Experience three centuries of British and world history through illustrations and words.
With its debut in 1842, the Illustrated London News (ILN) became the world's first fully illustrated weekly newspaper, marking a revolution in journalism and news reporting. The publication presented a vivid picture of British and world events -- including news of war, disaster, ceremonies, the arts, and science -- with coverage in the first issue ranging from the Great Fire of Hamburg to Queen Victoria's fancy dress ball at Buckingham Palace.
The Illustrated London News Historical Archive, 1842-2003 includes every published issue, from the first in 1842 to the last in 2003. Entirely full-text searchable with new, high-quality digital imaging from flat unbound print sets, it combines information and the power of pictures to provide unique perspective on virtually every aspect of modern life and those who helped shape it over more than 160 years.
The ILN covers a wide range of subject areas in the 19th and 20th centuries making it an invaluable resource for multi-disciplinary research. Areas include:
- The Arts - reports and pictures of prominent art figures of the 19th and 20th centuries including: opera singers, vaudeville stars, painters and stars of stage and screen
- Discovery and Exploration - ILN readers could follow in illustration the exploits of David Livingstone in the Congo, and at different times Stanley, Franklin and Burton and later, Shackleton and Scott
- Fashion - the ILN's fashion column provides a unique insight into the styles of the day, from corsets through to flapper dresses. The advertising pages provide a sociological view of fashion, with adverts for mourning clothes, undergarments, evening wear, jewelry and cosmetics
- Industry and Trade - covers the growth of the industrial North, living conditions experienced by the working man, trade imports from the colonies, strikes, child employment, domestic servants and agriculture
- Military History - ILN war artists were sent to all corners of the earth to cover the wars of the 19th and 20th centuries including: 1848 revolution in France, the Crimean War, American Civil War, the Boer War, World Wars I and II
- Politics - fine illustrations chronicle the great statesmen of the Victorian era -- Peel, Wellington , Palmerston, Disraeli and Gladstone and their cabinets. The ILN also documents the major players during the two world wars and the years in between
- Science, Medicine and Progress - ILN was keen to enlighten its readers about the latest advances providing engravings of the first letterbox in London, reporting of the laying of the Transatlantic telegraph cable and explanations of the workings of an early light bulb
- Social History - illustrated coverage of servants, female suffrage, strikes, homes, crime, leisure, emigration, and religion
- Sport - football, rugby, tennis, cricket to the more unusual cock-fighting, curling and pig-sticking
- Transport - the ILN archive offers a comprehensive record of transport through the past 160 years including reports of the first steam omnibus, landmarks in motor car manufacture and the first historic flight by the Wright Brothers in 1903
- Travel - global reports on people and places within the British Empire and beyond.
“Just as the ILN was in many respects a first — the world’s first regularly illustrated weekly, the first periodical to employ special war correspondents and illustrators, the first to publish colour supplements — so this archive is the first to make this groundbreaking newspaper a globally searchable (‘easy ... digital format’; ‘convenient 24/7 access’) and hence meaningfully contextualized resource.”
- Dr. Bob Nicholson, the Digital Victorianist
- Chinese Studies
- Japanese Studies
- South & Southeast Asian Studies
- African Studies
- African-American Studies
- British Studies
- European Studies
- East European & Russian Studies
- Medieval & Renaissance Studies
- Western European Studies
- Gender & Women's Studies
- Latina / Latin America / Caribbean Studies
- Middle Eastern Studies
- Religion & Philosophy
- U.S. History
Platform Features & Tools
Researchers can see the frequency of search terms within sets of content to begin identifying central themes and assessing how individuals, places, events, and ideas interact and develop over time.
By grouping commonly occurring themes, this tool reveals hidden connections within search terms—helping to shape research by integrating diverse content with relevant information.
Search across the content of complementary primary source products, including books, in one united, intuitive environment, enabling innovative new research connections.
Reviews & Testimonials
Magazine that put Victorians in the picture makes its full 160-year run available online for researchers, including colour.
The entire contents of the Illustrated London News, a staunchly royalist newspaper that pioneered the use of colour photography in its coverage of royal news and other events, have been digitised and brought together in an archive expected to prove a goldmine for historians and researchers. The newspaper, which was published from 1842 until 2003, developed the concept of news with images, shortly after the invention of photography, and will give academics a real feel for how the Victorian middle class and subsequent generations viewed the world.
Royal Wedding pictures go online
The archive of the Illustrated London News will be made available online for the first time today, April 15th. 250,000 pages and as many as three-quarters of a million illustrations, from the newspaper’s first publication on May 14th, 1842, to its last in 2003, have been digitally reproduced in colour by Cengage Learning. The archive will be initially available only to libraries and educational institutions.
A unique visual archive of 19th century Victorian Britain, including illustrations and photographs of events ranging from the Great Exhibition of 1851 to the Boer war, will be available online for the first time from today. The Illustrated London News archive holds 250,000 pages and as many as three quarters of a million illustrations, from as far back as 1842. With its debut in 1842, The Illustrated London News became the world’s first fully illustrated weekly newspaper, marking a revolution in journalism and news reporting. The publication presented a vivid picture of British and world events – including news of war, disaster, ceremonies, the arts and science – with coverage in the first issue ranging from the Great Fire of Hamburg to Queen Victoria’s fancy dress ball at Buckingham Palace. The Illustrated London News Historical Archive gives students and researchers unprecedented online access to the entire run of the ILN from its first publication on 14 May 1842 to its last in 2003. Each page has been digitally reproduced in full colour and every article and caption is full-text searchable with hit-term highlighting and links to corresponding illustrations. Facsimilies of articles and illustrations can be viewed, printed and saved either individually or in the context of the page in which they appear. Wherever possible Special Numbers covering special events such as coronations or royal funerals have been included.