National Archives

Subscribe to National Archives feed
Updated: 4 hours 49 min ago

Preparing to welcome back visitors: more seats and greater access

Wed, 11/25/2020 - 09:58

We are waiting for clarification of when we will be able to resume our public reading room services and we will share information as we get it. What we can confirm now is that when we do reopen our reading rooms, we will be offering increased capacity and services.

We know that the period since March has been frustrating and challenging for the archives sector and its users, and we recognise the real disappointment and difficulty that current restrictions cause researchers. Over recent months we have been working hard behind the scenes to review and redesign our services in order to offer improvements, while maintaining a COVID-secure environment for our visitors and staff.

As a result of this work, when we are able to re-open to visitors, our reading room services will include:

  • 150 per cent increase in reading room places
  • Daily document limit increased from nine to 12 (plus three reserves)
  • Saturday opening reinstated (as well as Tuesday to Friday)
  • Library material and finding aids available by pre-order
  • New standby list to fill cancellation slots
  • Staffed enquiry desk and bookable computers.

All visitors must continue to book their visit and order their documents in advance, including for the standby list. We will initially give priority to those visitors whose bookings were postponed when the current national restrictions came into effect on 5 November, before opening up bookings more widely to everyone. We will email all those affected directly.

We will confirm when these changes will be introduced, and when bookings will reopen, as soon as we have confirmation from government of which alert level (tier) we will be in. Please check our website and social media channels for updates.

The post Preparing to welcome back visitors: more seats and greater access appeared first on The National Archives.

Archive services achieve accreditation for a second time

Thu, 11/19/2020 - 05:00

The UK Archive Service Accreditation Committee are pleased to announce that Lancashire Archives and London Metropolitan Archives have been awarded accredited status for the second time.

By attaining accreditation, archive services demonstrate that they meet the UK standard for collections management and access to collections, showing resilience and the ability to manage changing circumstances successfully.

This has been vital to granting awards during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, which has presented exceptional challenges to archive services.

All accredited archive services must apply again six years after their initial award to retain their accredited status.

A full list of accredited archive services is available here.

Find out more about Archive Service Accreditation here and further information about Archive Service Accreditation and the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic here.

Archive Service Accreditation is supported by a partnership of the Archives and Records Association (UK), Archives and Records Council Wales, National Records of Scotland, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Scottish Council on Archives, The National Archives, and the Welsh Government through its Museums, Archives and Libraries Wales division.

The post Archive services achieve accreditation for a second time appeared first on The National Archives.

The National Archives joins the Climate Heritage Network

Mon, 11/09/2020 - 07:52

Today we publish our statement on Sustainability and Climate Action as we announce our membership of the Climate Heritage Network (CHN). 

 In 2019, legislation was passed committing the UK to reduce all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. We are supporting the government to reach this target with our sustainability activities stretching across multiple functions.   

 As the official archive of the UK government, we are responsible for preserving the nation’s heritage. We recognise the importance of climate and environmental stability for safeguarding our collections, and for the overall security of communities, cultural heritage and ecosystems across the world.  

 Jeff James, Chief Executive and Keeper at The National Archives, said: ‘Meeting the government’s target of being carbon neutral by 2050 is a priority. As well as reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, domestic air travel, water consumption and operational waste, we have adapted our grounds to create a welcoming environment for wildlife, established a popular bike loan scheme for staff and formed a Green Champions scheme to support staff in adopting a more sustainable culture.’ 

‘While we are proud of these achievements, we are not complacent about the need to continue to be ambitious about the targets we set ourselves. The challenges we experience in achieving this will also be felt to some degree, by archives and other heritage bodies worldwide.’  

‘Through sharing the resources and the knowledge of its members, the CHN offers an opportunity to resolve these common challenges at a greater scale than we could achieve at an individual or national level. We are, therefore delighted to have joined the network and look forward to working with the other members.’ 

CHN is an international, non-lobbying, voluntary network launched in October 2019. It promotes the concept that culture and heritage are assets for climate action. The network’s  members and supporters include arts, culture and heritage bodies, NGOs, universities and research organisations. Its action plan aims to provide an effective global partnership model for climate action. 

 Read our Sustainability and Climate Action statement here.

Learn more about the Climate Heritage Network here

The post The National Archives joins the Climate Heritage Network appeared first on The National Archives.

Creative writing competition launched for schools

Wed, 10/14/2020 - 05:57

Lots of historical records focus on the rich, the influencers or the winners of particular periods. But in a new education resource now available on our website, The National Archives focuses on the voices of the poor in British Victorian society.

Our brand new themed collection, Workhouse Voices, includes letters written by the poor and paupers to New Poor Law officials after 1834. It allows students and teachers to develop their own questions and lines of historical enquiry on the nature of the legislation, the role of the authorities and the impact of the law on those who experienced it first-hand. The collection offers a unique insight into this world with these documents available digitally for the first time.

To highlight this new resource, The National Archives Education team is running its first ever creative writing competition for pupils at Key Stages 2, 3 and 4.

Taking your inspiration from some of the letters, write a short story which describes life in a Victorian workhouse or an experience of the Poor Law. In one of the letters from the collection one child writes, ‘If any of our parents bring anything, we are not allowed to have it’, and another letter states, ‘Take me out of this workhouse, I do not like to be in here’.

Once you have written your story, please submit it to us by Monday 30 November when it will be judged by a panel including acclaimed children’s author Sharon Gosling. More details about the competition can be found here.

The post Creative writing competition launched for schools appeared first on The National Archives.

Five Photos: New online resource launched

Tue, 09/29/2020 - 09:51

Today we are launching Five Photos, a new online resource that aims to engage older generations using imagery from our extensive collection. The resource is aimed at those shielding or in care home settings and is designed to inspire reminiscence, spark conversation and encourage participation on creative follow-up activities.

Photographs from around the world have been selected to feature in the resource and are accompanied by a series of questions and audio recordings offering different perspectives. Activities can be undertaken independently or in a group, with tips for coordinators on how to maximise engagement.

Five Photos has been launched in partnership with Arts in Care Homes, an initiative by the National Activity Providers Association (NAPA) that acts as a central hub for the delivery of arts and creative activities in care homes. This year, the theme is Creative Communities, celebrating the role of the arts in enhancing the lives of people living in care home settings.

Sara Griffiths, Outreach and Inclusion Manager at The National Archives, said: “It’s great to have been given the opportunity to contribute to the Arts in Care Homes initiative. We know our records can be an effective tool for sparking conversations and hope that participants – whether shielding at home or in care homes – enjoy the resource.”

Five Photos is free and can be viewed here.

The post Five Photos: New online resource launched appeared first on The National Archives.

Over £330,000 awarded in grants to archive services

Thu, 09/17/2020 - 04:56

During the COVID-19 pandemic, archives have demonstrated an impressive ability to innovate and engage with archive users. To continue supporting this vital work over the summer, The National Archives, along with The Pilgrim Trust and Wolfson Foundation, has awarded grants totalling £302,324 from the Archives Revealed funding programme. In addition, we have also awarded £37,500 in grants to archive services across England through our Collaborate and Innovate funding programme.

The Archives Revealed funding programme has now been running for three years and provides cataloguing and scoping grants that allow archives to better understand, catalogue and promote their collections. One of the recent recipients is West Yorkshire Archive Service, who will catalogue over 170 cubic metres of archives that comprehensively describe the development of the entire Kirklees area since the 1820s. Nottingham Women’s History Group will use their grant to assess the importance of their collections and begin opening them up to researchers.

Collaborate and Innovate is our latest funding programme, which enables archive services to create or strengthen networks or explore original ideas that could have positive implications for the entire sector. Over the summer, we have allocated additional funding to this programme until March 2021 and recipients are free to test their new approaches without fear of failure. The programme only asks each project to share its learnings so that everyone can benefit from them. Among the recent recipients are the South West Heritage Trust, who will explore the possibility of offering a managed digital preservation system for small-scale archives, and the University of Reading, who will investigate how catalogue data and metadata can be represented in a way that is both helpful for users and straightforward to implement.

To find out more about these programmes and the recently funded projects, please visit our funding webpages: https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/archives-sector/finding-funding/.

If you are interested in applying to one of the programmes, please contact us as we’d be more than happy to discuss your ideas and explain the application process. You can reach the team by email at archivesrevealed@nationalarchives.gov.uk or candi@nationalarchives.gov.uk.

The post Over £330,000 awarded in grants to archive services appeared first on The National Archives.

Digital preservation project shortlisted for award

Wed, 09/16/2020 - 07:50

We are delighted to announce that our Safeguarding the Nation’s Digital Memory project team has been shortlisted for The Software Sustainability Institute Award for Research and Innovation at the 2020 Digital Preservation Awards.

This project was supported with grants from the National Heritage Lottery Fund and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The team comprised academics from Warwick University in the Applied Statistics and Risk Unit along with archive professionals from The National Archives, Dorset History Centre, Gloucestershire Archives, TfL Corporate Archives, Special Collections at the University of Leeds and the Design Archives at the University of Brighton along with the Digital Preservation Coalition.

The tool, called DiAGRAM, will enable archives professionals to navigate the complex digital archiving risk landscape and quantify the impact of risks on their collections, helping them to understand and manage digital preservation risk through time.

The Digital Preservation Awards celebrate people and organisations who have made significant and innovative contributions to maintaining our digital legacy. As finalists, the team will deliver a short presentation to the digital preservation community at #WeMissIPRES event on Wednesday 24 September, before discussing the project in more detail with the judges.

Winners will be announced on Thursday 5 November, World Digital Preservation Day.

For more information on the finalists, click here.

The post Digital preservation project shortlisted for award appeared first on The National Archives.

DCDC21 Conference: Call for papers

Thu, 09/10/2020 - 13:25

The DCDC21 conference will explore how crisis can act as a catalyst for change within libraries, archives, museums and cultural organisations. It will look at the impact that crisis can have on working practices, collections and audience engagement, and how periods of turbulence can lead to new opportunities for research and collaboration. It will seek to examine how cultural heritage organisations can look beyond times of crisis and foster innovation and collaboration in their institutions and communities.

In the midst of an extraordinary time in history, cultural heritage organisations across the globe are facing unprecedented changes and challenges. These events are forcing a reassessment of our place in, and our relationship with, society at large.

The response to recent events has been as varied as the sector itself. Libraries, archives and museums responded swiftly to their communities’ changing needs through adapting their offerings and fostering a spirit of collaboration, innovation and engagement in the digital environment. However, not all organisations have been able to respond in the same way, and the emphasis on digital solutions has highlighted the digital divide between institutions and users, and existing inequalities in digital infrastructure.

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has further emphasised the deep inequalities which exist within societies based on race, gender, disability and socio-economic background. Initiatives and techniques seen previously as underpinning inclusivity, such as the digitisation of collections, look uncertain within the context of the ‘digital divide’, leaving us to question some of the fundamental assumptions around many of our collective activities.

DCDC21 is now inviting proposals in a range of formats on the theme of ‘catalysts for change’. Proposals should be submitted by 6 November 2020. For more information, please visit https://dcdcconference.com/cfp/.

The post DCDC21 Conference: Call for papers appeared first on The National Archives.

The National Archives now open, offering greater access to our collections

Fri, 09/04/2020 - 08:00

We’re very pleased to be able to welcome visitors back into our reading rooms, offering a limited service to visitors who need access to our collection of original documents for their research. Following regular reviews since our initial re-opening in July, we are now able to expand our services and increase our capacity, so that we can accommodate more visitors and give them greater access to our collections.

Our second floor map and large document reading room is now also open, and we have increased the number of seats available in our first floor document reading room. Visitors can order more documents each day (nine instead of six), and we will have a small number of two-day appointments available for visitors wishing to research bulk document orders (between 20 and 40).

All visitors are still required to book their visit and order their documents in advance.

In addition, we are pleased to announce that we have restarted our naturalisation certification (HO 334) service, although other record copying and paid search services remain suspended for the time being.

Our building and services will look very different to regular visitors, as we’ve been busy introducing a number of measures to ensure the safety of our visitors and staff. These include:

  • New booking system to help us manage visitor numbers – all visits have to be pre-booked without exception, with a limit of one visit per week, and all documents ordered in advance
  • New document delivery processes to protect visitors and staff, and to ensure that documents are quarantined appropriately
  • One-way systems and capacity controls in frequently used areas
  • Floor markers and temporary signage to help with social distancing
  • Rigorous cleaning during and at the end of each day
  • Easier access to sinks for hand washing and provision of hand sanitiser.

This short video shows what you can expect when you visit. Due to a change in the law, all visitors are now required to wear face coverings during their visit.

We are asking everyone booking a visit to agree to a new coronavirus visitor charter, aimed at encouraging all visitors to do their bit to help us ensure everyone’s safety. We will not permit anyone to enter the building who has not pre-booked, so please do not travel if you have not been able to book as we will not be able to let you in. We are open from Tuesday to Friday, between 10:00 and 14:50.

We are currently able to provide access to our first floor document reading room and second floor map and large document reading room only – our other facilities will remain closed, including our reference library, our exhibition spaces, our shop, and our cafés. We will also be unable to provide many of our other usual reading room services, including, access to microfilm and microfiche, research advice, record copying and access to our computers.

We will continue to provide free downloads of digital records on our website for the time being, as we are initially only able to re-open for a very limited number of researchers. We will keep this, and all of our opening arrangements, under constant review.

Our full Q&A below provides more detailed information about our opening arrangements.

What services are available?

We re-opened our doors in late July to offer a limited service to visitors who need access to our collection of original documents for their research. Visitors must book an appointment to visit our document reading room to consult up to nine documents which they have ordered in advance.

We have worked hard to get the appropriate procedures and staffing levels in place for us to ensure everyone’s safety, in line with government guidance on social distancing. As a result, we are currently unable to open our other on site facilities, including our reference library, our exhibition spaces, our shop, and our restaurant and cafés. We will also be unable to provide many of our other usual reading room services, including access to microfilm and microfiche , research advice, record copying and access to our computers.

Appointments are released on our website on a rolling weekly basis every Monday morning at 10:00. Daily bookings will be available between Tuesday and Friday, when we will be open between 10:00 and 14:50, and your appointment will last for the whole day. We will not permit anyone to enter the building who has not pre-booked a slot, so please do not travel if you have not been able to book as we will not be able to let you in.

What safety measures are in place?

We’re doing all we can to help everyone feel safe when they’re on site, but we need your help too. We ask that all visitors behave responsibly and respect the measures that we have put in place, including:

  • One-way systems and capacity controls in frequently used areas
  • Floor markers and temporary signage to help with social distancing (two metres)
  • Rigorous cleaning during and at the end of each day, including in washrooms
  • Easier access to sinks for hand washing and provision of hand sanitiser.

We will also ask everyone booking a visit to agree to a new coronavirus visitor charter, aimed at encouraging all visitors to do their bit to help us ensure everyone’s safety.

Due to a change in the law, all visitors will be required to wear face coverings during their visit.

We will review these arrangements regularly to ensure that they continue to meet government guidance.

We confirm we have complied with the government’s guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19, and have also now received the We’re Good to Go mark – the UK’s official mark that shows we are following all government and public health guidance to create a safe and clean environment for everyone.

Why do I have to book in advance?

Although we are expanding our services, we are still only able to welcome a very limited number of researchers. This is why we have introduced a booking system to help us manage numbers – we will also be asking visitors to book a maximum of one visit per week initially to help us administer demand fairly. A small number of two-day visits will be available for bulk order bookings.

Visits must be booked at least a week in advance, and will be made available two weeks before the date of the visit, on a rolling weekly basis every Monday morning from 10:00. Each booking is for one person only on a first come, first served basis – you will not be able to bring anyone with you unless they book a visit themselves. Please be considerate of others when you book – we may cancel your booking if you try to book more than one visit per week, unless you have booked a two-day bulk order visit.

Booking in advance will also help ensure that we have sufficient time to quarantine documents before and after they have been handled by others. You will be able to order up to nine documents when you book your visit, and will be able to suggest a smaller list of alternative documents if any of your first choice are unavailable, for example if they are being used by another visitor or if they are in quarantine if another visitor has seen them within the previous 72 hours. We will let you know before you arrive whether any of the documents that you have ordered are likely to be unavailable for this reason.

A small number of consecutive two-day appointments in both reading rooms are now available for visitors wishing to research bulk document orders (between 20 and 40). Appointments are available for Tuesday/Wednesday and Thursday/Friday only. We are able to offer a small number of camera stands for use in the reading rooms – these must also be booked in advance.

If you book a visit and are delayed or unable to attend, please contact us as far in advance as possible using the Live Chat service on our website.

Should I wear a face covering or gloves?

Due to a change in the law, all visitors are required to wear face coverings during their visit. If you are travelling to us on public transport you must also wear a face covering.

If you have a legitimate reason not to wear a face covering, please indicate this on the form when you book your visit – this will help our staff prepare for your arrival and ensure that your visit is not delayed.

We will not allow gloves to be worn in our reading rooms, unless you are handling photographs, in line with long-standing guidance relating to the preservation of our collection. All visitors will be asked to wash their hands thoroughly before and after their visit to the reading rooms.

Some of our staff (for example, our document services staff and security officers) are likely to be wearing face shields and other protective equipment.

Are you quarantining documents after they’ve been handled?

Yes. All documents will have to be ordered in advance, at the point of pre-booking a reading room visit. Documents will be delivered to you on a trolley (rather than in our normal document lockers), so that we can minimise human contact before it reaches you. When you have finished looking at your documents, we will quarantine them for a period of time before they can be handled by another visitor.

If another visitor has already handled a document that you have requested within a certain amount of time before your visit, we will be unable to provide you with access to that document – for this reason, we are suggesting that visitors suggest a number of alternative documents that can be supplied if available.

Will document supports, such as wedges and weights, be available?

Yes, we will supply the appropriate document handling aids, including foam wedges and weights, when we deliver your documents to you. These will also be quarantined for 72 hours before and after you use them.

What’s different about the map and large document reading room?

The map and large document reading room, located on our second floor, is where researchers can access some of the larger and older documents from our collection, including rolls, scrolls, maps and parchment, many of which date from before 1688. The desks in this reading room are much larger than in our first floor document reading room, in order to accommodate the specialist needs of the collections researched here.

The map and large document reading room did not re-open in our initial phase, but we are pleased to be able to open it on a limited basis now.

What are bulk orders and how can I use them?

If you wish to research several documents from the same catalogue series, for example from FO 371 (Foreign Office correspondence), we would class this as a ‘bulk order’. You will be able to order between 20 and 40 documents in your bulk order, but they must all be from the same series, without exception.

There are a few series that we cannot supply as bulk orders – we will contact you if your request is for one of these series.

I’ve booked a visit and want to change the documents I’ve ordered, can I do this?

We understand that some of our visitors may change their minds about the documents that they wish to research, and for this reason we may allow you to make changes within the first 48 hours after you have booked your visit – however, this depends on the documents that you wish to research and their availability, and when you have booked your visit. The confirmation email that you receive when you book will include details of how to contact us with any changes to your document order.

These restrictions are in place because of the quarantine arrangements, which are there to keep everyone safe.

Will I need a reader’s ticket to visit, and should I bring it with me?

Yes, but we can make arrangements to renew expired readers’ tickets or issue new ones if you do not have a current reader’s ticket.

If you already have a reader’s ticket, you will be asked to enter the number when you book, and you will need to bring the ticket with you on the day.

If you do not have a current reader’s ticket, there is an option for this on the booking form – on selecting that option you will receive a link within your confirmation email which will allow you to register for your ticket. You will need to register to renew expired tickets as well as apply for a new one. Registration will need to be completed within 24 hours of your booking. You will then need to bring appropriate forms of identification to complete your registration on the day.

Will I be able to get help with my research?

We will of course do all we can to help you with practical advice during your visit, but we will not be able to offer any research advice in person in the reading rooms. The computers in the reading rooms will not be available, although we will continue to provide free wifi for visitors. Our email and Live Chat enquiry services will remain available on our website, and we would recommend that you use them to plan your research before you visit. We are currently unable to respond to phone enquiries.

Can I access the finding aids in the reading rooms?

You will not be able to use our finding aids during your visit, but we may be able to check these for you to help you identify document references when planning your visit. Please use our enquiry form  to do this – you will need to specify exactly what you are looking for and which finding aids need to be checked. We will not be able to undertake open-ended searches on your behalf or conduct searches that will take more than 15 minutes to research. If you want more than one search to be conducted on your behalf, we will consider this in light of the number of requests we have received from other researchers. We aim to complete these searches within five working days, but your search may take longer if the finding aids in question are in quarantine after previous use.

Will I be able to use the computers in the reading rooms?

Our computers, used by many visitors to access digitised collections on our website and those of our partners, will not be available when we re-open due to the challenges of keeping them clean and safe for everyone. You will however be able to use your own device to connect to our free wifi.

Will I be able to order documents held off site (at Deepstore)?

Yes, we are now able to offer wider access to our documents, including those stored off site at Deepstore.

Can I leave during the day and return later?

Yes, you will be allowed to leave the building/site to get refreshments, although this will obviously reduce your research time. We’d encourage visitors to bring their own refreshments, where possible.

Will I be able to use the lockers?

A limited number of our ground floor lockers will be available for visitors to use, to ensure sufficient distancing in the locker area. These lockers will be thoroughly cleaned at the end of each day. We’ll also be carefully managing how visitors and staff move in and out of this area, so please try to minimise your return visits to your locker as much as possible.

Will I be able to use the toilets and washrooms when I visit?

Yes – although we have limited the availability of the toilets and washrooms to make it easier for us to keep them clean to a high standard, a number of our public toilets will be open, including our accessible toilets.

Will I be able to get a cup of tea/coffee or lunch?

Although we are not serving any food or drink, we will make a number of tables and chairs available for visitors to use in our restaurant, which has been rearranged to allow sufficient distance from other visitors. You will also be able to use the picnic furniture in our gardens, which remain open and accessible to all. Please be mindful of other visitors and staff, and dispose of your rubbish responsibly.

Will the car park be open?

Yes, our car park will be available and free of charge to visitors who have pre-booked their reading room visit. We’d encourage all visitors to follow government guidance and avoid public transport as far as possible, preferably walking or cycling to The National Archives.

If you have to use public transport to reach us, please check the government guidance for the latest advice and updates on using the tube, bus and train network safely.

Will arrangements for disabled visitors change?

We have worked hard to ensure that our safety measures and new arrangements do not discriminate against any of our visitors. If you need someone to accompany when you visit, they will also have to book a visit. If you have any other special requirements, please let us know when you make your booking.

Are digital records still free to download from your website?

Yes, we will continue to provide free downloads of our digital collection for the time being, as we are initially only able to reopen our reading rooms for a very limited number of researchers. We will continue to review this regularly.

When will record copying/other suspended services resume?

We have already restarted our naturalisation certification (HO 334) service, although other record copying and paid search services remain suspended for the time being.

We will continue to review the situation as more of our staff return to the building.

When will events/education visits/behind the scenes tours etc. resume on site?

We’ve suspended all of our on site events, including school visits and tours, until further notice, but we’ll continue to review the situation and plan to restart them when we are confident that we can deliver them safely.

In the meantime we are providing a wide variety of education and learning resources free of charge on our website, along with a full online events programme. Our social media channels offer behind the scenes glimpses of our collection, including a curator-led tour of last year’s Cold War exhibition.

Why are you collecting information about my visit?

We will keep a secure temporary record of your visit for 21 days, after which it will be destroyed – during this time your information may be shared with the NHS test and trace service if necessary, for example if a visitor on the same day as you tests positive. We are doing this to help reduce the risk of a local outbreak of coronavirus and in line with government guidance, as we want to do everything we can to protect our staff, visitors and the wider community.

Can I still submit a Freedom of Information (FOI) request?

Please refer to our detailed Q&A about FOI requests for information about how this service has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The post The National Archives now open, offering greater access to our collections appeared first on The National Archives.

Artwork to commemorate heroes of the Blitz commissioned by Ancestry

Fri, 09/04/2020 - 04:31

Family history experts Ancestry have commissioned 33 artists around the UK to create artwork based on Civil Gallantry Award records held at The National Archives to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the start of the Blitz.

The aerial bombing campaign of industrial towns and cities during the Second World War started on 7 September 1940 and continued for more than eight months causing widespread destruction across the UK.

Anna Marrow, Ancestry Blitz Art ‘Extinguishing Fires’

Inspired by the War Artists Advisory Committee established in 1939, the new online gallery depicts 80 stories from areas hit hardest by the Blitz and reveals personal stories of everyday heroism on the home front.

Each piece of art is based on an historical record and true story from the Civil Gallantry Award collection.

Dr William Butler, Head of Military Records at The National Archives, said: “The Civilian Gallantry Award records are a treasure trove of stories, highlighting the incredible and often dangerous work carried out by individuals working as air raid wardens, first aid workers, firewatchers and messengers during the Second World War.

 

“They provide vivid details of the exploits and heroic deeds of civilians fighting a war away from the battlefields and highlight the sacrifices so often made on the home front.

“This collection of artwork, commissioned by Ancestry, pays tribute to the original War Artists Advisory Committee by adding new reflections on the experiences of many communities during that turbulent time in our history.”

Michael Snodgrass, Ancestry Blitz Artwork ‘Messenger’

Click here to view Ancestry’s online gallery of the new art collection

Explore our Second World War research guides here

The post Artwork to commemorate heroes of the Blitz commissioned by Ancestry appeared first on The National Archives.

The National Archives welcomes Swedish School onsite at Kew 

Mon, 08/24/2020 - 05:00

We are delighted to announce the commencement of a new strategic collaboration with the Swedish School in London (SSL). The National Archives has a long history of working with and supporting the educational sector, primarily through onsite school visits but also via an extensive programme of online teaching sessions and outreach work. In line with this, we are now welcoming a new partner, the Swedish School, who will locate their Sixth Form on site from November.

Jeff James, Chief Executive and Keeper at The National Archives, said: ’We welcome the Swedish School to Kew and look forward to working alongside them. Both The National Archives and the Swedish School have learning and the acquisition of knowledge at their core.

‘This dynamic, educational partnership will allow both parties to enhance our offer to  students and visitors. We see this as a positive step forward to creating a stimulating, learning environment for the future.’

Jenny Abrahamsson, Headteacher at the Swedish School in London, said: ‘We are delighted to embark on this strategic partnership with The National Archives in Kew, with the relocation of our Sixth Form to this significant British cultural institution. Months of discussion and collaboration in preparation for this move have highlighted just how closely aligned our values around education are, and we look forward to the long-term enrichment of both the Swedish School in London and The National Archives in this exciting new chapter for both.’

The SSL is a registered charity that provides teaching of the Swedish curriculum to Swedish nationals, allowing them to spend time in a different cultural environment without having to take time out from their education. The SSL is consistently rated “Outstanding” by Ofsted and prides itself on offering high quality teaching to pupils of all ages. The Sixth Form (comprising around 70 students and staff) is currently located in Richmond but will move to The National Archives into space not normally occupied by the public.

This collaboration will not adversely impact the services or activities we provide for our visitors, nor will it change our commitment to our statutory obligations under the Public Records Act 1958. There will be no impact on staffing or activities.

It is the result of a long piece of work by the Business Development team at The National Archives who have been looking at commercial opportunities that will realise value and open out more of our collection. As well as supporting our education agenda, this also reinforces our already strong links with the local Richmond community.  We aim to create new, inclusive and exciting spaces, physical and virtual, in which people can encounter our collection in new ways. Income generated from the project will be reinvested in The National Archives to support our services to the public and help to widen the public experience and understanding of archives and our history.

The post The National Archives welcomes Swedish School onsite at Kew  appeared first on The National Archives.

Tickets now available for Meet the Author series

Wed, 08/19/2020 - 04:48

This autumn, we will be launching Meet the Author, a brand new programme of free online talks with high-profile authors. From raising a queen to cracking the Enigma code, Cold War espionage to real life murder cases, the discussions will reflect the expansive collection held by The National Archives. Events will usually be chaired by a specialist historian and will be followed by a live Q&A, giving attendees the opportunity to join the conversation by submitting questions.

  • On 9 September, Dermot Turing will discuss his book The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park with Mark Dunton, Principal Records Specialist at The National Archives. The book retells the history of Bletchley Park and explores the work of its most famous alumnus Alan Turing, Dermot Turing’s Uncle.
  • On 16 September, Wendy Holden will talk about her book The Governess with Jessamy Carlson, Family and Local History Engagement Lead at The National Archives. Exploring the extraordinary experiences of Marion Crawford, who became governess to young Princess Elizabeth and her sister Margaret in 1933, Wendy Holden’s new fiction is based on historical sources and first-hand accounts.
  • On 7 October, Trevor Barnes will be in conversation with MI5 historian Professor Christopher Andrew, talking about his new book Dead Doubles. The book explores the Portland Spy Ring, one of the most infamous espionage cases from the Cold War, and is heavily based on government documents at The National Archives.
  • On 18 November, Rebecca Gowers will discuss her book The Scoundrel Harry Larkyns with Katherine Howells, Visual Collections Researcher at The National Archives. The book uncovers the astonishing true story of the mysterious nineteenth-century figure and his murder at the hands of photographer Eadweard Muybridge, a founding father of cinema.
  • On 23 November, Roger Dalrymple give a talk on his book Crippen: A Crime Sensation in Memory and Modernity. The book explores the case of Dr Hawley Harvey Crippen, who was hanged in London in November 1910 for the murder and mutilation of his wife. The talk will take place on the 110th anniversary of Crippen’s execution.

Talks will start at 7:30pm and last around 45 minutes, followed by a 15 minute Q&A session. Once registered, attendees will have the opportunity to buy a signed book from The National Archives Shop.

Click here for tickets and more information.

The post Tickets now available for Meet the Author series appeared first on The National Archives.