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See also: England Newspapers
The first provincial newspaper to publish in Sussex was the Sussex Weekly Advertiser or Lewes Journal which began in Lewes in 1745 and circulated widely through Sussex although few issues before 1769 have survived.
The same harsh taxation which hampered English newspapers generally also limited the production of Sussex newspapers until the mid-nineteenth century. The abolition of these taxes between 1853 and 1861 together with a steady growth of literacy, improvements in printing technology, and the expansion of the franchise between the Reform Act of 1832 and 1867 created conditions for the growth of provincial newspapers. An increasingly prosperous middle-class created a larger market for newspapers and the number of titles grew rapidly after 1853. By 1900 there were about 50 different titles publishing each week.
These titles began in different towns in the County, at first reprinting news from the London papers but turning more to reporting local news. Most were weekly although some were monthly. In 1886 the Brighton Argus became an evening paper and in 1870 a daily, the Sussex Daily News began. This period saw some titles established which had long runs.
There were also newspapers published in the South East but outside Sussex which had coverage of Sussex news.
If the last half of the nineteenth century was a period of boom, the twentieth century was a period of decline and change. A shortage of paper in the two world wars saw the closure of a number of long-established newspapers. After WWII the proportion of news copy declined in relation to advertising, photographs and reprints of press releases. Established newspapers have been challenged by the emergence of free newspapers entirely financed by advertising. Most local titles have been taken over by a small number of publishers.
Early Newspapers with Sussex Coverage
1750 to 1850
- Sussex Weekly Advertiser or Lewes Journal (Lewes, from 1745)
- Hampshire Chronicle and Portsmouth & Chichester Journal (Portsmouth (Hampshire), from 1772)
- Hampshire Telegraph & Sussex Chronicle (Portsmouth (Hampshire), from 1799)
- Sussex Chronicle and Chichester Advertiser (Chichester, 1802-1803)
- Sussex Agricultural Express (Lewes, from 1837) Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth (Hampshire), from 1850)
Archives and Libraries
The British Library, London has the largest and most complete collection of British newspapers including those published and circulating in Sussex.
- British Library Catalogue use the drop-down option to select the Newspaper Library, or use the advanced search option. The results page offers filters by date, subject etc.
The British Library has entered into a number of commercial joint ventures to digitised and publish on the internet a range of their newspaper holdings. To access these you either use a pay-per-view system or purchase a subscription to the dataset. In some cases, local libraries have purchased library subscriptions and make these available to their clients.
County Records Offices
Both the East Sussex County Council and the West Sussex County Council maintain archival services through their respective Records Offices. Each have holdings of newspapers, newspaper clippings and newspaper indexes. Both have prepared finding guides and other descriptive material of use to family history researchers.
East Sussex Record Office
- ESRO, the East Sussex Records Office.
- A2A ESRO The National Archives Access to Archives (A2A) listing for ESRO.
West Sussex Records Office
- WSRO, the West Sussex Records Office. Holds many local newspapers from 1746 to the present day.
- WSRO Local Studies Newspapers page. Includes link to Mini-Guide to Sources no.8, Newspapers in West Sussex (PDF, 19 pages, 174KB).
- Online catalogue
Digital Issues Online
It may be useful to extend your search to South East England to find relevant items in newspapers published outside of Sussex in neighbouring counties.
- The British Library ($) has made several Sussex newspapers available online with an every name index.
- British Newspapers Archive ($) The British Library and brightsolid online technology offer The British Newspaper Archive which has: the Sussex Advertiser (Lewes, East Sussex; 1749-1822, with gaps); Hastings and St Leonards Observer (Hastings, East Sussex; 1866- ); and the Brighton Patriot (Brighton, 1835 - 1836).
Family History Library
The Family History Library has a few English newspapers listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
- ENGLAND, SUSSEX - NEWSPAPERS
The Family History Library usually does not collect newspapers. However, the library does collect indexes and abstracts of genealogical information from newspapers. Look in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under: