Local history

Find out about the variety of resources available in our libraries to help you learn more about your town or village.

​Do you want to know more about what your town or village in Northumberland was like in the past? Your library has fantastic resources to help you find out more.

Some of the larger libraries have developed strengths in particular areas of local studies according to the history of their town, for example: shipbuilding at Blyth, mining history at Ashington and Local history at Hexham.

Your library has a wealth of resources to help you learn more about your town or village.
If you are a library member you can borrow books from any Northumberland library. If the book you want is not available at a library you can access, you can reserve it to be sent to your local library for free. 

As part of the Local Studies and Family History collection, Northumberland libraries hold microfilm and microfiche, as well as readers so that they can be examined by library members.  Readers are available at: Alnwick, Berwick, Blyth and Hexham.
A selection of libraries have local newspapers on microfilm from as early as 1855, including:

Alnwick Library
  • Alnwick & County Gazette 1883 - 1950
  • Alnwick Advertiser 1979 - 1992
  • Northumberland Gazette 1965 - Current

Berwick Library
  • Berwick Advertiser 1901 - Current
  • Berwick Journal 1855 - 1882; 1910 - 1957 (not 1911, 1914-15)

Blyth Library
  • Blyth Bi-Weekly News 1895-1899
  • Blyth Examiner 1888 - 1894
  • Blyth News 1900 - 1982
  • Blyth Weekly News 1878 - 1958 (excluding 1881 - 1882)
  • News Post (Wansbeck edition) Jul-Sep 1990 - Mar - Apr 2008 (excluding Jan - Feb 2002)
  • Ashington Advertiser and Post 1940-1969
  • Ashington Hirst Press 16/7/1909 - 27/1/1911

Hexham Library
  • Haltwhistle Echo 1904 - 1930; 1946 - 1968
  • Hexham Courant 1864 - Current
  • Hexham Herald 1868 - 1922
Census Records 1841 - 1911 are available online in Northumberland Libraries from our online subscriptions to Ancestry and Find My Past.
Blyth Library and Hexham Library hold electoral registers:

Blyth Library
  • Blyth area electoral registers May 1929-Oct 1940
  • Blyth area electoral registers Oct 1945-current

Hexham Library
  • South Northumberland/Hexham Constituency electoral registers 1832-1900
  • thereafter at 5 yearly intervals until 1950 on microfilm
  • 1990+ alternate years (paper)
The main collection of trade directories are kept by the Northumberland Collections Service.

Trade directories are a fascinating insight of what life was like, containing facts such as: when the stagecoach arrived, how much it cost to post a letter, the population, the rates, landowners, lists of tradespeople and professions, where their business was located, eminent characters, a potted history of the town or village and much more – a wonderful source for family historians and anyone interested in their local history.

There is also a small collection of trade directories at  Blyth Library.