Here’s one for everyone to share! As the newspaper industry suffers the multiple threats from the internet, falling advertising and sales, a new resource from the British Library demonstrates why we need to ensure they survive. The British Newspaper Archive website, brought to all by the British Library and online publisher brightsolid will offer access to up to 4 million fully searchable pages, featuring more than 200 newspaper titles from every part of the UK and Ireland. The newspapers – which mainly date from the 19th century, but which include runs dating back to the first half of the 18th century – cover every aspect of local, regional and national news. Highlights include coverage of crime and punishment as well as eye witness accounts of social transformation. Pass on the web link to all!

The Pitmen Painters by Lee Hall (of Billy Elliot success) is quietly attracting interest from theatre-goers. Following a national tour, and scooping the Evening Standard Award for Best New Play, the moving and heart-warming play is extending its run at the Duchess Theatre, London. In 1934, a group of Ashington miners hired a professor to teach an art appreciation evening class. Rapidly abandoning theory in favour of practice, the pitmen began to paint – prolifically. Within a few years avant-garde artists became their friends and their work was acquired by prestigious collectors; but every day they continued to work, as before, down the mine. The Pitmen Painters has been described as ‘highly amusing, deeply moving and always entertaining as it examines the lives of a group of ordinary men who do extraordinary things’. Well worth a look. For details of group offers for schools, contact 0844 412 4650.