This is a replica building. The newspaper room is on the upper floor of a two-storey reproduction building, above Baird’s Print shop. This building was built to support a fine original 1600s roof, removed by the Museum from an old house in New Row, Coleraine, County Londonderry.
Newspaper publication in Ulster has a long and distinguished history. It stretches back to the founding of the Belfast Newsletter in 1737. Weekly newspapers have been an integral part of social and political life in Ulster for the past 150 years.
Before the advent of radio and television, newspapers provided the only source of news and up-to-date information. They provided a window to the wider world and also contained information on jobs and commerce.
Access to newspapers presented a problem to many poor people who could not afford to pay for them. To address this need newspaper ‘’Reading Rooms’’ were opened in many towns in Ulster. They were funded by a wide range of institutions, charities and private individuals.
The newspaper room is fitted out as a small town newspaper reading room, with tables and chairs of the period. The bound newspaper volumes contain copies of every newspaper that existed in Ulster during one week in 1912. They give the reader a fascinating glimpse of what life was like in Ulster in the early 1900s. They include local coverage of the tragic sinking of the Titanic.