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Digital archive of island’s history goes online

A hundred and thirty years of the Isle of Wight’s history has now gone up online, thanks to a newspaper’s digital archive.

The Isle of Wight County Press, established in 1884 and still in the same family’s ownership, has been investing heavily in transferring every edition from microfilm to digital format.

Now the Isle of Wight County Press Archive – available through the newspaper’s website – is complete, with more than 160,000 pages in 6,000 editions available in searchable PDF format.

Everything from the death of Queen Victoria at Osborne House to the two World Wars, and important family moments for islanders, is now available at the click of a mouse.

Initial feedback has been very positive, with hundreds of people signing up.

Users can access the information by purchasing a subscription or credits for page views.

The project has taken around 18 months to complete and has involved the pages being scanned from microfilm and digitized in partnership with the paper’s web provider, Matrix Create.

Robin Freeman, MD of the Isle of Wight County Press Group said: “We hope islanders will find it a fascinating resource and we envisage it being vital to those doing genealogy research and to historical societies.

“School and university students should also benefit from the vast wealth of information about the Isle of Wight over the past 130 years.

“We are rightly proud of our history, and are delighted to give the public the chance to share in that.”

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  • May 28, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    That’s all good news, literally, though it’s not so many years ago that the IWCP finally gave up using all ads on the front page and started using news items. It also used to have a sharp Tory bias with reports slanted quite heavily against anything thought to be a bit pink, red or even liberal. Always urged all Islanders to vote Tory in editions just before most or all council or general elections. Sadly it was to a point where certain revelations were not thought “right” to publish as it might influence voting residents who should have at least been told.
    It had a very thorough news coverage with full-time staff reporters living in different parts of the island and then writing stuff up and every day putting it in a parcel and given to bus conductors to take in to the CP office.
    All court cases were reported and there were acres of semi-verbatim council reports. It even had cobwebby weekly reports on local hunts, cribbage results, columns written by former staff who wrote as old codgers. In much earlier years it reported and commented on world events. Such as.. “The Kaiser better watch out or he’ll have the Isle of Wight County Press and its readers to answer to…”
    All pages black edged when the Old Queen died at Osborne.
    All very thorough and examples of how things used to be in backwaters like the Island. Quite lovely…. I used to live there…

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