Moving 750 million pages of print archive to a new home

For 82 years, researchers have made the journey to Colindale in north London, the unlikely home of the British Newspaper Library, a vast collection of almost every British newspaper published in the last 300 years.

Across six floors and 50 kilometres of shelving sit not only the well-known national papers, but also a vast collection of now obscure regional titles.

And it is not just newspapers; the legal deposit act requires the library to preserve any periodical regularly published, adding around 1200 publications every week from football programmes to Vogue and TV listings magazines.

But despite its history and a certain vintage charm, Colindale is no longer fit for its purpose of preserving the archive, having run out of space and offering few environmental controls to protect the increasingly fragile newsprint. Some 15% of the collection is in too bad condition to be viewed by the public.

On November 8 Colindale closed - and a six month project to move 750 million pages of print to its new state of the art home in Boston Spa, Yorkshire began.

A world away from Colindale, the papers will pass through air locks into a low temperature and low oxygen environment designed to prevent fire and preserve the life of the collection.

From autumn 2014, the public will be able to order newspapers from Boston Spa which will then be retrieved by robotic cranes from the shelves and delivered to a new reading room at St Pancras within 48 hours.

Video produced by Neil Meads and Amanda McGregor

Stop/Start is a series of video features for the BBC News website which follows both new trends that are beginning and old traditions that are coming to an end.

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