Mercury is the oldest paper in the British Library

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A copy of the Rutland and Stamford Mercury is the oldest newspaper to be held at the British Library’s new £33m reading room which opened this week.

The paper was first published in 1713 but the earliest issue in the British Library’s collection is the May 22, 1718 edition.

The Newsroom, as the new reading room is called, houses more than 750 million pages of papers and magazines as well as 4.8 million archived websites.

British Library chief executive Roly Keating said: “Our newspaper collection is a vital part of the memory of the nation – recording every aspect of local, regional and national life, and continuing to grow at a rate of more than seven metres every week.”