Tuesday 17 May 2016

British Newspaper Archive adds another Belfast title

The Belfast Weekly News has joined the online British Newspaper Archive (BNA).

So far, all 52 editions published in 1897 and a full line up from January 1906 to December 1913 have been uploaded to the database and are ready to search. The BNA plans to extend its holding for this title to cover 1855–1914.

The BNA database now holds 628 British and Irish titles (118 are Irish).

If you're quick, you could take advantage of two discount offers – one offering a 30% discount on an annual subscription; the other offering a 50% discount on a one-month subscription or pay-as-you-go credits (follow the links for details). Both offers expire this coming Friday.

UPDATE 19 May: I've amended the wording of the blogpost above where I originally referred to the paper as 'the publication of the Orange Institution'. I based this on an entry in the Longman Handbook of Modern Irish History Since 1800, which described the Belfast Weekly News as the 'organ of the Orange Institution'.

I've been contacted by Edward Connolly who publishes the excellent Eddie's Abstracts website (it's full of bmd notices transcribed from various newspapers plus many news stories, book extracts, church records, records of deceased seamen and more... all free... definitely worth visiting by any family historian with Northern Ireland connections). This is what he had to say:

'While it [the Belfast Weekly News (BWN)] certainly espoused an "Orange" perspective I wouldn't entirely agree with it being referred to as an "organ of the Orange Institution" but perhaps that's more about semantics of language as it carries the implication of being produced by the Orange Institution.

As you know many newspapers had a political or cultural inclination so would be associated with one grouping or another and the news they published would reflect their readership. Given its "conservative" leanings a large percentage of the BWNs readership would probably have had a connection with the Orange institution which is why [the newspaper] produced a round up of events and news aimed at those readers.

As a possible parallel... The Witness, from which I am transcribing various extracts each week currently, was a commercial paper. However it closely associated itself with the Presbyterian Church and would have been reflective of its views and devoted up to half its pages with news from the various congregations throughout Ireland. It would certainly have been regarded as the "Presbyterian" paper but it was still a commercial venture and independent of the Church.'

Thanks, Eddie!