Public domain newspaper titles in Living with Machines

Written by Mia RidgeMay 7, 2024Comments: 0

Summary: a long list of newspaper titles (including variations) with information on the number of articles available, by Mia Ridge and Nilo Pedrazzini.

A screenshot of a historical newspaper article with the heading 'Notes and Queries'. The text includes information on when questions and answers should arrive in the newspapers' Manchester office, and a response to a question from 'Oldham Amateur' recommending the Hand Book to Cotton Spinning by J. G. Holme.

Which public domain (out of copyright) newspaper titles did we search for crowdsourcing and linguistic work in the latter stages of the Living with Machines project? As part of documenting work on annotating articles about accidents, defining machines and words related to mechanisation, and even playing ‘is this text an ad or not?‘, we have listed public domain newspaper titles available to the Living with Machines team below. Huge thanks to Nilo Pedrazzini for compiling this data!

Automatically-transcribed (OCR) text for these titles is available for download from the British Library’s Research Repository. The alto2txt tool might be helpful for turning the METS/ALTO XML datasets into plain text files. If you use the newspaper texts in any way, we’d love to hear about your experiences!


The Living with Machines project had some budget to digitise historical newspapers. We’ve written about the selection, digitisation, copyright clearance and other processes in blog posts: Over half of a million pages of historical newspapers now openly available, Sharing the benefits: free to view newspapers on the British Newspaper Archive and Releasing content for researchers to re-use; Newspaper copyright and Living with Machines; Finding your way… among newspapers and Press Picker: visualising formats and title name changes in the British Library’s newspaper holdings. We’ve also described our work in a chapter, ‘Hunting for Treasure: Living with Machines and the British Library Newspaper Collection‘, and our open access book Collaborative Historical Research in the Age of Big Data: Lessons from an Interdisciplinary Project.

We were also able to work with newspapers digitised by another British Library project (called ‘HMD’, for ‘Heritage Made Digital’).  The Heritage Made Digital project focused on digitising newspapers in a ‘poor or unfit condition’ that were also published in London and also distributed outside London – or ‘metropolitan newspapers with a wider circulation’. We’ve included the funding source (LwM or HMD)  in the table of newspaper titles below.

Public domain newspaper titles with word and article counts, year spans and funding source

We’ve listed each newspaper with a normalised title, i.e. without the other names a title might have used over time – the names (or ‘titles’) of newspapers changed often! British Library records for a given title usually indicate the previous and subsequent versions of a title. We have used those to group all the versions of a title together under one title, choosing (mostly) by the version on the British Newspaper Archive (BNA) title overview page. The full list of variant titles is at the end of this post. 

The table below is sorted by the number of words per title. The year span uses the first and last year of publication, ignoring any gaps in the years published for the sake of brevity.

A note on numbers: ‘articles’ are outlined during a post-digitisation process called ‘optical layout recognition’, or OLR. Ideally, the OLR process segments, or breaks up, pages of text into individual articles, advertisements, etc. However, articles in 19th century newspapers often look different than in modern newspapers, so the OLR process isn’t entirely accurate. (In future, comparing the number of words to the number of identified articles might give us a sense of which titles have the least accurate OLR.)

TitleNumber of articlesNumber of words (whole)Num words (short)Year spanFunded by
The Sun1,625,1171,404,533,0021.4B1801-1871HMD
The Express368,107278,915,230279M1846-1868HMD
Birkenhead News400,749193,945,716194M1878-1920LwM
The Star203,386191,025,349191M1801-1831HMD
The Liverpool Standard267,993187,542,672188M1832-1856HMD
Widnes Examiner268,014157,504,625158M1876-1916LwM
Northern Weekly Gazette291,956117,879,714118M1860-1920LwM
The Cotton Factory Times223,560116,796,935117M1885-1920LwM
Glasgow Courier162,766111,315,801111M1802-1866LwM
The British Press114,487109,503,748110M1803-1826HMD
The Swansea and Glamorgan Herald129,274108,144,705108M1847-1889LwM
Weymouth Telegram137,57484,449,32284M1862-1901LwM
The Dorset County Express and Agricultural Gazette99,32881,725,59282M1858-1886LwM
Stockton Herald, South Durham and Cleveland Advertiser138,13180,454,85080M1858-1892LwM
The Northern Daily Times179,98879,720,50780M1853-1861HMD
The Statesman77,43975,187,65875M1806-1824HMD
The Haslingden Gazette148,99171,677,02072M1901-1920LwM
Penistone, Stocksbridge and Hoyland Express132,54367,875,30968M1898-1920LwM
The Central Glamorgan Gazette142,00366,630,04467M1866-1894LwM
The Northern Guardian202,36263,071,67163M1891-1899LwM
Blackpool Gazette & Herald116,54160,570,18661M1874-1905LwM
Cradley Heath & Stourbridge Observer80,11059,246,46259M1864-1888LwM
Denton and Haughton Examiner70,77356,233,63756M1874-1892LwM
Warwickshire Herald81,99844,878,51845M1884-1899LwM
Nelson Chronicle, Colne Observer, and Clitheroe Division News88,54444,725,82345M1890-1904LwM
Barrow Herald and Furness Advertiser76,48742,417,63842M1866-1890LwM
The Blandford and Wimborne Telegram70,35940,830,41341M1874-1886LwM
Bridlington and Quay Gazette91,09540,183,23140M1877-1914LwM
Brighouse & Rastrick Gazette73,12037,813,23838M1879-1899LwM
The Potteries Examiner49,24437,760,64638M1871-1881LwM
The Herald of Wales55,18536,866,80537M1882-1890LwM
Bridport, Beaminster, and Lyme Regis Telegram61,26134,072,52734M1865-1886LwM
The Atherstone, Nuneaton, and Warwickshire Times58,50233,822,47834M1879-1891LwM
The Kenilworth Advertiser62,16429,099,46929M1873-1898LwM
The National Register38,57826,907,77727M1808-1823HMD
Lancaster Standard and County Advertiser43,38123,930,66324M1894-1909LwM
Dewsbury Chronicle and West Riding Advertiser27,91523,350,47823M1872-1895LwM
The Warrington Examiner33,53223,063,64023M1869-1893LwM
The Poole Telegram40,56821,509,65822M1879-1886LwM
Runcorn Examiner30,25418,874,04119M1870-1905LwM
The Press25,43418,129,41118M1853-1858HMD
Bridgend Chronicle, Cowbridge, Llantrisant, and Maesteg Advertiser46,01117,798,67618M1880-1894LwM
The Bee-Hive21,74615,801,61216M1869-1876HMD
The Pontypridd District Herald35,33015,106,99115M1878-1894LwM
Irvine Express20,44613,789,53214M1882-1886LwM
Weekly News22,39813,553,89514M1889-1892LwM
The Glasgow Chronicle18,36612,774,94613M1847-1850LwM
Colne Valley Guardian29,11812,640,10013M1896-1906LwM
British Miner and General Newsman13,12712,537,29213M1862-1867LwM
The North Cumberland Reformer21,61712,293,41712M1890-1895LwM
The Shropshire Examiner17,80912,080,65812M1874-1877LwM
The Cannock Chase Examiner15,85211,737,02612M1874-1877LwM
The Weekly Journal23,37110,781,20811M1901-1904LwM
Bargoed Journal32,9449,734,57210M1904-1912LwM
The Manchester Examiner8,4779,617,03210M1848-1848LwM
The Halifax Comet41,8759,440,0079M1893-1904LwM
The Forest of Dean Examiner13,0169,368,2059M1875-1877LwM
Tamworth Miners’ Examiner and Working Men’s Journal9,9758,195,5668M1873-1876LwM
Darlington & Richmond Herald10,6357,209,6847M1870-1874LwM
Alston Herald and East Cumberland Advertiser13,1106,934,2117M1875-1880LwM
The East Riding Telegraph17,5966,341,3826M1895-1903LwM
Blandford Weekly News9,2096,080,5686M1886-1889LwM
The Northern News10,9794,705,1325M1896-1898LwM
Nantwich, Sandbach & Crewe Star8,9134,343,8404M1888-1891LwM
Lancaster Herald and Town and County Advertiser7,7034,185,8144M1831-1832LwM
The Midland examiner and Wolverhampton times5,8623,958,5084M1875-1877LwM
Liverpool Weekly Courier5,3512,954,9153M1893-1893LwM
Stockton Examiner and South Durham and North Yorkshire Herald4,1662,767,7393M1879-1893LwM
St. Helens Examiner5,5322,755,7803M1905-1905LwM
The Industrial Review, Social and Political4,2782,594,1733M1877-1878HMD
Swansea Journal and South Wales Liberal4,6072,584,1813M1895-1902LwM
The Atherstone Times.4,1032,376,1362M1879-1879LwM
The South Staffordshire Examiner2,0152,120,8212M1874-1874LwM
The Nuneaton Times2,6611,415,8611M1875-1875LwM
Stretford and Urmston Examiner8501,078,7081M1879-1879LwM
Stalybridge Examiner719525,362525K1876-1876LwM
Halifax Local Opinion2,026478,762479K1892-1892LwM
The Ripon Observer580266,927267K1893-1893LwM
Barnsley Telephone636180,572181K1918-1920LwM
Colored News1,02572,70973K1855-1855HMD
Public domain newspaper titles with word and article counts, year spans and funding source

​Higher-level geographical regions

In order to compare different sets of articles, we grouped the titles into regions within England – North, South and Midlands, in addition to the national categories of Scotland and Wales.

In percentage of articles:

  • North       43.914546%
  • South       41.482479%
  • Wales        6.270077%
  • Midlands     5.494909%
  • Scotland     2.837989%

In raw number of articles:

  • North       3119183
  • South       2946437
  • Wales        445354
  • Midlands     390295
  • Scotland     201578

Related (variant) titles

A detailed breakdown of the titles as they appear in our corpus and the corresponding normalised version. You can use this to find the normalised title for a given variant in the table above.

  • “The Sun”: “The Sun.”
  • “The Express”: “The Express.”
  • “Birkenhead News”: “The Birkenhead News and Wirral General Advertiser.”
  • “The Liverpool Standard”: “The Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser.”, “The Liverpool Standard, and General Advertiser.”
  • “Widnes Examiner”: “Widnes Examiner.”
  • “The Cotton Factory Times”: “The Cotton Factory Times.”
  • “Glasgow Courier”: “Glasgow Courier.”
  • “The British Press”: “The British Press; or, Morning Literary Advertiser.”
  • “The Swansea and Glamorgan Herald”: “Swansea and Glamorgan Herald, and South Wales Free Press.”
  • “Northern Weekly Gazette”: “Northern Weekly Gazette.”, “The North-Eastern Weekly Gazette.”, “The Middlesbrough Gazette and General Advertiser.”, “Middlesbrough & Stockton Gazette and General Advertiser.”, “Stockton Gazette and Middlesbrough Times.”, “Middlesbro’ & Stockton Gazette and General Advertiser.”, “The Weekly Gazette for Middlesbrough, Stockton, Hartlepool and Cleveland District.”
  • “The Dorset County Express and Agricultural Gazette”: “The Dorset County Express and Agricultural Gazette.”
  • “Stockton Herald, South Durham and Cleveland Advertiser”: “Stockton Herald, South Durham and Cleveland Advertiser.”
  • “The Haslingden Gazette”: “The Haslingden Gazette.”
  • “The Central Glamorgan Gazette”: “The Central Glamorgan Gazette, and General, Commercial, and Agricultural Advertiser.”
  • “The Northern Guardian”: “The Northern Guardian.”
  • “Blackpool Gazette & Herald”: “The Blackpool Herald.”, “Blackpool Herald and Fylde Advertiser.”
  • “Cradley Heath & Stourbridge Observer”: “The Stourbridge Observer, Cradley Heath, Halesowen & District Chronicle.”, “Cradley Heath & Stourbridge Observer.”, “The Observer, Cradley Heath, Halesowen & District Chronicle.”
  • “Penistone, Stocksbridge and Hoyland Express”: “Penistone, Stocksbridge and Hoyland Express, etc.”, “Penistone, Stocksbridge, Hoyland and Ecclesfield & Chapeltown Express.”, “Penistone, Stocksbridge, Hoyland & Chapeltown Express, etc.”
  • “Weymouth Telegram”: “The Telegram.”, “The Weymouth, Portland and Dorchester Telegram.”
  • “Denton and Haughton Examiner”: “Denton and Haughton Examiner, etc.”, “Denton Examiner, Audenshaw, Hooley Hill and Dukinfield Advertiser.”, “Denton & Haughton Weekly News, and Audenshaw, Hooley Hill, and Dukinfield Advertiser.”, “The Denton, Haughton, & District Weekly News.”
  • “Warwickshire Herald”: “The Warwickshire Herald.”
  • “Nelson Chronicle, Colne Observer, and Clitheroe Division News”: “Nelson Chronicle, Colne Observer, and Clitheroe Division News.”
  • “The Northern Daily Times”: “The Daily Times.”, “Northern Times.”, “The Northern Daily Times.”
  • “Barrow Herald and Furness Advertiser”: “The Barrow Herald and Furness Advertiser.”
  • “The Blandford and Wimborne Telegram”: “Blandford, Wimborne and Poole Telegram.”, “The Blandford and Wimbourne Telegram.”
  • “Bridlington and Quay Gazette”: “Bridlington and Quay Gazette.”
  • “Brighouse & Rastrick Gazette”: “Brighouse & Rastrick Gazette.”, “Brighouse Gazette and Local Railway Guide.”
  • “The Herald of Wales”: “The Herald of Wales and Monmouthshire Recorder.”, “The Herald of Wales.”
  • “Bridport, Beaminster, and Lyme Regis Telegram”: “Bridport, Beaminster, and Lyme Regis Telegram and Dorset, Somerset, and Devon Advertiser.”
  • “The Atherstone, Nuneaton, and Warwickshire Times”: “The Atherstone, Nuneaton, and Warwickshire Times.”
  • “The Potteries Examiner”: “The Potteries Examiner :”, “The Staffordshire and Potteries Examiner.”
  • “The Star”: “Star.”
  • “The Kenilworth Advertiser”: “The Kenilworth Advertiser.”
  • “Lancaster Standard and County Advertiser”: “Lancaster Standard and County Advertiser.”
  • “Dewsbury Chronicle and West Riding Advertiser”: “The Dewsbury Chronicle, and West Riding Advertiser.”
  • “The Warrington Examiner”: “The Warrington & Mid-Cheshire Examiner.”, “The Warrington Examiner.”
  • “The Poole Telegram”: “The Poole Telegram.”
  • “Runcorn Examiner”: “Runcorn Examiner.”, “Runcorn and Widnes Examiner.”
  • “The Press”: “The Press.”
  • “Bridgend Chronicle, Cowbridge, Llantrisant, and Maesteg Advertiser”: “Bridgend & Neath Chronicle, and County of Glamorgan Advertiser.”, “Bridgend Chronicle, Cowbridge, Llantrisant, and Maesteg Advertiser.”
  • “The Bee-Hive”: “The Bee-Hive :”, “The Bee-Hive.”, “The Penny Bee-Hive.”
  • “The Pontypridd District Herald”: “The Pontypridd District Herald and Rhondda Valley, Llantrisant, Caerphilly, and Mountain Ash News.”
  • “Irvine Express”: “Irvine Express and North Ayrshire Post.”, “Irvine Express.”
  • “Weekly News”: “Weekly News.”
  • “The Glasgow Chronicle”: “The Glasgow Chronicle.”
  • “Colne Valley Guardian”: “The Slaithwaite Guardian and Colne Valley News.”
  • “The North Cumberland Reformer”: “The North Cumberland Reformer.”
  • “The Shropshire Examiner”: “The Shropshire Examiner and all round the Wrekin advertiser.”
  • “The Cannock Chase Examiner”: “The Cannock Chase Examiner.”
  • “The Weekly Journal”: “The Weekly Journal.”
  • “The Manchester Examiner”: “The Manchester Examiner.”
  • “Bargoed Journal”: “Bargoed Journal.”, “New Tredegar, Bargoed & Caerphilly Journal.”
  • “The Halifax Comet”: “The Halifax Comet.”
  • “The Forest of Dean Examiner”: “The Forest of Dean Examiner :”
  • “Tamworth Miners’ Examiner and Working Men’s Journal”: “The Tamworth Examiner and Working Men’s Journal.”, “The Tamworth Miners’ Examiner and Working Men’s Journal.”
  • “Alston Herald and East Cumberland Advertiser”: “Alston Herald, and East Cumberland Advertiser.”
  • “Darlington & Richmond Herald”: “Darlington & Richmond Herald.”, “The Darlington & Stockton Telegraph, Richmond Herald, South Durham and North York Review.”
  • “The East Riding Telegraph”: “Beverley and East Riding Telegraph.”, “The East Riding Telegraph.”
  • “Blandford Weekly News”: “Blandford Weekly News.”
  • “British Miner and General Newsman”: “The Commonwealth.”, “The Workman’s Advocate.”, “The Miner.”, “British Miner and General Newsman :”, “The Miner and Workman’s Advocate.”
  • “The Northern News”: “The Northern News.”
  • “Nantwich, Sandbach & Crewe Star”: “Nantwich, Sandbach & Crewe Star”
  • “Lancaster Herald and Town and County Advertiser”: “The Lancaster Herald, and Town and County Advertiser.”
  • “The Midland examiner and Wolverhampton times”: “The Wolverhampton and Midland Counties Advertiser.”, “The Midland Examiner and Wolverhampton Times.”, “The Midland Examiner and Times.”, “The Wolverhampton Times and Bilston, Willenhall, Wednesfield, and Sedgley Journal.”
  • “Liverpool Weekly Courier”: “Liverpool Weekly Courier.”
  • “St. Helens Examiner”: “The St. Helens Examiner, and Prescot Weekly News.”
  • “Stockton Examiner and South Durham and North Yorkshire Herald”: “The Stockton Examiner, and South Durham and North Yorkshire Herald.”, “The Stockton & Thornaby Herald and South Durham Advertiser.”
  • “The Industrial Review, Social and Political”: “The Industrial Review, Social and Political.”
  • “Swansea Journal and South Wales Liberal”: “Swansea Journal and South Wales Liberal.”
  • “The Atherstone Times.”: “The Atherstone Times.”
  • “The South Staffordshire Examiner”: “The South Staffordshire Examiner.”
  • “The National Register”: “The National Register.”
  • “The Nuneaton Times”: “The Nuneaton Times.”
  • “The Statesman”: “The Statesman.”
  • “Stretford and Urmston Examiner”: “Stretford and Urmston Examiner.”
  • “Stalybridge Examiner”: “Stalybridge Examiner, and Ashton, Dukinfield and Mossley Advertiser.”
  • “Halifax Local Opinion”: “Halifax Local Opinion.”
  • “The Ripon Observer”: “The Ripon Observer.”
  • “Barnsley Telephone”: “Barnsley Telephone.”
  • “Colored News”: “Colored News.”

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