Revealing visit to new library facility

13th December 2012. Culture Minister Ed Vaizey (left) talks to Roly Keating CEO of the British Library, as they stand amongst the shelving racks in the new newspaper storage building of the British Library in Boston Spa
13th December 2012. Culture Minister Ed Vaizey (left) talks to Roly Keating CEO of the British Library, as they stand amongst the shelving racks in the new newspaper storage building of the British Library in Boston Spa
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It is a great pleasure to have the British Library’s new newspaper storage facility at Thorp Arch; newspapers are such an integral part of our history.

By storing original copy, who knows what uses it may have in centuries to come?

As a huge fan of the printed press, it was a real treat to open and look around the new facility; digitising newspapers from centuries past.

Over six million pages have now been electronically scanned, including those of many local newspapers leading up to 1950.

A quick word search of my home village, Bramham, led me to an interesting story.

The short report from the mid 19th century told of a gentleman in Bramham who, whilst tending his vegetable garden, found the body of a young girl wrapped in newspaper.

The body was taken to the Bay Horse; a former public house in the village.

The report explained it was here that a policeman laid the body until the Coroner arrived later that day.

The report raises more questions than it answered and highlights the great importance of preserving our printed history.

These local stories often lead to fascinating tales; the type that would have inspired literary greats such as Conan-Doyle.

If readers know any further details about this report I would be interested to hear more.

A great number of local people will want to research their villages and read what interesting stories exist about our part of Yorkshire.

With such an ancient and diverse area as ours, local stories will no doubt be in abundance and I wager that many a good book will be written with this new source of easily accessible information.

I thoroughly recommend a visit to the British Library at Thorp Arch.

Alec Shelbrooke MP

Conservative Member of Parliament for Elmet and Rothwell

Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister of State for Northern Ireland