Historic books including The Hermit of Warkworth and The History of Alnwick to be made available online

Northumberland Archives and Northumberland Libraries have teamed up with the University of East Anglia (UEA) in an exciting new project to unlock rare and fascinating collections.

By Ian Smith
Friday, 28th May 2021, 3:58 pm

The Unlocking the Archive project aims to make historic books more accessible in new and exciting ways while educating people about the history of the books and their content.

Northumberland Archives approached the team at the UEA’s School of Literature Drama and Creative Writing to offer up some of the county’s oldest and most rare collections to be made available online as part of the project.

The chosen archives come from the Northumberland Libraries Local Studies Collections and includes:


Magna Britannia (the Northumberland section) by Thomas Cox (published in 1720)

The Hermit of Warkworth by Thomas Percy (published in 1806)

The Fables of Aesop by Thomas Bewick (published in 1823)

The History of Alnwick by William Davison (published in 1813)

The Fables of Aesop by Thomas Bewick.

Leges Marchiarum by William Nicolson (published in 1705)

This the first project of its kind for Northumberland Archives and Northumberland Libraries in digitising their printed Local Studies stock and making them available online.

Excerpts from the books are featured on the project website, where visitors can learn more about the books and their context by clicking interactive hot points. The originals are available to view at Northumberland Archives Study Centre at Woodhorn.

Sue Wood, head of archives for Northumberland said: “We approached the team at UEA as we felt we had a number of important collections that could add impact to this project.

“Northumberland has a rich selection of rare, printed books in the Northumberland Libraries collection and to have these available online, to a wider audience is a first for our archives.

“Now more people will be able to discover our history and heritage. We hope this will be the start of a great partnership between us and the university.”

Dr Sophie Butler, lecturer in early modern literature at UEA said: “Northumberland has such an important part to play in the history of the book, with many of the examples in their collection showing the contribution the county made to publishing in the 18th and 19th Century. The beautiful Thomas Bewick book chosen for this project is a great example of that.”

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Thousands of historic records from Northumberland now available to view online

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