Old newspapers offer a rich source of detail for local and family historians. Once, searching them could be time consuming. Today, with an ever increasing number of pages accessible online, newspaper searches are an essential part of family history research.


With over 19.6 million pages from 760 old newspaper titles now digitised, The British Newspaper Archive (BNA) is an increasingly important resource for your family history research.


There is more about this initiative later in the article. The British Newspaper Archive


To see what other papers could be available, it is also worth exploring the newspaper holdings of the British Library. This can be done using the British Library News Media web page. Scroll down to the section headed “Collection guides” and you will see a Search facility on the right hand side of the page. This offers a choice between searching “The main catalogue” or “Newspapers only.”


A printed guide to historic newspaper titles, and where to see them — the Gibson Guide, Local Newspapers Second edition. Compiled by Jeremy Gibson, Brett Langston, and Brenda W. Smith. 82 pages. ISBN 1-86006-157-5 — is still useful, but some content is now outdated.

British Library Newspaper Library

The British Library’s  Newspaper Collection (once at Colindale, London) closed in 2013 and the newspaper collections were moved to a purpose-built storage facility at Boston Spa, West Yorkshire.


The British Library St Pancras (London) building has a dedicated space — the Newsroom — for newspapers, broadcast and web news. Here, you can access microfilm and digital newspapers, with reference sources and expert help. Print newspapers for which no microfilm or digital copy exists are available to order within 48 hours into the Newsroom at St Pancras or the Boston Spa Reading Room. A Reader’s Pass is needed in both cases.


The British Newspaper Archive: digitising British Library newspapers

The British Library has a 10 year partnership with online publisher D C Thomson Family History to digitise 40 million newspaper pages. This programme aims to transform the way that researchers are able to access news content, making historic newspapers accessible to a wider audience than ever before. By January 2017, almost 18 million pages from old newspapers were searchable online.


Explore The British Newspaper Archive Searches are free — but you need a subscription to view individual page content.


Members and visitors to the Society’s Research Centre in Reading can access and view pages of The British Newspaper Archive FREE OF CHARGE


The BNA is also accessible free of charge in the British Library’s Reading Rooms in London and Boston Spa.


It is vital to understand that reporting of local events, news and individual achievements (or misdemeanours!) was not confined just to locally published papers of the time. Reports were often syndicated and might appear a few days later in newspapers published hundreds of miles away, with no obvious connection with where the events themselves took place. A suitably structured online search will find these “out of county” reports.

The Newbury Weekly News

The Newbury Weekly News was founded in 1867. Although not the first in its field, it is the only Newbury newspaper to have been published continuously from its Victorian beginning through to the present day. It is still published on a Thursday, Newbury’s market day, giving rise to the local phrase “Pig and paper day”.


Circulation area

From the start the paper aimed to serve and cover the whole of west Berkshire, and from time to time laid claim to portions of adjoining counties. In the north of the county it competed with Jackson’s Oxford Journal, to the west with the Marlborough Gazette, to the south with the Basingstoke Gazette and to the east with the Reading newspapers.





Much of the content in the early years was taken from national papers, because many readers would not have seen any other newspaper, but local news was an important element from the beginning, and gradually took over the full run of the paper. Institutional proceedings, such as meetings of the town corporation, gas board, board of health and the various local courts of justice were reported on at length, often verbatim.


Birth, marriage and death announcements were carried (as paid items) from the beginning, but from the 1920s onwards weddings and funerals were featured as news items, usually with extensive lists of attendees. Photographs appeared regularly from the post-Edwardian period.


Freemasonry was far less publicity-shy in Victorian times, and  many pillars of the civic establishment were masons. The gatherings of local lodges were reported fully, usually giving the names of officials.


Coverage of sporting events, initially reserved for gentlemanly activities such cricket and hunting, expanded from the 1880s to cover more popular activities such as football. Bank holidays usually featured sporting galas of various races, matches and contests, the results of which were faithfully reported.


At the beginning of the First World War deaths of local soldiers were reported. As they multiplied this became a simple listing, abandoned altogether by 1916 because of the horrendous scale of fatalities. During the Second World War there was a ban on identifying the exact location of any bomb damage, which gave rise to headlines such as “Air fight over a Home Counties village” and “Bombs near a town in the south of England”. The articles usually contained enough clues for locals to pinpoint the event, but when this censorship was lifted, a fuller account was published in April 1945 of local damage.


Access to old issues

Copies of the Newbury Weekly News can be seen on microfilm in Newbury Library (as well as the British Library Newspaper Collection). The Newbury Weekly News office (in addition to its own microfilm set and the original bound volumes) has its own library of cuttings filed by subject, going back to around the mid-1970s, although some subject files go back much further. This library is not generally open to the public, although access may be granted on special request. The NWN also has a subject index to the issues from 1867 to 1914; handwritten into a bound volume, it is not easy to use and is often inaccurate in its references, but it is the only such index that exists.

Berkshire newspapers: list of titles

The following list of Berkshire newspapers comes from the former British Library Newspaper Online Catalogue. Today, the British Newspaper Archive is the first thing to check for a specific title, or for newspapers from a particular location or time period.


The British Library Newspaper collection does not hold every issue of every title. Certain local papers are variants, with only a few pages differing from one another. You can still see certain titles — often for a limited date range and usually on microfilm — in some archives and local studies libraries.


The benefits from swift and easy keyword or surname searches of The British Newspaper Archive make this online source today’s route of first choice for newspaper-based research.


NOTE: The newspaper listings that follow may contain a few omissions or inconsistencies. For example, the Wokingham Times and its variants ceased publication on 18th December 2014 and have been superseded by the online Get Reading


Use this link to check on the British Library website for a specific place or title, restricting your search to the “Newspapers only” option.


Alternatively, use The British Newspaper Archive to search by Title or by Geographical County.


Abingdon and North Berkshire area

The Abingdon Herald, Oxford Times and Midland Counties Advertiser 1868-1870
continued as The Abingdon Herald and Wallingford Chronicle 1970
continued as The Reading and Abingdon Herald 1870
continued as The Abingdon and Reading Herald 1870-1883
continued as The Abingdon Herald 1883-1910
continued as The North Berks Herald 1910-1939
continued as North Berks Herald and Didcot Advertiser 1939-1960
continued as North Berks Herald 1961-1974
continued as Abingdon Herald 1974-

The Oxford Messenger and Oxonian Advertiser 1873
continued as The Oxford Messenger, Banbury, Abingdon & Witney Telegraph and Oxonian Advertiser 1874-1876 
subsequently discontinued
The Abingdon Christian Record 1874
The Abingdon Monthly Messenger 1875
The Abingdon News and North Berkshire Times 1878-1879
subsequently discontinued
The Abingdon Express, Berks, Bucks, Oxon, Hants and Wilts Observer 1887-1888
Abingdon Free Press and Didcot News 1902-1916
Oxfordshire Free Press, etc 1906-1916
Didcot Advertiser 1961-1974
continued as Didcot Herald 1974-

Wallingford Herald 1961-
Wantage Herald 1962-1981
continued as Wantage & Grove Herald 1981-Courier 1984-1985
continued as South Oxfordshire Courier 1985-1995
continued as Courier (South Oxfordshire edition) 1995-


Bracknell and Ascot area

The Egham & Staines News and Weekly Journal for Ascot, Sunninghill, etc. 1897-1908
subsequently amalgamated with the Surrey Herald

Ascot & Sunningdale Times & Virginia Water Post 1955-1956
continued as Ascot & Sunningdale Times 1956-1957
then incorporated with the Wokingham, Bracknell & Ascot Times

Bracknell Times 1956-1990
incorporated with the Wokingham, Bracknell & Ascot Times, 1957-65
continued as Bracknell & Ascot Times 1990

Bracknell News 1959-

Crowthorne Times 1983-1990
continued as Crowthorne & Sandhurst Times 1990-

Ascot District Observer 1984
continued as Ascot & Sunningdale Observer 1984-

Ascot Times 1984-1990


Maidenhead area

Maidenhead Express Midweek 1986-1987
continued as Maidenhead Midweek 1987-1988
continued as Maidenhead Express Midweek 1988-1990
continued as Maidenhead, Slough, Windsor Express Midweek 1990-1991

Maidenhead Observer (midweek) 1994-

Newbury and West Berkshire area

The Newbury Journal, Hungerford Gazette, etc 1855-1856
The Newbury Weekly News and West Berks Advertiser 1867-1896
continued as The Newbury Weekly News and General Advertiser, etc. 1873-1901

Reading Herald, Wokingham Herald, Henley Chronicle, Basingstoke News & Thatcham Mercury, etc. 1868-1869
continued as Reading Herald, Newbury Telegraph, Oxford Advertiser, Wokingham Herald, etc 1869
subsequently amalgamated with the Abingdon Herald

The Newbury Echo 1876
The Newbury Advertiser and General Newspaper for West Berks 1880-1881
Newbury Express 1886
continued as The Newbury Express and Reading Standard, etc. 1886-1892
continued as The Newbury Express, Berks, Hants, Wilts, and Oxon Courier 1892-1899

The Newbury Weekly News and West Berks Advertiser 1869-1873
continued as The Newbury Weekly News and General Advertiser, etc. 1875-1974
continued as Newbury Weekly News 1974-

The Newbury and District Observer 1923-1924
The Newbury & District Free Press 1907-1909

Newbury Chronicle and Hungerford Herald 1910
continued as Newbury Chronicle, Hungerford Herald and Marlborough Mail 1910-1939

The Newbury Advertiser and Local Guide 1926

The Advertiser 1992-


Reading area

The Reading Mercury, or, Weekly Entertainer 1723-1725
continued as The Reading Mercury and Oxford Gazette, etc. 1767-1831
continued as Reading Mercury, Oxford Gazette and Berkshire County Paper, etc 1831-1839
continued as Reading Mercury, Oxford Gazette, Newsbury Herald and Berks County Paper, etc. 1839-1960
continued as Reading Mercury, etc. 1960-1970
continued as Berkshire Mercury 1970-1979

The Reading Journal 1737-1740
The Reading Journal 1739
continued as The Reading Journal, or, Weekly Review 1744-1748

Berkshire Chronicle 1825-1912
continued as Berkshire Daily Chronicle 1912-1914
continued as Berkshire Chronicle 1914-1961
continued as Reading and Berkshire Chronicle 1961-1965
continued as Reading Chronicle 1965-

The Oxford City & County Chronicle 1837-1842
continued as The Oxford Chronicle and Reading Gazette 1842-1845
continued as Oxford Chronicle and Berks and Bucks Gazette 1845-1929
subsequently incorporated with Oxford Times

Berks Telegraph 1869-1973
subsequently incorporated with Reading Observer

The Reading Examiner, Windsor and Eton Herald, and Berkshire County Chronicle 1872-1874
Berkshire Weekly News 1872
Reading Observer, Berks Telegraph, and Bucks, Hants, Oxfordshire and Surrey Newspaper 1873-1878
continued as Reading Observer 1878-1924

Reading Express and Berkshire Independent, 1879-1884

The Wag 1889 subsequently discontinued

The Bellman, and Royal County’s Commentator for Reading, etc. 1891

The North Berks Standard 1906

The Reading & County Times 1909-1910 subsequently discontinued

Reading Record 1912-1913 subsequently discontinued

The Caversham Observer 1923-1924

Reading Citizen 1924-1952
The Reading Co-operator 1932-1935 subsequently discontinued

Reading Review 1935-1949
continued as Reading & Berkshire Review 1949-1953
continued as Berkshire & Reading Review 1954

Evening Gazette 1935-1938
continued as Reading Gazette 1939

Berkshire Co-operative Leader 1939-1940

Berkshire Chronicle (Country edition) 1947-1961
continued as Reading and Berkshire Chronicle 1961-1965
continued as Reading Chronicle 1965-1967 
subsequently discontinued

Reading Standard (Bracknell, Wokingham & Twyford edition) 1963-1965 subsequently discontinued
Reading Standard (Henley, South Oxon, Upper Thames edition) 1963-1965
Reading Standard (Thatcham, Tadley, Theale area) 1963-1965 subsequently discontinued
Reading Standard (Bracknell, Wokingham & Twyford edition) 1963-1965 subsequently discontinued
Reading Standard (Henley, South Oxon, Upper Thames edition) 1963-1965
Reading Standard (Thatcham, Tadley, Theale area) 1963-1965
subsequently discontinued

Evening Post 1965-1994
continued as Reading Evening Post 1994-

Reading Chronicle (midweek) 1986-

South Oxfordshire Chronicle 1987-


Slough area

The Slough, Eton & Windsor Observer, etc. 1883-1953
continued as Slough Observer, Windsor and Eton Observer, etc. 1953-1974
continued as Slough Eton & Windsor Observer 1974-1990
continued as Slough & Langley Observer 1990-

The Windsor, Slough and Eton Express (Slough edition) 1958-1983
continued as Slough, Windsor & Eton Express 1983-1984
continued as Slough, Windsor, Ascot & Eton Express 1984-1986
continued as Slough Express 1986-1994
continued as Slough & Langley Express 1994-

South Bucks Observer 1984-

Slough Midweek Express 1986
continued as Slough Express Midweek 1986-1990
continued as Express Midweek (Slough edition) 1990
continued as Slough, Windsor, Maidenhead Express Midweek 1990-1991

Langley Express 1986-1994
continued as Langley & Iver Express 1994


Windsor area

The Windsor and Eton Express, etc. 1812-1908
continued as Windsor, Eton & Slough Express, etc. 1909-1928
continued as Windsor, Slough & Eton Express, etc. 1928-1984
continued as Windsor, Slough, Ascot & Eton Express 1984-1986
continued as Windsor Express 1986-1991
continued as Windsor and Eton Express 1991-

The Surrey Standard, and Surrey, Middlesex, Sussex, Kent, Hants & Berks Advertiser 1835-1837
continued as Surrey & Middlesex Standard, and Agricultural, Commercial, and General Advertiser 1837-1840
continued as Surrey Standard, Windsor and Eton Journal and Middlesex Herald, etc. 1840

Windsor & Eton Journal, and Middlesex Herald 1839-1841
subsequently incorporated with the Bucks Herald

Windsor, Eton and Slough Royal Standard 1861-1864
continued as Berkshire Standard 1864-1865

The Windsor and Eton News, and Slough Observer, etc. 1866-1867
Windsor and Eton Herald and Home Counties Advertiser 1868
continued as Windsor and Eton Herald and Slough Journal 1869-1870
continued as Windsor and Eton Herald, Maidenhead and Slough Journal, and Berkshire County Chronicle1871-1872
continued as the Reading Examiner, Windsor and Eton Herald and Berkshire County Chronicle (see under Reading)

Windsor, Eton, & Slough Advertiser, and Register for Domestic Servants, etc. 1871-1872

The Windsor Gazette, and Eton College Journal 1874-1884
continued as Windsor and Eton Gazette, Slough and Maidenhead Chronicle 1884-1895

The Royal Press 1874-1876 subsequently discontinued

The Reading Examiner, Windsor and Eton Herald, and Berkshire County Chronicle 1872-1874

The Windsor Advertiser 1889-1892

The Windsor Chronicle, Eton, Slough, Clewer, Datchet, and Ascot Record 1895-1906
Windsor Chronicle 1910-1939

Windsor & East Berks Observer 1983-1990
continued as Windsor & Maidenhead Observer 1990
continued as Windsor & Eton Observer 1990-

The Leader 1983
continued as The Slough & Windsor Leader 1983-1986

Ascot, Windsor, Slough & Eton Express 1984-1986
continued as Ascot Express 1986-

Observer Midweek (Slough, Windsor, Maidenhead) 1985
continued as Windsor & Maidenhead Observer (midweek edition) 1985-1994
continued, in part, by the Maidenhead Observer (Midweek).

Royal Borough Messenger 1989-1990

Windsor & Ascot Express Midweek 1986
continued as Windsor Express Midweek 1986-1989

Windsor on Friday 1992-
Windsor & Eton Leader 1994-


Wokingham area

Wokingham & Bracknell Gazette and County Review 1903-1904
continued as Wokingham, Bracknell & Crowthorne Gazette, etc. 1904-1905
continued as Wokingham, Bracknell & East Berks Gazette 1905
continued as East Berks Gazette, etc. 1906-1914
continued as Berkshire Gazette 1914-1927
continued as The Wokingham Gazette and Berkshire County Advertiser1927-1930
continued as Wokingham Times and Weekly News 1930-1939
continued as Wokingham, Bracknell & Ascot Times & Weekly News 1939-1942
continued as Times & Weekly News 1942-1948
continued as East Berkshire Times & Weekly News 1948
continued as Times & Weekly News 1948
continued as Wokingham, Bracknell & Ascot Times & Weekly News 1948-1949
continued as Wokingham & Bracknell Times 1950-1956
continued as Wokingham Times 1956-1957
continued as Wokingham, Bracknell & Ascot Times 1957-1959
continued as Wokingham & Bracknell, Woodley & Ascot Times 1959-1965
continued as Wokingham Times 1965-2014

Wokingham and Bracknell Free Press and Forest Division News 1903-1904
subsequently amalgamated with Berkshire Chronicle

Wokingham Chronicle and East Berks Advertiser 1912
subsequently discontinued

Wokingham & Bracknell, Woodley & Ascot Times (Ascot & Virginia Water edition) 1960
Wokingham & Bracknell, Woodley & Ascot Times (Bracknell & district edition) 1960

The Berkshire Chronicle 1971-1975
Woodley & Earley Times 1986-1991