NEWSPLAN 2000 Project Home HLFNewspaper Society
 

HOME

|

BACKGROUND

|

NEWSPAPERS

|

ASSIST THE PROJECT

|

PARTNERSHIP FUNDING

|

LINKS

SCHEDULES

|

HANDBOOK

|

COPY REELS

|

PUBLICITY

|

MICROFORMAT

|

STAFF

|

CONTACT US

BACKGROUND

25 September 2001

THE UK'S MOST FRAGILE LOCAL NEWSPAPERS SAVED FOR THE NATION

Over 1,600 of the UK's most fragile newspaper titles will be saved for the nation by a grant of £5 million made to the NEWSPLAN 2000 Project by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It is the largest grant for preservation of part of the UK's historical record ever made in the UK.

The NEWSPLAN 2000 Project is a unique partnership between the Heritage Lottery Fund, the newspaper industry, and libraries across all parts of the UK to save the text of the country's most fragile and rare local newspapers.

The NEWSPLAN 2000 Project will preserve and improve access to over 1,600 local newspaper titles in urgent peril from deterioration in every part of the UK, from County Down to Cardiff, from Glasgow to Cornwall, and from Cumbria to Kent, extending from 1780 to 1950. This massive task of preservation will involve the microfilming of over 40,000 volumes of local newspapers preserving 21 million pages of text.

From the early 1830s onwards newspapers become fragile because elements in the paper on which they are printed react with the atmosphere causing acidification. This process is accelerated when combined with heavy usage. Left in this condition, newspapers will disintegrate and perish. To arrest this decline, the NEWSPLAN 2000 Project will preserve local newspapers on archival-quality microfilm, the internationally-accepted preservation standard, which has a life of at least 500 years.

The NEWSPLAN 2000 Project will also improve access for the public to local newspapers across the whole of the UK by making the microfilmed text available in local libraries in the areas served by each newspaper, and by supplying libraries with microfilm readers and reader-printers to improve access both for existing users and for new users.

Dr Ann Matheson, Chairman of The NEWSPLAN 2000 Project, warmly welcomed the decision of the Heritage Lottery Fund: ' This is a marvellous day for local newspapers. Now, with the assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the UK newspaper industry, and the efforts of libraries across the UK, we can be confident that a priceless part of our history will be saved and will survive for the use and enjoyment of all our citizens'.

The aims of this major endeavour have been supported by the UK newspaper industry from the start. The President of the Newspaper Society, Mr Edwin Boorman, said: 'We welcome the news of this grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which will help to safeguard this country's most fragile newspapers, many of which are no longer published. They form a unique part of the nation's heritage, which will now be protected for future generations'.

The Rt Hon. Baroness Blackstone, Minister of State for the Arts, Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), said: 'Local newspapers are an integral part of local history and culture, providing an incomparable barometer of local opinion over past centuries. Often they represent the first-person witnesses to important events. I congratulate the Heritage Lottery Fund on making this grant to the NEWSPLAN 2000 Project. The grant will save a vital part of our nation's archives allowing historians, students and others access to these documents while preserving them from further deterioration. This Project will be an enormous undertaking but I am sure future generations will benefit from being given the opportunity to study and enjoy this invaluable resource'.

Ms Anthea Case, Director of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: 'The Heritage Lottery Fund is very excited about supporting this flagship project to save a unique archive of national importance for future generations. It will allow many more people to have access to resources for learning about the history of their community. By preserving local newspapers across the UK, this grant award helps to fulfil the Heritage Lottery Fund's objective that every community across the UK should benefit from its support'.

The NEWSPLAN 2000 Project, British Library Newspaper Library, Colindale Avenue, LONDON, NW9 5HE | Tel: 020 7412 7371