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Newspaper archive featuring almost 1,000 titles saved after fundraising success

A bid to save a collection of almost 1,000 historic newspapers has succeeded after raising more than £115,000 in six months.

The National Library of Scotland launched the ‘Save Our Stories’ campaign, backed by The Scotsman, after warning around two-thirds of the newspapers in its archives risked being lost unless “essential conservation and preservation work” was carried out.

The collection, which dates from as early as 1641, comprises 961 titles from all over Scotland and features rare editions such as the first copy of The Scotsman, pictured, from 1817.

The required work will now be carried out following the successful fundraising drive.

Scotsman 1817

Scotsman arts and culture correspondent Brian Ferguson, who worked on the campaign, told HTFP: “I was lucky enough to get a private tour of the newspaper archives in the National Library of Scotland’s collection centre when I was invited in ahead of the launch of this appeal.

“It was fascinating to see how extensive and wide-ranging the newspaper archive was – encompassing 961 titles, way more than I had expected, and going back nearly 400 years. And of course it was a thrill to see a first edition of The Scotsman, which was published on 25 January 1817.

“It was obviously concerning at the time to hear that around two-thirds of the newspapers in the archive were at risk of being lost forever, but the National Library’s appeal seems to have captured the imagination of people around the world.

“For the Save Our Stories campaign to become one of the most successful the National Library has staged in modern times is testament to the enduring appeal of newspaper journalism in its many forms, as well as the crucial role played by local newspapers in recording life in communities across Scotland, a role that I believe is as important now as it ever has been.”