Berkshire Newspapers

pages reviewed and part revised Saturday 8th June 2019

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 32 million pages from 800+ old newspaper titles now digitised, The British Newspaper Archive (BNA)is a key resource for your family history research.

There is more about this initiative later in this article.

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 cataolgue" 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 ISBN 1-86006-157-5 — is still useful, but some content is now outdated.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 area — 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 each case.

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 transforms how researchers can access historic news content, making old newspapers more accessible than ever before. By June 2019, over 32 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 Research Zone of the society's Centre for Heritage and Family History in central Reading can search and view The British Newspaper Archive FREE OF CHARGE
The Centre also offers you a page printing service in A3 or A4 format for a small charge.

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

Reporting of local events, news and individual achievements (and misdemeanours!) was not confined to locally published papers. Reports were often syndicated and could appear a few days later in newspapers published hundreds of miles apart, with no obvious link with where the event itself took place. Properly structured online searches will pick up these "out of county" reports.

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.

Enter a search term. For example, "Windsor" or "Reading Chronicle" to find out what is available. 

The British Library Newspaper collection does not have every issue of every title. Often local papers are variants, with most of the content common, and just a few pages different according to location and circulation. There are still certain titles — often with a limited date range and on microfilm — in some archives and local studies libraries.

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

NOTE: The newspaper listings that follow may contain a few omissions or inconsistencies. As an example, the Wokingham Times and its variants ceased publication in December 2014 and have been superseded by 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.

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

Berkshire newspapers: list of titles

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-

Additional information