The National Archives

Front entrance of The National Archives
Food icon Shop icon Library icon Study area icon Hearing disability facilities icon Wheelchair access icon

The National Archives is the official archives and publisher for the UK Government, and for England and Wales. We work to bring together and secure the future of the public record, both digital and physical, for future generations.

The National Archives is open to all, offering a range of activities and spaces to enjoy, as well as our reading rooms for research. Many of our most popular records are also available online.

Website: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
Twitter: @UKNatArchives
Facebook: The National Archives

Venue Type:

Archive, Museum, Heritage site

Opening hours

Tuesday 09:00 - 19:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 19:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00
Saturday 09:00 - 17:00

Closed Sunday and Monday

Admission charges

Free. Some events paid for.

Getting there

10 minutes walk from Kew Gardens underground station (District line)
15 minutes walk from Kew Bridge mainline station (South West trains)
R68 bus route

Archives of the British government covering over a thousand years of world history and all seven continents from Arctic explorers and Middle Eastern embassies to papal bulls and the photographic collections of Colonial administrations.

Collection details

Weapons and War, Trade and Commerce, Social History, Photography, Maritime, Law and Order, Archives

Key artists and exhibits

  • Domesday Book
  • Magna Carta
  • Declaration of Independence
  • Valor Ecclesiasticus
  • Victorian photographs
Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Faces from the front

Faces from the Front

  • 27 September 2017 2-3pm

21 million soldiers were wounded during the First World War, and the nature of trench warfare meant that an unprecedented number suffered disfiguring facial injuries. Casualties were evacuated back to England, where the sheer volume of patients enabled medics to develop new treatments very quickly. The advances made by a young surgeon named Harold Gillies gave rise to modern facial plastic surgery.

Dr Andrew Bamji is Gillies Archivist to the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons. A retired consultant in rheumatology and rehabilitation, he will talk about surgical advances, the psychological effects of facial
disfigurement, and the differences in surgical approach between the UK and the continent during the war.

Admission

Free

Website

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/faces-from-the-front-tickets-34745952078?aff=culture24

Time Travel Club Day

Time Travel Club Day

  • 30 September 2017 10am-4pm

We are launching our new-look family programme with a taster day of activities for all the family! Join us and travel back through 1,000 years, exploring different periods in history and learning about real stories from the past.

Take part in our interactive performances with clowns Shake and Speare to discover the life and times of England’s best known playwright, or come along to a wide range of learning sessions throughout the day to find out more about wartime espionage, child criminals and medieval treasure chests. We’ll also have lots of drop-in activities to keep the whole family entertained.

Time Travellers will be given a passport on arrival and can collect stamps throughout the day for each activity they take part in. Activities are particularly suitable for children aged between three and eleven, although younger and older children are also welcome. Adults are responsible for supervising children and must remain with them at all times during the event. Some activities (such as performances and learning sessions) have limited capacity and should be booked in advance; other activities are on a first come, first served basis throughout the day.

Suitable for

  • 0-4
  • 5-6
  • 7-10
  • 11-13

Admission

£0-£8

Website

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/time-travel-club-day-tickets-34232723999?aff=culture24

Recollecting East Africa

Recollecting East Africa: responses to the official history

  • 3 October 2017 2-3pm

Some 15 years after the end of the East Africa campaign, the Historical Branch of the Committee of Imperial Defence produced drafts of an official history. British Army officers were invited to comment on these and to reflect on their own experiences. The responses, kept at The National Archives, provide a uniquely personal view of a harrowing campaign. In this talk, Dr Daniel Gilfoyle will reflect on these letters and consider the nature of the official history.

Admission

£4-£5

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/recollecting-east-africa-responses-to-the-official-history-tickets-37031224389?aff=culture24

Pirates pop and protest

Pirates, pop and protest

  • 7 October 2017 2-4pm

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Marine Broadcasting (Offences) Act, which outlawed pirate radio, as well as the first airing of Radio 1 on 30 September 1967. In this special afternoon event, Mark Dunton will talk about Radio Caroline, one of the most famous pirate radio stations of the era, and the subsequent battle for the airwaves. A document display of related records from our collection will accompany the talk. The event will be followed by a screening of ‘Records of the Revolution’, a film project created by drama and art students inspired by our records, in partnership with the V&A.

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pirates-pop-and-protest-tickets-37033234401?aff=culture24

Family history sources

Family history sources in The National Archives library

  • 10 October 2017 11am-1pm

Alongside our archival holdings, we have a wonderful research library that is open to all visitors. It contains thousands of published sources that complement and support research into the archives. Starting with a brief introduction to the history of the collection, this talk will focus on the breadth of material within the library’s collection that can aide family history research at The National Archives. The session will be accompanied by a display of some of the books featured in the talk and the afternoon will be concluded with a behind the scenes visit to the library’s rare books room.

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/family-history-sources-in-the-national-archives-library-tickets-37121661890?aff=culture24

Library rare books room

Library rare books room: behind the scenes visit

  • 11 — 14 October 2017

We are opening up our rare books room, offering you the chance to go behind the scenes and see an exclusive display of some of the gems from our collection. The rare books room is a small space, so numbers are limited. The tours, taking place daily, will start at the Welcome Desk.

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/library-rare-books-room-behind-the-scenes-visit-tickets-37121797295?aff=culture24

Nurses of Passchendaele

Nurses of Passchendaele

  • 12 October 2017 2-3pm

The Ypres Salient saw some of the most bitter fighting of the First World War. Drawing on letters, diaries and personal accounts from archives all over the world, Nurses of Passchendaele tells the stories of the extraordinary women who had to deal with injured men. It faithfully recounts their experiences behind the Ypres Salient in one of the most intense and prolonged casualty evacuation processes in the history of modern warfare. Christine Hallett is Professor of Nursing History at the University of Manchester and Director of the UK Centre for the History of Nursing and Midwifery.

Admission

£4-£5

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/nurses-of-passchendaele-tickets-37031797102?aff=culture24

Wolfenden

The Wolfenden Report: permissiveness or punishment?

  • 17 October 2017 5-6pm

The Wolfenden Report is famous for its recommendation to partially decriminalize homosexual acts, but in fact, the Wolfenden Committee was initially called to address matters related to prostitution. Unlike their recommendations on homosexuality, Wolfenden’s recommendations on prostitution passed immediately into law; in an era known for permissiveness and a liberalisation of social attitudes, UK law became more punitive against sex workers than at any other time in history. In this talk, Dr Julia Laite will explore records held at The National Archives to explain how and why this happened, seeking to challenge the Wolfenden Report’s reputation as a liberal document symbolising an era of sexual revolution.

Admission

£4-£5

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-wolfenden-report-permissiveness-or-punishment-tickets-37033925468?aff=culture24

Zeppelin

Zeppelin! The 'silent raid' of October 1917

  • 19 October 2017 2-3pm

In 1917, Germany developed a new class of Zeppelin capable of flying at 20,000 feet – beyond the range of Britain’s defence systems. Although free from attack, the Zeppelin crews had new battles to fight – altitude sickness, sub-zero temperatures, and unpredictable weather. In the 11-Zeppelin raid in October 1917, the civilian population suffered 90 casualties but fierce winds conspired to defeat the raiders. Drawing on official documents from our collection, Ian Castle will explore this, the last great Zeppelin raid of the First World War.

Admission

£4-£5

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/zeppelin-the-silent-raid-of-october-1917-tickets-37031991684?aff=culture24

Significant

The Time Travel Club - Significant people through time

  • 24 October 2017 10:30am-12pm

Travel with us to discover significant people from the past. From Tudor monarchs and Guy Fawkes, to the fight for suffrage and the role of spies during the Second World War, fascinating stories about the lives of people who helped to shape history can be found in our files. Discover these stories, and then decorate your very own picture frame to hold an image of a significant person in your life. Adults do not need to book for themselves.

Suitable for

  • 7-10
  • 11-13

Admission

£7.50 per child, adults go free.

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-time-travel-club-significant-people-through-time-tickets-37123460269?aff=culture24

Black power and the state

Black power and the state

  • 25 October 2017 2-3pm

The late 60s and early 70s witnessed the flourishing of Black Power, a movement of major global impact. In Britain, black radical campaigns were monitored by Special Branch, MI5, the Joint Intelligence Committee and the Home Office, in an attempt to frustrate and ultimately demobilise the movement. In this talk, Robin Bunce will use sources from our collection to reconstruct the state’s campaign against black radicals in the UK, from the trial of Malcolm X in 1967, through the prosecution of Egbuna and the Mangrove Nine, to the trial of the Old Bailey Three in 1972.

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/black-power-and-the-state-tickets-37034098987?aff=culture24

Archives at Night: Cabinet of Curiosities

Archives at Night: Cabinet of Curiosities

  • 27 October 2017 6:30-10pm

An essential part of any self-respecting Edwardian antiquarian’s home, a ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ or ‘Wonder Room’, contained their collection of unusual and extraordinary items.

For one night only, as part of Museums at Night, we will open our own Edwardian Cabinet of Curiosities. Delve into our records charting the popularity of Egyptology and fascination with all things archaeology; the rise of spiritualists, along with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s correspondence on the treatment of mediums; late 19th and early 20th century practices for dealing with death, from designs of coffins and funerary monuments, to the vast out of town cemeteries – cities of the dead. Take a step even further back in time from the Edwardian era to learn about infamous witch trials and the history of sorcery.

Talks and document displays:
Our own and visiting experts will thrill you with talks and document displays on all this and more, exploring some of the more unusual documents and objects from our collection. We are delighted to welcome the Cemetery Club - experts in tombstone tourism - to share their fascination with graveyards.

Attend a mummy unwrapping party:
The centrepiece of the evening will be the re-enactment of a 19th century mummy unwrapping party, brought to you by Odette Toilette – Purveyor of Olfactory Adventures! You'll find out how mummies were procured for these events, who attended them, what the guests saw, and what became of the mummy's remains after the party ended. Under the expert guidance of Egyptologist John J. Johnston, and with a wrapped 'mummy' by Art Macabre on the operating table, you will witness the recreation of the process before your very eyes and under your very noses. (No mummies will be damaged during this entertainment…).

This event will involve smelling scents. Those with identified allergies to perfume should avoid the session.

You will need to select an early or late mummy party when booking (19:00-19:45 or 20:20-21:00). Please be aware that due to venue capacity you will only be able to attend the session that you book.

Do not miss your chance to experience all of this, plus a themed photobooth, music, a cocktail bar, a very special menu from our new restaurant, as well as prizes and giveaways.

Your ticket price includes a complimentary drink on arrival.

Feel free to come in costume inspired by our Edwardian theme or any of the subjects we are featuring on the night ...

This event is strictly adults only (18+).

More activities to be announced and the programme is subject to change.

Suitable for

  • 18+

Admission

£22

Website

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/archives-at-night-cabinet-of-curiosities-tickets-36607975440?aff=MuseumsatNight

BTS

Behind the scenes tour

  • 27 October 2017 11am-12:30pm
  • 24 November 2017 11am-12:30pm
  • 15 December 2017 11am-12:30pm

We are opening the doors of The National Archives' repositories to offer you the chance to go behind the scenes. Discover how we keep and maintain the record for future generations and explore some of the hidden gems in our collections.

Admission

£10

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/behind-the-scenes-tour-tickets-37128518398?aff=culture24

Suzannah Lipscomb

Henry VIII and the break with Rome

  • 3 November 2017 6-8pm

Come and enjoy an evening with historian, broadcaster and award-winning academic Dr Suzannah Lipscomb, as she explores one of the fundamental turning points of the 16th century Reformation: Henry VIII’s separation from the Roman Catholic Church. This special lecture will be accompanied by Tudor music and refreshments. Suzannah is an historian, author, broadcaster, and award-winning academic. Her work focuses on Henry VIII and the early Tudor court, with a special interest in the intersection of religious, gender, political, social, and psychological history.

Admission

£8-£15

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/henry-viii-and-the-break-with-rome-tickets-36714433860?aff=culture24

Tommy

The Time Travel Club - When Tommy came home

  • 4 November 2017 10:30am-12pm

Nearly 41,000 men returned home from the battlefields of the First World War with missing limbs. But what was done to help these men? Time Travellers will uncover some of the answers to this question, with a chance to look at some fascinating documents from the period. This session will include a printing activity, led by artist Merlin Evans, using images from the time. Adults do not need to book for themselves.

Suitable for

  • 7-10
  • 11-13

Admission

£7.50 per child, adults go free.

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-time-travel-club-when-tommy-came-home-tickets-37123500389?aff=culture24

Cabinet papers webinar

Webinar - Exploring the cabinet papers

  • 7 November 2017 6-7pm

Why are Cabinet Papers important? This webinar will explain how to use the Cabinet Papers online, demonstrating the value of this superb resource that documents our modern history in detail. The webinar will also include a look at historical context, interesting examples of documents, and reference formats. Mark Dunton is Principal Records Specialist for Contemporary Records at The National Archives, and has been a key spokesperson for publicising the annual release of Prime Minister’s Office records and Cabinet Papers since 2006. Webinars are online only events.

**Webinars are online only events**

Where

**Webinars are online only events**
**Webinars are online only events**

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/webinar-exploring-the-cabinet-papers-tickets-37034211323?aff=culture24

Sylvia Pankhurst

Sylvia Pankhurst: suffragette, socialist and scourge of the empire

  • 7 November 2017 2-3pm

From militant suffragette at the beginning of the 20th century to campaigner against colonialism in Africa after the Second World War, Sylvia Pankhurst dedicated her life to fighting oppression and injustice. Katherine Connelly will examine Pankhurst’s role at the forefront of significant developments in the history of radical politics. Guiding us through Pankhurst’s activism – from her teens as a member of the Independent Labour Party and her time as a leading suffragette before the First World War, to her revolutionary socialist, anti-fascist and anti-imperialist campaigning in later years.

Admission

£4-£5

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sylvia-pankhurst-suffragette-socialist-and-scourge-of-the-empire-tickets-37090405401?aff=culture24

Prime Ministers and spies

Prime Ministers and spies: from Asquith to Thatcher

  • 8 November 2017 6:30-8pm

At the start of the 20th century, Prime Ministers and espionage had few ties. As the decades went by, their relationships developed; from Asquith’s Secret Service Bureau, through Churchill’s innovative wartime regime, to the role of intelligence in Cold War decision-making. Speakers Richard Aldrich, Professor of International Security at the University of Warwick, and Rory Cormac, Associate Professor of International Relations at the University of Nottingham, are coauthors of The Black Door. They will explore how the relationship between Number 10 and the Security Services evolved, using records from The National Archives’ collection.

Admission

£8.80-£11

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/prime-ministers-and-spies-from-asquith-to-thatcher-tickets-37090752439?aff=culture24

Colonial Office records webinar

Webinar - Researching Britain's imperial past: the Colonial Office records

  • 9 November 2017 6-7pm

Over the course of the 19th century, Britain’s empire expanded to include colonies across the globe. From the Americas to Australasia, the extensive records collected by the Colonial Office cover the whole empire, providing an incomparable resource on imperial and colonial history. However, very few of these documents are available online and are not always easily located. This webinar will reveal what the records have to offer and how they can be found in our catalogue. Webinars are online only events.

**Webinars are online only events**

Where

**Webinars are online only events**
**Webinars are online only events**

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/webinar-researching-britains-imperial-past-the-colonial-office-records-tickets-37121228594?aff=culture24

Women in the naval services

100 years of women in the naval services

  • 14 November 2017 2-3:30pm

November 1917 saw the formation of the Women’s Royal Naval Service. This unique event will bring together women who have served or are currently serving in the naval services, to discuss their experiences, what has changed, and what has stayed the same, since the First World War. There will be an accompanying display of supporting documents from our collection.

Admission

£7.20-£9

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/100-years-of-women-in-the-naval-services-tickets-37032476133?aff=culture24

Partition

The plan to partition

  • 16 November 2017 6:30-8pm

In June 1947 it was announced that British India would partition into two new nation states – India and Pakistan. Yet when the expected date of British withdrawal from India was brought forward a year, communications broke down and the violence that ensued proved catastrophic. Iqbal Husain (The National Archives), Mandeep Samra and Sonyia Jamal (Let’s Go Yorkshire), and A’Ishah Waheed (Patchwork Archivists) will speak and offer a space for questions and reflections on this momentous event in history. An accompanying display of records from our collection will include the voices of some of the key players, including Jinnah and Gandhi.

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-plan-to-partition-tickets-37121253669?aff=culture24

Ahoy

The Time Travel Club - Time Travellers ahoy!

  • 18 November 2017 10:30am-12pm

Set sail on a voyage following the journeys taken by ships in the 18th century and beyond. Drawing on an exciting collection of captured letters, we will use storytelling and creative activities to explore journeys, the variety of cargoes carried, and documents found on board ships. Adults do not need to book for themselves.

Suitable for

  • 7-10
  • 11-13

Admission

£7.50 per child, adults go free.

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-time-travel-club-time-travellers-ahoy-tickets-37123680929?aff=culture24

Cromwell and communications

Cromwell and communications

  • 22 November 2017 2-4pm

The legacy of the Reformation was not simply a transformation of the religious landscape of England, it also presented the opportunity for change and progression in other areas, such as government and the development of the printing industry. Join Nick Barratt, an expert in the era from the University of London, and Marianne Wilson, our Reformation record specialist, for a workshop exploring new interpretations of key documents relating to Thomas Cromwell, communications and the Reformation period. This will provide an exciting opportunity to consider key themes, such as what was lost from medieval culture with the changes in government and communications, and what was gained moving forward.

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cromwell-and-communications-tickets-36653657075?aff=culture24

John Cabot

On the trail of John Cabot: a modern detective story

  • 23 November — 23 December 2017

The history of John Cabot and his voyages of 1497 and 1498 can be traced through documents at The National Archives with fascinating results. Join one of the leading scholars in the field as she tells the amazing detective stories behind recent advances in Cabot studies, which include designer shoes, an obsolete computer, and an estate agent’s particulars, not to mention the destruction by a highly respected scholar of all her life’s work. Margaret Condon is a founding member of The Cabot Project, an international and collaborative project set up to investigate the Bristol discovery voyages of the late 15th and early 16th centuries.

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/on-the-trail-of-john-cabot-a-modern-detective-story-tickets-37121477338?aff=culture24

Flesh and Blood

Flesh and Blood: an evening with Stephen McGann

  • 24 November 2017 6-8pm

Flesh and Blood is the story of McGann’s family as told through seven maladies – diseases, wounds or ailments that have afflicted Stephen McGann’s relatives over the last 150 years, which have helped mould him into what he now perceives himself to be. This event is an opportunity to hear Stephen talk about his latest book, inspired by his passion for genealogy with an academic interest in the social dimensions of medicine. Stephen McGann is an actor, currently known for his role as Dr Patrick Turner in the BBC’s Call the Midwife. He has been an ambassador for Explore Your Archive since 2014.

Admission

£7.20-£9

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/flesh-and-blood-an-evening-with-stephen-mcgann-tickets-37121132306?aff=culture24

DCDC

DCDC Conference 2017 #DCDC17

  • 27 — 29 November 2017

DCDC17 will consider how, by working collaboratively through networks of inter and cross-disciplinary initiatives, we can continue to improve and develop methodologies in order to build a strong evidence base to demonstrate the cultural value of collections and their contribution to the creative economy.

When: 27-29 November 2017
Where: The Lowry, Salford Quays
Attendance: See website for conference fees
Programme: See website for the 2017 programme

We advise delegates to review the DCDC17 FAQ before registering for this event.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Where

The Lowry
Salford Quays
Salford
M50 3AZ
England

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/dcdc-conference-2017-dcdc17-tickets-35373283443

Fighting Proud

Fighting Proud

  • 28 November 2017 2-3pm

Stephen Bourne will present an illustrated talk about some of the gay men who feature in his latest book, Fighting Proud – The Untold Story of the Gay Men Who Served in Two World Wars. Fighting Proud includes the stories of many servicemen, such as Battle of Britain hero Ian Gleed, as well as the wartime home front experiences of Quentin Crisp, bandleader Ken ‘Snakehips’ Johnson, PC Harry Daley and Noel Coward. The talk will be followed by a Q&A session.

Admission

£4-£5

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/fighting-proud-tickets-37121334912?aff=culture24

Christmas

The Time Travel Club - Back in time for Christmas

  • 2 December 2017 10:30am-12pm

Come with us on a festive journey to explore Christmas past. Discover beautiful designs for greetings cards and adverts for tempting treats in our collection. Find out about festive Tudor feasts, Victorian Christmas in the workhouse and Christmas experiences during the Second World War. Then create your own Christmas cards or decorations inspired by our records. Adults do not need to book for themselves.

Suitable for

  • 7-10
  • 11-13

Admission

£7.50 per child, adults go free.

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-time-travel-club-back-in-time-for-christmas-tickets-37123702995?aff=culture24

Jerusalem

The fall of Jerusalem

  • 5 December 2017 2-3pm

The fall of Jerusalem on 9 December 1917 brought centuries of Ottoman rule to an end. It was undoubtedly a military success but also a formidable propaganda and political tool. On 11 December, General Allenby entered the Holy City on foot, well ahead of the rest of the procession, and presented himself as a liberator rather than a conqueror. Dr Juliette Desplat will talk about this turning point in the political running of the war in the Middle East, drawing on records held here at The National Archives.

Admission

£4-£5

Website

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-fall-of-jerusalem-tickets-37032746943?aff=culture24

Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

Getting there

10 minutes walk from Kew Gardens underground station (District line)
15 minutes walk from Kew Bridge mainline station (South West trains)
R68 bus route

The National Archives
Kew
Surrey
TW9 4DU
England

Website

www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

E-mail

enquiry@nationalarchives.gov.uk

Telephone

020 8876 3444

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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