17th and 18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers

"Being able to search through this fascinating collection online is practical, allowing for instant access to clear and printable copies of historical papers, and also addictive."
Sarah Powell, Bradford Central Library, UK
Read more in the latest review from Reference Reviews vol. 24, no. 8, 2010

"I have only positive remarks on the Burney Collection. The search  engine works like a charm and makes life so much
easier for us who work with such great amounts of data. Tags and search engine are easy to understand and operate. I am truly thankful that we were given the   opportunity to search the Burney Collection".
Dr. Marianne Tråvén, Uppsala University, Sweden
17th and 18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers represents the largest single collection of 17th and 18th century English news media available from the British Library and includes more than 1,000 pamphlets, proclamations, newsbooks and newspapers from the pe riod. This collection helps researchers chart the development of the newspaper as we now know it, beginning with irregularly published transcriptions of Parliamentary debates and proclamations to coffee house newsbooks, finally arriving at newspaper in its current form.  

Gathered by Reverend Charles Burney (1757-1817), a notable scholar and son of a well-known music historian of the same name, this collection covers more than 200 years of accounts, explanations, and points of views. More than 700 bound volumes of newspapers relate political, educational and economic situations – including English provincial, Irish, Scottish and a handful of papers from British colonies, in the Americas and Asia – relate political, educational and economic situations chosen from more than three dozen cities.   These rare and restricted documents are now available online and students and academics can conduct full-text searches of nearly 1 million pages from approximately 1,270 titles spanning from Parliamentary papers and the London daily news to the latest English humour of the 1600s. 


  • Day by day coverage of 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 leave 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’
  • The first advertisement for The Memoirs of Fanny Hill in the Whitehall Evening Post, 6 March 1750, the day it was published and also, in the issue of 17 March, a report of how the publisher was taken into custody and all copies were seized.
  • News of the election of George Washington as president of the United States in the St James’s Chronicle or the British Evening Post on 21 April 1789.
  • 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, which 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 British Library also provides information about the Burney Collection on the following webpage: http://www.bl.uk/collection-guides/burney-collection

17th and 18th Century Burney Collections Newspapers on Gale NewsVault

17th & 18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers
is a part of the Gale NewsVault programme. Gale NewsVault delivers the definitive cross-searching experience for exploring Gale’s range of historical newspaper collections. Users can simultaneously search or browse across some of the best-known and well-respected newspaper collections available internationally to date, including The Economist Historical Archive and the Financial Times Historical Archive. Providing access to 15 million digitised facsimile pages, and more that 400 years of content, Gale NewsVault provides an unparalleled window to the past.

Gale NewsVault
is available to all Gale historical newspaper collection customers now, free of charge, enabling users to cross-search all of the Gale historical newspaper collections that an institution holds.

Click here for more details

British Library Newspapers is available from JISC in a 3-resource package which includes 19th Century UK Periodicals Series 1 and 17th & 18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers.

For staff and students at HE and FE institutions in the UK – please contact your library to enquire about online access to these collections or visit the JISC Content Portal pages for British Library Newspapers and the 17th and 18th Century Burney Collection.

For librarians at HE and FE institutions in the UK – to sign up and make these collections available to your library users please visit the resources pages on the JISC Catalogue site - British Library Newspapers and 17th and 18th Century Burney Collection - and download, complete and return the license agreement.