 October 2009.
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-08-09. Retrieved 2010-10-26.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Barker, Nicholas, "Publishing and preservation", Library Publishing, British Library Occasional Papers 2, p. 58
  5. ^ "The Burney Collection: 17th and 18th Century newspapers free online". JISC. 2009-01-13. Retrieved 2011-01-10.


  • Hartmut Walravens (2006), International newspaper librarianship for the 21st century, Walter de Gruyter, pp. 92–93, ISBN 978-3-598-21846-0
  • Terras, Melissa M. (2008), Digital images for the information professional, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., p. 114, ISBN 978-0-7546-4860-4
  • Studer, Patrick (2008), Historical corpus stylistics: media, technology and change, Continuum International Publishing Group, p. 29, ISBN 978-0-8264-9430-6

External links

  • http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/findhelprestype/news/newspdigproj/burney/index.html
  • https://web.archive.org/web/20091018055510/http://www.nls.uk/collections/digital/resources/burney.html
  • http://microformguides.gale.com/BrowseGuide.asp?colldocid=1003000&Page=23&Item=
  • http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/findhelprestype/webres/newspaperliblinks/index.html
  • http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/digitisation/newspapers2.aspx
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