Newspapers contain a wealth of information that can be useful, even vital, to the work historians do. Whether you need news reports, biographical information, or contemporary opinion, newspapers will support your work.

However, finding relevant articles can be a difficult task. Libraries often have paper copies of local and national newspapers, for example Manchester Central Library holds a huge collection open for public use, but to get you started, the University of Manchester provides access to the online archives of both The Times and Guardian newspapers.

To make use of the Guardian archive for 1821 to 2003, go to the library website, click ‘Databases A to Z’ and then ‘G’. There are two options labelled ‘Guardian’, and you want the top one. Click the link ‘Proquest Historical Newspapers’ and ‘The Guardian and The Observer’ on the next page. You will need to enter your central username and password if you are off-campus, but you will be taken to the search page. You can then search for whatever you need, and the database will search both the Guardian and Observer between 1821 and 2003 – a huge resource for free!

To use the Times archive, go click ‘T’ on the library database screen and then ‘Times Digital Archive’. Again, you will need your central username and password if you are off-campus, but when you are through to the search screen you can search for anything appearing in The Times newspaper between 1785 and 1985 – another amazing resource completely free!

Whichever you use, you can download PDF versions of articles and pages from the newspapers, so in no time at all you can use plenty of primary sources in essays and assignments! Check them out!