NEWS RELEASE: Unlimited access for schools to the world’s greatest illustrated magazine archives and how art changed the way news was reported

Illustrated London News Ltd announces a new opportunity for schools (teachers and students) to gain access to the unique digital archives of the world’s leading illustrated magazines.

6 May 2020

by Lisa Barnard

You can view the full brochure here or on the following link: htps://

Special edition of the Illustrated London News to celebrate the end of World War II. Date, 1945


This provides the background detail on why these resources are relevant for students aged 11-18 and history departments in particular.  Access to the archives is now available to secondary schools at an affordable price on an annual subscription basis, for which schools can access two separate digital archives, totalling 1.3 million pages, and is accompanied by free teaching and studying resources.  Until now these two collections have been offered primarily to Further Education institutes, including universities, and museums around the world, and they have never been offered to schools as a package.


Royal Family at home 1942 – an exclusive for ILN centenary: Date, 1942


Lisa Barnard, Chief Executive of Illustrated London News Ltd, said: “We have had a lot of feedback from teachers that they would love to be able to access to relevant resources to replace the over-used standard ones, especially from textbooks and exam papers. Given the COVID-19 situation, we wanted to make this happen right away and we were able to do so. We are fortunate that our collections are image-led – that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ is still the case today.  We hope to inspire and create a new generation of history and cultural detectives, unearthing fascinating and exciting material.


This illustration shows the dramatic rescue of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkerque in 1940. It took over 900 vessels from England to evacuate the British and French soldiers. Date, 8th June 1940


“The ILN became the television of its day and allowed the public for the first time not just to be able to read about British and world events, but to ‘see’ them. This method of employing ‘Special Artists’ who were sent to produce finished illustrations was a concept which changed the concept of journalism. This was not art for art’s sake. This was art for news’ sake.”


In a British dug-out, soldiers raise their glasses and wish themselves luck for the coming battle. Date, 1917


Chronicling the changing world throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the publications in these fascinating pictorial archives are the most well-known, varied and visual in British periodical publishing history. Originally under the umbrella of The Illustrated London News, there are 10 titles in total in these combined collections, all considered to be among the foremost popular journals of their respective periods. The archives will be an invaluable tool across the curriculum, bringing a wealth of material to lessons, especially history, but also relevant to other subjects such as English Literature, science, art, media and drama.


Front cover of The Illustrated London News, showing Winston Churchill being cheered by an excited crowd as he made his way to the House of Commons via Whitehall, on VE Day. Date, 8th May 1945


Through our two educational publishing partners Cengage/Gale and ProQuest, you can choose to subscribe to a single archive, The Illustrated London News, the world’s first illustrated newspaper spanning 1842-2003, or the 9 sister titles, or both.  In light of the COVID-19 situation and the increased need for schools to offer remote teaching and promote online studying, we are also providing free teaching and study resources, including adaptable PowerPoints, videos and webinars. These have been designed for conventional classroom use as well as remote online teaching.

Illustration showing a group of German ‘frogmen’ being captured by British soldiers, near Nijmegen, Holland, 28th September 1944. These ‘frogmen’ were assault troops who swam down the Waal River with explosives to try to blow up the bridges at Nijmegen. Having placed the charges, they began their escape but were spotted by British troops and captured. As can be seen in the picture, the Germans were equipped with oxygen tanks, wetsuits and flippers. Date, 1944


For further information and more images available in high-res please contact Lisa Barnard – [email protected]

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