The Illustrated London News is the world’s first illustrated weekly newspaper. This Historical Archive covers from the initial launching of the newspaper in 1842 to its last issue in 2003. It serves a crucial primary source database for British history and significant world events.

Herbert Ingram, the founder, was a printer and newsagent in London. After observing that newspapers sold more copies when they had illustrations, Ingram decided to start this new weekly which was considered a publishing revolution at that time. The first issue of the newspaper focused on issues such as the Parisian fashions and Queen Victoria’s masked ball (1842), while successive issues covered the Peace Congress at Frankfurt (1850),the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-1880), and the Colonial Indian Exhibition (1886).

The database has more than one and half million color facsimile images. Searches can be limited to sections such as advertising, news and business, arts and leisure, people, and commentary or illustrations. A feature called Research Tools gives access to a collection of essays that highlight primary source content in this database.

If you wish to explore resources similar to this, please look at our library research guides for historic newspapers and other history-related digital primary source databases.

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