There are three official newspapers of record in the United Kingdom – The London Gazette, The Edinburgh Gazette and The Belfast Gazette. “Official newspapers of record” here means that certain items must be published in them by law and is reflected in the legend “Published by Authority”. The best-known example is that they list company insolvencies (bankruptcies).
The London Gazette
The London Gazette was first published in 1665 as The Oxford Gazette when the court of King Charles II had retreated to Oxford at the time of the Great Plague. It took its present name when the Court returned to London.
The Edinburgh Gazette
Although first published in 1699, The Edinburgh Gazette had something of a chequered history for nearly the next hundred years with several breaks in publication. However, it has been published regularly since 1793.
The Belfast Gazette
The Belfast Gazette was first published on June 7th, 1921 and appears every Friday. It is the successor of The Dublin Gazette that was founded in 1706.
For those interested in heraldry and genealogy, the State Notices of The London Gazette, The Edinburgh Gazette and The Belfast Gazette are sources of authoritative information from the Royal Palaces and from the College of Arms. The State Notices are made up of a number of sections.
Generally concerned with the coinage and bank holidays.
Including, for instance, deaths of members of the Royal Family
Appointments to the Royal Household
Honours and Awards
Privy Council Office
A miscellany of information including
Changes to the statutes of the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge and their colleges;
Nomination of High Sheriffs (except in the Duchy of Lancaster and the Duchy of Cornwall);
Changes to burial gounds.
Change of name and/or Arms
This includes details such as:
Permission to a corporate body to use the arms of its predecessor;
Royal grant of precedence e.g. to the sisters of a new peer who themselves would automatically have had the courtesy titles of a peer had their father not predeceased his noble relative to enjoy those same titles – example (from August 30th , 2002):
“The QUEEN has been graciously pleased to ordain and declare that Lucy Helen, the wife of Michael Alan Pelham, Katharine Mary, the wife of Franklin Watts, and Alice Marian, the wife of Thomas David Fremantle shall henceforth have, hold and enjoy, the same title, rank, place pre-eminence and precedence as the daughters of a Duke which would have been due to them had their father Cyril Reginald Egerton, survived his kinsman, John Sutherland, Duke of Sutherland, and thereby succeeded to the title and dignity of the Duke of Sutherland.”
Royal licence and authority for the adopted children (and their descendants) of a named individual to bear the individual’s arms duly differenced.
Duchy of Cornwall or Duchy of Lancaster
Appointment of Sheriffs
Deputy Lieutenant Commissions
Appointment of Royal Commissions
Lord Chancellor’s Office
Prime Ministers [sic] Office, Office of the First Lord
Chancellor of the Exchequer
Warrants Under the Royal Sign Manual
Order of St John
Immigration and Asylum