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Online archive to document 100 years of news

A century’s worth of editions of a North-East weekly newspaper are to be made available digitally for the first time.

News from more than 5,000 editions of the Teesdale Mercury between 1854 and 1954 will be accessible via a searchable online archive, thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant worth over £35,000.

A total of 5,200 copies of the newspaper were issued which translates into 45,000 pages. Existing print copies are being stored at a museum and the Teesdale Mercury offices but they are in poor condition and are under threat of being lost.

This project will result in a comprehensive digital archive, a travelling exhibition and an educational booklet with the online resource opening up the Mercury to a worldwide audience.

Ivor Crowther, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for the North East, said: “This project is a fantastic opportunity to bring the history of the Teesdale Mercury back into the light.

“It will provide countless resources for historians and the public alike, providing them with first hand accounts of important historical events.

“With the help of HLF the original copies of the paper can be preserved and the new digital archive will provide the community with a valuable sense of their heritage.”

The Teesdale Mercury was founded in 1854 in Barnard Castle, where it’s still published today and is one of the oldest surviving, independently-run newspapers in the country Using the Lottery grant, the project will be able to update and archive all the original copies and digitize them, ensuring their survival for years to come.

Roy Tranter, chairman of The Teesdale Mercury Access Project, added: “This is an amazing opportunity to explore and learn more about the history of Teesdale.

“The Teesdale Mercury has played such an important role over the years in documenting Teesdale life and events that have happened, it would be an awful tragedy if those records were lost.

“By transferring all the records onto an electronic database we can ensure that they are easily accessible and will be preserved for the future.”


sue stanwix (13/10/2009 15:06:51)
Great to see the Mercury is going online with it’s archives. I look forward to searching my family. When is this going to happen and where will I be able to find them? Thanks Sue