The National Archives

The National Archives As the government's national archive for England, Wales and the UK government, we hold over 1,000 years of the nation's records for everyone to discover and use.
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For our next #MeetTheAuthor talk we welcome Rebecca Gowers, who will discuss her book on Harry Larkyns, a man she discov...
11/11/2020
Rebecca Gowers, The Scoundrel Harry Larkyns

For our next #MeetTheAuthor talk we welcome Rebecca Gowers, who will discuss her book on Harry Larkyns, a man she discovered in her own family tree, and the story of how he fell in love with the wife of noted photographer Eadweard Muybridge.
Register now:

Welcome to our series of Author talks at The National Archives

Today marks 100 years since the Cenotaph was unveiled by King George V, a new national memorial dedicated to 'The Glorio...
11/11/2020

Today marks 100 years since the Cenotaph was unveiled by King George V, a new national memorial dedicated to 'The Glorious Dead'.

In the summer of 1920, the British Cabinet approved that a permanent memorial be constructed in Whitehall, as an exact replica of the temporary Cenotaph constructed during the previous year.

Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, and built at a cost of £10,000, it was unveiled on Armistice Day 'in order that on the day of the Peace Procession the Nation should visibly express the great debt which it owes to those who, from all parts of the Empire irrespective of their religious creeds, had made the supreme sacrifice’

Today we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom.

#ArmisticeDay #WeWillRememberThem

There is a limited number of spaces remaining on our Records of Railway Workers #TopLevelTips webinar, on 17 Nov. Regist...
10/11/2020
Top Level Tips: Records of Railway Workers

There is a limited number of spaces remaining on our Records of Railway Workers #TopLevelTips webinar, on 17 Nov. Register now if you want to learn how to trace an ancestor who worked on the railways or their employment records:

Online Talk

LGBTQ+ people often hid their sexual orientation and gender identity to self-protect, which led to the purposeful self-e...
10/11/2020

LGBTQ+ people often hid their sexual orientation and gender identity to self-protect, which led to the purposeful self-erasure of any evidence that could possibly out them. On the blog today 'LGBTQ+ visibility and archives: History between the lines': http://orlo.uk/0ymrK

The second episode of our Heroic Deeds podcast includes our medieval specialist’s take on the story of St George and the...
09/11/2020

The second episode of our Heroic Deeds podcast includes our medieval specialist’s take on the story of St George and the Dragon. Did you know that it’s largely through the efforts of Edward III in the 14th century that St George came to be England’s patron saint? And what do you think were the rather unusual gifts relating to St George that were given to Henry V?

Listen to our podcast while completing today’s #archivejigsaw of this drawing of St George slaying the dragon from 1536. Listen carefully to hear a mention of Dracula!

Complete the jigsaw: https://jigex.com/s2jC

09/11/2020
Heroic Deeds - Episode 2 trailer

A British spy named Pearl jumps from a plane. A Thai shopkeeper named Boonpong risks everything for strangers far away. A knight named George defies a Roman Emperor and kills a dragon.

Discover these heroic stories in episode 2 of our #HeroicDeeds #Podcast series.
Coming 12 November.

Listen to episode 1 now: https://pod.link/1460242815

To commemorate the centenary of the #UnknownWarrior100, we look back at the plans put in place to ensure the occasion wo...
08/11/2020

To commemorate the centenary of the #UnknownWarrior100, we look back at the plans put in place to ensure the occasion would befit the sacrifice of the unknown soldier and all those who had lost their lives during the #FWW http://orlo.uk/8h1Ft

#RemembranceSunday #LestWeForget

Today’s #archivejigsaw is a drawing by artist and designer Walter Crane (1845-1915). Crane was an influential illustrato...
07/11/2020

Today’s #archivejigsaw is a drawing by artist and designer Walter Crane (1845-1915). Crane was an influential illustrator of children’s books and a designer of textiles and wallpapers. This illustration is one of 11 items found in our collection that were registered for copyright protection by Crane and his publisher Joseph Malaby Dent #OTD in November 1899.

Read more about Crane and his illustrations in children’s early reading schemes in our blog: http://orlo.uk/E8hTS

Record series ADM 137 comprises documents from the Admiralty Record Office and was used to compile the Official History ...
06/11/2020

Record series ADM 137 comprises documents from the Admiralty Record Office and was used to compile the Official History of the Royal Navy in WWI. Discover how accessibility of the series has been improved for researchers, with thanks to our volunteers in this #blog: http://orlo.uk/Yh3AF

Following yesterday’s announcement that we are suspending our reading room service, in line with new national restrictio...
05/11/2020

Following yesterday’s announcement that we are suspending our reading room service, in line with new national restrictions, we are pleased to announce that we’re doubling the monthly limit on downloading free digital records from our website, from 50 to 100.

This service, made free in response to the restrictions earlier in the year, has been very popular with online researchers around the world, with more than 84,000 people downloading around 1.1m documents to date http://orlo.uk/FK9H6

Remember, remember the 5th of November. On this day in 1605 the Gunpowder Plot was discovered, leading to us celebrating...
05/11/2020

Remember, remember the 5th of November.

On this day in 1605 the Gunpowder Plot was discovered, leading to us celebrating #GuyFawkesNight. We hold hundreds of letters and documents relating to the Gunpowder Plot. These include a sequence of letters to and from the Jesuit priest, Henry Garnett, that demonstrate a type of clandestine communication often used by the Catholic underground – letters written in orange juice.

Using multispectral imaging, our Collection Care tea are able to improve the readability of letters written in orange juice and distinguish between different inks.

Discover how heritage science can help reveal the invisible inks used by the Gunpowder Plot conspirators in our latest blog: http://orlo.uk/PNqHg

Document reference: SP 14/216/2 (item 242)

In this particularly challenging jigsaw, try piecing together the confession letter of #GuyFawkes, who was found in the ...
05/11/2020

In this particularly challenging jigsaw, try piecing together the confession letter of #GuyFawkes, who was found in the cellars of the Palace of Westminster with 36 barrels of gunpowder on the night of 4/5 November 1605 #Rememberemember #GunPowderPlot http://orlo.uk/NFQYP

A big thank you to our email subscribers, who used their priority access to snap up all of the tickets to our #Victorian...
04/11/2020

A big thank you to our email subscribers, who used their priority access to snap up all of the tickets to our #VictorianChristmas online events in 24hrs! We've added more priority tickets, so signup to our mailing list by 12pm 5 Nov to join us:
http://orlo.uk/2RSvY

Today’s #archivejigsaw features a photograph of a plaque that was attached to a stone marking the distance to the gallow...
04/11/2020

Today’s #archivejigsaw features a photograph of a plaque that was attached to a stone marking the distance to the gallows at Tyburn Gate, a permanent site of public execution used up until 1759. Known as the Tyburn Tree, the gallows were a triangular structure built to enable multiple executions, and they were of such renown that Shakespeare mentioned them in Love’s Labour’s Lost. The marker stone is, as far as we know, now standing in the entrance to the London Metropole Hotel on Edgware Road, with a replica of the plaque mounted on a nearby wall

Complete the jigsaw: http://orlo.uk/qUcHN

We will be suspending our reading room service as of Thursday 5 November, in line with the new national restrictions. We...
04/11/2020

We will be suspending our reading room service as of Thursday 5 November, in line with the new national restrictions. We know this will be very disappointing to many and look forward to welcoming visitors again as soon as this is possible.

We’ll continue to provide access to our collections and services online, including free access to our digitised collection and a wealth of blogs, podcasts, research guides, online events, education and resources.

In the second of our #Readeption550 blog series, we explore the events surrounding Edward V's birth, life (and death ?)....
03/11/2020

In the second of our #Readeption550 blog series, we explore the events surrounding Edward V's birth, life (and death ?). Read on to find out more #WarsOfTheRoses http://orlo.uk/nYjgf

From the stories we tell, through to the decorations, games and food we eat, the Victorians (re)invented many of the fes...
03/11/2020

From the stories we tell, through to the decorations, games and food we eat, the Victorians (re)invented many of the festive traditions we indulge today. Discover how the #VictorianChristmas experience can spread the joy in your home, in our latest #Blog: http://orlo.uk/kv4kW

On this day in 1470, the future Edward V was born in sanctuary at Westminster Abbey, during his father's exile in Burgun...
02/11/2020

On this day in 1470, the future Edward V was born in sanctuary at Westminster Abbey, during his father's exile in Burgundy and the tumultuous events of the Readeption.

This document is a memorandum from July 1471, recording that the Archbishop of Canterbury, alongside the leading lords of England - including Edward's uncle, the future Richard III - had given him their oaths and recognised Edward as Prince of Wales and heir to the throne.

It reads, "I, Thomas, cardinal archbishop of Canterbury, knowledge, take and repute you Edward prince of Wales ... first begotten son of our sovereign lord King Edward ... to be very and undoubted heir to our said lord as to the crowns and realms of England and France and lordship of Ireland, and promise and swear that in case hereafter it happen you by God's disposition to overlive our sovereign lord; I shall then take and accept you for the very true and rightwise king of England".

Catalogue reference: C 54/322

#Readeption550 #WarsOfTheRoses #OTD

On this day in 1960, the final verdict was delivered in the sensational obscenity trial surrounding D. H. Lawrence’s boo...
02/11/2020

On this day in 1960, the final verdict was delivered in the sensational obscenity trial surrounding D. H. Lawrence’s book 'Lady Chatterley's Lover'. The high profile trial took place over six days, in No 1 court of the Old Bailey.

We hold a significant set of records in our collection relating to the trial, included heavily underlined and annotated copies of the book, which were used by the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The book was originally written in the late 1920s, and gained notoriety for it’s depictions of explicit sex, across class relationships and controversial language. The final verdict, was "not guilty", sending sales of the book through the roof.

For many, this watershed moment that symbolised the start of a new era and the more permissive society of the 1960s.

Catalogue reference: DPP 2/3077

01/11/2020

In response to the PM’s statement yesterday evening, our next round of bookings will not go live tomorrow morning (Monday 2 November) while we seek clarification about the services we can offer. We’ll provide an update as soon as we can.

Trick…or treat? Our second spooky #archivejigsaw today features a poster for the ‘Goblin Gambols’ from 1894, performed b...
31/10/2020

Trick…or treat? Our second spooky #archivejigsaw today features a poster for the ‘Goblin Gambols’ from 1894, performed by The Marvellous Phantos, showing off some of the macabre tricks pulled off by the troupe in the act. From dancing with a skeleton, to a decapitation, to a levitation, it looks like audiences would have got their money’s worth in terms of Victorian illusion and spectacle.

Complete the jigsaw: http://orlo.uk/XvFep

Kissing goodbye to the swinging sixties, the year 1970 was as vibrant as it was dramatic. Join Mark Dunton as he takes u...
31/10/2020

Kissing goodbye to the swinging sixties, the year 1970 was as vibrant as it was dramatic. Join Mark Dunton as he takes us through the events of 1970 including the election of Edward Heath’s Conservative Government and a bizarre episode involving Bobby Moore: http://orlo.uk/4kwSt
#Whatsonline

As a special spooky treat, and because it's Hallowe'en, today's #archivejigsaw features some very scary clowns 🤡. Althou...
31/10/2020

As a special spooky treat, and because it's Hallowe'en, today's #archivejigsaw features some very scary clowns 🤡.

Although the wording of this 1885 poster sounds like it was aiming to attract visitors to the circus, we’re wondering whether it would have actually scared a few people off! Jokes aside, by the 19th century the clown act was already appreciated for the dark humour it brought to circus performances. The varied range of grimacing faces of clowns in the poster capture the entertainment value that was to be found in this tragi-comic act.

Complete the spooky jigsaw: http://orlo.uk/sj5p8

30/10/2020
"An African Soldier Speaks"

For #BlackHistoryMonth, we delve into Britain's colonial past. In our latest #Archivefromhome, Joseph Quinn, our Second World War Research Associate, discusses the writings of Robert Kakembo, a Ugandan soldier who fought in the Second World War and called for change in post-war Africa in his pamphlet "An African Soldier Speaks".

Today for #BlackHistoryMonth, we tell the story of Mary Seacole - a pioneering British-Jamaican nurse and heroine of the...
30/10/2020

Today for #BlackHistoryMonth, we tell the story of Mary Seacole - a pioneering British-Jamaican nurse and heroine of the Crimean War.

She fought against prejudice to set up the British Hotel to provide a place of respite for sick and recovering soldiers. Seacole relied on her skill and experience as a healer and a doctress from Jamaica. She was known by local soldiers in the Crimean as ‘Mother Seacole’ for the care and attention she gave them.

In the 1881 census, she is listed as a lodger at 3 Cambridge Street, Paddington: http://orlo.uk/nEzzK

This was to be her last home, where she died shortly after the census was taken on 14 May 1881. Although very well known in her lifetime she fell out of the public memory until more recent years. In 2004, she was voted the greatest black Briton.

Document reference: RG 11/16/89 (page 30).

After Du Bois helped setup the Pan African Congress he asked Churchill to engage Britain in the congress. Our latest #bl...
29/10/2020

After Du Bois helped setup the Pan African Congress he asked Churchill to engage Britain in the congress. Our latest #blog demonstrates Du Bois's powerful ability to express the experience of black and colonised people, as an activist and organiser of change: http://orlo.uk/tUXLI

29/10/2020
Heroic Deeds: Episode one - Civil rights and health

Episode 1 of our #Podcast series #HeroicDeeds is out now!

In it we explore civil rights and health, with the stories of our first two heroes - Robert Bowie and WEB Du Bois.
In this episode trailer, Olivia Gecseg shares some of the detail behind health inspector, Robert Bowie. After working in a number of hospitals and witnessing the living conditions of patients, he used his skills in invention to improve hospital and living conditions during the Cholera outbreak, with his design of the glass ventilating pane.

Listen to the full episode now: https://pod.link/1460242815

It's spooky how far a tale can spread - as little boy in 17 century Lancashire can vouch for, after his tall tales spark...
28/10/2020

It's spooky how far a tale can spread - as little boy in 17 century Lancashire can vouch for, after his tall tales sparked a witch hunt! Discover the full story on the morn' of #Halloween, in this free rerun of Jess Nelson's talk: http://orlo.uk/DoapS
#Whatsonline

Our Big Draw week four challenge is out now! Green spaces provide sanctuaries for wildlife and important leisure opportu...
28/10/2020

Our Big Draw week four challenge is out now! Green spaces provide sanctuaries for wildlife and important leisure opportunities for people. They allow people to connect with nature, which has been proven to keep us happy and healthy. Documents in our collection show how us how people have used green spaces in the past, and in some cases, how old some of our most well-known green spaces are!

Create a drawing of your favourite green space. Remember, a green space can be your garden, a park, a nature reserve or countryside, or even a tree! 🌳 #Climateofchange http://orlo.uk/ZEAMj

27/10/2020
In today's #archivefromhome, Julia Brzozowska tells the incredible true story of August Agbo-Ola Browne, a Nigerian-born jazz musician and Polish war hero, who was the only known black soldier to have fought in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising #BlackHistoryMonth

In today's #archivefromhome, Julia Brzozowska tells the incredible true story of August Agbo-Ola Browne, a Nigerian-born jazz musician and Polish war hero, who was the only known black soldier to have fought in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising #BlackHistoryMonth

Today’s #archivejigsaw is a portrait of George II from a 1752 Royal Charter which was granted to the Commissioners for t...
27/10/2020

Today’s #archivejigsaw is a portrait of George II from a 1752 Royal Charter which was granted to the Commissioners for the Victualling of the Navy. This body, known as the Victualling Board, was responsible for keeping the Navy supplied with food and drink wherever they were across the world. The work of a sailor was physically demanding so plentiful food was important. Meat preserved in salt, and hard, dry ship’s biscuits were supplemented with fresh meat, milk and eggs from livestock that was kept on board ships. Sometimes sailors caught fish, and fresh fruit and vegetables could be bought from local traders when ships arrived at their destinations.

Complete the jigsaw: http://orlo.uk/vc7lD

To find out more about life in the Navy at this time read 'How to survive in the Georgian Navy' by Bruno Pappalardo – available from our online shop: http://orlo.uk/OPpQE

In colonial America, in the years before the wars of independence, there was increasing anger at the imposition of vario...
26/10/2020

In colonial America, in the years before the wars of independence, there was increasing anger at the imposition of various taxes which had been introduced from Britain. A large number of colonists felt that it was unfair to impose such charges while the people had no say in the government of their own colony. One such tax was the levy introduced under the Stamp Act of 1765 meaning that all official documents were subject to a stamp duty.

Today’s #archivejigsaw is a note which was distributed in New York in opposition to the Stamp Act. It was posted up on the door of every public office and on street corners. It was an open warning to anyone intending to make use of official ‘stamped’ papers that if they did so their house, property and wellbeing would be in danger. A copy of the note was sent back to Britain in a despatch written by Cadwallader Colden, acting Governor for the Province of New York, on 26 October 1765.

Complete the jigsaw: http://orlo.uk/9qdpG

Today’s #archivejigsaw is a 1955 painting of the Post Office in Aberath Cardiganshire, Wales, by artist Kenneth George C...
25/10/2020

Today’s #archivejigsaw is a 1955 painting of the Post Office in Aberath Cardiganshire, Wales, by artist Kenneth George Chapman. Born in 1908 in London’s East Ham, he visited the Rhondda Valley in Wales in 1953 and fell in love with the landscape and people. In 1964 he moved to Aberaeron which is a 3 mile walk along a coastal path to Aberath. This painting is part of series commissioned by the Post Office Savings Bank which acclaimed there was a branch ‘wherever you go’. http://orlo.uk/ckqtd

On 30 Oct, we are joined by Black Cultural Archives for a free online event to explore differing approaches to collectin...
24/10/2020

On 30 Oct, we are joined by Black Cultural Archives for a free online event to explore differing approaches to collecting and researching the history of race in Britain, and how our collections can be used to build a broader picture. Register now to secure a place
http://orlo.uk/2giwP

Address

Bessant Drive
London
TW9 4DU

Tube The nearest Tube station is Kew Gardens (zone 3) on the District Line, Richmond branch. The journey from central London takes around 40 minutes. The National Archives is 600 metres (a 10-minute walk) from Kew Gardens station. Bus The R68 bus route (from Hampton Court via Richmond) terminates by the entrance to The National Archives. Other routes stopping nearby include: 65 (Ealing to Kingston via Richmond), alight on Kew Road near Victoria Gate (15-minute walk) 237 (Shepherd's Bush to Hounslow Heath via Chiswick), alight at Kew Bridge (20-minute walk) 267 (Hammersmith to Fulwell via Brentford), alight at Kew Bridge (20-minute walk) 391 (Fulham to Richmond via Hammersmith), alight at Sandycombe Road near Kew Gardens station (10-minute walk) Train The nearest overground train station is Kew Gardens. It is served by the London Overground from Stratford in east London, passing through Highbury and Islington, Gospel Oak, West Hampstead and Willesden Junction. Other convenient railway stations are Richmond and Kew Bridge, both on the mainline into London Waterloo via Clapham Junction. Kew Bridge station is approximately a 20-minute walk from The National Archives, while Richmond station is one Tube stop away (or a 10-minute bus ride on bus R68).

Opening Hours

Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00
Saturday 09:00 - 17:00

Telephone

02088763444

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