Today The London Gazette celebrates its 350 year anniversary as the oldest surviving English newspaper, and the oldest continuously published newspaper in the UK.
The Gazette’s archives are free and easily accessible online, broken down by sector to help users quickly find what they are looking for. The content of The Gazette attracts a variety of different audiences, one of which is the genealogist and historian market. The Gazette is frequently used by those researching their family history, through military records and despatches from the front, as well as insolvency or deceased estates notices.
A resource created for The Gazette’s anniversary is a timeline detailing just a fraction of the type of events documented in its 350 year history. These memorable events in British history range from The Great Fire of London and the Bank of England being founded, to more recent events, such as the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and the birth of Princess Charlotte.
Following the outbreak of the plague in England in 1665, Charles II was forced to move his court out of London to Oxford. To allow the court to report the facts of the day, The Oxford Gazette was born, and when the court moved back to London, it became The London Gazette, and more recently The Gazette, incorporating both the Belfast and Edinburgh Gazette. As the first official journal of record and the newspaper to the Crown, The London Gazette became the authoritative source of news.
The Edinburgh Gazette was first produced in 1699 and was printed continuously after 1793. The Belfast Gazette has been in production since 1920 (its forerunner was The Dublin Gazette, which was in print from 1706).
The Gazette is also the official home of The Queen’s Birthday and New Year honours, as well as the weekly Ministry of Defence notifications, Company Law notices, statutory notices and legislation. Specific content is created for each sector and is available for all users to access. Specialists in their fields are also commissioned to write content, which is then accessible online and via social media.
Janine Eves, Business and Operations Director for The Gazette said: ‘There’s a vast range of history in The Gazette’s archive just waiting to be discovered. Since completing the digital transformation last year, finding information about individuals or historical events is easier than ever – and it’s free to access. I encourage you to take a look for yourself and see what you can discover.’
As the official public record, The Gazette will continue to record history, publishing online and for all to freely search and read.