We’ve recently released over 4000 digitised copies of the Brighton Herald newspaper on our Digital Media Bank for free online browsing or download.
The Herald was the first newspaper dedicated to Brighton, publishing its first issue on 6 September 1806. The news in that issue was dominated by the war against Napoleon’s France, but it was lightened by reports about local agriculture and fashion tips — it seems that ‘white satin Spanish hats with ostrich feathers’ were still considered part of full dress.
The Herald continued as a weekly newspaper until September 1972, when it was absorbed by one of its rivals, the Brighton Gazette. The digitised newspapers we have released cover the period from 1806 to 1920. There is intermittent coverage for the early years, but a complete run is available from 1832 onwards.
The newspapers are available as PDF files, which were scanned from microfilm copies. As a result, the quality of the text varies, but the text has been scanned with optical character recognition (OCR) software, so it is possible to search for keywords within the newspapers. The Search Tips page on our Digital Media Bank advises how to run searches by date and/or keyword.
Over the next two years we will be releasing more historic Brighton newspapers online, and they will be made freely available to view online or download to your computer. We can only publish digitised newspapers which are out of copyright, but the eventual plan is for later newspapers to be made available onsite at The Keep.
We will be updating on our progress in releasing these newspapers as we go, along with improved guidance notes on how to search this material. But for now, we hope you enjoy this service, particularly if you were looking to do some local or family history research over the Christmas and New Year break.
Kevin Bacon, Digital Manager