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The National Archives

The National Archives As the archive for England, Wales and the UK government, we hold over 1,000 years of history

Operating as usual

🚨NEWS🚨Our visitor car parking payment system will not accept cash from Monday 27 March. Most visitors already pay for th...
20/03/2023
Cashless car parking and new payment app coming soon - The National Archives

🚨NEWS🚨

Our visitor car parking payment system will not accept cash from Monday 27 March.

Most visitors already pay for their parking by card, and this change will be in line with our other services, including our shop.

Learn more here:

Our visitor car parking payment system will not accept cash from Monday 27 March. Most visitors already pay for their parking by card, and this change will be in line with other local car parks and our other services, including our shop. Later this year we’ll introduce a new app to make it even ea...

🚨Final Reminder🚨This year marks the 75th anniversary of Windrush. We are currently planning content in relation to this ...
20/03/2023

🚨Final Reminder🚨

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Windrush.

We are currently planning content in relation to this important historical moment and would welcome your thoughts.

Take part in the survey and potentially win £100.

https://research.audiencesurveys.org/s.asp?k=167750565778

📷: BT 26/1237

In the 1948 passenger list from the Empire Windrush, only one person had ‘writer’ as their occupation – Nancy Cunard. Ye...
20/03/2023

In the 1948 passenger list from the Empire Windrush, only one person had ‘writer’ as their occupation – Nancy Cunard.

Yet in other records at The National Archives, she is described as a ‘well-known extremist’.

Who was this socialite whose activism attracted police attention?

Born into the British upper classes in 1896, Nancy Cunard was the only heir to the lucrative Cunard shipping business. She enjoyed a privileged lifestyle, spending much of her adolescence in various European boarding schools.

Nancy lived to London in 1911 and from there lived across the globe, becoming involved in literary scenes as a writer and becoming the muse of others, including Aldous Huxley, Samuel Beckett, and Ezra Pound.

In 1928, Nancy met Henry Crowder in Venice after hearing him play jazz piano with Eddie South and his Alabamians. Knowledge of her friendship with a Black gentleman quickly spread across Europe and the pair became the focus of gossip pages in the transatlantic print media.

The focus of the media frenzy was the publication of a small pamphlet entitled ‘Black Man and White Ladyship’.

In the pamphlet, Nancy wryly listed the racist protestations of her mother and the wider world to her relationship with Henry, revealing personal details about her allowance and correspondence with other members of high society.

It was here, ‘sat upon a glass-topped table’ that she also expressed her desire to provide support for the Scottsboro Boys – a case concerning seven young Black boys, all under the age of 19, sentenced to death for the alleged assault of two young white women in 1931 Alabama.

This was the start of Nancy’s activism, which attracted significant police attention.

Discover the full story here: https://orlo.uk/QJDPh

Please be aware this article quotes original documents containing racially offensive language.

A tale of exploration, seafarers, and navigating the unknown.Discover one of Captain Cook’s lesser known voyages: the st...
17/03/2023
Tupaia the Navigator and Captain Cook's Polynesian Voyages

A tale of exploration, seafarers, and navigating the unknown.

Discover one of Captain Cook’s lesser known voyages: the story of Tupaia, the Tahitian priest who assisted Cook’s navigation around the Polynesian islands.

Friday 31 March, 14:00.

Book here:

Discover the story of Tupaia, the Taitian priest and navigator, who assisted Captain Cook’s navigation around the Polynesian islands

Do our eyes deceive us? The National and truly Temperance drink is ...Just in time for  📷: COPY 1/303 (399)
17/03/2023

Do our eyes deceive us?

The National and truly Temperance drink is ...

Just in time for

📷: COPY 1/303 (399)

 in 1873, the first female Cabinet Minister Margaret Bondfield was born.Here she is pictured with Ramsay MacDonald, the ...
17/03/2023

in 1873, the first female Cabinet Minister Margaret Bondfield was born.

Here she is pictured with Ramsay MacDonald, the first Labour Prime Minister.

In 1923, Bondfield was elected as MP for Northampton. Following Labour’s election victory in 1923, the party formed its first government and Bondfield was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour.

Bondfield returned to the House of Commons in 1926 when she won a by-election in Wallsend. She served in the second Labour government as Minister of Labour.

Read our profile about Margaret Bondfield here: https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20s-people/20-people-of-the-20s/margaret-bondfield/

PRO 30/69/1668

Opposition to the British Crown during the American War of Independence took many forms, none more notorious than the ma...
16/03/2023
Dockyard incendiarist: the tale of ‘John the Painter’ - The National Archives blog

Opposition to the British Crown during the American War of Independence took many forms, none more notorious than the malicious designs of James Aitken (alias ‘John the Painter’).

Learn more in today's blog: https://blog.nationalarchives.gov.uk/dockyard-incendiarist-the-tale-of-john-the-painter/

246 years ago this month, James Aitken was publicly executed at Portsmouth for heinous crimes against the state.

Why is it that we have less records in our collection about q***r women than q***r men? Due to the criminal past of homo...
16/03/2023

Why is it that we have less records in our collection about q***r women than q***r men?

Due to the criminal past of homos*xuality between men, there are a lot more ‘official’ records. Female same-s*x relationships, however, have never been illegal, so it appears less often...

This page is extracted from a lecture concerning “immoral” relationships between women in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF). It provides an insight into official perspectives on le***an relationships in the armed forces and how they were discouraged in the past.

The language is both shocking and fascinating, for example:
“3. The great difficulty is to get absolute proof that any person practises this vice.’

‘4. There is obvious difficulty in discharging such personnel, as frequently a le***an is extremely efficient in her trade…There is a risk that the young woman who succumbs to this vice may be permanently converted to it and may infect others.’

This is therefore a relatively rare case of a record providing insight into attitudes towards le***anism that were prevalent at the time.

AIR/2/13859

We are open today, but visitors can expect some of our services to be affected by today's industrial action, including o...
15/03/2023

We are open today, but visitors can expect some of our services to be affected by today's industrial action, including our onsite research enquiry service.

Our reading rooms are open for pre-booked advance orders only - you will not be able to order documents today.

🚨REMINDER🚨Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union have voted in favour of industrial action on Wednesday 15 ...
14/03/2023
Industrial action planned for Wednesday 15 March - The National Archives

🚨REMINDER🚨

Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union have voted in favour of industrial action on Wednesday 15 March 2023.

We will remain open, but visitors can expect some of our services to be affected.

Read more here:

Members of the Public and Commercial Services and Prospect unions have voted in favour of industrial action on Wednesday 15 March, in which we anticipate some of our staff will participate. We will remain open to visitors on this day but expect some of our services to be affected, as follows: We wil...

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Windrush. We are currently planning content in relation to this important histor...
14/03/2023

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Windrush.

We are currently planning content in relation to this important historical moment and would welcome your thoughts.

Take part in the survey and potentially win £100.

Survey link here: https://research.audiencesurveys.org/s.asp?k=167750565778

📷: BT 26/1237

Meet Maud Allan - the dancer accused of participating in a ‘cult’ of women.Born in Canada, she travelled to Europe and, ...
14/03/2023

Meet Maud Allan - the dancer accused of participating in a ‘cult’ of women.

Born in Canada, she travelled to Europe and, in the early 20th century, became a much-celebrated dancer on the West End stage.

By 1906 she was attracting audiences in the headline role of a production of ‘Salome’, based on Oscar Wilde’s controversial play about the biblical figure. Allan quickly became renowned for her seductive dance based on this play.

To be an audience member of Allan’s private performance of Salome, spectators had to apply to ‘9 Duke Street, Adelphi, W6’. This was a way of escaping the censorship of the Lord Chamberlain, who had banned Oscar Wilde’s works in the aftermath of his trial.

The performance was advertised in the Sunday Times which angered Noel Pemberton-Billing, an MP who owned ‘The Vigilante’ – a right-wing newspaper.
Pemberton-Billing wrote an article under the sensational headline, ‘The Cult of the Clitoris’, implying that Allan was a le***an.

While relationships between women were never illegal, unlike homos*xual acts between men, it was nevertheless socially unacceptable and attracted controversy.

Even more shockingly, Pemberton-Billing accused Allan of having an affair with Margaret Asquith, the former Prime Minister’s wife.

These accusations threatened to have a serious effect on Allan’s career, and so she took Pemberton-Billing to court…

Find out more about Maud Allan and the court case here: https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20s-people/20-people-of-the-20s/maud-allan/



COPY 1/550/190

When someone says they prefer digital copies over the real thing
13/03/2023

When someone says they prefer digital copies over the real thing

We're into the final few weeks of our Treason exhibition. Where else can you see the Act of Supremacy in the same case a...
10/03/2023

We're into the final few weeks of our Treason exhibition.

Where else can you see the Act of Supremacy in the same case as the trial records of Anne Boleyn and Sir Thomas More?

Visit this weekend before the exhibition closes on 6 April.

Mary Anning (1799 – 1847) was a palaeontologist who made important discoveries that shaped current understandings of the...
10/03/2023

Mary Anning (1799 – 1847) was a palaeontologist who made important discoveries that shaped current understandings of the world.

Anning grew up on what is now known as the Jurassic Coast, an area rich in fossils, and taught herself geology.



COPY 1/487/460

Have you heard of Eleanor Anne Ormerod? She was a pioneer English entomologist, who published new research on insects an...
09/03/2023

Have you heard of Eleanor Anne Ormerod?

She was a pioneer English entomologist, who published new research on insects and pests.

Ormerod was an internationally recognised authority on natural history and insects in the nineteenth century.

Apparently, Bono - the lead singer of U2 -  is addicted to visiting archives.When asked why he hasn't addressed this add...
09/03/2023

Apparently, Bono - the lead singer of U2 - is addicted to visiting archives.

When asked why he hasn't addressed this addiction, he replied:

'But I still haven't found what I'm looking for.'

Florence Nightingale David – a pioneering statistician who carried out vital wartime work which saved many lives during ...
08/03/2023

Florence Nightingale David – a pioneering statistician who carried out vital wartime work which saved many lives during the Blitz.

Let’s explore her story…

Born in in 1909, David’s parents had been friends with the Crimean War nurse Florence Nightingale, who she was named after. She studied Mathematics at Bedford College for Women, going on to join UCL as a research assistant in statistics and completing her doctorate in 1938.

In June 1939, David was called upon to be an experimental officer to the Board of Ordnance. Within a year, she was transferred to the Ministry of Home Security Research and Experiments Department. It is this work that surfaces in The National Archives’ collection.

The British Government sought to compile data on the bombings of British towns and cities throughout the war. They did this in a variety of ways, including Bomb Census surveys.

David collated data and produced a report entitled ‘The Statistical Analysis of Mass Casualty Data’.

This work significantly aided policy and advice given out in official announcements, while also helping to plan for the continued supply of things like water and electricity in areas heavily affected by air raids.

Read more about Florence Nightingale David here: https://blog.nationalarchives.gov.uk/how-florence-nightingale-david-saved-lives-during-the-blitz-with-statistics/



HO-196-32

Happy !The threads of women’s experiences weave throughout our records; from monarchs to paupers, suffrage campaigners t...
08/03/2023

Happy !

The threads of women’s experiences weave throughout our records; from monarchs to paupers, suffrage campaigners to Black power protestors.

The voices of men mostly frame our collections, reflecting the historic interests of government and past societies.

However, women have fought to be listened to and have acted as agents for change. When women were disruptive, they have tended to leave archival footprints.

It must be recognised however that while women’s voices are marginalised in our records, this is often compounded when people faced other factors of marginalisation and oppression; such as race, ethnicity, s*xuality, class, and disability.

Women can be found throughout our collections, but their narratives are often harder to find.

We are working to reclaim the voices of women in our records and address these historical imbalances, to represent an inclusive history of everyone in the work we do.



COPY 1/494

Sir Thomas More was among the leading statesmen of the Tudor period and his legacy has long survived his ex*****on for t...
07/03/2023
The treason of Sir Thomas More - The National Archives blog

Sir Thomas More was among the leading statesmen of the Tudor period and his legacy has long survived his ex*****on for treason in 1535.

Discover more about the treason of Sir Thomas More in our latest blog, part of our

Sir Thomas More was a leading Tudor statesman. What led to his ex*****on?

Join our record specialists for a brand-new online workshop on Black British history (c.1789-2000).📅: 18/04/23Register h...
07/03/2023
PAST Thematic Overview: Modern Black History

Join our record specialists for a brand-new online workshop on Black British history (c.1789-2000).

📅: 18/04/23

Register here:

The National Archives holds one of the largest collections in the world, containing over 11 million historical government and public records

As part of , today we are celebrating Nettie Adler.Nettie Adler was one of the first women to be elected and to take a s...
07/03/2023

As part of , today we are celebrating Nettie Adler.

Nettie Adler was one of the first women to be elected and to take a seat on the London County Council. Politically active in Hackney, she was first elected in 1910 as a member of the Liberal Party.

Daughter and granddaughter of chief rabbis, Adler was a prominent Jewish figure.

She was a member of the Anglo-Jewish Association and the Jewish Board of Guardians, and one of three Jewish women to be appointed as magistrate in 1920 – the first time this was possible for women.

The aesthetic of the reading room is criminally underrated
07/03/2023

The aesthetic of the reading room is criminally underrated

We digitise over 40,000 records every year!Records selected for digitisation come in a variety of formats and conditions...
06/03/2023
Introduction to conservation for digitisation - The National Archives blog

We digitise over 40,000 records every year!

Records selected for digitisation come in a variety of formats and conditions, and so prior to imaging they are surveyed by a team of conservators.

Discover more here:

The National Archives digitises over 40,000 records every year. Who prepares them?

At The National Archives, we hold the records of government, so why have we ended up with all these fascinating copies o...
06/03/2023

At The National Archives, we hold the records of government, so why have we ended up with all these fascinating copies of The Suffragette newspaper?

By 1913 suffragettes and the government were locked in a battle, with neither side wanting to backdown. Militant suffrage actions had increased.

The police turned to raiding suffrage headquarters and properties. They also raided the printers.

At this time, Edgar Whiteley, Secretary and Manager of the National Labour Press, Manchester, was printing The Suffragette paper. The police arrested him on the charge of conspiracy to incite acts of violence or destruction – the papers often did encourage WSPU members to undertake militant activities.

The police seized copies of The Suffragette newspaper from the printers. This was part of the wider conspiracy trials, which targeted the suffragette leaders.

It means we have these wonderful newspapers, including the very first issue of the Suffragette from 1912, where they describe how they gained their name.

One of the printers of the publication described it as having a regular circulation of about 17,000. Copies of these newspapers would have been found in homes of suffrage supporters all over the country.

Read more here:
https://blog.nationalarchives.gov.uk/raided-london-headquarters-womens-social-political-union/



Catalogue refs: ASSI 52/212 and ZPER 34/142

Looking for something to do today? Visit our Treason: People, Power, and Plot exhibition before it closes on 6 April. It...
05/03/2023

Looking for something to do today?

Visit our Treason: People, Power, and Plot exhibition before it closes on 6 April.

It's free and open to all ☺️

We're open: 11am - 4pm

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Windrush. We are currently planning content in relation to this important histor...
03/03/2023

This year marks the 75th anniversary of Windrush.

We are currently planning content in relation to this important historical moment and would welcome your thoughts.

Take part in the survey and potentially win £100.

Survey link here: https://research.audiencesurveys.org/s.asp?k=167750565778

📷: BT 26/1237

Our Pride Portraits are a series of illustrations by Sarah Tanat Jones, displayed in our building in Kew.Today, we are h...
03/03/2023

Our Pride Portraits are a series of illustrations by Sarah Tanat Jones, displayed in our building in Kew.

Today, we are honouring Anne Lister (1791-1840), aka Gentleman Jack – a landowner, businesswoman and diarist.

She documented her life and love affairs with women in a series of encrypted diaries; writing, 'I love and only love the fairer s*x'.

In 1834, Lister and her lover Ann Walker took communion together in Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate; an act they saw as marriage.

The National Archives holds Lister’s will, in which she leaves her fortune to Walker.

Read more about Ann Lister here: https://blog.nationalarchives.gov.uk/gentleman-jack-anne-lister-the-first-modern-le***an/

Historically speaking, women’s stories aren’t often at the forefront.This , we look forward to sharing with you some of ...
02/03/2023

Historically speaking, women’s stories aren’t often at the forefront.

This , we look forward to sharing with you some of the well-known stories we have in our collection, but equally those that are too often left out of history.

Image ref: COPY 1/526 46322

🚨 BREAKING NEWS 🚨We’re pleased to announce that we've awarded Ancestry UKthe contract to digitise the first tranche of M...
02/03/2023

🚨 BREAKING NEWS 🚨

We’re pleased to announce that we've awarded Ancestry UK
the contract to digitise the first tranche of MOD service personnel records.

Both parties are looking forward to working to make these important records accessible in digital format. Details of the schedule will be announced soon.

More about the records themselves, including answers to the most frequently asked questions about the transfer, here 👇

https://nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/news/mod-service-personnel-records-now-available-update/

Inspired by Women’s History Month, discover our new replica Cabinet table display onsite at Kew: ‘Political pioneers: Th...
01/03/2023

Inspired by Women’s History Month, discover our new replica Cabinet table display onsite at Kew: ‘Political pioneers: The first 20 women in Cabinet’.
The display features records on the first twenty female Cabinet Ministers.

It sheds light on the types of government roles initially available to women and the impact these pioneering women had on politics. We encourage visitors to take a seat at the Cabinet table and flick through the facsimile records for themselves.

Discover who these pioneering women were, from Margaret Bondfield, the first woman appointed to the Cabinet in 1929, to Patricia Hewitt who entered the Cabinet in 2001.

It also recognises that only a small number of women have been appointed to Cabinet positions. The barriers to reaching government are exacerbated by other factors, such as ethnicity, disability, s*xuality and class background, which in turn have impacted the women who have held Cabinet roles.

Riding into Women's History Month like...Image ref: COPY 1/435/62 (1898)
01/03/2023

Riding into Women's History Month like...

Image ref: COPY 1/435/62 (1898)

Happy St David's Day 📷: CO 956/84
01/03/2023

Happy St David's Day

📷: CO 956/84

Medieval historian Dr Euan Roger answers the internet's most searched questions about the history of treason.When did tr...
28/02/2023
How was treason punished? | Historian Answers the Internet's Questions on Treason

Medieval historian Dr Euan Roger answers the internet's most searched questions about the history of treason.

When did treason become a crime?
How was treason punished?
Is it treason to kill a swan?

Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/xz-HwvnVQm8

Medieval historian Euan Roger answers the internet's burning questions about the history of treason. When did treason become a crime? How was treason punishe...

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Wishing you all a Happy New Year!

📷 : COPY 1/33
The National Archives Wrapped 2021

This year we've delivered more than 200,000 documents to our reading rooms and seen over 538,000 documents downloaded online.

What a way to end the year!
London is always the subject of international attention on New Years Eve. But as preparations were being made to usher in the new millennium there was also the very real threat of the .Millennium Bug.'

Discover more here: https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/news/cabinet-office-files-from-1997-2000/

📷 : PREM 49-845-2
Prepare for the launch of the 1921 Census of England and Wales by listening to our podcast, exploring the enormous digitisation project undertaken by Findmypast and asking our specialists what to expect when we get to see the census in early 2022: https://pod.link/1460242815/episode/879bb7248f748085f5b056c137ef7884
This week marks the 190th anniversary of the Christmas Rebellion, one of the largest uprisings of enslaved people in Caribbean history.

We hold various documents relating to it such as this proclamation offering a reward for the capture of the rebels.

📷 : CO 137/181 (10)
The National Archives Wrapped 2021

We published 132 blogs in 2021, covering all aspects of the work we do and projects that we are involved in.

That averages out at 1 new blog every 3 days!

Why not explore our back catalogue of blogs? https://blog.nationalarchives.gov.uk/
How did Tony Blair define the principles of New Labour?

'Its values are Labour values - justice, equity, compassion, a belief in community and society, solidarity - in the end, they all come down to 'fairness', and for all, not a few'

These notes have been taken from our latest file release.

For more material relating to Blair's strategy for domestic policy between 24 July 1997 – 27 April 1998, look in PREM 49-244.
🗞️ NEWS 🗞️

Today we release files from the Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet Office covering the first years of Tony Blair’s premiership.

Find out more about our latest file release in our news story: https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/about/news/prime-ministers-files-from-1998-2000-released/
For the last six months, we've been commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Central Office of Information.

As the 10th anniversary of the department's closure looms, we reflect on the last six months of collaboration with the BFI & Imperial War Museum:

https://blog.nationalarchives.gov.uk/thats-a-wrap-celebrating-a-six-month-collaboration-with-government-film-archives/
The National Archives Wrapped 2021

No prizes for guessing which product had the most sales onsite at our shop.
Prepare for the launch of the 1921 Census of England and Wales by listening to our podcast, exploring the enormous digitisation project undertaken by Findmypast and asking our specialists what to expect when we get to see the census in early 2022: https://pod.link/1460242815/episode/879bb7248f748085f5b056c137ef7884
The National Archives Wrapped 2021

Our podcast, On the Record, received 22,074 listens across 110 different countries this year! Look out for new series in 2022 ☺️

In the meantime, why not give our 1921 Census episode a listen? https://pod.link/1460242815/episode/879bb7248f748085f5b056c137ef7884
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